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

Monday, February 8, 2016

Chinese New Year 2016 Armani Highlighting Palette and MAC Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer for the Year of the Monkey

Happy Chinese New Year! Today marks the day many of us celebrate Chinese New Year and this year's zodiac animal is the monkey. There are some cute beauty items that have launched to celebrate this event, I have two to feature today. One being the Armani Chinese New Year Highlighting Palette ($88 for 8.5 g/0.3 oz, made in France) and the other is MAC Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer ($17 for 3g/0.1 oz, made in Canada).

Up first is the new highlighting powder from Armani. The Chinese New Year Highlighting Palette comes in a mirrored compact with a compartment for a small brush. The packaging design is similar to that of other highlighting powders and the powder foundation. It's a very soft and subtle highlighter in a gold shade. It does have quite a complex mix of shimmers from champagne and gold. I found the finish to be on the sheer side but it is buildable. Depending on how the light hits the compact, sometimes the color will look more golden and yellow, other times the shimmers will reflect to show more of a champagne colored shimmer. It comes cased in a stunning red lacquered compact. On the top is embossed the Chinese character for good fortune. It was difficult to capture the shimmer in this one but depending on how you apply it, you will see tiny bits of micro sparkle, almost like superfine tiny bits of glitter. It's very smooth on the skin though, there's no texture or chunkiness to the feel.

A look at the packaging design:

Swatched with a heavy hand otherwise it would not show up on camera:

A few swatch comparisons below to:

Armani Fluid Sheer #2 (also swatched here)
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light (review)
Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder Brilliant Strobe Light (swatch)
Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder Euphoric Strobe Light (review)

I think it's a nice collective piece to own if you celebrate Chinese New Year or if you simply love Armani highlighters. I find it special because of the packaging design and since I am Chinese, I do think it's a fun piece to own. In terms of the color and quality, it's a high quality powder with a finely milled texture to add a nice glow. On me I find it very subtle. I suspect some may find it too subtle or may not like the tiny gold micro sparkles. I like that it doesn't emphasize pores and it feels very smooth on the skin. That being said, I do prefer the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Powders to this one.

Next up is something from MAC. They've curated a collection of some of their top-selling items (repromotes and permanent items) for the Year of the Monkey Collection - shades inspired by Chinese opera. Online and in MAC stores they have a special gold envelope (while supplies last). I ordered Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer online as it's always been on my radar but I never caved and ordered. It's a beautiful sheer grapefruit color. It's bright but not too bright. You can find the color at all MAC counters and online. It's just the envelope that is limited-edition and exclusive to MAC online/stores. This comes in the lustre lipstick formula which is sheer but buildable. Your natural lip color will show through if you only swipe it across the lips once and it has a naturally glossy finish.

Swatch comparisons to:

Buxom Bold Gel Lipstick in Coral Confession (swatched here)
YSL Glossy Stain 42 (swatched here)

I think the Armani palette is a nice item to have, but not a must. I ordered mine sight unseen as I did not see it available at any counters near me. Had I been able to test it in person I suspect there's a good chance I still would have purchased it because of the packaging and personal meaning. MAC See Sheer is a good wearable coral that adds life to the complexion. It's a brighter shade compared to my natural preference for nude lips but I still find it very wearable and easy to pull off for everyday.

The Armani Chinese New Year Palette retails for $88 and is limited-edition. You can find it online at Nordstrom, Giorgio Armani and Saks Fifth Avenue.

MAC Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer retails for $17. You can find it at MAC stores and online (they will send a gold envelope with any Chinese New Year collection purchase while supplies last). If you're just interested in the lipstick, it's widely available at all MAC counters. Online at Nordstrom, Macy's and MAC Cosmetics.

Did you check out any of the Chinese New Year beauty items this year? Happy New Year to those who celebrate!

Monday, January 11, 2016

MAC Huggable Glass

I picked up a few of the MAC Huggable Glasses ($20 each) last month from my local Nordstrom. I've been a fan of the Huggable Lipsticks (I'm glad that MAC brought these back) so I was excited to learn that they were releasing a lipgloss formula. I swatched them all on my hand in store, but I rarely ever put testers on my lips for sanitary reasons. They seemed semi-sheer to medium in coverage and several of the colors looked really similar but was told that they are limited-edition so I picked up one of each of the neutrals. After playing with these at home, I'm really smitten with the formula. If you're one who thinks the regular Lipglasses are a bit too sticky (I personally don't mind them), well the Huggable Glass is a lot more smooth in texture. They glide on the lips and feel weightless but offer a nice wash of color to the lips. There is the signature MAC vanilla scent to these which I really love. Coverage is sheer to medium. You can swipe it for a bit more coverage, but overall I will say these are on the sheerer side. You can layer them over lipsticks for added shine or depth. Lasting power isn't quite as long as the regular lipglasses but I still found they lasted a decent amount of time on the lips before fading.

The colors I picked out include the neutrals, from top to bottom (all creams, no shimmer):
  • Pleasure First is a sheer pinky beige
  • Sweet Persuasion is a medium mauve pink
  • Kind Kiss is a sheer light peach
  • Keep it Light is a neutral cool beige
  • Cool Cutie is a peachy coral
  • Such a Sweetheart is a brighter peachy pink

These come with a flat tipped sponge applicator which is easy to use:

Swatches of all the colors below:

On the lips, many of them ended up looking the same. Out of the first four colors, I could have skipped Kind Kiss and Keep it Light, both of which are pretty sheer and almost non-existent on my lips. Sweet Persuasion has the best coverage and pigment on me even though it's very natural. Pleasure First looks similar but is slightly lighter and makes for a good nude gloss.

For the last two, I found Cool Cutie and Such a Sweetheart also similar. Such a Sweetheart is brighter, more pigmented and pulls more pinkish on me, while Cool Cutie slightly sheerer and warmer.

Your mileage may vary depending on your natural lip tone. These do offer some coverage but as you can see most are sheer to sheer-medium in coverage.

I'm overall pleased with the texture and feel of these. I could have skipped a few of the sheerer ones (Kind Kiss, Keep it Light and possible Cool Cutie). There were a couple of gorgeous milky pink ones but they settled into the fine lines on the back of my hand and looked a bit streaky I thought there would be a good chance they would look streaky on my lips as well so I passed. At the counter some of the brighter colors caught my eye but they were very cool-toned which doesn't always work on my olive skin.

My top two favorites are Sweet Persuasion and Such a Sweetheart. The others are nice, but given the sheerness and similarity not must-haves although I suspect they will be really good layering colors if you're the type who likes to line and fill with a neutral lipliner and then top with a sheer gloss (my favorite neutral lipliners in this post here).

Have you checked out the MAC Huggable Glass yet? If so which colors? You can find these for $20 each at all MAC stores and counters now. I believe they are limited-edition. Online at Nordstrom, Macy's and MAC.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What's Inside My Makeup Bag

Inside my makeup bag truffle clarity pouch

It's only the first week of the year and even though I've tried to clean out some of my purses and reorganize, I've already accumulated way too much in my makeup bag. I just emptied it this morning and counted 12 lip items ... wait no, 13 eek! Everytime I go out with my husband, he's always asking what it is that I'm lugging around and if I really need to carry all this stuff. Of course I don't, but I still do. Here's a peek at what's inside my makeup bag which is the Truffle Clarity Clutch Small in Nude. Some will be reviewed on the blog very soon.


Featured from left to right:

All the other stuff

From left to right:

I'll say now that the Dior Lip Glow in Lilac is way better than the Pink one (which turns fuchsia on my lips sometimes). I ordered all the Too Faced Melted Lipsticks from the chocolate launch because how can one resist anything chocolate? There are hits and misses with the colors - I'll be editing swatches to upload later this week (my husband said one of the colors looked absolutely hideous on me). I pulled out my Tisse Rivoli eyeshadow quad recently - it is one of my favorite neutrals in quad form but I misplaced it and couldn't find it for months (I had put the compact in my blush drawer which is why I couldn't find it with all the other eyeshadow compacts). My goal for the new year is to find some more makeup organization solutions. I've been using Muji Acrylic organizers and drawers, but I need something bigger with taller drawers - any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. There are a number of options out there I've been researching - I've been making notes on dimensions and picing, it's kinda overwhelming to sort out! 

What's in your makeup bag this week? If you keep your makeup contents to a minimum, how do you edit/organize what you carry? 

Press samples featured above indicated by a *. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best in Beauty 2015: The Beauty Look Book Makeup Favorites

I look back on the last twelve months and can't believe an entire year has gone by. This has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding years I've had yet and I have lots to look forward to for 2016. I took a quick look at my blog posts for the past year along with an inventory of my favorite beauty products. I started with a massive list - there were so many good launches this past year, especially for lipsticks. Brands have really upped their beauty game with better formulas. I've edited my list as much as I could to what I considered game changers this year.

I have four categories of best in beauty this year. The first up is makeup favorites. I have 20 of my top makeup picks for lips, eyes and face - nails have their own category (up next).
  1. NARS Chelsea Girls Lip Gloss is this year's best creamy nude (review here)
  2. Charlotte Tilbury Penelope Pink, Iconic Nude + Seduction make for the best nude lip combo ever, I used up an entire tube of Penelope Pink this year! (swatched here and here)
  3. Marc Jacobs Hi-Shine Enamored Lip Glosses = the best lip gloss launch (swatches here)
  4. Rouge Louboutin Silky Satin = most luxurious lipstick formula created and the best red lipstick I've ever swatched (3 formulas swatched here
  5. MAC x Ellie Goulding Lipsticks were the best pinks launched (swatches here)
  6. Burberry Kisses Lipstick = the best lipstick formula launch this year huge plus that they are unscented and also non-drying on the lips (my picks swatched here
  7. Tom Ford Lip Color Sheers in Skinnydip and Rose Soleil (swatches here) were the best new colors launched for the entire year (so good I have backups even though they are permanent)
  8. Hourglass Lip Treatment Oil in Icon is best new tinted lip treatment formula (swatched here)
  9. Urban Decay Naked3 was my most-used eyeshadow palette of the year (swatches here)
  10. Burberry Wet & Dry Glow Eyeshadow in Shell = best all over eyeshadow shimmer color for the lids ever made (review here)
  11. Clio Kill Bill Liquid Liner was the best liquid eyeliner discovery (review here)
  12. NARS Yeux Irresistible Palette wins for the best smoky eye palette of the year (swatches here)
  13. Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise colors are the best cream shadow launched this year for formula and color selection (swatched here)
  14. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer wins for most luminous bronzer + highlighter combination (swatches + review here)
  15. Tom Ford Moodlight is the best highlighter launch of 2015 (look + review here)
  16. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow in Medium Dark = the best bronzing duo launched and also the one I used the most this past year (look shown on face here)
  17. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder in #2 is best setting powder of the year, if it ever gets discontinued I will literally want to die (thoughts + review here)
  18. Sephora Pro Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation Brush #53 best foundation brush discovery for flawless streak-free coverage (review here)
  19. Wayne Goss Anniversary Set = the best brush set launch of the year (review here)
  20. Edward Bess All Over Seduction = most-used cream highlighters of the year (swatches here)
What were your favorite makeup picks this past year?

Monday, December 21, 2015

MAC x Ellie Goulding Cremesheen Lipstick and Plushglass Swatch Comparisons

Above, left to right: Without Your Love, Only You, Explosion and Goodness Gracious

Here are some swatch comparisons for the MAC x Ellie Goulding lip items. For the Cremesheen Lipsticks in Without Your Love and Only You, I picked out some I thought could be similar:

MAC Huggable Lipstick in Touché (swatched on lips here)
MAC Lipstick in Creme Cup
MAC x Ellie Goulding Lipsticks in Without Your Love
and Only You (lip swatches here)
MAC Lipstick in Cosmo
Burberry Kisses Lipstick in Nude Pink (on the lips here)
Buxom Bold Gel Lipstick in Guilty Angel (reviewed here)
Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Bitch Perfect (lip swatches here)


For the Plushglasses, in case you can't do tingly plumping lip products, a few alternatives below. The Buxom Lip Polishes are tingly/plumping but not as strong as the MAC Plushglass.

MAC x Ellie Goulding Plushglass in Explosion (on lips here)
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in Ibiza Nights (swatched here)
NARS Lip Gloss in Greek Holiday
Burberry Kisses Lip Gloss in Pale Nude (lip swatched here)
MAC Mineralize Lipglass in Sheer Coincidence
MAC Mineralize Lipglass in Lovingly Yours
MAC x Ellie Goulding Plushglass in Goodness Gracious (swatched here)
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in Sweet Stiletto (swatched here)
Chanel Glossimer in Giggle
Buxom Lip Polish in Dolly (on the lips here)


Even though I suspect MAC Without Your Love and Only You are both similar to other colors, I've deemed them both must-haves. They are light neutrals that are flawless and just work. Both are limited-edition and retail for $18 each. I bought mine at Nordstrom.

MAC x Ellie Goulding Collection - Holiday 2015

MAC x Ellie Goulding

The Ellie Goulding for MAC Collaboration is something I've been eagerly anticipating for months ever since sneak peek photos surfaced. I ordered almost everything sight unseen from Nordstrom thanks to the great swatches and reviews from other bloggers and am beyond thrilled with all the colors. They are perfectly natural and glowy without being too light or sheer - the Cremesheen Lipsticks in Only You and Without Your Love are the kind of colors I want to wear everyday. I was worried they might be too pale (like Creme Cup) but they are surprisingly wearable on my super pigmented lips. All the items are limited-edition so I suggest ordering soon if you're interested. I picked up all the new color items and Revved Patentpolish (repromoted color that I didn't have). I skipped Innocent Patentpolish since I already have it (and find it too pale, swatched here).

What I hauled:
Up first are the lips. Patentpolish Lip Pencil in Revved is a sheer peachy pink with a tiny bit of shimmer. It has a glossy finish. On me it's very peachy, if you want something similar but more pink, try Kittenish (it's a lovely pink).

I think the highlight of the collection are the two Cremesheen Lipsticks. Without Your Love is a lighter neutral pink (what I wanted Tom Ford Blushed Nude and MAC Creme Cup to be). It's surprisingly wearable even though it's on the lighter side. It's super creamy and feels moisturizing but MAC lipsticks tend to dry my lips. I've found adding a bit of balm underneath or primer helps. I'm still obsessed with the MAC Prep + Prime Lips - if you haven't tried it, I highly recommend you do. Only You is deeper and warmer but still neutral. I do think they are different enough to justify both, I can't pick one favorite over the other.

The Plushglasses are both semi-sheer on the lips.  They have a plumping ingredient that makes the lips tingle. Fortunately they don't cause an allergic reaction on my lips (they are super sensitive) but I'm not a fan of the numbing sensation they give. I swatched a number of comparisons and alternatives which I'll have uploaded later this afternoon in case you have sensitive lips and can't wear them. Given the sheerness I think I could have passed on both of these.

MAC x Ellie Goulding

The Halcyon Days and Halcyon Nights Face Kits are very glowy neutrals. They are double-tiered compacts and the top portion slides out to reveal a face product underneath. There is a decent amount of product in each of the compacts - I would have liked to see the top tier flip up and a pan of product that spans the entire size of the compact in the bottom simply because it would be easier to dip a brush inside.

Halcyon Days is a face kit with a Blot Powder and four Cream Color Bases in Wish I Stayed, Tint, Every Time You Go and Root. I have and adore Tint and Root as creamy cheek bases to layer powder blush on top of. The other two shades are new and pretty on the cheeks. I find them too emollient for the eyes although they can work if you layer powder shadows on top.

Halcyon Nights has a Cream Color Base called This Love which looks bronze but goes on a champagne shimmer on me. There are four eyeshadows called Starry Eyed, You My Everything, Saddle and Hanging On. The four eye shades create the perfect glowy warm eye look.

I'll Hold My Breath Bronzer Blush Duo is a lovely duo that adds warmth and life to the face naturally. The bronzer is slightly shimmer for a very natural warm glow. The blush is a coral pink that has a slight sheen but looks more satiny. I've added swatch comparisons to other colors.

Swatched below:

MAC Bronzer in Refined Golden
MAC Bronzer in Bronze
Chanel Blush in Vibration (reviewed here)
MAC Blush in Fleur Power
MAC Blush in Hipness

Bottom line - the Ellie Goulding for MAC Collection is perfect for the no-makeup makeup look to add a gorgeous natural glow of color to the face. It has a lovely resort feel and I love that everything is slightly warm to give life to the complexion. Highlights for me are the Only You and Without Your Love Cremesheen Lipsticks, I'll Hold My Breath Duo and Halcyon Nights Palette. The Halcyon Days Palette is nice to have if you like creamy tints (I really like the Cream Color Bases) but the pans are pretty tiny so using a face or cheek brush is going to be hard (I have to use fingers). I could have passed on Revved Up Patentpolish Lip Pencil - it's pretty and a nice formula, I just prefer the lipsticks. Out of everything I hauled the only two items I am iffy about are the Plushglasses - I just don't like the way they feel on the lips although the colors are really pretty.

I think MAC is killing it this holiday season. The All I Want Mariah Carey Lipstick and Berry Black Friday Patentpolish are both amazing. I just picked up 6 shades of the new Huggable Lipglass (on the swatching agenda). Also the Faerie Whispers Collection just launched online and the Foiled Shadows are calling my name.

You can find the Ellie Goulding x MAC Collection at all MAC counters now. All items are limited-edition. Online at MAC, Nordstrom, Macy's, Bloomingdale's. Did you pick up anything from the collection?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

MAC Online Exclusives for Lips: All I Want Lipstick and Berry Black Friday Patentpolish Lip Pencil

MAC Berry Black Friday Patentpolish Lip Pencil and All I Want Lipstick

MAC launched a couple online exclusive limited-edition lip colors and it's a miracle both are still available online (at least at the time of this post). On Black Friday, MAC launched an exclusive color of Patentpolish Lip Pencil called Berry Black Friday ($20). On December 3rd, MAC released the highly anticipated MAC x Mariah Carey Collaboration Frost Lipstick called All I Want ($17). I thought I'd share swatches while both were still available to purchase online in the US. I do really like both and am glad I was able to buy them.

Close ups and swatches of both colors, a few details + comparisons:

MAC Berry Black Friday and All I Want

Berry Black Friday is a glossy plum color. It's a neutral plum purple and quite different from most plums I own because there's hardly any red undertone. There's still a little in it which prevents it from being a straight purple color which is nice. It's got a vampy feel to it, but the glossy sheer texture makes it a little softer and feminine (versus a bold harsh vamp). Texture is just like the other Patentpolish Lip Pencils - it's a twist up stick that's hard but glossy. It glides on the lips easily and offers layerable coverage. I wouldn't say it goes up to full coverage but you can swipe it back and forth to get medium-high color.

Berry Black Friday

Swatch comparisons to:

NARS Velvet Gloss Pencil in Club Mix (swatches here)
MAC Patentpolish Lip Pencil in Ruby (swatched here)
Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss in Distinction (on the lips here)
Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Cremes in Blow and Scandal (swatches here)
Burberry Kisses Lipstick in Oxblood (review here)
Buxom Bold Gel Lipstick in Vampy Plum (review + swatches here)

All I Want Lipstick is a frost formula. It takes me back to the 90's when this kind of color was popular. I remember all the cool girls in high school had Wuss or Pink Glaze lipstick. It's a high frost pearl champagne. On the lips alone it's pure metallic frost and on my pigmented lips it looks almost like pink tinged foil. Add any gloss on top though and it softens the color and transforms it into a gorgeous champagne shimmer. Of course if you apply it sheer with a soft touch it's not quite as metallic alone.

MAC All I Want Lipstick

MAC All I Want Lipstick

MAC All I Want Lipstick

Swatched comparisons to:

Tom Ford Lip Color in Sweet Mystery (swatched here)
MAC Frost Lipstick in Blonde on Blonde (discontinued)
MAC Lipstick in Wuss (discontinued)
MAC Lustre Lipstick in High Tea
MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Creme d Nude
MAC Lipglass in Oyster Girl

One last closeup:

MAC All I Want Lipstick Berry Black Friday Patentpolish

I really like both. Berry Black Friday makes for a true dramatic plum while All I Want is the perfect champagne frost with a tiny bit of gloss added. I'm eagerly anticipating the Ellie Goulding launch - I have quite a few items on my wishlist.

Both Berry Black Friday Patentpolish Lip Pencil and All I Want Lipstick are exclusive online to, both limited-edition and available while supplies last. If you have your eye on either I suggest you order very soon.

Did you buy either of these? What did you think?


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