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

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sephora Beauty Insider Sale / VIB Rouge Haul


I took advantage of the Sephora Beauty Insider sale and used my VIB Rouge discount for a massive haul. I planned on stocking up on skincare and haircare staples, but there seemed to be a wave of new beauty launches too. I ended up placing a couple of orders online. Here is the majority of what I bought. I have one more package coming in the mail but I'll be out of town when it arrives at my home later this week. Be warned, this list is very long.

1 + 2 + 3 / Surratt Beauty just launched at Sephora, most of what I wanted was already sold out by the time the sale started, but I managed to order three Artistique Blushes in Guimauve, Parfait and Aurelole plus the Large Custom Palette Case. I also bought one Lip Lustre in Coquette.

4 / Urban Decay released the Naked Skin Ultra Definition Powder Foundation in a wide range of colors. Each of the main shades come in Warm, Neutral and Cool. I picked out Medium Light Warm, I hope this is the right color for me, it's hard to tell in stores.

5 / Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders in Dim Light and Diffused Light come highly recommended by my readers as all over setting powders. I have Dim Light in the Palette Form which I really like but feel it's easier to dip a large fluffy brush in a larger compact. I've been obsessed with Diffused Light after testing it for a few days, it's the perfect all over setting powder.

6 / Koh Gen Do Cleansing Wipes are a must for me. I stocked up on the 3-pack.

7 / Laura Mercier Baked Blush Bronze Compact in Ritual is new for me, but I don't think it's a new shade. I have swiped it a couple times on the hand and it looks very dark, but there is a pretty pink glow mixed in. From what I have read, each one has different swirl patterns.

8 / Lavanila is new to me and I usually buy Dove deodorants but the concept of a soft vanilla scent in deodorant seemed really interesting. Fresh Vanilla Lemon is a light vanilla with a hint of citrus.

9 / SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil has been on my list to try for a long time. I decided to use the discount to save on this since full retail is $70. Review to come as I play with this.

10 / Christian Louboutin Nail Colour in Wherever is a deep but bright blue cream. I reviewed all of The Nudes here. I have several of the brighter Pops Colors and love the formula.

11 / Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No. 7 in The Lolita and The Lover are really pretty neutrals. Swatches and review posted here.

12 / Tatcha Aburatorigami Japanese Beauty Papers Duo is a Sephora exclusive. Review of the full size version here. This duo has a small pack of Evening Papers in a darker color that is purse-sized. I haven't tried them yet but I couldn't resist a small one for clutches or small bags.

13 / YSL Gloss Volupte in Nude Carat has been on my radar for a while. The sale made me do it.

14 / I've loved everything I've tried from the Drybar line. These Hold Me Hair Clips are perfect for sectioning hair up when you curl, straighten or blow dry the hair. They are large and angled so they really grip large sections of hair without tugging, pulling or getting tangled without leaving dents.

15 / Tarte is a line I haven't explored much of but the Smolder Eyes Amazonian Clay Waterproof Eyeliner has gotten so many raves. I bought Sunstone Bronze.

16 / Surratt Beauty Surreal Skin Concealer seems promising as it comes highly recommended by Beauty Professor. I don't have immediate access but I ordered Shades 4 and 5 based on her swatches. I'm excited to try it.

Other items on their way include some haircare, skincare and lipgloss:

Make Up For Ever Plexi Gloss in 101, 201 and 105P

There are still a few more hours left to shop the sale. It ends tonight online, codes valid through end of today 4/21/2015 11:59 PM PDT.

VIB Rouge Members get 15% off with code ROUGELOVE
VIB Members get 15% off with code VIBLOVE
Beauty Insider Members get 10% off with code BILOVE

Did you buy anything from the Sephora sale? I would love to hear about your hauls!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

New In Beauty / On My Radar


Today I have another roundup of new beauty items on my radar. This time of year is my favorite because all the pretty spring-summery colors and fragrances start coming out. The Sephora Beauty Insider sale starts soon (the 12th for VIB Rouge) so if you're a beauty addict like me, you've probably started a wish list and have been moving things in and out of your online shipping cart.

1 / Last week I was lucky to get an early sneak peek at the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzers ($50 each). You can see a little preview here and here. I'm hoping to have the review up this weekend but I can say right now they are amazing. They are currently available exclusively at Sephora.com for VIB/VIB Rouge Members, launch for everyone on 4/15 online at Sephora and Hourglass Cosmetics and hit stores in May.

2 / To celebrate the opening of the Diptyque Beverly Hills Boutique, the store has released a limited-edition Beverly Hills Candle ($70) exclusive to the store that has lemon + mint essential oils,  orchid and freesia accord. 10% of the proceeds will be donated to LA> a leading independent nonprofit contemporary art space in Los Angeles supporting artistic and curatorial freedom. The candle is exclusive to the boutique, you can order one by calling the Beverly Hills store at (310) 385-5941.

3 / Also new from Diptyque is the Florabellio Eau de Toilette (in a 50 ml is $90 and 100 ml is $125). It's available starting this month and is supposed to be a mix of sweet, salty, apple blossom and apricot-scented osmanthus mist. The Diptyque South Coast Plaza Boutique has a promo going on if you pre-order the fragrance they will include a 12 ml mini of Florabellio as a gift with purchase. You can reach the store at (714) 850-9995, ask for Raven.

4 / Christopher Kane for NARS Summer 2015 Collection features some stunning beauty pieces. It launches online at Narscosmetics.com and Boutiques on April 15th, everywhere else May 1st. 

5 / Jo Malone has three newly packaged colognes that are special-edition versions of some previously released scents ($125 each for 3.4 oz). Plum Blossom comes in a purple cap and label, Osmanthus Blossom comes with a spring green packaging, Sakura Cherry Blossom comes with the pink packaging.

6 / Laura Mercier has released eight new shades of the Creme Lip Color Smooth Formula ($27 each). The new shades include a mix of nudes and rose and plum: Lychee Parfait, Biscotti, Milky Way, Crushed Pecan, Praline Cream, Rose, Audrey and Dry Rose. Some of the names look familiar to me from her older formulas. I think a trip to the counter is in order for me soon.

7 / Tarte has a new Showstopper Clay Palette ($38) which looks perfect for summer. It has six warm-toned shadows, blush, bronzer and highlighter all in one. It's in my Sephora shopping cart right now since the store locator function shows it's online only right at this moment.

8 / Caudalie has four new masks. I ordered all four on Monday since I'm on the verge of running out of my Glamglow and Aesop masks. I have high hopes for these and will review once I put them to the test. I like the concept of different masks for different needs. The four options include the Purifying Mask, the Instant Detox Mask, the Moisturizing Mask and the Glycolic Peel Mask ($39 each).

What's on your beauty radar this week? Are you planning your Sephora haul like me?
What's in your shopping cart?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Trending Now: Spring Neutrals


I can't tell you how happy I am that neutrals are in this spring season. There's usually something neutral-toned with every seasonal release but this year the focus is on nude and neutral colors for eyes, lip, cheeks and. I've pulled a mix of items from fresh new releases along with some classic favorites to share today.


For blush there a number of great neutral colors that will add a nude glow to the skin. I like a neutral blush that won't darken or look muddy once it sets on the skin. For the cheeks I prefer something that has a bit of a sheen to add dimension and give depth to the face. Texture and blendability are important so you can layer and build color easily.

Clockwise from the left: Charlotte Tilbury First Love, Charlotte Tilbury Sex on Fire, NARS Reckless, MAC Tenderling, Tom Ford Frantic Pink


My all time favorite soft pink shimmer is Tom Ford Frantic Pink. There is nothing like it. It has a soft satiny silky feel with a buttery soft texture that melts into the skin. All the Tom Ford blushes I've tried are phenomenal and blend beautifully with a multi-dimensional finish that adds color and depth.

NARS Reckless is new for spring and it's a super pale powdery pink with tiny flecks of silver micro sparkle. I'm normally not one for glittery blushes but the shimmer in this one is fine enough to be wearable if you dust this lightly over matte blushes for an extra oomph.

As far as matte neutrals go, MAC Powder Blushes are the best ones I've tried. Tenderling is a classic soft tan with a very slight hint of pink. Other staples include Cubic (more pink), Prism (more nude) and Buff (a bit darker).

The Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic Swish and Pop blushes are definitely worth checking out. These are similar to the Tom Ford in the soft and natural shimmery sheen but have two colors to mix. The outer ring is for the apples of the cheeks and the darker center color is to add a pop of color. I like to swirl my brush in the compact and apply both mixed to the face. First Love is the perfect nude that isn't too light. Sex on Fire is slightly darker and has more color but is still a really good neutral.


Beauty Look Book readers know I'm all about neutral lips. I could probably go on for days about neutrals. I'll have a roundup later on more spring releases for lips but for now I wanted to share my top picks that I've been loving right now.
Above from left to right: Tom Ford Lip Color Pink Dusk, Chanel Rouge Coco Adrienne, NARS Lip Gloss Guyane, Tom Ford Lip Gloss Rose Crush, Chanel Glossimer Sweet Beige, MAC Lipliner Boldly Bare, Charlotte Tilbury Lip Liner Pillow Talk



Tom Ford Pink Dusk is as good as it gets for me in terms of a natural pink lip that leans slightly neutral/nude but is still pink. I've used up a couple tubes of this one already. This comes with a steep price tag but it just works. No extra tweaking required and it has full flawless creamy coverage. In my experience there is no dupe that can match it in quality, pigment, coverage and color.

Chanel revamped all their Rouge Cocos (a full post on these soon). The new versions apply better on the lips with a texture that is smooth and hydrating. The coverage is medium on these. Adrienne is a soft warm pinky nude, similar to the Tom Ford Pink Dusk, but the Chanel is more beige and has a soft sheen to it. There is a very smooth shimmer to the Rouge Cocos that gives these a beautiful glow that isn't frosty.

NARS Guyane Lip Gloss is a super pale powdery cool nude pink. Alone it can look awful but this works wonders layered over other lipsticks or liners. (Above shown layered over MAC Boldly Bare Lip Liner). It works well with pinks, nudes, peach and rose lip colors.

Two lip liners I've been loving include Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk and MAC Boldly Bare. Both are really good neutrals that go with a wide range of lip colors. They are rich in color but blend nicely and help extend the wear of lipstick by creating a base. Both are good line + fill liners.

For nude gloss, Chanel Sweet Beige Glossimer is a classic soft beige with gold shimmer I think everyone should own. There is a slight hint of pink and brown in it so it won't wash you out. Tom Ford Rose Crush is the ultimate pigmented nude pink gloss. It covers the lips completely and adds a really pretty sheen.


For eyeshadow palettes, my top picks are still Urban Decay Naked2, Chanel Tisse Rivoli and Tom Ford Orchid Haze. Those are classic staples for me. If you're looking for something different and new, there are a number of new palettes and shadows that have just launched.

Above clockwise from left: MAC Amber Times Nine, Dior Eye Reviver Eyeshadow Palette, NARS Eyeshadow Valhalla, NARS Paint Porto Venere, Burberry Wet and Dry Glow Eyeshadow Shell, Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick Rosegold




MAC released several 9-pan palettes. Each palette comes with 9 mini-pan shadows in different color themes. MAC Amber Times Nine is the most neutral option with a variety textures ranging from matte, satin, shimmer and sparkle. The texture of the shadows are soft with medium but buildable pigment.

Dior released a new 6-pan palette filled with shimmery cool-toned neutrals. It's called the Dior Eye Reviver Eyeshadow Palette. These are ultra soft in texture with a finely milled shimmer that adds the prettiest sheen to the eyes. The shadows blend on the eyes for a natural look with very soft finish.

For single shadows, Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rosegold is one of my holy grail champagne shimmery cream shadows. It's the perfect color for an all over wash and also works as a good base for powder shadows. Burberry's Wet & Dry Glow shadows are game changers for a unique gel/cream-to-powder kind of metallic. Shell is the prettiest soft pinky peach. If you want something more glitzy, NARS Valhalla is a super sparkly soft peach neutral. It's hard to tell in the swatch but it has peach and coppery bits of micro sparkle (versus the traditional silver or gold) which makes it super unique.

For nude eye bases, I typically prefer creams with a bit of shimmer. NARS Eye Paint in Porto Venere is a soft but pigmented nude powder pink that evens out the lids. If it seems to pale for you, MAC Paint Pots come in some good neutral matte cream colors. Above shown is Soft Ochre, Groundwork, Painterly and Layin Low.


For nails there are a number of good classic neutrals and nudes. Christian Louboutin has ten flawless nudes in a variety of shades from pink, beige, to cream (swatches of all ten shades here). For a cool-toned pink neutral, Dior Lady has reached holy grail status. I will need a backup. If you want a neutral that isn't a flesh-toned nude, Chanel Particuliere is a classic but can pull warm on some skin tones. Dior Palais Royal is a cool-toned version of the Chanel. If you are looking for a good neutral beige cream that has good coverage, Tom Ford Toasted Sugar is really lovely.



What are your favorite neutrals for lips, cheeks, eyes and nails? Have you checked out any of the new spring releases this year? What are your favorites? I'd love to hear about your all-time favorites or new discoveries. For more ideas, Nordstrom has an entire beauty section dedicated to New Neutrals.



This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. Press samples include NARS Valhalla, NARS Reckless, NARS Guyane and Burberry Shell. All other items purchased by me. More information in my Disclosures.

 

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