Showing posts with label Laura Mercier. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Laura Mercier. Show all posts

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.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation Review


Laura Mercier launched a new foundation formula earlier this year called the Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation ($48 for 30 ml/1 fl oz). I've been playing with this formula for a few months now, testing a few shades over different bases and trying to see how it wears compared to other glow foundation formulas and I've found that it is one of the most luminous foundations I've ever tried. The Candleglow Foundation comes in 24 shades and is described as having a sheer to medium finish with buildable coverage. I find it to be on the sheer side with a noticeably dewy finish. I love a good glow, but for me the foundation finish is a bit too dewy on its own and needs a soft powder to set. It's dewy but not greasy looking. Unfortunately once you add any kind of powder, the dewy glow disappears which kinda defeats the purpose of the product, but you still get a natural looking finish. (I've been setting with the Translucent Loose Setting Powder.) The formula is described as a hydrating formula - I did find it to have a hydrating feel but it's a very lightweight formula and doesn't feel heavy.


Comparing it to other formulas, the new Candleglow Foundation is not quite as sheer as the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, but definitely sheerer than the Flawless Fluide and Silk Creme Oil Free Formula. The packaging of the new foundation is well designed - I think it's the best one yet from Laura Mercier. It comes in a sleek glass bottle and a very well designed pump dispenser. It's very sturdy and has a nice simple streamlined look which I really like for an easy to use no-fuss kind of look. For me, I need three pumps of product to have enough to apply for my whole face. I like using the Sephora Pro Full Coverage Airbrush #53 brush with this formula, but you can use fingers or a sponge too. It glides on smoothly and evens out the skin in a very sheer natural kind of way. I couldn't detect any scent which is a plus for those with sensitive noses.


Since the formula is on the sheer side, it makes the colors more forgiving so you don't need a 100% exact match which is exactly what I need with this line. When it comes to Laura Mercier foundation shades, matching is always so incredibly tricky for me. I've made several visits to the counter to get matched for past formulas. Every single time I've been to a counter, I've been matched to a different shade. My Flawless Fluide match was Honey when I was last matched and it's worked for quite some time. If you recall my original review, you might remember my surprise since it's very pink in undertone. I have olive/yellow skin and Honey should be too pink, but somehow when it is blended out on my skin, it is an exact match. For the new Candleglow Foundation formula, Honey works well on my skin, but Dusk also works too. Dusk by comparison is more olive and cool-toned but it oxidizes on my skin so it adjusts to match my neck exactly. Golden worked on me a couple of months ago when I was a bit darker, but I'm losing my tan so it's just a tad bit too dark for me. My perfect match happens when I mix all three shades, but I find myself reaching for either Honey or Dusk most. The formula is pretty forgiving. If you know what your shade is in the Flawless Fluide formula, your Candleglow shade should probably be the same.

Swatches, first set straight from the pump:


Blended out a little:


Swatch comparisons:


Above from left to right:
I would say for a natural glowy foundation/base, my favorite is still the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer because it's not like a traditional tinted moisturizer, but has that lightweight feel. For me the NARS gives me just the right amount of natural coverage on days I only need a light base. It lasts all day without getting too dewy or greasy looking. Comparing the NARS to the Laura Mercier Candleglow, I prefer the NARS by far. The NARS wears better for my normal/combination skin. I'm in between colors, but the colors match my skintone better. The NARS also lasts longer and doesn't get as dewy as the one from Laura Mercier.

I've also been testing the Armani Maestro Glow Foundation and Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation (both of which I'll review soon). I'll have a more detailed comparison in the following posts, but I will say right now out of all the newest glowy foundation launches this year, my favorite is the Becca, followed by Laura Mercier. The one from Armani unfortunately has been a fail for me (details soon).


If you like sheer to medium coverage with a dewy finish I think you'll like this one. It works for my normal combination skin but I think it would be better suited for those with normal to dry skin. Overall I found it held up very well considering how dewy/glowy it was. I did get a little shiny in the Tzone by 1-2pm - but it was easy to fix with a bit of a touch up. It's sheerer than I prefer right now because I have spots I like to cover up - but you can fix those with a spot concealer (some of my favorites in this post here). If you're one who doesn't like a glow because you find formulas tend to get too dewy by late afternoon, you will probably be better off checking out the Flawless Fluide formula from Laura Mercier or the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint. A huge plus for me with the new Candleglow formula is that it didn't cause any irritation or breakouts for my super sensitive skin (many foundations clog my pores or cause tiny little bumps all over the face). You can probably experiment with different primers or bases to see how it lasts or wears. I found that primer didn't make much of a difference in application or lasting power. It works just as well over a regular moisturizer.

Bottom line I the Laura Mercier Candleglow Foundation a solid performer - but may be too dewy in finish for some. Given the sheer coverage and the non-perfect state of my complexion, I do find I need to add something on top of certain areas to give me the coverage I need, but it's definitely worth checking out for those who want a natural looking glow.

You can find the Laura Mercier Candleglow Foundation at all Laura Mercier counters by now. Online at Laura Mercier, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora and all other Laura Mercier retailers.

Have you checked out this formula yet? What did you think? Did you find a good match?

The Candleglow Foundations were sent courtesy of Laura Mercier for review consideration.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

On My Radar / New in Beauty


1  /  2  /  3  /  4  /  5  /  6  /
7  /  8 (launches on the 15th) /  9  /  10  /  11  /  12

There are so many gorgeous new items launching this spring. It seems to be the season focused on glowing complexions with new foundation formulas, blushes and highlighters. I'm still smitten with the NARS Hot Sand/Laguna Duo (I've finally found my holy grail highlight/contour powder duo). I've been testing the new NARS Velvet Skin Tint which is slated to launch this Friday on January 15th online at NARS and NARS Boutiques (elsewhere February 1st). First impressions are very good, I'll have a review posted this Friday with swatches.

Also on the NARS front (they've been killing it this spring!) are two palettes. There is an eyeshadow palette called L'Amour Toujours Palette which I've been testing. It's incredible - if you visit the NARS website they've done eye swatches of all shades on three skintone which is so helpful. Second, there is a new cheek compact called the NARSissist Cheek Palette which is a Sephora Exclusive. I'm working on swatches right now, I hope to publish by the end of the week.

Diptyque has launched their Valentine's Day collection early with the new Rosaviola Collection in a collaboration with fashion designer Olympia Le-Tan. The packaging is beyond adorable I can't wait to see these in person.

For cheeks Hourglass launched their Ambient Lighting Strobe Powders and I'm saying yes to all even before testing or swatching them in person. I hope to check them out at the Hourglass Boutique sometime this weekend as I'll be in Los Angeles for IMATS. Kat Von D Beauty fans will be thrilled to know she's launched seven blush duos called Shade + Light Two Tone Blush.

For the glowing complexion, Beautylish just launched some items from Natasha Denona. Her line is new to me, but so far you can customize your own glow kit with items such as primer, foundation, cream highlighter, powder highlighter and body shimmer. I just started testing the Face Glow Foundation in Shade 30 Light Medium which is an amazing cream formula. The color seems to be just slightly too light - I'll have to do more testing before I can review.

I just posted a roundup on winter skincare focusing on face masks. I'll be sharing more of my current winter skincare routine in the next couple of weeks including some thoughts on new cleansers - the Kate Somerville Exfolikate Cleanser is really good.

Last but not least, Edward Bess just launched a new lipliner shade called Barely which is my new holy grail nude lipliner. It's the best nude pink ever made.

I'll have a foundation review post up soon and some swatches of spring glossy tints from YSL. What's on your radar right now? Any new discoveries you'd like to share? Spring beauty collections are still trickling in - what do you have your eye on?


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Few New Discoveries from Laura Mercier


Several of you have asked for swatches and more thoughts on the Laura Mercier In The Glow Trio ($38, featured here). Unfortunately by this time it has sold out everywhere but I thought I'd share swatches anyways along with a review of other recent discoveries from the line. I've had the Lip Glacé ($25) in Rose Gold Accent on my radar for months. I was hesitant about the sparkle but decided to cave and buy it and I'm glad I did. The Lip Parfait Creamy Colorbalms ($25) launched earlier this year. I fell in love with the creamy formula and wanted so badly for Amaretto Swirl to work for me - alas I found it too pale for my pigmented lips and decided to opt for Cinn-ful instead. Last but not least, I've been playing around with some skincare. I'm one who likes the soothing calming effects of skincare with rose, but my super sensitive nose makes it hard for me to wear rose-scented products sometimes. The Laura Mercier Infusion de Rose ($24-$68, or $110 for the trio set) items are really good for dry winter skin but are super gentle on the fragrance.

Up first is the sold-out In the Glow Trio Set. It had mini sizes of the Matte Radiance Baked Powder in Highlight 01 (0.06 oz.), Bonne Mine Stick Face Colour in Peach Glow (0.12 oz.) and a Caviar Stick Eye Colour in Rosegold (0.03 oz.). You can buy all the items in the full-size version. I had been wanting to try both of the face products and thought this would be a good starter set to test out the items without splurging on the full size. For my medium-olive toned skin, I found both the cheek products very natural on me. 

Bonne Mine Stick Face Colour in Peach Glow gives a very natural peachy glow. Because it's a close match to my skintone, it gives a barely there glow. It's a lovely natural cream blush but I suspect it would be more visible on fairer skintones.

The Matte Radiance Powder seems like a contradiction with the both of the words matte and radiant in the same name. On my arm it swatches like a shimmery pale champagne. On my face it translates into more of a matte finishing glow. Long-time readers know I am beyond obsessed with Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light (it's my holy grail powder highlighter). The Laura Mercier Highlight 01 Powder by comparison swatches paler on the arms, but applies on the face sheerer and less glowy. I'm probably not fair enough to be able to use it to set my entire face, but it does act more like a soft finishing powder on me.

Rosegold Caviar Eye Color Stick is a no-fuss easy to wear kind of lid color. I use it regularly (at least 2 times every week) as a base or a quick swipe-and-go kind of color. Here's an eye look with three of the colors including Rosegold in this post here.

I'm glad I was able to test the 2 face products, I will use them to the end. However I prefer the darker Matte Radiance Powders as they show up better on my skin and add life and a very natural contour. The Bonne Mine Cheek Stick is lovely, but also too light for my medium-olive skin to show up other than having a natural glow. That being said it makes for a good base under powder blushes or bronzers.



Up next are the two lip products I picked up: Lip Parfait Creamy Colorbalm in Cinn-ful and Lip Glacé in Rose Gold Accent.



The Lip Parfait Creamy Colorbalm in Cinn-ful is a super creamy lush brown cinnamon color. On me it's a darker/warmer your lips but better kind of shade. Amaretto Swirl looks like the most wonderful nude and it is - just on me it was too pale. I suspect I could make it work with liner, but I picked up Cinn-ful to test out the formula. It's one of the creamiest lip balms I've tried and even though it's a balm, pigment and color payoff is quite impressive. Most tinted balms are sheer to medium in color. This one acts more like a lipstick in terms of finish.


The Lip Glacé in Rose Gold Accent is part of the Candleglow Collection. I had my eye on the Candleglow Palette but after seeing it in stores I decided to pass. The colors, shimmer and pigment are all excellent - it still very tempting, but I found the pans of the top four colors too small to justify the splurge. Rose Gold Accent is a sparkling gloss with a baby pink base. It's basically clear with loads of shimmer on the lips but I like that it makes the lips look full and healthy without being too glitzy. It's been a while since I backed-up a lip gloss, I may back up this one.


Last but not least is the Infusion de Rose Nourishing Skincare Line. There are three items in the collection which are available in a limited-edition Infusion de Rose Nourishing Collection set for $110 (it's a $44 savings). I am smitten with all three items, I think they are particularly good for winter weather right now. The rose soothes and hydrates the skin and makes it feel super smooth. I can't emphasize enough how thrilled I am that the rose scent is very soft and barely there. Some rose-scented creams are so strong I can't wear them at night because it prevents me from falling asleep. The ones from Laura Mercier are soft enough that it doesn't bother me.


You can buy all the items separately which includes:
  • Flawless Skin Infusion de Rose Nourishing Oil (1 oz.) is a super lightweight nourishing oil. It conditions the skin and leaves it glowing. I normally wear beauty face oils on weekends (no makeup days) or at night as I find many interfere with the lasting power of foundation. This one worked really well for me under foundation.
  • Infusion de Rose Nourishing Creme (1 oz.) is a smooth feeling cream. It's emollient and super hydrating. I will say that it is on the emollient side but it doesn't feel super heavy and absorbs nicely into the skin. A little goes a long way, I really like that it has a smooth lightweight texture.
  • Infusion de Rose Nourishing Lip Balm (0.4 oz.) is a new lip balm. It's super hydrating and makes the lips feel soft and moisturized. Review in my lip balm roundup here. Right now it's exclusive to Laura Mercier's website (if you want to buy it separately). I suspect it will launch at other retailers soon.
I think it's a winning skincare set. I've been testing the items for a full month now and can say they have been really good for dry winter weather but still gentle enough for my normal/combination skin.

I hope you found this mini review helpful. I think the Rose Gold Accent Lip Glace is a winner, even though I usually don't like super sparkly lip glosses, it's really pretty on. The Infusion de Rose Skincare collection was a pleasant surprise because I ended up liking the entire collection. I was really lucky to receive the In the Glow Trio as a press sample, but after testing it - I can't say that I've discovered any new must-haves. The only must-have in the set for me is the Rosegold Caviar Eye Stick (and I already own the full size). Still sets are a nice way to test something at a cheaper price before committing to the full size.

Do you have any new Laura Mercier favorites? I just saw the Candleglow Foundation popped up online at Sephora. This upcoming month is going to be the season of new foundations and I can't wait to test them!

You can find Laura Mercier at a number of different retailers. Online at Laura Mercier, Sephora, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Bloomingdales.

Note if you're shopping for last minute gifts, many are offering expedited shipping upgrades with qualifying purchases. The best one I've seen is Nordstrom is offering expedited free shipping until noon EST by December 23rd on qualifying items, each item has an indicator, no min-purchase needed.

Press samples featured include the In the Glow Trio and Infusion de Rose Set.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lip Balm Testing and Recommendations for Winter Weather

Winter Lip Treatments Balms

Above: Tray from J.Crew (similar here and here), Clare V Wallet Clutch, Celine Knot Bracelet, Gorjana Crossover Cuff

I've been testing a number of new-to-me lip treatments, balms and oils since late fall. I did a roundup of rosy red tinted lip treatments for holiday last month, but it's been a year since I rounded up what I've been testing and loving in the non-tinted version. Today after weeks and weeks of testing, I have thoughts on 16 different lip balms in multiple formulas to share today. I've split the lip balms into three categories: the pots, the tubes, and the squeeze tubes.

______________________________

Potted Lip Treatments

Fresh Dior Chanel Tatcha Nuxe Lip Balms

Some of my favorite lip balms formulas are in pot format even though I prefer the tube or stick version so I don't have to stick my finger in. I've raved about the By Terry Baume de Rose so many times I thought I'd round up some others I've been testing.
  • Fresh Sugar Nourishing Lip Balm Advanced Therapy ($30) - I had high hopes for this one as I really like the stick sugar lip balms but find they can get soft and be prone to breakage. One in pot format seemed more ideal for a soft formula, but this one is actually harder in texture. I had to take a lip brush to break the surface and get enough product for my lips. With just fingers I could barely get anything on and the result was a barely-there veil of moisture. If you dip into the surface and dig out enough of the product to layer on the lips, it makes the lips feel moisturized, smooth, slightly minty and cool but without the tingle. Unfortunately it doesn't give the lips a long-lasting moisturized feel. I would say the effects are immediate and temporary for fall to winter weather. It would be better suited for warm weather.
  • Nuxe Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm Rêve de Miel ($19) - This is one I bought in the limited-edition packaging, but the formula is the same as the regular pots with the white caps. This is an ultra creamy highly concentrated rich balm that smells like honey and grapefruit. I find it on the thick side of creamy so it really coats the lips with a cushion of moisture. It stays put and doesn't slide around. It comes in a hefty glass jar. The scent is very natural and barely has any taste. I like this one for an ultra rich and creamy treatment.
  • Chanel Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Care ($50) This is one I used up and repurchased. I go back and forth with this one, mainly because it comes with a very high price tag. It's smooth and lightweight in feel but does moisturize the lips. If you read my post from last year I said I would probably use it to the end but not repurchase (well I ended up repurchasing). It's a good basic lip balm that works for me, but I think others like the Nuxe or the Clarins Lip Oils have a deeper more moisturizing treatment and more affordable.
  • Dior Crème de Rose ($28) - This has been on my radar for years and I finally bought it and tried it this year. It's super smooth and creamy without the greasy feel. It has the most lush rose scent, similar to By Terry but slightly less floral/sharp which makes it easier for those with sensitive noses. It's very hydrating and the effects truly make a difference in the moisture of the lips.
  • Tatcha Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm ($36, also in the Travel Kit and several other holiday sets) This is an extra special lip balm. It's such a unique formula. The base is a clear jelly-like balm that smells refreshingly sweet. It's dewy and adds the perfect amount of moisture to the lips and feels lightweight. It's topped with a thin layer of 24-karat gold leaf that gives it an ultra luxe look. It's a winner and I really can't imagine life without it.
______________________________

Lip Balms in Squeeze Tubes

Amore Pacific Laura Mercier Lip Balm L'Occitane First Aid Beauty Bite Beauty Malin+Goetz

Squeeze tubes are the best format for lip balms in my opinion. They're compact, easy to use and don't require fingers. Many come with angled applicators which makes it easier to apply these days. A few new ones along with tried-and-true favs:
  • Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment ($35) This is something I tried because so many of my readers raved about AmorePacific. This is a tiny tube of balm but the formula is excellent. It offers instant relief to super dry lips. There were a few days my lips were painfully dry and this helped restore them to their natural state. I would say that it's almost entirely scent and taste-free. I can't detect any scent but it's possible there's a slight natural scent to it. Out of all the tubes, this is in my top 3.
  • Laura Mercier Infusion de Rose Lip Balm ($24 or in the Rose Infusion Set* for $110) This is a new launch from Laura Mercier. It was first exclusive to the Rose Infusion Set, but you can purchase it separately now at Laura Mercier. It's a nourishing lip balm that smells like soft roses. It has Rosehip Seed, Kukui, and Macadamia Seed Oils helps soothe and comfort lips - I really like the way this feels on the lips. There is a slight floral taste to it - it's not bad or too strong, but definitely noticeable. I really like the way it hydrates the lips.
  • L'Occitane Shea Butter Lip Balm * ($25, from the Hugs and Kisses Set) is one of the most gentle lip treatments for super sensitive skin that's still hydrating. Since it's lightweight the lasting power isn't as long as some other treatments, but it still does the job at adding moisture and soothing the lips. Many lip treatments make my lips go numb (like Kiehl's and almost all the drugstore brands), whenever I'm in doubt I go with L'Occitane.
  • L'Occitane x Pierre Hermé Pamplemousse Rhubarb Lip Balm ($25 from the Voyage Trio Set) is part of the Pierre Hermé Collaboration. It has the most delicious grapefruit scent to it and adds a tiny bit of moisture. As a quick fix it's good, but the formula is pretty light in terms of moisture and texture. If you don't mind reapplying the scent is heavenly, but if you're looking for a deep treatment, you may want to pass.
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy* ($12, or in the FAB to the Rescue Sampler Set $32 and Freshen Up Duo $15) This is a life-saver for dry lips. It's got a minty scent which I'm not the biggest fan of, but it's a pleasant mint. It's super smooth and emollient and has just the right texture of creaminess to it. It gives the lips instant relief and really helps with dry lips.
  • Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Champagne ($26, swatched here, Smashed swatched here) is a tinted treatment, but it's pretty much clear. This is one of the best lip treatments I've tried. It's super plush and hydrating. I use it on no-makeup days and it fixes dry lips like magic.
  • Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm ($12) is a long-time favorite. There are two formulas of lip balm, both are equally good. I think the Mojito one is fun because it's scented in a fun mojito flavor. It has a clear almost gel-like consistency. I like the way this feels on the lips the best out of all the lip balms. It's moisturizing and you can feel it, but it's not heavy or greasy.
______________________________

Twist Up Sticks and Oils

lip oil clarins hourglass nuxe lip balm caudalie lip balm

Last but not least, a few others in oil and stick format:
  • Clarins Instant Light Lip Confort Oil in Honey* ($24) Lip Oils were really popular this time last year. I tried a few different brands and found I didn't really like the concept of oils because many just felt too runny and thin. The Clarins is phenomenal though. It does offer instant comfort and a natural shine. Honey is pretty much clear on the lips but it has a thickness to it which prevents it from feeling like it will slip off your lips. Cafe Makeup did a review on the pink version. I think her thoughts and review are excellent.
  • Hourglass No. 28 Tinted Lip Treatment Oil in Icon* ($42, review here) is also tinted. I've tried both the original clear and tinted version. Both have a really good nourishing formula I find unique and extremely hydrating. The red one is fun for holiday and pretty sheer/natural so if you're a neutral lip lover like me, it's definitely wearable. It's one of the deeper treatments I've tried for lips - it has a press pump to dispense product. I think it's definitely worth the splurge.
  • Nuxe Lip Moisturizing Stick Rêve de Miel ($9) is something I've loved and used up. The stick for right now is probably too light in the sense that it doesn't give me enough moisture. If you're a Reve de Miel fan, go for the pot instead.
  • Caudalie Lip Conditioner ($12, also in this Winter Favorites Set or Winter Duo) this is my favorite twist up tube balm. It has a really nice fruity fresh scent and taste to it. It glides on the lips easily. It hydrates my lips nicely. I used up the tube from last year's post and repurchased it in one of the duos.
______________________________

If you're looking for a new lip treatment I hope this roundup helps give you some ideas of what to try. My bottom line:

Top Formula Picks for Fall/Winter Weather

Most hydrating formulas:

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment
Bite Agave Lip Mask (any of the colors)
Dior Creme de Rose
Nuxe Rêve de Miel (pot)
Clarins Lip Oil

Best for everyday, lightweight but still moisturizing:

Caudalie Lip Conditioner
Malin+Goetz Mojito Lip Balm
Tatcha Camellia Lip Balm

Best in luxury:

Hourglass Lip Oils

Ones I'd pass on if I could do it over:

L'Occitane Pierre Herme Pamplemousse Rhubarb - nice but not hydrating enough
Fresh Sugar Nourshing Lip Care - just not what I expected

As always, I'd love to hear about your favorites! If you have any tried and true - please share in the comments. 



Some press samples included in this post indicated with a * from L'Occitane, Tatcha, First Aid Beauty, Hourglass, Clarins.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Holiday Beauty and Grooming Gifts from Nordstrom


The holiday shopping season has begun and there are a number of great beauty and grooming sets this year to suit every kind of recipient at multiple price points. I wish there was a one-gift fits all to make holiday shopping easier and more efficient but this is rarely the case for me. If you want a one-stop-shop, Nordstrom makes it really easy to find gifts for everyone in one place. They will gift wrap your gifts or give you beautiful silver boxes and ribbon to pack things up yourself which makes gifting easy. I've teamed up with Nordstrom today to share some of my top picks for gifts by recipient.

For the home, you can't go wrong with the holiday scents and gift sets from Diptyque. The Holiday Colored Glass Trio ($100 for 3) for this year is absolutely stunning with a huge wow factor. It comes with three 2.4 oz candles in this year's holiday scents Sapin, Oliban and Liquidamber. I can't get over how beautiful the packaging is this year. The Diptyque boxes are always beautiful as well.


There are a number of options and if you're new to Diptyque you might be slightly confused with the options. I've done a size comparison post before, but the quick version is shown below.
  • 1.2 oz is the smallest size available and only available in the 5 Piece Mini Candle Set (5 pieces for $75) or 10 Piece Mini Candle Set ($130). These sets are usually only available during the holiday seasons.
  • 2.4 oz candles are sold individually or in sets. Holiday scents with special packaging are usually priced higher ($35) than the ones with the clear glass jars ($32). There are sets available usually in trios.
  • 6.5 oz candles are the standard size and priced at $60 for the ones with clear glass. Holiday or seasonal editions are priced higher, this year's version is $70. These are typically sold individually although this year there are a few fragrance + candle sets available.


For the beauty lover who travels a lot, the Laura Mercier Stroke of Genius Set ($98) comes with six short-handled brushes in a dark brown pebbled clutch. I've bought many Laura Mercier Brush sets over the years, they always make really good high quality travel size sets. The ones included in this year are Flat Eyeliner Brush, Eye Crease Brush, All Over Eye Colour Brush, Ponytail Brush, Cheek Colour Brush, Secret Camouflage Brush. I've bought previous season sets for my mom and aunts and the brushes are well-loved.


For your BFF there are a number of good mini color sets from Laura Mercier. Picking makeup for friends or family can be tricky but Laura Mercier has several sets under $50 that have universally flattering shades. One is the Laura Mercier Haute Lips Trio ($38) which has a full-size Paint Wash Liquid Lip Colour in Petal Pink, a deluxe size Crème Smooth Lip Colour in Pink Dusk and mini Lip Pencil in Baby Lips. I picked up one below but don't have swatches because it is indeed a gift for one of my friends. Another good trio set is the In the Glow Trio ($38) for cheeks and eyes, these have clutch-sized minis perfect for on-the-go or evening touch ups.


A luxe gift for your BFF is the Chanel Turn Up the Shine Glossimer Set ($92). This is a luxurious splurge, but for that someone extra special you can't go wrong with Glossimers. This year's set has Beige Star, Rose Tendre and Murmure, all creams and non-shimmers. I have all three shades and love them. For the person who wants natural color and shine this is a good one. If you think shimmer is preferred, the two shades from the Vamp Attitude holiday collection are stunning. I'll add swatches below.



For the extra extra special someone or beauty lover who has almost everything, the ultimate splurge is the Armani Luxe is More Eyeshadow Palette ($140). When I saw this pop up online I thought there is no way this palette is worth the high price tag. I swatched it in store and was so amazed by the shimmer and pigment. The palette is pretty large too and the colors have the most exquisite shimmers. I'll have a detailed review soon. For now a sneak preview of the top and bottom layers. It has 10 eyeshadows, two concealers and one powder.


For the men in your life whether it's a boyfriend, husband, brother, dad, uncle etc. you can't go wrong with Kiehl's or Jack Black. So many of my friends have asked me for grooming recommendations for their boyfriends or husbands. They often want to help steer them into better grooming habits without being too pushy or hurt feelings. I've found starter sets with good packaging often get used - no extra nudging or pushing required. The Kiehl's Men's Starter Kit ($43) is something I bought for my husband and he's discovered a number of good staples. It's priced just right and has a little bit of everything for face, body, hands and shaving. Jack Black's The Jack Pack ($49) is also another good one, my husband swears by the Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser but it's not for everyone (some people like my brother-in-law don't like the thick mask-like texture).

Either way, both Kiehl's and Jack Black have good sets to fit everyone's tastes. There are a lot of unisex sets and I've found the holiday offerings have a good sampling of products for those just starting out or looking to try something new. (The Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Cream also comes in a trio this year and it's my husband's favorite hand cream formula.)


Last but not least, one thing I like to do for smaller gifts is split up sets and mix and match things. It's like giving stocking stuffers but one step up. I'm completely obsessed with Sugarfina Champagne Gummy Bears ($7 to $20 depending on size) and I'm so excited Nordstrom has these!! There are a few sweet sets which you can't go wrong with. I think it would be really fun to mix a small box of gummies with a hand cream and mini candle from a set or mini lip gloss.


I hope you found some ideas from my first holiday gift guide this season! What do you have on your list? I'm up for more inspiration or suggestions as I've just started my holiday shopping and have a lot more on my list.




Many thanks to Nordstrom for teaming up to sponsor this post. All items purchased by me. As always, all opinions my own.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My Favorite Neutral Pink and Nude Lip Liner Pencils


I'm a neutral nude lipstick lover but I since I have pigmented lips I can't always pull off nudes. Many tend to either look super pale and chalky like concealer or are too dark on me - I know everyone has a different definition of nude when it comes to makeup, but to me a true nude is a your lips but better kind of color that is light and close to your natural skintone. I adore shades like MAC Cherish, Blankety, Creme Cup etc but they are almost impossible for me to wear alone without looking like I've swiped concealer all over my lips. Lip pencils often make it possible for me to wear lighter nude colors with blending or by creating a good softly lined base. If you've tried ordering lip pencils online like me then you know how hard it is to tell what the color looks like based on online swatches. I thought I'd roundup 20+ of my favorite neutral lip pencils alongside cult classics (some of which do not work for me even though they are wildly popular). As you'll see below many times you can't tell what the color will really look like until you swatch it. Also like nude neutral lipsticks, lip pencils have a wide variety of different undertones: warm, cool, pink, beige, peach, plum and brown.

Above photo: Diptyque Room Spray in Baies, Chêne candle recycled (boutique exclusive), stacked Blushes from Chanel and Hourglass 


A bit of background on what I look for in lip liners. I like ones that are soft and glide over the lips. I'm usually not a line and fill kind of girl when it comes to lip liners. I prefer to wear them around the outer edge and blend it slightly inwards to the center of lips to create an outlined base and then fill with a gloss or lipstick. Since many pencils are super pigmented and super saturated in color to help extend the wear of lipstick, I find lining and filling the entire lip leaves the lips looking really dry and emphasizes lines. This of course can be fixed with a good lip balm, lip primer or gloss.

I have 28 lip pencils to share swatches of, I'll link previous lip swatches if I have them. I was debating whether or not to swatch all on my lips - but nudes tend to look so different on me compared to everyone else. I think the swatches on the arms will help show the differences.



  1. Le Metier de Beaute Dualistic Lip Pencil in Nudite is a medium pinky brown creamy lip pencil, this one glides on the lips easily and is very pigmented, it has a smooth texture
  2. H&M Lip Liner in Au Naturel is included in the roundup because it's a new one and the perfect neutral nude color and at $5.99 I couldn't resist ordering it, on bare lips it's a disaster for me, you definitely need to prep the lips with a bit of lip balm or primer, this is borderline too pale, but it works
  3. MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Cultured is new to me, it's a long-wear mauvey nude pink
  4. MAC Lip Pencil in Subculture is my perfect nude pink, it has reached holy grail status for me, I've gone through 4 of them in my life, it's the best light pink nude that is still wearable
  5. MAC Lip Pencil in Oak is a classic light flesh nude, it's a classic for me because it has no orange undertone in it but doesn't make me look dead, unfortunately I think it might be on the discontinue list - the only place I could find it was on Bloomingdale's so I ordered 3 backups
  6. MAC Lip Pencil in Stripdown is another good true flesh nude, it's brown in undertone and slightly warmer than Oak, it's a good one but I know many find it too brown/grey
  7. MAC Lip Pencil in Boldly Bare comes second to my favorite Subculture, it's what I wanted Spice to always be, Boldly Bare is the perfect pinky warm medium nude that works wonders with pale lip colors and glosses
  8. MAC Lip Pencil in Spice is a cult classic that was so popular when I was in high school, every cool girl owned it, on me it was always so brown and pulled orangey on my lips even though it swatches more neutral, I still use and wear it to tweak lip colors, it's just not my favorite
  9. MAC Lip Pencil in Dervish isn't really a nude, it's more of a neutral medium rosy pink, but it falls into the neutral category for me, it's a classic staple I think everyone should try
  10. MAC Lip Pencil in Whirl is another really good nude, it pulls more mauvey nude rose which I adore, the cool tones prevents it from looking orange or brown on my lips, it has enough depth to really define the lips perfectly
  11. MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Double-Time is a neutral medium warm brown-pink-nude, this lasts all day without budging
  12. MAC Lip Pencil in Soar is a medium to dark pink, it's a bit darker and deeper on me than the traditional neutral, if you have deeper skin or deeper lips, this will probably pull more neutral on you than it does on me
  13. MAC Lip Pencil in Hover is another deeper neutral, it's one of the deepest neutrals I own
  14. MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Staunchly Stylish almost matches Subculture but it's slightly deeper and has a more pigmented finish
  15. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Re-Size and Re-Shape Lip Liner in Iconic Nude is my perfect true nude in the sense that it's a flesh-toned beige nude, this is a classic pigmented pencil that I think might be a universally flattering color
  16. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Re-Size and Re-Shape Lip Liner in Pillow Talk is a classic rosy pink neutral, this one goes well with a lot of the Charlotte Tilbury Lipsticks like Bitch Perfect, Confession, Penelope Pink etc.
  17. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Re-Size and Re-Shape Lip Liner in Pink Venus is a warm peachy pink, the color warms up the lips and adds life to the face
  18. Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Natural is a classic light neutral pink nude beige, if you're looking for the perfect beige pink nude, this is it, compared to other formulas Chanel can tug on the lips a little, but they aren't drying
  19. Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Beige Satin is one of the lightest colors I own, it's borderline too pale for me, but I like mixing it with beige and nude lipsticks
  20. Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Beige Innocent is another pale pearly lip pencil from Chanel, it's almost identical to Beige Satin but slightly lighter
  21. Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Nude is a cult classic that has been used on me for every single Chanel makeover I've had, it's always seemed to be darker than what I envisioned a nude to be, but it's almost magical - artists have used this with every lip color imaginable from red, pink, coral, beige, peach - this somehow transforms and defines lip colors in the most amazing way
  22. Laura Mercier Lip Pencil in Naked is light baby pink neutral, it looks super light on me, but when I blend it out, it evens out the lip tone
  23. Laura Mercier Lip Pencil in Chestnut is another cult classic that is super popular, it's always recommended for the lipsticks I look at when shopping at the counter, it's a mauvey warm neutral
  24. Marc Jacobs Beauty (P)Outliner Lip Pencil in Honey(bun) is a super pigmented creamy twist up lip pencil, all three shades of the (P)Outliner are reviewed here, Honey(bun) is a neutral bright peachy color
  25. Marc Jacobs Beauty (P)Outliner Lip Pencil in Prim(rose) is a rosey pink brown neutral
  26. Marc Jacobs Beauty (P)Outliner Lip Pencil in Nude(ist) is a beige brown nude
  27. Edward Bess Defining Lip Liner in Natural is in my top picks for lip pencil formula, it comes in a sleek twist up tube and mine have never dried out, I've gone through several pencils, it's a great go-with-everything kind of neutral, texture is smooth and doesn't tug the lips
  28. Nudestix Lip & Cheek Pencil in Soul is one of the few chubby pencils I really really like. I own a number of chubby sticks from different brands but always find them a pain to sharpen (they always get so messy). Nudestix has a wide number of great nudes, Soul is my perfect warm peach nude (swatched on lips here)
One more view of all the pencils:


From the * clockwise, Le Metier de Beaute Nudite, H&M Au Naturel, MAC Cultured, MAC Subculture, MAC Oak, MAC Stripdown, MAC Boldly Bare, MAC Spice, MAC Dervish, MAC Whirl, MAC Double-Time, MAC Soar, MAC Hover, MAC Staunchly Stylish, Nudestix Soul, Edward Bess Natural, Marc Jacobs Beauty Nudite, Marc Jacobs Beauty Primrose, Marc Jacobs Beauty Honeybun, Laura Mercier Chestnut, Laura Mercier Naked, Chanel Nude, Chanel Beige Innocent, Chanel Beige Satin, Chanel Natural, Charlotte Tilbury Pink Venus, Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk, Charlotte Tilbury Iconic Nude


Truffle Small Clarity Clutch in new Nude

In case you're in need of some recommendations for clear or sheer lipglosses to layer over liners if you like to line and fill, here are a few of my favorites. In terms of lip primers, I swear by the MAC Prep+Prime Lip and Buxom True Nude Lip Foundation in Naked.

Below shown from left to right:
I hope you found this roundup of neutral lip pencils helpful! I think the swatches show how different many of them are even though they look really similar just based on the pencils themselves. If I were pressed to rank my top picks, my absolute favorites/staples are:

MAC Subculture
MAC Whirl
Edward Bess Natural
MAC Oak
Chanel Nude
Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk

Do you have a favorite neutral lip pencil? I'd love to hear about what your holy grail neutrals are!

Press samples featured include Marc Jacobs (P)Outliners x3, Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer in Moonglow, Nudestix Soul, Buxom True Nude Lip Foundation, Truffle Clarity Clutch

 

design + development by fabulous k | COPYRIGHT © 2009-2016 THE BEAUTY LOOK BOOK