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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Inside My Bag: MAC Clear Bag Set



I've received lots of requests about clear makeup bags ever since I featured a clear Bobbi Brown cosmetic bag in a few of my inside my bag posts. Unfortunately it was a gift with purchase a few years ago and was never released for purchase which is too bad because it was well made and compact enough to fit into most of my smaller purses. I've been on the hunt for something similar but haven't found anything quite like it. The Truffle Clarity Clutches are a favorite for their sleek look, high quality material and functional design but some have asked for other recommendations. I spotted these new MAC Clear Bag Sets ($25) and immediately went to my MAC counter to investigate. Size dimensions weren't disclosed online so I wasn't sure how small or large these were.

The MAC Clear Bag Set ($25) is a set of two sealable rectangular pouches. One side of each pouch is clear with a black back. They are sleek and compact and the set comes with two different sizes. The zipper glides nicely in a plastic format. Below shows what I was able to fit into each:


The Large Pouch measures approximately 9.4 inches by 5.75 inches. It fits quite a bit inside. I like my flat makeup bags to remain relatively flat so I didn't pack it full. I was able to get the following inside the pouch:


The Small Pouch measures approximately 9.4 inches by 3.1 inches, this one is ideal for smaller sized items like small brushes, pencils, skinny objects or minis. What I was able to fit into the smaller clear front pouch:

Revlon Tweezers


They are both fairly compact in size. The flat design makes them fit easily into your purse and keep everything compact. The material is just ok. It's nicely made but not the best quality. It's not as good as the material used on my Bobbi Brown case or Truffle Pouch. The design of the MAC Clear Bag Set is basic and simple with a no-fuss look, but it lacks a hard backing and the trim is very minimal around the edges which makes it easy to bend. I had one corner folded (accidentally) after putting it inside my purse. It didn't crease completely, but it did get mashed up a bit. The bag isn't ruined and it will probably go back to its original shape if I lay it flat for a short while. I find these functional but in the past I have had issues with other brands of pouches and bags that have the plastic zipper seal - I've found they aren't always the sturdiest and often become misaligned and the pouches stop sealing all together. Only time will tell with these, but so far they do seem to be pretty well made.


I've used these for a couple of weeks and they have held up pretty well although they aren't the sturdiest makeup bags I've tried so I don't know how long they will hold up. I like that the design is simple and sleek. They keep everything compact and having one clear side is nice so you don't have to go digging through your makeup bag to find things. The simplicity in the design has a slight downside in the sense the trim is almost non-exisiting so it is very easy to bend. With thinner plastic material I do sometimes worry about it stretching if things don't stay flat inside making the shape distorted.

Overall I think they are nice. I wouldn't call them must-haves simply because I would have preferred something with a sturdier design. Still, they are functional and I find the price is reasonable for a set of two pouches. These would certainly be a good storage option for brushes if you are looking for something to store them on-the-go.

I purchased the MAC Clear Bag Set for $25 from Nordstrom. It's also available at Macy's and Maccosmetics.com. Do you have a favorite clear makeup bag?



Monday, September 22, 2014

Trending Now: Plum Lips


Plum lips are always something I look forward to when we transition into fall each year. I find plum shades to be classic colors and look forward to each year's new take on the shade. There are so many beautiful variations of plum ranging from soft neutrals to reddish plums to deep dramatic vamps. I'm a neutral lip lover so I feel like I can't pull off dramatic colors easily. Also since I have a lot of pigment in my lips, plum colored lipsticks and lip glosses can often pull really red or extremely blue. Nordstrom Beauty has curated a selection of 30 shades on their Trending Now Section featuring dramatic colors for a Velvet Berry Lip. I've partnered with Nordstrom to share my favorite plum lip picks for neutral lip lovers (like myself).


When it comes to plums or dark dramatic lip colors in general I prefer sheerer lipsticks or lipgloss formulas. They are more forgiving on the lips when it comes to fading. The contrast between your natural lip and the lipstick can become obvious when the color starts to wear off. You can extend the wear with a lipliner blended over the lip to help the fading look less obvious. My favorites for plums include Chanel Nude (which isn't really a true nude) and MAC Beurre Creamstick Liner.

My top picks for lip glosses include:


  • MAC Lovechild Lipglass is the prettiest mix of purple, gold and rose, on me it goes on purple, on others I've seen it pull more pink, it's universally flattering in my mind and has been a long-time staple in my lip wardrobe
  • NARS Sixties Fan Lipgloss is a dark wine in the tube but goes on a sheer reddish plum, if you're a no-shimmer kind of lip person this is a good option for you, it layers well over lipliners and matte lipsticks
  • Chantecaille Mulberry Luminous Lipgloss is new for fall, it is a deep wine infused with gold and red and plum shimmers, the coverage is medium to full, you can layer it for more pigment
  • Tom Ford Love Bruise Ultra Shine Lipgloss is a soft blue-toned plum, it has a semi-transparent finish but still shows a decent amount of color, there is shimmer in this but it's subtle
  • Chanel Pagoda Glossimer has been a long time favorite, I'm so happy they didn't discontinue this shade (many of my favorites have been discontinued), if want my recommendation on just one high-end plum lipgloss, this is my favorite
  • MAC Viva Glam VI Lipglass is another classic plum, this one has quite a bit of sparkle in the tube, it has a mix of rose and silver sparkles, but on the lips it's not too sparkly, I've seen this on a number of different skin tones and it looks good on everyone




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My top picks for lipsticks include:



  • Burberry Blueberry Lip Mist is about as dark as I will go for lips, it's a blue-based plum, but on my lips it pulls more red, your mileage may vary on the color, but I love how it looks so different on everyone I've seen it on, the Lip Mists have this unique lipstick/gel texture that glides on the lips and hugs them so the color really adheres well
  • Chantecaille Lotus Lipstick was featured in the fall collection and sold out in all the stores near me, I had to have the store locate it online to ship to me, if you can find it, I highly recommend it, the color has a glossy finish that looks very natural and has quite a bit of color
  • MAC Plumful Lustre Lipstick is a sheer blue-toned plum, it's almost identical to Chantecaille Lotus on my lips in terms of color and coverage
  • Chanel Confident Rouge Coco Shine is a soft lighter plum, it's one of the few light plums I've been able to find in a lipstick form, if you have darker skin tones or lips you might find this pulls more pinkish rather than plum
  • Guerlain Fabulous Rose is new from the Kiss Kiss Shaping Cream formula, there are a number of stunning plums and wines, this one has a lot of shimmer but it melds into the lips naturally so it doesn't look frosty, for a plum I was torn between Fabulous Rose, Cherry Pink and Air Kiss and the artist recommended Fabulous Rose for a warmer plum that would still be natural



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For coordinating the rest of your beauty look, I recommend keeping the cheeks and eyes understated. Too much color can be overwhelming if you have a darker plum lip. My absolute favorite go-to blush is NARS Madly. It's a soft beige peach pink color that adds warmth and color to the face that coordinates well with almost any lip color (not just plum, but also nudes, pinks and peaches). For the eyes to keep it simple I like NARS All About Eve and Kalahari Eyeshadow Duos which go well with plum lips and add subtle definition to the eyes. I like that you can layer the shades of Kalahari over the Himalia Dual Intensity Eye Shadows for more intensity. If I need more color I like adding a deep plum or brown along the upper lash lines for definition. I'm still on the hunt for a good plum eyeliner (one that has some shimmer and is really dark) but for now I like darker plum shadows applied with a small smudge brush like MAC Beauty Marked or NARS Subra.

If you're one who prefers neutral lips but want to try something plum with more color, I hope my picks and swatches help give you some ideas on how to wear a more subdued plum. If you're all about color, I highly recommend you check out Nordstrom's Velvet Berry Lip selections.

Do you have a favorite berry or plum-colored lipstick or lipgloss?
I would love to hear what your beauty go-to's are!




Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

On My Radar / New in Beauty


A few new items on my radar this week:
  1. Truffle Privacy Clutches have just launched in 4 colors Dove Grey, Blush, White and Seaglass
  2. Edward Bess has designed a new Ultra Slick Lipstick in Betty named for personal shopper Betty Halbreich, an emblem of style at Bergdorf Goodman since 1976
  3. Urban Decay Naked Basics2 just launched today on Urbandecay.com (it will be available at other retailers later this fall)
  4. Make Up For Ever launched their new Artist Shadows (over 200 shades), I quickly swatched a few in-store a couple days ago but didn't have time to look in detail, the texture seems super soft and pigmented
  5. Guerlain Les Sables Four Pan Palette is one of three Guerlain eye palettes to launch early fall
  6. Guerlain KissKiss Lipstick is a new formula that comes in over 20 shades, there are a number of stunning soft rose pinks, I have my eye on Fall in Rose, Baby Rose, and Golden Girl
  7. MAC Prep + Prime Finishing Mist is supposed to be the regular Fix+ in upgraded packaging, I've been a huge fan of the regular Fix+, I hope the formula didn't change too much (or at all really), if you've seen this, do you think it's the same?
  8. Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate is Shiseido's latest for anti-aging and skin smoothing, it claims to give your skin the ultimate glow in just one week, I'll have to investigate and see if I can find a small sample
  9. Bobbi Brown has a new limited-edition Smoky Nudes Eye Shadow Palette, I've found these to be hit or miss in the past with formulas, the colors look stunning from stock photos
  10. Bobbi Brown Sandstone Shimmerbrick is a repromote with the Smoky Nudes collection, it is one of my favorites of all the Shimmerbricks, if you missed out before I highly recommend you check this one out
  11. Bobbi Brown has four new Creamy Matte Lip Colors in Nude, Warm Nude, Soft Nude and Pink Nude, all of these colors look like they are right up my alley, although I'm not a fan of matte lips, I might make an exception if the colors are naturally flattering
What's on your fall beauty radar?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Monthly Favorites | Skincare, Haircare, Body and Fragrance


Several have requested a monthly favorites round up - welcome to The Beauty Look Book's first monthly favorites feature! I wanted to feature some midsummer beauty favorites for the skin, body and hair. Many of these items are things I've been using all summer long.
  • Caudalie Make-up Removing Cleansing Water is a gentle lightweight cleansing water that refreshes the skin. It won't remove waterproof eye makeup or mascara all the way, but I like this for the face. I have this in the full size as well but like to keep the small travel sizes.
  • Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse has been a favorite this summer for dry body oils. (Three I tested here.) I alternate between this and the Caudalie Divine Oil, but lately I've been reaching more for the Nuxe, the fresh floral beach-like scent is perfect for summer. It layers nicely with most perfumes as it's very gentle and not overpowering. I love that the skin absorbs it quickly.
  • Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray is an alternative to dry shampoo. I've tried several and don't like the powdery crunchy look they give to the hair. The Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray is the only one I've tried that doesn't leave any residue. It's more of a texturizing spray that I like to use on days where my hair looks a bit flat. I love all things Oribe that I've tried it's a brand I keep exploring and looking into. The signature Oribe scent is incredible.
  • St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse is a new discovery this year and it is hands down my favorite self tan product. I purchased the mini size to compare it to the Gradual an Everyday Body Lotion from Sephora. I tested each one simultaneously with the mousse on one leg and the lotion on the other. The mousse gives a better tan without being orange. The lotion has a more gradual darkening effect. The tint to the mousse also helps you see where you applied product and helps as a guide for even application. It didn't stain or transfer to white sheets and after letting it set for 10 minutes I found it didn't transfer to a white denim skirt. I applied it for two consecutive days and my tan will last about 5 days. I have super sensitive skin and I've gotten allergic reactions to spray tans and other self tan products (like Clarins).
  • First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser was sent for review and it is an amazing cleanser. It has red clay which is suppose to draw out toxins, remove oil and unclog pores. It's designed for combination or oily skin. My skin is slightly combination, dry on the cheeks area and slightly oily in the T zone. I found this to be amazing at unclogging pores. It comes with a slightly gel-like texture that is a reddish pink with a pearly shimmer. It works well with the hands, a washcloth and my Clarisonic Aria. It's gentle enough for my sensitive skin but very effective. I'm on my second tube.
  • Tom Ford Mandarino di Amalfi is one of Tom Ford's latest, it's one of two new scents that are an extension of the Neroli Portofino line. I can't wear a lot of orange citrus scents but Tom Ford is the only one I can pull off. It's the perfect summertime scent with citrus, florals and musk.
  • Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream is something I bought from the Flower Power Kit (has the Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream in 1 oz, Rose Face Mask in 1 oz, Sugar Tulip and Rose Floral Toner 0.5 oz). I love this lightweight face cream for hydration. It's too heavy for me right now for daily use but I like to use it 2x per week during the day and alternate this as a night cream. It has a refreshing cucumber scent and feels amazing on the skin. It makes the skin look refreshed and improves the overall skin tone by smoothing over time and is great for calming the skin.
  • MAC Cleanse Off Oil has been my favorite go-to for removing makeup at the end of the day. I did a roundup of several oils I tested and the MAC is one I keep reaching for because it has the best emulsifying quality and gets everything off without leaving a residue or drying out the skin.
  • Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask is something I tried with the mini pods first. I liked it so much I bought the full size. It's a mask that really works and clears pores. It has a slight tingly effect the first few minutes but it goes away. The charcoal and white clay both work to draw out pore-cloggers. I've used it up to 3x per week when my skin was messed up. I don't recommend using it if you have broken skin or areas with irritation, but it is a gentle enough mask that won't sting your skin. 
  • Malin+Goetz Lip Moisturizer is my summer favorite for a relative inexpensive lip balm with a nice lightweight gel formula. It's super effective without being too rich or heavy for summer.
  • L'Occitane Extra Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body has been a staple for me for years. It's the only body lotion I've repurchased. It has a super lightweight feel that absorbs into the skin. It's part of the Shea Butter line and is moisturizing and soothing.
  • Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Primer was a Sephora freebie. It's a pre-styler product that I apply to the hair before blow drying and it helps smooth the hair, decreases frizz and protects it from heat styling. It smells absolutely amazing like coconut and vanilla. It adds softness and shine without weighing down the hair.
  • L'Occitane Frisson de Verveine Hand Cream Gel is a great alternative to regular hand creams for the summer. It's a unique hand moisturizer that absorbs into the skin really quickly. It has an interesting dry down that's smooth and soothing with a slight velvety feel. It comes in the new Frisson Verbena scent which is a lightweight summery lime. One tube was sent for review and I've already purchased a second one.
  • Tatcha Aburatorigami Beauty Papers are the perfect blotting papers for me. They are compact and easy to carry in the purse. I love how they are super absorbent without having any powdery residue. I use about one sheet with every use and it's so much better than touching up with powder mid-day or late afternoon. Sometimes with the summer heat and humidity I've found adding powder to oily skin can get cakey (at least on me).
  • Chanel UV Essential Anti-Pollution Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is the only face sunscreen I like to use. It's lightweight and absorbs into the skin quickly. I like to layer serum with moisturizer under my foundation but I don't like anything that feels heavy. This sunscreen is light enough to wear with both a serum and moisturizer and foundation. It's suitable for my sensitive skin. It also comes with an SPF 20 and SPF 30 versions as well.



What have been your summer favorites this past month?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cleansing Oil Testing | Tatcha, MAC, Shu Uemura, Josie Maran, Chanel and Dior


I've used cleansing oils for years but just recently started using them on a regular basis. I have been really impressed with the long-wear formulas brands have been releasing in foundation, powder, blush and concealer. Who doesn't want their makeup to last all day without touching up or fading? For me, the long-wear factor has had one downside: it doesn't come all the way off with a regular cleanser and leads to clogged pores and breakouts. Using stronger cleansers tend to irritate my skin.

I have my local Chanel artists to thank for recommending that I add a cleansing oil to my daily skincare routine. I did quite a bit of research, pulled out some samples, looked for online promo codes for minis with purchases and bought a few small trial/travel sized oils to do some extensive testing.

This year I've explored more in skincare than I have previous years and have found it's all a slow learning process for me. I am not an expert with skincare ingredients - I know many of you are passionate about skincare and know much more than I do about specific ingredients, formulas and what to avoid. I rely on the product specialists I talk to with various brands, online reviews and personal testing to determine what works for me. As always, I share what I've experienced personally - due to different skin types, your mileage may vary.


You might be wondering if you really need a cleansing oil. If you wear long-wear makeup like me and find yourself with small areas of clogged pores, I will say yes. To see how effective your current cleanser is, take a cotton pad soaked with cleansing water or a wipe and swipe your face after your normal process. You might be shocked to see remnants of product transfer to the cotton after you wipe your face down which means you didn't clean it enough. I've found Cleansing Oils and Cleansing Waters help break down long-wearing makeup for cleaner skin. I've found the best way to use these is to apply them to a dry face with dry hands and massage all over. Rinse with warm water to activate the foaming quality and emulsify to cleanse the skin. Some are designed to cleanse the skin fully and claim to have no film leftover so you don't need to double cleanse. I still prefer to use the two step method of a Cleansing Oil + Foaming Cleanser.

I've put 9 different cleansing oils to the test with various minis, samples and travel-sized options. I wish more brands would offer sampler/trial sets for skincare. I would be more likely to try new products and brands if sampler sizes were offered.

I've tested each oil for a minimum of 6 uses each over the past few months. With all of these, the best way to use them is to apply to a dry face with dry hands right on top of the makeup and massage it in circular motions all over the face.
  • Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil ($12 for 1.9 oz) I purchased the small travel size online based on the 4.2 out of 5 star rating on Sephora. I found this one to be my least favorite of all the oils even though I had high hopes. It has a very thick texture that feels goopy on the skin. It does a very effective job at cleaning and removing makeup, but I couldn't get past the texture. The scent is also too sweet for my taste and the flip open cap of the mini leaked product all over the place. It also made my skin feel a bit too tight after application.
  • Tatcha One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($12 for .08 fl oz or $48 for 5.1 fl oz) I was really pleased to find out large the trial size was after ordering it online from the Travel Sized beauty category. I was also happy to see the small version come with a good pump and also with good packaging. Sometimes minis are cased in cheap containers but the Tatcha is very well designed. This turned out to be one of my favorites. It has a medium-thin texture which applies well to the face. Massaging the product emulsifies on the skin. It cleanses well with water and gave the skin a moisturizing feel without any residue feeling. It has the signature Tatcha Camellia scent which is soothing and gentle.
  • MAC Cleanse Off Oil ($10 for 1 fl oz) has been a long-time favorite of mine. I like to keep the mini bottle and refill it for travel although it comes in the mini size. The $10 price seemed very affordable for a trial (when I first tried it many years ago). This is the best one for removing all trace of waterproof eye makeup without stinging the eyes.
  • MAC Tranquil Cleanse Off Oil ($10 for 1 fl oz) was a purchase I made after reading so many rave reviews, I liked the texture and soft scent, but found it less effective compared to the regular version. If you have super sensitive skin or want something more gentle this is a good option for you.
  • Chanel Le Blanc Immediate Brightening Oil-Gel Makeup Remover (mini sample shown, $60 for 5 oz) is something that has been used on my at several Chanel events. It's a clear gel that turns into an oil as you work it into the skin. It's lightly scented which might bother some of you, but it is extremely effective. It's the only one that will remove all traces of mascara and eyeliner. The upside of the gel texture is that it's slightly thick so it doesn't run into the eyes if you work it on the eye area. Even though it's thicker, it's not goopy and is very emollient once massaged but not greasy. This is the most unique formula I've tried.
  • Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Oil (green sample gwp shown, $37-$77 for full size) has had so many raves online. It cleansed well and I found it emulsified nicely too. I couldn't get over the scent. It smells like green tea with an emphasis on the herbal side. I liked that it left no residue on the skin but it left my skin feeling a bit tight.
  • Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Cleansing Oil (brown sample gwp shown, $42-$90 for full size) is most like a traditional cleansing oil. It reminds me of the older versions Shu Uemura used to have. It's gentle yet very efficient leaving skin feeling clean.
  • Shu Uemura Whitefficient Clear Brightening Cleansing Oil (blue sample gwp shown, $38-$81 for full size) is a brightening oil, this one has the best scent out of all the ones I've tried, it's a refreshing clean scent, kinda like dryer sheets, but not quite as sharp. This one emulsified really well and is more gentle compared to the Ultime8.
  • Dior Instant Gentle Cleansing Oil (mini gwp shown, $36 for 6.7 fl oz) is one I had high hopes for. So many have raved about this one too. I did not like this one. It has a slightly sticky feel making it a bit hard to massage over the face. It didn't tug or pull, but didn't emulsify quite as well as the other more fluid options. After cleansing with water the skin felt sticky.
Here are how the minis size up next to each other and compare in packaging design, some of these were samples, some purchased. The packaging of the full size versions are usually better in quality and typically come with a pump.

Samples I purchased below: Tatcha, Josie Maran, MAC. Online samples with codes: Shu Uemura. Samples at the counter: Dior and Chanel.


To summarize my thoughts:
Best at removing all traces of makeup 
Tatcha One-Step, Chanel Le Blanc Oil Gel and MAC Cleanse Off Oil

Most gentle 
 Shu Uemura Whitefficient and MAC Tranquil Cleanse Off
Most moisturizing 
Tatcha and Ultime8
Best scent 
Tatcha and Shu Uemura Whitefficient

Top picks
1) MAC Cleanse-Off Oil
2) Tatcha One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil
3) Shu Uemura Whitefficient

I hope you found this roundup helpful. I've found that adding a cleansing oil to my routine has helped clean my skin better and has significantly decreased the amount of clogged pores and tiny bumps on the face. Do note that your mileage may vary depending on your skin type. I have normal but sensitive skin. If you are oily or dry you might find different oils work better for you.

What are your experiences with cleansing oils? Do you have any favorites or stories you'd like to share on what worked for you or what didn't work out so well? 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

MAC Look in a Box All About Coral | Nordstrom Anniversary 2014


MAC has several limited-edition boxed sets and palettes available for this year's Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I bought the Look in a Box - All About Coral ($39.50) which includes 2 lip items and 2 eye products:

  • Passion Charge Lustre Lipstick is a glossy medium-bright coral peachy shade
  • Stoke the Flame Lipglass is a frosted peach with visible sparkles
  • Collective Chic Veluxe Pearlfusion Eyeshadow has a glitzy champagne, olive shimmer and plum-brown frost shade
  • Brownborder Technakohl Liner is a warm brown eyeliner, it's the only item you can purchase separately



I bought this mainly because I fell in love with the lip items. The Passion Charge lipstick and Stoke the Flame lipglass combination creates a pretty peachy coral lip that's perfect for summer. The lipstick is a lustre formula but has impressive pigment for a glossy lipstick. The lip glass looks good layered over lipsticks but has enough color to wear alone.



If you're like me and only like the lip colors, here are some swatches that I did in attempts to dupe Stoke the Flame Lipglass. I couldn't find anything identical but here are some swatches:

MAC Mimmy (Hello Kitty collection, discontinued)
MAC Eurobeat Dazzleglass (discontinued)
MAC Meteoric Cremesheen Glass (discontinued)



Some more dupe attempts with other corals and peaches. I was really surprised how close it is to Tom Ford Sweet Spot:

Tom Ford Sweet Spot (discontinued)
Edward Bess Forbidden Flower (discontinued)
MAC Fresh & Frisky Huggable (discontinued)


I swatched the eye palette in store and was really impressed with the pigment. On the eyes it proved to be a bit tricky to apply. The champagne color is quite glittery and when I applied with a brush I experienced a lot of fall out. I found it best either applied with fingers by patting all over the lids with a creamy base or on top of the other two shades to set. Once on the eyes it didn't budge, but the initial application had some fall out over the face. The khaki olive and brown plum applied smoothly with a brush and layered nicely for a smokey eye. I tested this in warm hot weather outdoors at an event that lasted from 1 pm to 7 pm. I spritzed the Urban Decay All Nighter Spray (also featured here) over the eyes and face and it made the look last all afternoon and kept it looking fresh - nothing budged.

The eyeliner is pretty basic. I like the smooth creamy texture and find it lasts long, but if you have a lot of brown eyeliners it's not a must-have. I did some comparisons for the eyeliner.




The MAC Look in a Box sets are limited-edition. It appears the All About Coral Set has sold out online along with a few other sets but I've linked it so you can find the Product/Item Number. I suspect it's still available in stores and you may want to have Nordstrom Customer service locate one for you if you're interested. They might restock online. I found the set to be a good deal for the price. If you only like a few items in the set I hope the comparison swatches above help find something similar.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On My Radar


Here are a few things on my radar this week. Fall collections are starting to arrive and I'm excited about the upcoming releases. From the top left, clockwise:
  • NARS Fall 2014 launches this week online at narscosmetics.com, I have my eye on Dolomites Eyeshadow Duo, Unlawful Blush and the two new Satin Lip Pencils in Bansar and Mandore
  • Marc Jacobs Beauty has launched some new Lust for Lacquer lip glosses, there are three new Lip Vinyl Sheers in Shiny, Magic and Superstar and two new Lip Vinyl Full shades in Shooting Stars and Satisfaction
  • I've been on the hunt for new sunglasses and after hours of searching, I think I'm finally narrowed it down to either these Marc by Marc Jacobs aviators or some Kate Spade classic shades that are on sale
  • Chanel Les 4 Ombres have hit counters, I'm in love with Poésie and Tissé Rivoli but have my eye on Tissé Vénitien (greens), Tissé Grabrielle (smokey) and Tissé Vendome because the formula is just so amazing with rich smooth pigment
  • For the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I picked up the MAC Coral Look in a Box, the eyeshadow trio has really pretty pigmented colors and the lips options are stunning peachy corals, I'll review this soon but I give this a huge thumbs up
  • In the past few months I've been testing out some cleansing oils from Chanel, Tatcha and Shu Uemura, I'll have a report soon on the ones I've tested but in the meantime I'd love to hear what your favorites are

What's on your radar this week? Were you able to pick up anything from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale yet? With fall beauty collections starting to trickle in stores, what do you have your eye on?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Travel Makeup | Summer Edition


As requested, here are the items I brought with me on my recent trip. All the items were carried in my well-loved Bobbi Brown Train Case (from 12+ years ago and no longer available for sale, Old Hollywood Version still available). I tend to overpack for makeup so the case limits what I bring. If it can't fit, it doesn't travel with me. I've split the items into three categories: Lips, Face/Cheeks and Eyes.













To those who asked to see what I brought with me, I hope this helps! I always have a makeup overpacking problem so my fellow beauty lovers - if you have any tips I'd love to hear what you bring with you on trips/travel whether it's a weekend getaway, a week trip or extended vacation.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Travel / Trial Sized Beauty - Skincare for Face and Body


Since my last trip in April I've been on the hunt for more mini-sized beauty items for travel and testing. One area I always neglect in packing is skincare for face and body. I almost never check in luggage so I'm limited to one carry-on and therefore subject to the one quart-size bag rule for liquids. Squeezing in all the items into one bag is a challenge for me but I've learned that skipping out on good skincare usually results in ruined skin that takes weeks to recover (at least for me). This time I took extra care to plan in advance and did quite a bit of research in the weeks leading up to the trip looking for good travel-sized minis. This is what I brought with me, all of which fit perfectly into one quart sized bag. I love minis for skincare anyways as a way to test out new items without having to splurge on the full size.



  • SK-II Facial Treatment Cleanser ($70 for full size) was part of a mini gift with purchase from Saks, I frequently check the Special Offers page before stocking up on the full size, this is one of my favorite face cleansers, when I don't have minis of my regular face cleansers, I squeeze some into a little disposable container
  • Caudalie Cleansing Water (50 ml/1.69 fl oz) the mini size is part of The Favorites Set ($32) which I've been a huge fan of, this is a gentle makeup remover that makes the skin feel clean and moisturized (FYI there is a Caudalie GWP online for a Deluxe Size Divine Oil with $50+ purchases using code DIVINE through July 2nd)
  • MAC Cleanse Off Oil / Tranquil ($10 for 30 ml/1.0 fl oz) is one of the mini to-go sizes for MAC skincare, I bought this to test out since I've been a huge fan of the regular Cleanse Off Oil, I find the Tranquil version to be more gentle with a moisturizing feel, I prefer the Regular version to remove makeup before cleansing (with long-wear makeup, I've found I need a few extra steps to remove every trace of primer, concealer, foundation, powder and blush)
  • Chanel Gentle Biphase Eye Makeup Remover ($34 for the full size) is a mini I stock up on with gift with purchases during Chanel events, it's the best I've tried (I favor it over Lancome) that removes waterproof mascara and long-wear eyeliners without stinging the eyes
  • Giorgio Armani Regenessence 3.R Pre-Regenerative and Retexturizing Lotion ($53 for the full size) is my current toner of choice, it makes the skin feel really and soft and helps to smooth out the surface before serums or moisturizers, I got the mini size with a Neiman Marcus gift with purchase event and saved the bottle, I refill it with the full size when I go on trips or weekend getaways



  • Caudalie Divine Oil ($9 for 15 ml/.05 fl oz) is a must-have for me, I use it almost daily for the legs and arms, I love how this one smells refreshing and especially how it absorbs into the skin quickly, it's often available in value sets like this Sephora Summer Crushes set and I've seen it in seasonal duos, I bought my first Divine Oil because my friend said, "at $9 you won't be crushed if you don't like it, but you will, you need to try it, it's amazing" - she was right, I'm rarely without this one (it's often in my purse)
  • Caudalie Divine Legs (25 ml/0.84 fl oz) in the mini size is usually part of yet more value deal sets, there's one for $32 that comes with a 50 ml Divine Oil + 25 ml Divine Legs, I have super sensitive skin that often reacts to tanning and bronzing products, although this one from Caudalie doesn't tan, it does give a nice bronzed leg effect that I found very natural, since there were mixed reviews on Sephora, I thought getting the set with the mini was good to try, I tested the Divine Legs this past weekend rubbing quickly into the legs after moisturizing with a light layer of the Divine Oil, it dried quickly but I was able to work it in quickly before it set, I wore a black dress and skirt over the past few days so I didn't notice any transfer to clothing, I'll have to test this one out a few more times but I liked it and didn't experience any irritation
  • Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream (30 ml/1 fl oz) is another lovely item from The Favorites Set, I have a number of tried and true favorite hand creams, I picked this one because of the refreshing lightweight scent and compact size
  • Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Body Butter (30 ml) is a new addition to Tatcha's Travel Sized beauty, if you're on their mailing list you might recognize this as one of the past gift with purchases they offered (they have special promo codes), this one will this one will be available for purchase mid to late July, you can read my full review here, some might wonder if I brought a body oil with me, did I really need to bring a body lotion as well? I could have gotten away with bringing just one, but I like the Tatcha for it's soothing qualities, sometimes my skin acts up and gets itchy from being dry, the Tatcha Indigo line works wonders for hydration and soothing



  • Chanel Sublimage La Creme Texture Fine ($390 for the full size 1.7 oz) is one of the most amazing face moisturizers I've tried and also one of my biggest splurges, it hydrates the skin and keeps it looking smooth and clear, there are often minis available with gift with purchases, sometimes counters have samples to give out (they are more friendly with samples if you make a decent sized purchase) 
  • Ole Henriksen Truth Serum ($15 for 0.5 fl oz/15 ml) is one of my favorite serums, I love the small travel/trial size which is available at a good price, it's often part of deal sets as well such as The Works, the best part is the mini packaging comes with a super convenient pump dispenser making it easy to use
  • Tatcha Camellia Beauty Oil ($33 for 10 ml) is the cutest mini-sized beauty oil, it's the perfect size to test out in case you're hesitant about oils in general (I am), when I travel, my skin tends to dry out a bit, I used this at night before bed to smooth the skin and give it an extra boost of hydration over night, on regular days, I use the oil for day 1-2x per week alternating with my regular serum/moisturizer routine, it gives the skin a super hydrated refreshed feel without feeling heavy (more thoughts on this one here)
  • Tatcha Ageless Revitalizing Eye Cream ($29 for 3 ml) came with a Barneys gift bag event offer, I love testing out mini eye creams and this one is super tiny which was good to fit into the corners of my quart sized bag, I found this one to be a bit heavy for my needs, it's a rich creamy eye treatment I found good for overnight hydration (applied in small doses) but for everyday it will probably be too heavy for my skin type, this is the beauty of minis, you can test items to see how they work for you before committing to the full size



  • Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray ($14 for 30 ml/1.0 fl oz) has had so many raves on Sephora so I made a quick stop to one of the stores during my trip and picked one up. It's described as a weightless spray that keeps your makeup looking fresh for up to 16 hours. I attended a wedding over the weekend in semi-humid weather and thought this would be the perfect time to test something like this. Most of the wedding was indoors and it didn't last 16 hours so I couldn't really test this to see if it lived up to its claims. I did like the lightweight feeling, it spritzes a super fine layer of mist over the face evenly (huge plus for me) and it kept my makeup looking fresh and melt-free for around 7 hours.
  • Clinique Color Correcting Superprimer ($27 for 1 fl oz, review here) was my primer of choice for the weekend for its smoothing properties, you can see the difference in the texture of the skin once applied, it works well under liquid foundations as well
  • Origins Clear Improvement Mask Pods ($8 for 4 one-time use pods) is another item I picked up during my trip, I loved the concept of the one-time use pods and am usually skeptical about pore-cleansing masks since most usually are either too strong and sting the skin or so gentle it feels like nothing (my favorite from MAC was discontinued). I used one pod during my trip and was really impressed with how well this cleansed and tightened the skin, after one use pores were visibly smaller, there is a slight tingly feeling but it did not irritate or sting the skin, based on the reviews I've read and my experience with one pod, this one shows a lot of promise
All the liquid/gel items in my zip-loc quart size bag - yes, they all fit including a mini perfume and bottle of Chanel foundation :)


Overall this trip I felt like I packed all the essentials (and then some) for skin care face and body. I did skip bringing shampoo, conditioner and shower gels and relied on what was at the hotel (I was really happy that they had Neutrogena). I ended up using everything I brought with me along with the two items I purchased on the trip at Sephora. I don't travel often so it's taken a few tries for me to get the right mix of products while I'm away from home. I think this time I've finally found my perfect mix of items for skincare. (If you want to know what makeup I brought with me let me know in the comments below, otherwise you can see what I carried with me on previous trips by clicking on the Travel tag.)

Do you have any favorite travel sized beauty items? What items did you end up loving from mini-testing that made you buy the full size? Any new discoveries lately? Also if you ended up hating something from testing out a mini, I'd love to hear about your experiences.

Some items in this post were provided for review consideration and some minis were acquired from various gift with purchase events. Most items were purchased by me. For more information please refer to my Disclosures.

 

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