Showing posts with label MAC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MAC. Show all posts

Friday, July 17, 2015

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks


I've been browsing items from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale for a few days now. I stopped by my local store for Early Access last week to take a quick peek and bought two of the beauty exclusives from MAC and Dior. Since things looked like they were selling out quickly I stopped by my local store again today - there were a lot of things I had on my list that sold out including the Deborah Lippmann Undressed Set and YSL Rock Attitude Glossy Stain. If you see something on your radar I recommend you order online or visit your store as soon as you can.

Beauty Exclusives I picked up include the Dior Eye Reviver Palette in Rosy Nordy Girl and the Vernis in Majesty (peach). They also had some of the fall collection out, I picked up the Cosmopolite Nail Polish (muted plum).


I think the best value find for me is the T3 Compact Styling Set which is priced at $150. The Compact Folding Dryer is $150 by itself so with this Nordstrom set you basically get the flat iron for free. I love that the dryer will fold into a more compact size. If I could have only bought one thing from the sale, this would be it (they are boxed together).


MAC seemed to be selling through their sets faster than usual at the store. I picked up the MAC Look in a Box Pretty Natural Lip Kit that has Subculture Lipliner, Pretty Natural Lipstick and Feeling Fine Lipglass. I picked up mine during early access. Today my local store was completely sold out. It seems to have sold out online too but right now just came back. If you missed out - order soon, or keep the link bookmarked. It keeps popping back in stock. I'm a sucker for a good nude pink lipstick. Subculture Lipliner is a staple neutral I think everyone should own anyways.


Palettes are always big during the sale. I picked up three palettes, two are gifts for friends but I think now I want them too.  The Chanel Travel Palette is something I picked up for a friend. It has the Les Beiges Powder 20, a blush, five eye colors, lip colors, mini brushes and a small mascara. I am not a fan of compacts that don't have separators for cream and powder - I can see this one becoming a mess. Still it's really pretty and the pink blush and lips are so so gorgeous.

Lorac has the best priced deal with a $15 The Skinny Black Eyeshadow Palette. I bought this because it's a steal - how can anyone resist? My store had about 20 or so left on the floor display - there seemed to be a lot left.

For me, I picked up the new MAC Nordstrom's Finest Exclusive 15 Pan. It's not a Anniversary Sale Exclusive, but my associate said it's a Nordstrom Exclusive (kinda confusing to me). I'm sure it has a lot of repeats for me because I already own a lot of singles but the convenience of having everything in one palette is appealing.

There seemed to be a lot of new fall items trickling in. Armani had a display unit for the new powder foundation but it didn't have any product inside, nor did they have anything to sell. I'm hoping it will launch soon because I'm eager to test it out. I did pick up a few Fluid Sheers, left to right is 14, 17 and 18. It's been a while since I last checked out anything from Armani but I've been told 17 and 18 are new.

All of Chanel Fall is now in store and online. I picked up a few items last week from Saks. Today I picked up a few more items including the three Le Vernis shades in Vert Obscur, Ecorce Sanguine and Chataigne. There are two new eye palettes: Tisse D'Automne Quadra Eyeshadow and a new Les 5 Ombre Eyeshadow Palette. I hope to swatch this weekend and have reviews soon.

I ran out of some nail care products so I restocked on the Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil (purple) and Cuticle Remover (white). I picked up her new All About That Base base coat.


Last but not least I picked up three clothing items - I ordered mine online and they arrived a few days ago. Rag and Bone Theo Pullover is a super soft black v-neck sweater. I find sizing in brands these days all over the place for tops. For most Rag and Bone I am an XS - this sweater fits nicely but has a slightly loose feel. It's not too large on me but the look is slightly more relaxed than what the model shows. I ordered a Splendid Jersey Wrap Robe which runs true to size. I also ordered these J Brand Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans.





Did you pick up anything from the sale? Or are you planning to shop the sale this weekend? What did you end up picking out? I keep forgetting to stop by the shoes section - although since it's summer I can't get into the mood for boots.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Travel Beauty For Three Weeks in Europe


Today I have a roundup of what makeup I brought with me on my 3-week vacation. My travel beauty picks for makeup and tools were packed into my Anya Hindmarch In Flight Patent leather-trimmed travel case and MustaeV Bloom Pouch (liquids, skincare and fragrance packing in this post here). These kept everything compact, organized and made everything relatively easy to find. Above photo: Longchamp Expandable Tote, Marc by Marc Jacobs Rimless Aviators, sandals by Hermes. Beauty details broken down below.

First up makeup breakdown. I limited myself to 1 eyeshadow palette. I usually almost always bring one of the Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palettes with me on travel because they are versatile and can be used to create a number of looks. I decided to try something new for this trip and brought the MAC Nordstrom Naturals Palette with me instead. It worked just as well to create a number of different looks - I like that there's a good mix of matte and shimmer. If you're limited on space - there are some good browns that can double as brow powder.

For face products I brought a mini tube of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in St. Moritz (currently only in one size, I was lucky it was a good shade match). Other face cream products listed in my liquids post. For powder I brought my Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder in Shade 2, I knew there was a chance I would get a tan on my trip so I brought the Chanel Powder Foundation in Beige 30 and 40 with me (40 shown above).

For cheeks products I brought the NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Craving, Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Afterglow, Edward Bess Bronzer in Daydream, Tom Ford Cream Blush in Pink Sand (discontinued) and Charlotte Tilbury Blush in Ecstasy. I definitely could have skipped a few of these but I'm one who always layers cheek products.

Eye makeup included my favorite stick shadow Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rosegold. For pencils I brought Marc Jacobs Ro(Cocoa) which is the perfect bronzey taupe liner (it lasts all day). I also brought the Tom Ford Liquid Eyeliner, NARS Brow Perfector, Chanel Fresh Effect Eyeshadow in Caroube and Charlotte Tilbury Chameleon Pencil in Amber Haze. I also brought my NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Himalia which is a good bronzey tan beige shimmer for the lids and one waterproof mascara by Guerlain.

I kept my lip products edited to one lipliner in Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk. For lipsticks I brought three including Tom Ford Summer Lip Color Sheers in Skinnydip and Rose Soleil and one Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Reveuse.

Tools and brushes:


Above (excuse the messy brushes, I haven't had a chance to wash them yet):

MustaeV Bloom Pouch (large, also featured here and here)
MAC 135 Large Flat Powder Brush is a new brush from MAC, it's large fluffy and flat which is perfect for a sheer dusting of powder or bronzer
MAC 239 and MAC 219 Brushes
Chanel Powder Brush is a dense brush ideal for powder foundation
Chanel Eyelash Curler (discontinued)

Several of you have asked about the Anya Hindmarch case that I've previewed on a few posts and on Instagram. I bought mine from Net-A-Porter although several have told me they've found it discounted at Duty Free locations while they were traveling. Based on online photos and reviews I couldn't tell if it was one open case with two openings or if it had two compartments. It has two compartments - one is slightly deeper than the other. It's fairly pricey for a makeup pouch but the material is very sturdy and it's very well made.



The MustaeV Bloom Pouch comes in two sizes, small and large. I discovered the line at The Makeup Show LA earlier this year and love them. I brought the large one with me on this trip. The small one was featured in this travel post back in April. I've added a repost shot of the large one below to show how it stands up.


For three weeks I brought plenty to last me the entire trip. I did miss my eyeshadow palettes and lip glosses but given the heat and warm weather a good portion of the trip was makeup-free for me so it didn't really matter. I worried that skipping concealer would be a mistake but my skin has cleared up pretty nicely in the past few months so for face coverage, tinted moisturizers and powder was enough.

In case you missed it, how I packed all my liquids in this post here (Muji containers, clear pouches, his and hers travel skincare, fragrance and body care):

http://www.thebeautylookbook.com/2015/07/his-and-hers-travel-essentials-skincare.html





What do you like to bring with you on extended trips? Do you have any packing tips or favorite carrying cases?

The MustaeV bloom pouch and easy go brush was gifted during The Makeup Show. The Afterglow highlighter was also a gift courtesy of Edward Bess.

Monday, July 6, 2015

His and Hers Travel Essentials: Skincare and Fragrance


I've been working on a three-part series focusing on travel and packing. I'll be sharing what I packed for a three week trip through Europe - all of which I fit into a travel backpack and a medium-sized nylon tote. I would say about 1/4 to 1/3 of my luggage contents consisted of beauty products (primarily skincare and sunscreen). Part one is going to cover skincare, bodycare and fragrance. Part two will focus on makeup. Part three will cover a full list of all the items I fit inside my bags and thoughts on surviving three weeks in Europe with a carry-on.

Up first is skincare, body care and fragrance in a his and hers overview. For me packing skincare is a challenge with the liquid restrictions for carry-on bags. I almost always do a carry-on because I find it easier and less stressful compared to lugging large suitcases or waiting for items at the baggage claim. Most US airlines allow for slightly larger carry-on suitcases compared to the airlines in Europe. I tried to keep my list of beauty products as edited as possible. Thankfully my husband didn't have a lot he had to pack in terms of liquids so I borrowed some of his space.

First some quick thoughts and options on how to pack your liquids. I've done several travel features in the past. Most of my trips have been around 1 week long so I usually just pack liquids in a traditional ziploc bag. You can see how I fit everything in this post here and also this one here. Ziplocs vary in durability depending on what kind you have. I've had several break on me so I usually try to bring a backup although some airports have disposable ones at the security gate. This round I knew that a ziploc wouldn't last 3 weeks so I looked for some more durable options that are flight approved. I found a good option on Amazon from Flight001 and also a few from Muji.

Muji has two flight-approved options called the TPU Clear Case which measures W11 x D18.5 x H4 cm. Another options is a flat zip pouch called the TPU Clear Case S which measures 19.5 x 16 cm. For other items like passports, cards, currency etc. we really liked the EVA Zip Pouches from Muji. They have ones that are a bit frosted but clear and then others that are completely clear. The one at the Top/Middle is the EVA Zip Case B4 which my husband and I really liked for currency and passports. We used some of the others for tour or bus tickets. Having things separated in a few pouches for day trips makes it easy to find things quickly.

I also ordered a bunch of the travel-sized containers from Muji - there are a lot of different options and sizes. I filled mine with moisturizer, foundation and other creams (I threw a few away on the trip as the products were used up).

The bottom right case is the Flight001 Clear Carry-On Quart Bag which says "carry-on approved." It does seem to fit a lot more than a flat ziploc because of the depth (it measures 2 x 5 x 7.1 inches; 2.1 ounces). It's very sturdy and durable. For flying within the US you should be completely ok using this. In Europe your mileage may vary depending on security. I had one upset agent at the airport security when flying from Paris to Rome. One agent didn't want to let it through. There was a mini discussion between three agents about the liquids, two of them inspected the labels on all the bottles to make sure they were under the 100ml limit and let me through although the first one was still visibly upset about it. 

Different bags side by side for size comparison. We used the Muji case in the middle and Flight001 at the bottom for our liquids. The others were used for non-liquid travel items. Ziploc included below for size reference only.
Note, the bottom left zip Muji pouch is sold empty, the above featured pouch was filled with cotton and q-tips from my own collection for size reference

Onto the travel products we brought with us. I brought three sheet masks with me including one Tatcha Deep Hydration Mask and two SK-II Facial Treatment Masks. I used all three. Since it was very hot and warm in Paris, Rome and all through Greece, I could have skipped these as my skin did not need any additional moisture. They were still nice to have but for summer I would say they aren't must-haves. For body/fragrance, I brought along the Lavanila Pure Vanilla Deoderant which lasts all day long and doesn't leave any white or sticky residue. (There is a mini travel-size option available too in one scent.)

For body sunscreen, I fell in love with the Korres Suncreen Spray with SPF 50 that we found in a pharmacy in Athens. It is easy to apply and helped tremendously - we didn't get any sunburns when we used this although we did still get quite a bit darker (some areas it was impossible to avoid the sun). I wish Korres would bring back their full line to the US - I always loved their body lotions and shower gels which were really good for my super sensitive skin. You can find the SPF 30 version at Asos, otherwise it seems pretty impossible to find in the US.

Another sunscreen I tried on our trip was the Supergoop! Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil Broad Spectrum SPF 50 in the mini size from Sephora. I am extremely sensitive to body sunscreens - I get an allergic reaction to most and end up with red bumps all over my arms and legs with most. This one from Supergoop! proved to be gentle enough for me for the body (I can't say how it works on the face). It's lightweight and absorbs quickly into the skin. You don't feel greasy or oily after applying it. The scent is very light unlike other sunscreens. I like that they have a small travel size option - even though it worked for me, I recommend you patch test first before applying all over.


For other body and fragrance items, I packed my By Terry Baume de Rose Crystal Gloss for my daily lip balm treatment. In Paris I picked up a cute Hand and Lip Duo from Nuxe (also available online, on sale in July). I had a mini Huile Prodigieuse from an online order that I brought with me although one of the hotels in Paris that we stayed at had these as toiletries. I brought the Tatcha Indigo Hand Cream mini with me as it's one of my top picks for hand creams - it's a must if you get dry skin from flights. For perfume I picked up a roll-on L'Artisan La Chasse Aux Papillons Rollerball in Paris although it looks like they just started carrying it in the US too. I brought one mini L'Artisan Mûre et Musc Extrême with me for the trip - so after the end of the first week, I had two perfumes to alternate.

For face skincare and other liquids, I probably could have skipped all the foundation. Most of the days it was very warm and too hot for any makeup. I think I wore makeup on only 1/2 of the trip. I did not bring any concealer with me and didn't miss it at all. Left to right includes: Tatcha One-Step Cleansing Oil (travel size), Chanel UV Essential SPF 50, Chanel Sublimage SPF 50 (exclusive to Europe right now, I picked this up in Paris), Chanel CC Cream in 40 Beige (swatches here), NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Travel Size in St. Moritz, MAC Prep +  Prime Blemish Control Gel, Muji Containers filled with moisturizer and toner, minis of Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Sérum and Makeup Remover, Tatcha Indigo Rice Enzyme Powder travel size, First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser mini size (from Sephora Beauty Insider points).

For my husband's skincare and fragrance, he brought a few staples. He packed his L'Occitane Cade Plisson Razor and Shaving Cream Duo. The L'Occitane Shaving Cream is one of the few he can use. Most other creams won't prevent razor burn. Chanel Bleu de Chanel is his go-to cologne, he loves the travel size versions because you can refill them. (Refills are available at Chanel.com, travel options also come in the Allure Homme Sport Eau Extreme and Allure Homme Sport scents). We shared sunscreens throughout the trip to see which one was sweat proof and water proof. We found it too hot for anything to be truly sweat proof although he really liked the Korres Sunscreen because of the dry down. Most others felt oily to him.

Also in his packed bag included the L'Occitane Cedrat Stick Deodorant (c/o). He rarely tries new ones because they often make his skin peel, this one from L'Occitane is non-sticky and free of alcohol or aluminum salts and dried quickly. It lasted all day on him even in the hot summer heat. Other staples he brought in his bag included a tube of the small travel-sized Jack Black Turbo Wash, Dream Team Duo which has a small Face Moisturizer with SPF 20 and Deep Dive Glycolic Face Cleanser. At our local Target he picked up a travel tube of Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen (I can't use this because it make my skin blow up, his skin is tougher though and it works just fine for him).

Last but not least, he brought his pot of the Kiehl's Facial Fuel Heavy Lifting Eye Repair eye cream. He's almost finished with this one (it's his second pot) and likes it enough to repurchase a third time. Although if you have any good eye cream recommendations for men, he says he would really appreciate any recs.

Items we skipped and bought and threw out along the way included shampoo, body soap, toothpaste, mouthwash and other things you can find in hotels. So how did it all last for us during our three week trip? I ran out of my face cleanser and makeup remover by Day 8 (when we were in Rome). Luckily I had a few extra minis from Paris that sales associates threw in from the Chanel counter so I could take off eye makeup. For face cleanser, after I ran out, I used my husband's Jack Black Deep Dive. I found out that he somehow managed to pack two, one in the clear bag, one buried somewhere in his clothing. I could have limited myself to one foundation product - the CC cream offered good coverage with high SPF but it felt a bit thick in super hot weather. During the trip we were exposed to a lot of sun - there was no avoiding it. I wore long sleeved lightweight tees to protect my arms but most of the time it was too hot for anything but tank tops or short sleeved tees.

What I missed: I missed a lot of my face masks, especially the purifying ones. I had a few minis I thought about bringing with me but decided against it because of the limited packing space. I also missed my nail polishes. I did buy one polish on my trip (Dior Sundown) and had a manicure refresh half way through our trip. I also missed all of the shower gels I alternate between at home. I am more of a shower gel person versus bar soap, but most of the hotels had nice ones to try out. One last thing I missed included hair products. I skipped bringing all gels, creams and pomades. 

Do you have any packing tips for liquid skincare/bodycare and fragrance products? Any other tips or advice you want to share for carry-on travelers?

The L'Occitane Cedrat Deodorant was provided for review consideration. Post also includes mini gift with purchase items from various events or retail point programs including the Chanel minis, First Aid Beauty cleanser and Nuxe mini oil. All other items purchased by me.

Friday, May 8, 2015

What's In My Bag - May 2015


TGIF everyone! This week feels like it has been a really long one for some reason so I'm really happy it's Friday. It's been a gloomy week here in Southern California and we've had a bit of rain. I've been chasing the sun as it peeks through the clouds every once in a while - I shouldn't complain because we have sunny weather here 90% of the year. I have a what's in my handbag post today. Here's what I've been carrying around lately. The tote is the St. Louis by Goyard in the PM size. In case you are wondering, the color is called Gris.


Inside my bag I have the Goyard Pouch that comes with the St. Louis Tote, also:


For makeup most of these things fit inside the bag with the exception of the Tatcha Beauty Papers, Chanel Kabuki Brush and L'Occitane Hand Cream. The base of the Clearly MAC Trio Bag is wide at the bottom so you can fit more items inside compared to the MAC Clear Bag Set (featured here). What I have with me is way too many lip products - I add one each day to the bag and end up with more lip products that I can wear at any given time.


I hope you have a lovely weekend! What has been in your bag this week?

Some press samples have been included in the post, those noted by c/o note by each item.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Loving Right Now


The week is flying by so quickly, I can't believe it's almost Friday. I picked up a couple new fragrances that have been on my wish list for ages. I picked up the small bottle of the Les Exclusifs de Chanel in Beige and Byredo Black Saffron (reviews coming in the next few weeks). Also new acquisitions are MAC Cremesheen Pearl Lipsticks in Shanghai Spice and Peach Blossom, both repurchases of lipsticks I used up a while ago. MAC lipsticks usually dry out my lips but I still can't stop using them because some of the neutrals are really good.

The Le Volume de Chanel Mascara is a long-time favorite. I just found out they released a waterproof version so I ordered it. So far I'm really liking it and I hope they release more colors in the waterproof or bring back the Navy Blue one because as far as colored mascaras go, that one was my favorite.

Also on the lips this week are Chanel Glossimer in Seashell and YSL Pop Water Glossy Stains (swatches and review here). For cheeks I still can't get over how much I love the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Radiant Light (also in a palette form). I'm going to call this one my never-ending bronzer. I use it a lot and still haven't made a dent. It will probably last me forever.

Non-beauty related is my love for these rimless aviators (more colors here). It's virtually impossible for me to find small sunglasses these days when oversized everything is in everywhere. Most of my sunglasses are several years old and it's rare these days to find smaller frames to fit my face shape and size. These are 59mm and the perfect size for me. I bought them in multiple colors (three to be exact).

Last but not least, I've been really liking the Armani Eye Tints (#9 shown above). I am eager to see how the YSL Pop Water Full Metal Shadows compare (still waiting on these to ship, I have a few on backorder).

What are you loving this week? Any new beauty discoveries or staples you're loving right now?

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.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day Pink for Lips


This week I'm loving all shades of pink for the lips, in preparation for Valentine's Day I've compiled a list of new pinks that I've been testing along with some older favorites. Today's focus is on lip glosses with a glossy sheen that will give the lips a lush glow.



  • Marc Jacobs Lust for Lacquer Lip Vinyl Sheer in Pink Diamond is a glossy sheer pink gold that gives the lips a tint of gold and pink, right now it seems to be removed from Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty so I'm not sure if these are being phased out or reformulated, for a similar effect check out MAC Nympette Lipglass
  • Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in Rose Shimmer 01 is a sheer light pink balm-like gloss, on the lips it gives a sheer natural wash of light pink with a tiny bit of shimmer, it has a soft vanilla scent
  • NARS Lip Gloss in Turkish Delight is a super pale powdery pink gloss, on my super pigmented lips this is high maintenance when worn alone, I find it's best worn as a layering lipgloss mainly because I have a lot of color in my lips
  • Zelens Lip Glaze in Rose is a lush baby pink cream, I have a hard time pulling off baby pinks on the lips that are non-shimmers, they are often too pale on my lip but this one was surprisingly good, it's pricey for a lip gloss but the texture and color are really really good, coverage is medium
  • Bite Beauty Lush Fruit Gloss in Strawberry is something I bought in the mini size over the holiday, this is the first Bite Lip Gloss I've tried and the color is absolute perfection for the perfect light-to-medium rose pink but the formula is less than stellar. I wonder if this is one of those glosses you need to "break in" with a few wears to make the formula better, it settled into lip lines like crazy which is a shame because the color and pigment is so pretty
  • Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Pink Pop is sheer bright pink gloss perfection, I love a good bright lip gloss that has a sheer texture because they give the lips just enough color to get that glow, this one has a very strong vanilla scent so if you're sensitive to fragrance, you might not be able to wear this one easily
  • Giorgio Armani Flash Lacquer in 521 is a sheer medium cool-toned pink, it's very sheer so alone it will give you a very subtle tint of color, it's lovely over a lipstick or lipliner 
  • NARS Lip Gloss in Angelika is a bright cool-toned pink with gold flecks of shimmer, this one is a pretty azalea pink kind of color with medium coverage
  • Hourglass Extreme Sheen Lip Gloss in Ballet is a lipgloss that acts more like a liquid lipstick, this one has crazy intense pigment and covers the lip entirely, if you want a glossy bright pink with super rich coverage, this is the best one I've tried
  • MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus is a super fun glitzy pink, I'm usually ultra conservative when it comes to anything with visible sparkles that is more than just shimmer, but this one is really pretty on the lips, I'm not sure that I would be able to rock this comfortably everyday, but it's not too glitzy if you layer a sheer wash of this on top of a lipstick
  • Zelens Lip Glaze in Pink is a healthy medium-bright pink, it has medium coverage leaning slightly more towards full but still has a glossy finish so it's not like a liquid lipstick, it's like Laura Mercier's Pink Pop amped up a few notches in terms of pigment and oomph, I highly recommend the formula because it plumps the lips naturally and feels ultra hydrating and smooth
  • Chanel Glossimer in Crazy Fuchsia is part of the spring collection, it's a super pigmented glossimer that has the prettiest mix of pink, violet and rose shimmers, long-time readers know I'm all about lighter neutral lips, but this one is just insanely gorgeous

Lip swatches on me (for reference some of these were taken over different days, foundations worn include the NARS All Day Weightless Luminous Foundation in Punjab and Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation in Bisque 04 with various setting powders):


I hope you found this lip gloss guide helpful in terms of picking out pink lip glosses with a diverse range of finishes, textures and different levels of color. To narrow down my top picks by category:

Favorite sheer light pink:
Clarins Instant Light Perfector in Rose Shimmer and Zelens Rose Lip Glaze

Favorite medium pink:
Laura Mercier Pink Pop and Zelens Pink Lip Glaze

Most unique:
Chanel Crazy Fuchsia Glossimer

This is by no means a comprehensive of all the pink lip glosses I've tried or adore, but rather an edited version of what I've been testing or using right now. What are your favorite pink lip glosses?

The Zelens Lip Glazes, Hourglass Extreme Sheen Lip Gloss and Laura Mercier Lip Glace were provided as press samples for review consideration, all others purchased by me.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Best Beauty Discoveries and Highlights of 2014


2014 has been a very exciting year and I feel incredibly blessed in so many ways. I am grateful for each and every one of my readers. Without your passion for all things beauty this blog would not be a possibility for me to keep up. Each week I am touched by the kindness some of you have shown through e-mail and comments. I think the internet and social media is amazing with the way it enables us to connect with each other across the world. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for following me through this blog :) 

I have a roundup of beauty highlights in 2014. There have been so many great beauty releases and innovations this year. I think the holiday sets this season were the best ones I've seen to date. I've linked previous reviews of my favorite beauty discoveries for 2014 below. Please let me know what your top beauty discoveries were as well, I'd love to hear what your favorite picks were!
This year marked the year for a number of brand launches and store openings. New beauty brand launches in the US that I was really excited about included Gucci Beauty and Charlotte Tilbury. A number of brands added new stores and boutiques. Diptyque on Larchmont opened in Los Angeles. In Venice Beach Caudalie and Hourglass Cosmetics opened up boutiques. Another highlight for me was finally visiting the NARS Boutique on Melrose (although it opened a few years ago).

Additional highlights include a couple special features for The Beauty Look Book. In January I was really excited to be featured on Barneys New York - The Window. In March of this year I was beyond thrilled to discover that InstyleUK included me in their Top 50 Websites (thank you!!).

The best thing for me this year though was being able to connect with some bloggers and YouTubers in person (in beauty and fashion). Meeting them was incredibly inspiring. There are few things that give me that warm fuzzy feeling like seeing women support other women and I value their friendship, advice, encouragement and positive outlook on life. 

What were your top beauty discoveries this year?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Favorite Makeup Tools for Face, Cheeks and Eyes


I've compiled several detailed brush guides this year but several of my readers have asked for a more consolidated list of recommendations. Like most of my beauty routine, when it comes to makeup tools, I rarely stick to just one brand. I think different lines have certain strengths in particular areas.  Some have a better shape while others are made of better materials. There is a lot to sort through in terms of brush shape, size, material and price point. For me, it's really important that I am able to test a brush in person before purchasing it so I tend to stick to main stream brands. Today I've compiled a list of my most reached-for tools for face, cheeks and eyes.


My top picks for brush brands include MAC, Chanel and Tom Ford. In my experience, the overall best brand for quality and price is MAC. I own many MAC brushes that have lasted me over a decade. I like that the brushes have a simple and sleek design and the quality is consistent among all the tools regardless of material or type.

Chanel is also another great brand that I use a lot for brushes and tools. They recently redesigned all their brushes (I think in the last year or so) for a more modern look. The tools work really well with all brands of makeup. There are many similarities in shapes between MAC and Chanel although the material is very different in most of the tools. 

If price is no object, Tom Ford hands down makes the best brushes I've ever tested. All the brushes are super soft and plush and perform the best out of all the tools I've tried. The cream foundation brush is the only brush that gives me a streak-free application for foundation or tinted moisturizer. Tom Ford's brushes are among the few brands I ordered sight unseen. I splurged on a brush set a few years ago and although it made a serious dent in my wallet but I have no regrets and it makes applying makeup a truly luxurious experience each day.



1 / Beautyblender ($19.95) is the best sponge I've used. I just discovered it this year and don't know how I ever got along without it. There are multiple colors and types of beautyblenders but the pink one performs the best. Use it damp and it expands and applies foundation flawlessly.

2 / MAC Duo Fibre Face Brush #187 ($42) everyone needs a good skunk brush. These are fluffy brushes with two types of material mixed in. The uses for this are endless. I like to use mine to apply powder bronzer or highlighters to the face. You can also use these with cream products or to buff out powder foundation or to blend items. MAC also makes the Duo Fiber brushes in a number of other formats like the Short Handled #187 and a tapered Blush #159 version. I like the classic version the best.

3 / MAC Large Angled Contour #168 ($35) is super soft and fluffy angled contour brush. I use this for bronzer or blush (primarily powders). It's also a good blending tool. The angled edge helps control application.

4 / Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush #02 ($72) is the best foundation brush I've used. It's one of the most expensive tools I own but worth every penny. When I use this to apply liquid or cream foundations, application is flawless and completely streak free. I normally prefer to use sponges for foundation but often times they soak up so much product. This is the closest thing I have to getting a sponge-finish look with foundation but in brush format.

5 / Chanel Foundation Brush #6 ($45) is my most reached-for foundation brush. It's not quite as perfect as the Tom Ford, but for me it's the next best thing. I like this for cream blushes too.

6 / Chanel Blush Brush #4 ($54) is my favorite blush brush because of the shape and material. It's medium-sized and compact but has just the right amount of density to pick up color and dispense it perfectly on the cheeks. MAC makes a lot of good blush brushes too which are very good quality, but I find myself reaching for the Chanel the most.

7 / Chanel Powder Brush #1 ($65) is my favorite dense but soft powder brush. I use this for loose powder, pressed powder and powder foundation. It comes out of the box tapered but once you wash it it fluffs up quite a bit while still retaining a round shape. I like that it's sturdy with a substantial handle but still easy to hold and maneuver.



1 / MAC Blending Brush #217 ($24) is the best white fluffy brush you can find for $24. This is key for me in terms of blending shadows for a subtle gradient. I also like to use this as a regular eyeshadow brush when I want an all over lid color.

2 / MAC Eye Shading Brush #239 ($25) is in my top 2 picks along with MAC Brush #217. This is my all time favorite eyeshadow brush. It picks up color really well and blends powders together nicely. I like that it's dense but super soft.

3 / Tom Ford Eyeshadow Contour Brush #12 ($56) is another favorite. This is my do-it-all kind of brush. It applies shadow on the lids, it will contour or smoke out darker colors and the tip is dense for a smokey eye.

4 / MAC Shader Brush #242 ($25) is what I like for cream shadows (or concealer too). This one has lasted me the longest, I think it was one of the first MAC brushes I bought for myself. It has a really nice round tip making application easy and smooth on the eye (so it doesn't poke the skin).

5 / Chanel Large Eyeshadow Brush #25 ($38) is a medium to large eyeshadow brush that isn't too big or fluffy. I do like a good fluffy brush, but these days I find myself reaching for this one because it isn't as thick or dense making it easier for me to control color and application. If you want something fluffy, soft and more dense, the Bobbi Brown Eye Sweep Brush is one of my favorites.

6 / Laura Mercier Smudge Brush ($24) is a good dense detail brush. It's stiff but not too stiff so it's easy on sensitive skin or eyes. I like this one to smudge eyeshadow or eyeliner. I use this instead of a regular liner brush because I like a more smudged softer line to define the eyes. It offers precise application but if you are looking for something super precise, I'd recommend the Bobbi Brown Eye Liner Brush or the Angled Eye Definer Brush.

7 / Trish McEvoy Laydown #40 ($42) is one of my favorite multi-purpose brushes. I like this for powder eyeshadow, cream eyeshadow and concealer. I owned this back when Trish McEvoy had gold handles for the brushes (they are now lucite). It's the perfect shape, size and density for creams to get a good smooth and even application.

8 / Charlotte Tilbury Eyelash Curler ($20) is one of the newest eyelash curlers I've tried. When I first tried it I wasn't super impressed because it's called the "Life Changing Lashes" eyelash curler and well, it simply didn't change my life. I found it just as good as my Trish McEvoy and Chanel eyelash curlers but not anything super special. I've since tried a few others from other brands like Shiseido and Shu Uemura and have really come to appreciate the design and shape of the Charlotte Tilbury. It has just the right amount of curve to fit my eye shape. Many others are too flat or not curved enough. The wrong shape will either pinch my eyes around the corners or miss lashes making the curl uneven. I give the Charlotte Tilbury a huge thumbs up for the way it performs. 

9 / Trish McEvoy Eyelash Curler ($20) is a classic go-to for me. I have several of these right now and  it's been my most-replaced tool (some recommend you change or the pads these every 90 days, I tend to use these longer replacing once every 6 months). It just works the way an eyelash curler is supposed to. It grabs all the lashes and curls them evenly and in a round flared up shape. 



I have some additional thoughts on brushes focusing on double duty or recycling. Based on the above guides, you might be wondering what I recommend for eyeliner, concealer, crease, bronzer, brows or lips.

I think a lot of tools can be used multiple ways which means you can stretch out the uses. Having multiple brushes can be extremely useful so you don't have to worry about mixing colors or washing brushes frequently if you change from a light to a dark color for a certain tool. I do like brushes that will do multiple things though. For bronzer, I will sometimes use my blush or powder brushes. For the eye crease or contour I find the MAC #217 works just perfectly. For concealer I like blending with the fingers or a sponge.


For brow a lot of brow pencils come with a brush on the end to smooth out the color. I've bought a few brow combs before but find they don't last me very long so I like to recycle my mascara wands after they are used up. Rinse the end with soap and warm water and you've got a lash comb and brow comb in one that you can toss whenever without worrying about throwing money away.

Lip pencils often come with a lip brush at one end so I don't find the need to purchase a separate lip brush for gloss or lipstick. Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana have lip brushes which I find handy.


Last but not least, long time readers know I'm a fan of recycling candle jars. I use them to store brushes, pencils, lip gloss and office supplies. Diptyque and Jo Malone are my favorite to recycle. I just clean them out with warm-to-hot soapy water and a dish sponge. My candles don't always have a clean burn so often times there are remnants of wax stuck on the sides. Some recommend freezing or using boiling water. I find that using anything too drastic with temperature changes can crack the glass or melt off the sticker (which I like to keep in tact).

If you're just starting to build up your collection of makeup tools I hope you found this guide helpful. It can be overwhelming to sort through all the options so I have found the best way to start is to focus on one area at a time (i.e. start with eyeshadow brushes or blush brushes) and do your research. If you're an in-store kind of shopper, I highly recommend bringing a small list of options you've found interesting or with high ratings. Having a list can be helpful in case you want to see different brands in one store. Some brushes go by number so writing the numbers down is handy unless you have a super good memory, I often have to look at the numbers on my MAC brushes when someone asks me "which brush is that?"

Building a good brush collection will take some time but it doesn't have to be complicated. Brushes can be pricey especially when you add them up so I do recommend taking your time to research in advance to make sure you find ones that work best for your specific needs or wants.

I hope you found this guide on my favorites helpful to start!





This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. All opinions my own. All tools my own. For more information you can refer to my Disclosures.

 

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