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

Friday, March 6, 2015

Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder and The Shape Contour and Blush Brush No. 15


For spring Marc Jacobs Beauty released three contouring duos called the #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder ($49 each for 0.31 oz each side) along with the Shape and Contour Blush Brush No. 15 ($38). I've put these to the test for a few weeks now and can say that I am extremely impressed. The contouring duos are finely milled powders with a buttery soft texture that melt into the skin. They give a natural contour with medium buildable coverage. Both shades blend flawlessly into the skin without looking cakey, powdery or fake. There is enough color for the shades to be visible on the face but they are soft enough that you won't be left with any harsh edges.

Top to bottom, Dream Filter, Mirage Filter and Hi Fi Filter

When it comes to contouring I am usually not a fan. I find most powders or creams are good for photographs but in real life I simply find it too harsh (no matter how much I blend). I prefer a soft tan powder or bronzer applied in a 3-shape motion around the edges of my face from temples to chin to create soft dimension. I have friends who are very much into the contouring right now and their biggest challenges they have with contouring include powders darken too much after a few hours or they just end up looking too harsh. If you're not a contour pro and want something that will define and highlight, the Marc Jacobs #Instamarc duos are the solution to give a goof-proof contour that looks natural and flawless.

Each color has one highlight shade that naturally highlights in a non-shimmery way, and one contouring shade that helps add definition and dimension. Both sides melt into the skin and blend easily. The lighter colors help soften any harsh edges. There are three different colors, all three seem to be designed for the light to medium skin color spectrum:

Dream Filter is pink-toned described as a soft pink / medium bronze
Mirage Filter is cool-toned described as light gold / light bronze
Hi Fi Filter is the darkest with neutral tones described as warm peach / deep bronze


Dream Filter is a soft neutral pink. It resembles NARS Paloma Contour Blush which is more pink (the Marc Jacobs is more neutral and softer). On my skin this is the most natural. Both shades have a satiny finish. They look like mattes in the pan and on the face, but there appears to be a very slight satiny sheen which gives these dimension on the face. If you're afraid of shimmer, no need to worry, there is no shimmer on the face. On the flip side if you don't like mattes, these aren't your typical matte powders. They won't make the face look flat.


On my medium olive toned skin, Mirage Filter has the sharpest contrast since it has cool-tones. I was worried the light gold/yellow side would be too yellow, but it blends into the skin beautifully without making the skin look sallow. The darker contour side is what I think of when it comes to traditional contour, it's a cool-toned tan with a very slight hint of grey undertone.


Hi Fi Filter is the darkest option but on the skin it's the most neutral in tone. This one warms up the skin nicely. It's the warmest option so if you prefer warm tones on your skin, this is a good one.


Swatches:



Comparisons to some other contouring products and bronzers, below you can see how large the Marc Jacobs compacts are:


  • Chanel Les Beiges #40 (review here) is quite a bit warmer than any of the Marc Jacobs contouring duos, this one is good to add depth and warmth all over the face
  • MAC Emote (discontinued) is darker and cooler toned compared to any of the Marc Jacobs duos, it's also a full matte with no satiny sheen or texture
  • NARS Paloma Contour Blush (reviewed here) is a pinker darker version of Marc Jacobs Dream Filter, the texture is similar in that it's also buttery soft and easy to blend
  • Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow (review here and here) is warmer and significantly more blowy than any other bronzer or contour duo I've used without being orangey
  • Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer (worn here) is a really good warm bronzer, swatches below make it look orangey by comparison, but on the skin it's not orangey at all


In addition to the three powders, Marc Jacobs released a brush designed for contouring called The Shape Contour and Blush Brush #15. It's ultra soft with an extremely sturdy handle. This is the first brush I've tried from Marc Jacobs and I thought due to the synthetic material it would be somewhat problematic to use. The bristles are extremely soft but dense and work surprisingly well to pick up quite a bit of powder. It blends product nicely on the face and is soft enough for sensitive skin so there's no poking, tugging or harsh feeling if you blend.


These are definitely worth looking into. Do note that they swatch much better on the face than they do on the hands. On the hands swatched with fingers they can look a bit chalky. Once you apply with a brush on the face you will be surprised at how smooth they look. The above swatches show that these are on the neutral-cool side compared to some warm bronzers, so if you prefer warmer tones you may want to stick with your regular powder bronzer. Also if you can't do satiny mattes at all these will be a skip, although I will say you should still give these a look. They don't look flat, cakey and don't emphasize pores.

You don't need all three although I do like each one for different purposes. My top two picks are Dream Filter #20 and Hi Fi Filter #60. Mirage Filter is sharper on my skin because of the cool undertones, it works but I prefer something with a bit more warmth.

The #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powders retail for $49 each and The Shape Contour and Blush Brush No. 15 retails for $38. Both available now at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty. (PS right now there is a promo code for 2 minis with any $50+ order online at marcjacobsbeauty.com using code SPRING).

Have you tried these yet? If you're a contouring fan what's your favorite contour?

The Marc Jacobs contour duos and brush were provided courtesy of Marc Jacobs Beauty for review consideration. All other items purchased by me.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Charlotte Tilbury Beach Sticks


Charlotte Tilbury's Beach Sticks finally launched in the US ($45 each for 6.5 g / 0.23 oz, made in Italy). I ordered mine sight unseen online and have been experimenting with these. The Charlotte Tilbury Beach Sticks are twist up cream blushes and highlighters. They come in summery colors with different degrees of shimmer. The texture of these sticks is quite creamy making them easy to blend and layer. Straight from the tube they swipe and swatch with medium pigment. Once you blend with a finger the color sheers out quite a bit. You don't have to pack layers on to get the color to show up, but in my experience I did need 2-3 swipe + blend layers to get them to show up on my medium olive skin. The brighter colors like Las Salinas and Ibiza are more visible on the skin while Formentera and Moon Beach are lighter and less visible. These sticks have a soft dewy finish that give the skin a youthful glow. They don't get greasy or oily as quickly as NARS Multiples do on me, but by late afternoon, alone they do fade. There is a slight vanilla scent with the beach sticks but it is very faint.

The colors I picked out: 



  • Formentera is a nude pink with a slight sheen, this adds a lovely nude blush look to the face, pigment is sheer to medium
  • Ibiza is a tan bronze with golden shimmer, this is nice as a bronzer, pigment is medium
  • Moon Beach is a sheer shimmery golden peach, this makes a nice highlighter and adds a sheen to the skin, pigment is sheer to medium
  • Las Salinas is a bright sheer hot pink with golden shimmer, pigment on this is sheer to medium


Detail photos and swatches:





Swatched straight from the tube:


1 swipe sheered out - don't let these swatches deter you, they adhere to the face much better than they do on the arms, if you have 2-3 swipes on the face, they show up a lot better:


A few comparison swatches for color reference:


NARS Multiple in Puerto Vallarta
NARS Matte Multiple in Vientiane
NARS Multiple in G-Spot
NARS Multiple in Malibu

After putting these Beach Sticks to the test I find myself having mixed feelings. The colors are stunning and the texture adds a really lovely glow to the skin without making it look or feel greasy. Moon Beach works extremely well layered over powder blush on the high point of the cheek bone to give a dewy glow. Ibiza has enough warmth and color to be a good natural contour for me (traditional contouring creams are too sharp and grey-looking). Las Salinas would be better if the color were more visible, I think sheer bright pinks can be done beautifully to add a healthy glow. On my medium skin it sheers out after blending so I need to add 2 more swipes for the color I want. Don't get me wrong it is workable, on me it just takes a bit more work and I personally prefer a stronger blush when it comes to color. Formentera is nude on me and although it does show up it is very very natural.

They also work amazingly well as a base for powder blush to help bring out pigment without darkening the powder or altering the color. In addition they layer well over powder and foundation without looking cake or heavy. If you've watched some videos online seeing how these are applied, the best way to use these is to swipe them directly on your face and then blend.


If you like a natural blush or want a dewy glow that isn't greasy these are amazing. If you want more color, you may find these a bit too sheer. They do show up if you swipe a few times and the upside is that these are good for touchups and since they are natural they are impossible to overdo. I'm happy I did purchase these although they are fairly expensive at $45 each. The only shade I think I would have skipped if I had seen these in person is Formentera. Have you tried these yet? What did you think?


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
_______________

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
_______________

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
_______________




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



___________________

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.

 

design + development by fabulous k | COPYRIGHT © 2009-2014 THE BEAUTY LOOK BOOK