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

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Look at the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder, Pure Powder Glow + Celestial Powder


I've been slowly getting more into items from the Kevyn Aucoin beauty line. I've been a huge fan of the Celestial Powder in Starlight and the Lip Gloss in Starlight (reviewed here and here). The Pure Powder Glow Blushes are something that have been on my radar for ages and I was really excited to finally play with a few of the shades. As mentioned in a few previous posts I had high hopes for the Sculpting Powder in Medium as it's one of the most raved about contouring/sculpting powders in the beauty market. It did not work for my skintone but there have been two color additions to the formula in Light and Deep. Light works perfectly for my medium-olive toned skin.

I have a quick look at six shades from Kevyn Aucoin in the Sculpting Powder, Pure Powder Glow + Celestial Powder. If you're shopping online for any of these, don't forget to take advantage of the special promo code Space NK US created for Beauty Look Book readers. Use code BEAUTYLB16 at checkout to save $20 off online orders of $100 or more (through May 1st). All the details in this post here.


The Celestial Powders ($44 each) are finely milled ultra smooth highlighters. Candlelight is one of those products that has reached cult-status and is extremely popular. I think I'm one of the few people who find it turns white on my face - it looks amazing in the pan, swatched on the arm or applied on the eyes. On my cheeks it almost looks chalky but note that I am in the minority with this one. My preference is for Starlight which is a soft champagne pink. I find Starlight to be more shimmery than Candlelight, but it's not too shimmery. The pink/peach undertones make it much softer on my olive skin. If you prefer liquids, they have these colors in the Celestial Liquid formula, both swatched in this post here.

The Sculpting Powders ($44 each) are matte shaping/sculpting/contour powders. Medium was the first shade launched and for many years it was the only option. It's a soft cool-toned matte that didn't work on my skin because it was too cool-toned and slightly too dark creating a muddy look on me. Light and Deep are the newest additions. I tried out Light which in the swatch above is similar in undertone but the slight variation and lightness of color works so much better on my skintone. It creates a more natural looking shadow on areas I want to add depth whether it's the eyes, nose or cheeks. If you need contouring powders with warmth I would recommend skipping any in the Kevyn Aucoin line as they are all very cool-toned.

The Pure Powder Glow ($37 each) is a powder blush. The formula is very soft in texture which makes it easy to apply, blend and build. There are shimmers and mattes, both formulas look incredibly natural and meld with the skin beautifully so it doesn't look powdery. I've been so impressed with the three that I've tried. Ariana is the perfect neutral coral that adds natural warmth. Shadore is a powder pink that brightens the face. Natural is a really great neutral pinky-brown that won't look muddy or darken on the skin. They look very simple in the pan and if you swatch them with your fingers I have to admit they look pretty standard - you can probably find dupes in other lines like MAC, Bobbi Brown or even Urban Decay, so color-wise I wouldn't say that I find them unique. That being said the formula works really well and doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. (I found that some blushes like Bobbi Brown cause tiny little bumps to form on my cheeks.) If you're looking for a good everyday kind of color that's easy to use and requires little thinking on how to coordinate, you can't go wrong with any of the ones swatched above.


There are quite a few options on the market for all three types of powders. I think the ones from Kevyn Aucoin are great everyday shades that are very wearable for the conservative makeup-wearer who wants no-fuss kind of makeup. They apply on the skin smoothly, don't oxidize on the face and they last all day without budging. A few thoughts on other ones I've tested and how they compare to other brands/formulas.

Celestial Powders

Sculpting Powders

Pure Powder Glow
  • If you like matte blushes that won't darken, I think the ones from Kevyn Aucoin are really among the best I've tried.
  • If you want more unique and interesting colors that are still natural, opt for the Urban Decay UD x Gwen Blush Palette.
  • If you want contour + blush in a single palette for convenience, go for the By Terry Sun Designer Palettes.
  • If you want similar colors to the ones featured but want them at a cheaper price, MAC Pink Swoon will give you a similar look to Shadore, MAC Prism will give you a similar look to Natura (but without the shimmer), Ariana is quite unique compared to what I have, MAC Peaches is the closest one I have but the MAC is slightly brighter.
I hope you found this review helpful if you were wondering about the Kevyn Aucoin face powders. They do come with a fairly steep price tag but the quality is on point and I think they are products anyone will get regular use out of. Have you tried any blushes, highlighters or contour powders from Kevyn Aucoin yet? If so which ones? If you have recommendations for anything else in the line please share in the comments!

Ariana, Natura, Shadore and Light provided courtesy of Space NK for the Explore Promotion. Starlight, Candlelight and Medium purchased by me.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Future M·A·C Review - Mineralize Skinfinish, Mineralize Eye Shadow x4, Lustre Drops, Mineralize Rich Lipstick and Lipglass


MAC launched a new Mineralize Collection called Future M·A·C a few weeks ago. I have a few items I've been playing with for a few days now, some are press samples and a couple items I picked up from my local MAC counter. The theme of this collection is light and airy with a glowy futuristic feel. In past years I feel like you could simply blink once and find that almost everything from a MAC collection sold out within seconds or minutes of launching. I'm happy to see that items are still available for a while even if they are limited-edition. Today I'm reviewing some items including:
Up first is the Mineralize Eye Shadow x4 in Nano-Nude. This is my first time trying the Mineralize Eyeshadows so I did not know what to expect. I found all four shades in this palette to be very smooth and natural-looking. They do appear to have a baked formula which in general I'm not a fan of, but I was pleasantly surprised by how soft and smooth these were. The colors overall are on the light side and are sheer-to-medium in pigment. If you are looking for a no-makeup makeup look for the eye this is a good one. If you need color payoff or pigment you will be disappointed. Since I haven't tried this formula before I don't know if the color payoff in this one is typical or on the sheer side.


Left side is all four shades layered, right side swatch is the mattes only:


Next up are three lip items. I've never tried a Mineralize Rich Lipstick before on the lips although I've swatched them on my hand in store before. Cybernaut is a pale pink that does not work my natural lip tone. It's such a gorgeous soft pink in the tube but I can't wear these kinds of colors without looking washed out. Texture is smooth and it felt slightly hydrating on the lips.

For the Mineralize Lipglass I've tried a couple non-shimmer shades before. I like the formula for a very lush-looking high shine with a cushiony feel. The ones I have are medium-to-sheer but I found the two I tried from Future MAC extra sheer. The Zone is the prettiest nude-rose-taupe shimmer, on the lips it's sheer to medium in coverage that gives the lips a pretty your-lips-but-better kind of look. If you know of a lipstick this color please let me know because I think it would be amazing. Telegenius is sheer on my lips. It's a pretty iridescent pinky peach in the tube but only looks like transparent shine on my lips. I personally wish it had better color payoff - but that being said it can make a great layering gloss and I really like how smooth and lush it makes the lips look without feeling tacky.





The last bits of this review focus on three face/cheek products. I'm a huge fan of Mineralize Skinfinishes in general. Warm Rose is quite different from any other MSF I've tried. It's got a very powdery texture with a lot of kick-off powder. Finish is not as shimmery as most that I've tried, on me it worked as an all over setting powder for a soft translucent finish. It works right now but I suspect if I get any darker it won't work all over the face. There is a tiny bit of shimmer in the powder but it's not visible on the face (at least on me).

Otherearthly is all kinds of gorgeous. If you splurge on one thing from the collection try this one. It has mix of three colors including a peachy copper champagne, a shimmering pink and cool silver. I found the colors have enough separation to be able to dip a large eyeshadow brush into each section to apply separately. When swirled together with a duo fibre brush or blush brush the result is a really pretty glowy champagne peach with silver pearl mixed in. It gives a wonderful glow that isn't overly shimmery or frosty.

The Barbados Girl Lustre Drops is something that has been on my radar for quite some time. It's been launched with previous collections as a limited-edition item and this is the first time I've been able to play with it (it sold out in previous launches). It's a shimmering golden peach tan with gold/silvery flecks. This one gives the skin a slight tint of color but I mostly see shimmer on the skin. If you're a fan of the color but don't want sparkle flecks, I recommend opting for Tom Ford Fire Lust instead.


Out of everything I tested I think the best items include the Mineralize Skinfinish in Otherearthly and Mineralize Lipglass in The Zone. The other items performed well in terms of quality and texture - the colors just aren't really suited to my personal taste. I was really interested in the two Mineralize Blushes with this collection in Cosmic Force and Raybeam - I played with them at the counter and although they are really pretty, I felt they would be too light for my skintone right now.

Most of the items in the Future M·A·C are limited-edition (at least the items shown in this review) so if you have anything on your list I recommend checking the items out sooner than later. You can find them at all MAC counters right now. Online at MAC, Nordstrom, Macy's and Bloomingdale's.



Did you check out anything from the collection? What did you think?

Press samples include items with c/o listed next to the name in the top listing. Other items purchased by me.

Friday, April 15, 2016

By Terry Sun Designer Palettes for Spring - Tan and Flash Cruise + Light and Tan Vibes


By Terry recently launched two new face palettes with bronzer, blush and highlighters cased in a single mirrored compact called the Sun Designer Palette ($82 for 15 g/0.53 oz). There are two options in this launch Tan and Flash Cruise 1 and Light and Tan Vibes 2. Both are simply glorious and well worth the splurge. I ordered both of mine sight unseen last month and the swatches on Beauty Professor's blog confirmed I made the right choice to splurge. When they arrived in the mail I literally gasped - they took my breath away. Each palette comes cased in a slim mirrored compact with 6 shades of powders for the face (but I've also been using them on the eyes). The product description on the box:

"This exceptional palette creates an all-over radiant and sun-kissed look on both fair and tanned complexions. It features six elegant and sparkling shades playing the roles of bronzers, blushes and highlighters that enhance the skin's appearance. Delicate, soft and airy textures in both matte and satin finishes allow to sculpt contours, brighten features, correct or intensify the complexion, all the while revealing the full splendor of the tan."


Both palettes have beautifully pigmented powders that have a very soft almost velvety texture. The colors blend flawlessly on the skin in an effortless kind of way. Lasting power is excellent and does not fade. They meld nicely with the surface of the skin and adhere well to last all day long. There's no chalky finish, no streaking and the colors stay true to what you apply on the face.

#1 Tan and Flash Cruise offers the perfect mix for a colorful summery look while #2 Light and Tan Vibes is the perfect your complexion but better kind of palette. It is hard for me to pick a favorite but #2 offers the most amazing mix of colors to give my complexion the kind of naturally glowy tan highlight and contour that I've been looking for for ages.



The only possible downside I find to these is the actual design and layout of the colors. They come in a beautiful embossed zigzag pattern which makes it virtually impossible to dip a cheek brush into just one color - but I suspect this was designed with the purpose of being able to mix and swirl colors together to be able to achieve a look with more dimension, color and glow. When I first put these to the test I thought the mixing of colors was going to be problematic. I've been able to dip a brush into 2 colors at a time or take a smaller detail brush to pick up a single color and apply to the eyes or face. I suspect making the palette bigger would have made the price more expensive - part of me wishes the pans were at least 2x taller to make picking up a single color easier. After playing with these for several weeks now I really don't mind swirling colors together.

A quick look at some brushes next to the pans for size reference:



A closer look at each palette. Up first is #1 Tan and Flash Cruise which has:

Satiny raspberry pink
Coral peach with a slight sheen
Cool pink with a very soft shimmer
Pale nude matte
Medium warm tan
Soft muted peach




A closer look at #2 Light and Tan Vibes which has:

The most perfect golden nude shimmer
Iridescent peach gold shimmer
Pale champagne shimmer frost
Pale vanilla matte cream
Soft light peach pink
Soft nude tan matte




Bottom line both winners. I personally would have preferred larger pans that would allow for me to not mix the colors but I've found blending the shades to have a really nice effect on the skin. Sometimes swirling darker shades can result in a muddy mess but these blend beautifully together and the quality of the powder texture and pigment is literally to die for.

Finish of the brighter option Tan and Flash Cruise is more on the satiny matte side. There is a sheen in each of the colors but it's in a natural luminous way that melds with the skin. Light and Tan Vibes has a more shimmery finish for the left side but it's not overly frosty and layers beautifully on the cheeks over other colors or even on the eyes.

If I were pressed to pick just one, I would say the lighter one Light and Tan Vibes is my favorite. It has colors that are probably easy to dupe but the colors in this one are simply flawless and work without any extra effort required. It's pure love.

I highly recommend both palettes. I've been told they are limited-edition but am not 100% sure. You can find them online at Space NK, Barneys New York, Beautylish and Saks Fifth Avenue. If you're shopping at Space NK (US) don't forget to take advantage of the savings offer code available through May 1, 2016 (all the details in this post here).

Have you checked out these palettes yet? 


Monday, April 11, 2016

Urban Decay UD x Gwen Blush Palette, Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighters and Beached Bronzers


Today I have a roundup of several cheek products from Urban Decay including the UD x Gwen Blush Palette ($45), Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighters ($26 each) and Beached Bronzers ($28). All the items are very pretty and give the complexion some life and color in a natural way. The UD x Gwen Blush Palette in my opinion is one of the best blush palettes I've ever tried. It has a good mix of cool and warm and also matte and shimmer finishes to give you a lot of options. The colors layer nicely and application is smooth. I do find some similarities between the colors in the palette and the new highlighters/bronzers. You may want to shop your stash too as some of these will probably be duplicates or similar to what you own but more thoughts on each one below.

First a quick look at the cheek, highlighter and bronze items from Urban Decay side by side. I'm trying out a new interactive tool so you can shop the images by clicking on the icons. Let me know what you think!


Swatches on bare skin:


Up first is the UD x Gwen Blush Palette. This comes in a medium-sized mirrored compact similar in style to the UD x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette. The packaging is very sturdy and well made. The colors have medium but buildable pigment and the texture is very soft and smooth. There is quite a bit of powder kick-up when I dip my brush into the powders but it's easy to clean up and once the product is on the face there isn't any fall out. Cherry is a soft cool matte pink, Easy is a medium rose with gold shimmer, Angel is a soft champagne gold, Lo-Fi is a medium tan, Hush is a shimmering peachy champagne, OC is an iridescent soft peach that flashes pink.




As you can see from the swatches above near the top of the post, Angel has a similar effect to the Afterglow Highlighter in Sin, Lo-Fi is a more yellow toned version of the bronzers, OC has a similar pinky sheen to the Afterglow Highlighter in Fireball. I would say by comparison the Blush Palette has a softer more natural look on the skin compared to the others. I love this palette because it's so versatile and goes well with a wide range of looks. That being said the colors are fairly standard and I suspect you can find similar shades from MAC, NARS or other brands. I do really like that Easy Blush is a rose gold that is medium in undertone but doesn't darken on my skin. So many rose blushes end up darkening and look muddy on my skin while Easy stays true to color. Angel has that pretty warm golden champagne undertone which makes it look soft and diffused on my olive skin. Hush is borderline a highlighter so I mix it with Lo-Fi to add more color on my skin.

Next up are the Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighters. These are designed to be long-lasting and the claim is they last 8 hours. On my normal combination skin I found they did not last on my cheeks for the full 8 hours. I would say color stayed true from morning around 8 am until 2 pm (so for around 6 hours). After that the color faded a bit. It was still visible but there was noticeable fading, at least on me. The colors are very pigmented and intense but are easy to blend and buff out. I've swatched them heavy and blended to try and show the difference. The heavier you swatch these the more intense the shimmer and with a heavy hand the colors are lighter in color.

Sin is a pale champagne gold, on my skin it looks very pale, almost like a pale cream. Fireball is an iridescent peach that flashes pink. Aura is a pale pink that flashes slight pink and blue tones.



Shimmer-frost wise I think these are definitely on the more shimmery side but they blend out smoothly on the skin. Sin is the most frosted on me since it has a sharper contrast to my olive skintone. I expected Aura to look really frosty but on the face it gives the skin a pretty glimmer. Fireball has a smooth shimmer that isn't overly frosted. I didn't have time to reswatch comparisons, but Fireball is similar to the Anastasia Hard Candy Highlighter reviewed here and Aura compared to the Laura Mercier Highlighters in this post here. Sin is one of the more unique shades I own for highlighters but it has a similar effect to that of MAC Nylon Eyeshadow.

A quick look from the weekend with Lo-Fi and Fireball Highlighter on one side vs just Lo-Fi on the other so you can see how the highlighter adds a bit of a glow and more dimension:


Last up are the two Beached Bronzers. These are matte bronzers that come in round mirrored compacts. I love the packaging - the palm trees add a fun twist with the summer theme. Sun-Kissed is the lighter and warmer option of the two, it has a pinkish undertone which makes it more wearable and natural on my skin. Bronzed is the deeper option and gives my skin a more bronzed brown look. For my medium skin I prefer Sun-Kissed right now - it just looks more natural while Bronzed borderline makes my skin look a bit weathered as it's more brownish and deep. I love a good bronze but these days try to go a bit easy on it since I'm not as tan as I am in the summer time. They are different enough to justify owning both - I think fairer skins will prefer Sun-Kissed. Deeper skins will probably find Bronzed better for their skin tones. Neither turns orangey and I was relieved to find they did not darken on the skin. The texture is very smooth and the blend nicely on the skin without any streaks. If you're super fair I'd recommend you opt for either Gold Dust or Terra from Tom Ford instead as those will look more natural on the skin.


In terms of performance all the cheek products work very well. The quality is excellent and I really didn't know what to expect before hand since the Naked Flushed palettes did not work for my skin type at all (they look super chalky and emphasize pores on me). I think the UD x Gwen Blush palette is the winner and if you're trying to narrow down your picks, I'd say opt for the palette since it will give you the most options packaged in a single convenient compact. If you like more visible pigment or color for the cheeks you may find the Blush Palette too sheer or natural looking. In that case I'd recommend you opt for the NARSissist Cheek Studio Palette which has more pigment and more color but will also give you a wide range of options.

The highlighters are really pretty but I can't say any of them are absolute musts. If I were to pick one favorite it would be Fireball - the mix of peach and pink is really pretty although it's nearly identical to one of the shades in the Anastasia Gleam Glow Kit, the UD one performs exceptionally well.

The Bronzers are nice to have but not musts. That being said I find it rare to find good matte bronzers that are smooth in finish and application that don't darken. The ones from Urban Decay perform really well - I like Sun-Kissed the best and the packaging is fun for the upcoming warmer weather months. Even though I can probably find similar shades in my collection to all the cheek items featured, I don't have any regrets purchasing them - the formula works really well to add color or highlight without emphasizing pores.

You can find the Urban Decay cheek palette, bronzer and highlighters at all Urban Decay counters now. Online at Sephora, Nordstrom, Macy's, Ulta Beauty and Urban Decay.

Have you checked out any of the items yet? What did you think?


Friday, April 8, 2016

Laura Mercier Face Illuminator Powders - Devotion, Indiscretion, Addiction and Seduction


Laura Mercier just launched three new shades of the Face Illuminator Powder ($44 each, 9 g/0.3 oz). They are currently exclusive to Sephora and come in the same formula and design as the previously launched Indiscretion Face Illuminator. Each highlighter is cased in a square mirrored compact and while they are described as powders the texture is very unique. They almost have a creamy look and feel but definitely are not creams. Laura Mercier calls this a "non-dusting texture" which I think is fairly accurate. They are powders without the traditional powdery feel. Each color is very shimmery and sparkly but the texture is smooth and they are not overly frosted. On the face they adhere nicely to the skin which makes them long lasting on me. The texture is soft and blendable so they are easy to layer. Pigment is medium and natural looking but you can build pigment for a more visible sheen. In terms of emphasizing skin texture or pores, only one emphasized my pores slightly which is the gold one mainly because of the way the color looks against my olive skin.


  • Devotion is a shimmering pale pink. It has a similar effect to some of the colors in the Anastasia Gleam Glow Kit, Urban Decay Afterglow Highlighter in Aura and Chanel Perles et Fantaisies (swatch comparisons below). This one swatched on the arms and hands extremely frosted but on the face it blends out to a really pretty natural sheen.
  • Indiscretion is a classic medium champagne color with a peachy tinge. This is my favorite out of the four, I already had the old original version (had a different name) and this is the same color. It adds a lovely glow to the skin. If you are fairer I suspect this will be more bronzey on your complexion compared to mine.
  • Addiction is a shimmering yellow gold. Gold highlighters with yellow tones often times emphasize my pores. This one is really pretty but not my favorite on my olive skin because I already have some yellow undertones. Shimmer is on the sparkly side but it's not over the top and blends nicely.
  • Seduction is my next favorite out of the bunch. It's a medium bronze shimmer that has some reddish undertones. I suspect those with darker skin tones will find this matches their skin tone more for a glowy highlighter while on me it's definitely bronzey.
The shimmer in each highlighter is really pretty. The colors in direct sunlight:



Close ups with comparison swatches:



Anastasia Glow Kit in Gleam (Crushed Pearl and Hard Candy review)



Anastasia Glow Kit in That Glow - Bubbly and Dripping in Gold (review)
MAC Cream Color Base in Hush from Contour Kit (review on kit)
Tom Ford Illuminator Duo in Moodlight (1/2 swatched, review)
NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Jubilation (peach side)



NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Jubilation (peach side)
MAC MSF in New Vegas (discontinued)
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow (highlighter side, review)
Anastasia Glow Kit in That Glow - Sunburst (review)
 

I had some challenges photographing the bronze shades with the flash and cloudy weather, so I have two sets, first is without flash, next is with flash:

MAC MSF Metal Rocks (discontinued)
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow Medium-Dark (review)




All four perform extremely well and give the skin a natural candlelit glow. The shimmer is noticeable on the complexion but not over the top. That being said, for my medium skin, the lighter shades Devotion and Addiction do have a more visible sheen on my skin because of the color contrast to my natural skintone. Devotion is all kinds of gorgeous for a soft light opal pink sheen without looking too pale. Addiction is pretty just not for my skintone. Seduction acts like a bronzer. Indiscretion is hands down my favorite.

With so many highlighters available to choose from picking one or narrowing down picks to a few might seem overwhelming. I certainly find that it is. If  you can try in person I recommend you do - finding the right one for you will be kinda like finding the right foundation for you. It depends on your skin type, skin texture, coverage, degree of shimmer and application preferences. I think the Face Illuminators from Laura Mercier have the a very unique texture compared to others. The non-powdery finish makes them feel almost like a cream so they adhere well to the skin. Shimmer is definitely noticeable to give the skin a glowy highlight so it's apparent on the skin but it's not over the top. I love that for the most part they don't emphasize my skin imperfections or pores too much. Your mileage may vary depending on what your skin texture is like. All this being said if you're going more for color effect rather than formula or texture you will be able to find a lot of other products that will give you a similar look (as shown by the handful of comparison swatches).

For me my top two picks are Indiscretion and Seduction for color and finish. I already own a lot of light pink highlighters but if you're like me (medium or even darker) you might find many light pinks have a sharp almost white look on the skin so they require a light hand or lots of blending. If I didn't already own so many I would hands down say Devotion is a must - it performs the best out of all the pale pinks I own because of the way it melds with the skin and just glows. The formula and texture is superior to other pale pink highlighters that I have.

I still have one more set of newer highlighters to review (the ones from Urban Decay) but out of all the ones that have recently launched, the Laura Mercier ones definitely have the best texture for my skintype, Hourglass Strobe Powders have a more subtle strobe effect, Anastasia Glow Kits are the most glowy and have the best value for price, I'm still undecided on the Urban Decay highlighters but will let you know my thoughts once I post the review.

Bottom line, the Laura Mercier Face Illuminator Powders are solid performers for quality, pigment, texture and lasting power. You can find them now at Sephora.

Devotion and Seduction sent as press samples. The other two shades purchased by me.

 

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