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

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

My Summer Beauty Essentials


Summer is just around the corner but it's on my mind right now. For the beauty world, seasonal collections launch ahead of season so many of you have probably already started to update your makeup wardrobe for warm weather. For me - I love wearing summery bronze shades year round, it's a color I like to incorporate in bits to add warmth and life. I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share some of my summer beauty favorites covering a bit of everything from lips, eyes, cheeks, skin and fragrance. They have an entire page dedicated to Sexy Summer Must-Haves if you're looking for something new. Up first are fragrance and body must-haves.

Sunnies by Marc Jacobs here, hat from Nordstrom here

First up are items for the skin and body. In the summer I love a bright nail polish whether it's bright coral, red, orange or pink. My current obsession of the moment is Chanel Espadrilles which is a bright orangey-red cream. Two coats give full coverage and the new formula is a huge improvement in terms of lasting power over the original (even though I was a fan of the original). For fragrance, Tom Ford Soleil Blanc is the perfect white floral for summer but if you want something lighter the new Neroli Portofino Acqua (c/o) is really quite amazing. I've been wearing this for a few months now but haven't felt like I was ready to talk about it just yet - it's one of the lightest Tom Ford scents to date but still has very good lasting power. If you found the original Neroli Portofino too strong, the new Acqua version is the best one yet.

For self tanners - I've tried quite a few and they either smell really bad or cause an allergic reaction on my skin. A long-time favorite for a very natural gradual glow is the Clarins Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster which you mix in with moisturizer, but the effect is very natural. I read a ton of reviews online to find another one before deciding to cave and try the Soleil de La Mer Face and Body Gradual Tan. It's quite pricey but worth every penny. I've only tried on the body so far, but it gives a nice golden tan and smells amazing for a self tanner. You can use until you get the color you want, I found it worked for me after 4 days of use. Color lasts several days while fading gradually afterwards. It's streak free, didn't stain white jean shorts and non-orangey.

Protecting your skin with sunscreen that lasts is important. I have very sensitive skin and most sunscreens cause tiny little bumps to form on my skin by the end of the day. Two that I swear by are the Supergoop! Sunscreen Oil with SPF 50 and Coola Sunscreen Sprays which range from SPF 30 to 50 and come in unscented or scented options. I like the Coola because I can apply to my back easily in harder to reach areas. It's weightless so you don't feel like it's greasy or heavy on the skin. I ask my husband to try out sunscreens I use as well - he's really particular about products having a non-greasy feel and he approves of the Coola line.


For the lips, even though many associate summer color with brights or bronze shades, I love pinks, nudes and corals for a softer look. The best nude I've tried in a long time is Tom Ford Ultra Rich Lip Color in Revolve Around Me (c/o). It looks boring in the tube but on the lips it's so so good! The Tom Ford Moisturecore Lip Colors (c/o) are perfect color-wise and come in six options ranging from a soft gold nude, deep copper, berry, coral and a few neutrals. The one I've been reaching for the most is Pipa (I bought back ups of both shades).

Chanel launched new Glossimers in the summer collection. I'll have a full review on all the shades soon, but they are a new formula called Aqua Glossimer which comes with a slightly different applicator and a sheerer almost jelly like finish.

In an attempt to find more affordable color options to the Tom Ford I picked up a few other formulas. The Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Color has a similar finish and feel to the Moisturecore Lip Colors but feels so much smoother and glide on the lips. I picked up Boho Bronze which is similar to Cala di Volpe and is $27 vs the $55 price tag of the Tom Ford. MAC Huggable Lip Colors have been a favorite (Touche is a really good nude) for an effortless kind of lip color that adheres well to the lips and makes them glow with a natural hint of color. They launched a few more shades recently and I picked up Seoul-Ful, Bare Hug and Bonsai Bloom.

Last but not least I was really excited to see a new Kevyn Aucoin Lip Gloss in Sunlight. It's one of the prettiest bronzey shades I've tried. However when I got home I found it really close to Chanel Unity Glossimer.




For eyes I love shimmer. Even neutral shimmers add a little something that's fun but wearable for every day. I've been on the hunt for a good copper nude shimmer. Many coppers are too warm or red for my eyes/skintone. Bronze has been a go-to but I have been on the hunt for something a little different.


Long-time readers know Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rose Gold is a staple of mine. Shadow sticks are so easy to use and convenient to apply - you just smudge and blend with a finger. If you're looking for something a little more glitzy, the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Golden Pink is more shimmery and more visible on the skin. If you want something lighter for an all over wash Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes in Opale (c/o) is really one of the best there is.

For other shadow sticks, the Burberry Eye Color Contour Smoke and Sculpt Pens are really good. Pale Copper is more of a bronzey taupe on my skin but still very pretty. A more affordable option is the new MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Color Sticks which are pretty much budgeproof after you apply them.

In terms of golden copper shades, Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerize in Bette is one of my favorites. I know a few of you have mentioned you found it too emollient for your skin type in which case I'd recommend you try Tom Ford ones or the Burberry Eye Color Creams which has a harder stiffer texture and more suitable for oily lids.

My perfect copper shade is the Kevyn Aucoin Loose Shimmer Eyeshadow in Sunstone which comes with a rollerball applicator. Just glide them across the eyes and then blend with a finger or brush.

The hunt for the perfect bronze eyeliner ends with NARS Larger than Life Eyeliner in Via Appia for me. No matter what other colors or brands I try, this one is my tried and true.


For complexion I love glowing skin. I wear bronzer year round so when summer rolls around I'm happy that bronzer is "in." I've already reviewed a number of these shown below on the blog - some of which are back-up worthy in my mind which is why I have pristine new ones featured below. I've added other swatch shades as well for reference.

If you ask me what one bronzer I would recommend - it would be a very tough choice for me to pick just one. If you like a luminous glow, the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzing Powders are really good because they mix highlighter and bronzer in one. They can pull warm and if you are fair you may find them too dark or too warm in which case I'd recommend Tom Ford Bronzing Powder in Terra which is a cooler-toned matte. My personal favorite is Gold Dust (shown below) because it's the perfect mix of tan and gold in one. Both are goof-proof - the texture is really smooth and easy to layer without overdoing it.

NARS Laguna Bronzer is always a classic staple you can't go wrong with. They launched a Liquid Laguna Bronzer this year which is easier to control for a soft sheer warm glow. Also new is a Laguna-Tiare Bronzer in a scented option which smells heavenly!!

If you're set on bronzer and just want something to add to your cheeks for a glow, Tom Ford Fire Lust is hands down the best liquid illuminator I've tried. It's subtle but one of the prettiest I've tried. It's steep in price but worth it. You get a lot of product so it will last a long time.

In terms of blush, two that I deem absolute must-haves are Tom Ford Cream Cheek Color in Pink Sand and NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Sexual Content (c/o). Pink Sand was limited-edition last year but brought back again this season. It's a really special pink gold cream that is oh so pretty. NARS Dual Intensity Blushes aren't new but there are two new shades for summer in Sexual Content (shown below) and Liberation. The best thing about these is they have a unique cream to powder texture which is good for warm weather - it holds up on my skin without getting greasy or oily looking.

Last but not least - for foundation, I think finding the right one depends on skin type, coverage preference, color options and humidity levels. I've been loving the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint (c/o) for months now - it offers natural medium coverage and blends perfectly into the skin. I wore this over the holiday weekend - we went to the desert in Borrego Springs and it was almost 90 degrees (it was dry vs humid). The foundation stayed put all day long without needing a single touch up. This is my foundation of choice right now and I will be taking it with me while I travel later this month.

Above: hat from Nordstrom here (I bought it in both colors because it's a perfect fit)




I hope you enjoyed this summer beauty roundup! I tried to include swatches of multiple colors as a reference guide in case you're looking for a specific color or formula. Sometimes you'll find the perfect color in a lipstick or eyeshadow but want it in a different formula (ie powder vs cream). Or you may find a bronzer formula you like but want it in a matte version vs shimmer. I love mixing things up. Many of you have asked for a dedicated summer bronzer post so stay tuned for that one in the upcoming weeks. I'm still testing out a few to see if they will make the cut for what I would recommend.



As always please share your favorites for summer below. Especially if you have sensitive skin, would love to hear about what you've tried and love for sunscreen and self tanning! I've seen a few sunscreen sprays pop up that are new for the season  but would love to hear about your favorites too.

Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post. Some items in the post were press samples marked with a c/o next to the product names. More information in my Disclosures.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Future M·A·C Review - Mineralize Skinfinish, Mineralize Eye Shadow x4, Lustre Drops, Mineralize Rich Lipstick and Lipglass


MAC launched a new Mineralize Collection called Future M·A·C a few weeks ago. I have a few items I've been playing with for a few days now, some are press samples and a couple items I picked up from my local MAC counter. The theme of this collection is light and airy with a glowy futuristic feel. In past years I feel like you could simply blink once and find that almost everything from a MAC collection sold out within seconds or minutes of launching. I'm happy to see that items are still available for a while even if they are limited-edition. Today I'm reviewing some items including:
Up first is the Mineralize Eye Shadow x4 in Nano-Nude. This is my first time trying the Mineralize Eyeshadows so I did not know what to expect. I found all four shades in this palette to be very smooth and natural-looking. They do appear to have a baked formula which in general I'm not a fan of, but I was pleasantly surprised by how soft and smooth these were. The colors overall are on the light side and are sheer-to-medium in pigment. If you are looking for a no-makeup makeup look for the eye this is a good one. If you need color payoff or pigment you will be disappointed. Since I haven't tried this formula before I don't know if the color payoff in this one is typical or on the sheer side.


Left side is all four shades layered, right side swatch is the mattes only:


Next up are three lip items. I've never tried a Mineralize Rich Lipstick before on the lips although I've swatched them on my hand in store before. Cybernaut is a pale pink that does not work my natural lip tone. It's such a gorgeous soft pink in the tube but I can't wear these kinds of colors without looking washed out. Texture is smooth and it felt slightly hydrating on the lips.

For the Mineralize Lipglass I've tried a couple non-shimmer shades before. I like the formula for a very lush-looking high shine with a cushiony feel. The ones I have are medium-to-sheer but I found the two I tried from Future MAC extra sheer. The Zone is the prettiest nude-rose-taupe shimmer, on the lips it's sheer to medium in coverage that gives the lips a pretty your-lips-but-better kind of look. If you know of a lipstick this color please let me know because I think it would be amazing. Telegenius is sheer on my lips. It's a pretty iridescent pinky peach in the tube but only looks like transparent shine on my lips. I personally wish it had better color payoff - but that being said it can make a great layering gloss and I really like how smooth and lush it makes the lips look without feeling tacky.





The last bits of this review focus on three face/cheek products. I'm a huge fan of Mineralize Skinfinishes in general. Warm Rose is quite different from any other MSF I've tried. It's got a very powdery texture with a lot of kick-off powder. Finish is not as shimmery as most that I've tried, on me it worked as an all over setting powder for a soft translucent finish. It works right now but I suspect if I get any darker it won't work all over the face. There is a tiny bit of shimmer in the powder but it's not visible on the face (at least on me).

Otherearthly is all kinds of gorgeous. If you splurge on one thing from the collection try this one. It has mix of three colors including a peachy copper champagne, a shimmering pink and cool silver. I found the colors have enough separation to be able to dip a large eyeshadow brush into each section to apply separately. When swirled together with a duo fibre brush or blush brush the result is a really pretty glowy champagne peach with silver pearl mixed in. It gives a wonderful glow that isn't overly shimmery or frosty.

The Barbados Girl Lustre Drops is something that has been on my radar for quite some time. It's been launched with previous collections as a limited-edition item and this is the first time I've been able to play with it (it sold out in previous launches). It's a shimmering golden peach tan with gold/silvery flecks. This one gives the skin a slight tint of color but I mostly see shimmer on the skin. If you're a fan of the color but don't want sparkle flecks, I recommend opting for Tom Ford Fire Lust instead.


Out of everything I tested I think the best items include the Mineralize Skinfinish in Otherearthly and Mineralize Lipglass in The Zone. The other items performed well in terms of quality and texture - the colors just aren't really suited to my personal taste. I was really interested in the two Mineralize Blushes with this collection in Cosmic Force and Raybeam - I played with them at the counter and although they are really pretty, I felt they would be too light for my skintone right now.

Most of the items in the Future M·A·C are limited-edition (at least the items shown in this review) so if you have anything on your list I recommend checking the items out sooner than later. You can find them at all MAC counters right now. Online at MAC, Nordstrom, Macy's and Bloomingdale's.



Did you check out anything from the collection? What did you think?

Press samples include items with c/o listed next to the name in the top listing. Other items purchased by me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

MAC All the Right Angles Contour Palettes


MAC just launched four new contouring trios they call All the Right Angles Contour Palettes ($40 each). Each palette has three products cased in a two-tiered mirrored square compact to contour, shape and highlight with one Cream Color Base (4.5 g/0.15 oz) on the bottom, and on the top one Sculpting Powder (2.5 g/0.08 oz) and one Shaping Powder (2.5 g/0.08 oz). All the colors in this launch appear to be available for purchase individually with the exception of one of the Cream Color Bases in the Medium Dark Palette (Naked Universe) - so you may want to keep that in mind before buying one. MAC sent me Light as a press sample which I found too pale for my medium olive skin so I ordered the other three to review - partly because these are perfectly packaged for travel and also because I'm a huge fan of the cream color bases. Many of you have asked me what makeup items I've used up. At this point it's hard to remember every single thing I've used up and repurchased, but I have used up several cream color bases in the past (Hush, Tint, Improper Copper, Virgin Isle). I think they make great bases for powder eyeshadow or as a blush highlighter.


Onto the products in each palettes - the quality and texture of the products in the palette is the same as the individual options. For those new these products, I'll give a mini review on each in case you haven't tried any of the items before. Cream Color Bases retail for $22 (or $14 in Pro Palette Form). These are emollient solid cream based products that gives a soft dewy finish of color or highlight. They are extremely versatile and can be used on eyes, lips or cheeks and work well on bare skin or over powder/foundation. If you have oily skin you may find they get a bit shiny by mid-day. For my normal combination skin they last all day without fading or budging.

Sculpting Powders are available in several different formats as well. In the past they have been available separately similar to the MAC blushes. As of now they are mostly available in Pro Palette Form for $17 each or in Sculpt and Shape Duos for $22. These are semi-sheer matte powders that are darker in color designed to create natural looking shadows. I find these are best applied with a light and loose fluffy brush and also with a light hand - they go on the skin smoothly but as with any darker colored powder you want to lightly sculpt and build to create natural dimension.

Shaping Powders are lighter in color compared to the Sculpting Powders. They are are available individually in similar formats to the the Sculpting Powders with most of the Shaping Powder shades available in Pro Palette Form. The Shaping Powders have an ultra fine shimmer in them - but on my skin they have more of a satiny finish. The shimmer gives the powders depth and dimension. Finish is semi-sheer but buildable.

When it comes to contouring I'm a less is more kind of girl. I can definitely improve my technique and take more time to carefully contour the face or nose for a more polished look - but in the mornings when I'm in a rush I feel like contouring is an extra step I don't have time for. I often do add a bit of a darker powder or bronzer as a soft contour applied in loose soft sweeping motions around the edges of my face to add depth, but I rarely take the time to do an actual contour along the cheekbones, nose or eyes. I think proper contouring takes time to blend - it's something I'm just honestly too lazy to do on a daily basis. If you already own a number of contouring powders (ie from MAC, NARS or Kat Von D) I will say up front that you probably don't need the new MAC All the Right Angles Contour Palettes as they will replicate what you have. I do appreciate that MAC has launched these in travel-friendly packaging and that they have created four options for different skintones. It simplifies the contour/highlight options based on your skintone to three key shades rather than having a large palette of several colors you may never use.

Onto swatches of the palettes side by side and then close ups of each option:



____________________

Light has:

Cream Color Base in Luna which is a pale white pearl
Shaping Powder in Emphasize a soft white cream shimmer
Sculpting Powder in Bone Beige a soft warm-toned brown


____________________

Medium has:
Cream Color Base in Hush which is a champagne peach pearl
Shaping Powder in Accentuate is a peachy cream
Sculpting Powder in Sculpt is a soft brown taupe matte


____________________

Medium Dark has:
Cream Color Base in Naked Universe which is a tan gold shimmer
Shaping Powder in Lightsweep is a medium beige pearl
Sculpting Powder in Shadester is a deep medium warm brown


___________________

Dark has:
Cream Color Base in Improper Copper which is peachy copper shimmer
Shaping Powder in Warm Light is a medium peach
Sculpting Powder in Definitive which is a neutral deep brown



____________________

Many have asked what my MAC shade is - if you've read my blog over the years you know that I cannot wear MAC foundations or powder foundations because I'm allergic to their formulas. It's been at least 5-6 years since I've last tried a MAC foundation and depending on what time of year it was that I was matched, I've been anywhere from MAC NC30, NC35, C3, C30, C35 to C40. Bottom line is I really have no idea what MAC shade I am - but I'm usually within the medium olive tone range. Right now I'm in between NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Groenland and St. Moritz or a Becca Aqua Luminous in Beige and for the MAC All the Right Angles Palettes, the best one for me is Medium. In Chanel I'm the Velvet Perfection Lumiere in 30 Beige. For Tom Ford I'm best matched to the Traceless Perfecting Foundation in 04 Bisque.

For tools, I like to apply the Cream Color Base with fingers on the eyes or cheeks - it can be a bit messy but it's what I like best. For the Sculpt or Shaping Powders - the compact is on the small side so taking a large fluffy brush will most likely mix the colors. I've found the MAC 116 Blush Brush, MAC 118 Small Duo Fibre or Wayne Goss Brush 02 work best of you want to apply on the cheeks. If you want more detailed highlighting or eye contour - any eyeshadow brush works.


If you're looking for a simplified contour palette with a shaping powder, sculpting powder and cream highlighter that's versatile and travel-friendly, these are great. If you already own a lot of contouring products these will probably replicate many of the colors you already own. In terms of contouring powders go I think MAC is on par with the Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Duos for quality and having a natural look - the Marc Jacobs powders are softer and have a more velvetly matte finish while the MAC is harder in texture with a slight shimmer in the Shaping Powders. I feel the texture of the Marc Jacobs is more velvety and powdery and some of the light shades can almost be used as a setting powder for under eyes while the MAC has a more natural less matte look if that makes sense.

You can find the MAC All the Right Angles Contouring Palettes for $40 each at all MAC counters. Online at MAC, Nordstrom, Macy's and Bloomingdale's.

Have you checked these out yet? If not - have you tried any of the Cream Color Bases, Sculpting Powders or Shaping Powders from previous launches?

Light sent as a press sample. Other shades purchased by me.


Friday, March 18, 2016

MAC So Select Matte Lipstick


I've been a long-time fan of MAC lipsticks - I still remember the first ones I bought when I was in high school. I had saved up for what seemed like forever to buy a few including Pink Glaze, Wuss and "O" (two of which I think are discontinued now). Many of the formulas are drying for my lips but the colors are so good I just can't ever resist them. MAC just launched a new program called MAC Select which is exclusive to maccosmetics.com and MAC owned/operated stores. It's a loyalty program where you receive a unique member ID number that allows you access to certain exclusives, early access and more options for tracking your Back to MAC items. All the details on the program tiers here and FAQs answered here - you can register online (that's how I signed up) or in MAC stores. To celebrate this launch MAC released a new matte lipstick called So Select ($17 for 3g) which is described as a dirty rose. You have to be a member to be able to purchase it. I have a love/hate relationship with some of the MAC neutrals. Some look so so good swatched on the hand but then on my lips the color looks like death (ie Twig, Spirit, Whirl). Still there are tons of neutral options in almost every imaginable undertone so you're bound to find one that works.

So Select is indeed a dirty rose color. It's a neutral that has a slightly deep undertone. It's exactly what I hoped Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita would look like on me (which is a bit too dark for my personal taste). I've pulled a few other shades to compare it to for reference since with MAC neutrals on a computer screen and also in person, sometimes they can all look the same in the tubes. I've found myself really loving So Select - it's got some brown undertones but not too much that it looks like death, there's enough rose and pink that gives it a bit of life. A few more shots of the color in different lighting.




Swatch comparisons to a few other MAC Lipsticks (l to r) Mehr, So Select, Velvet Teddy, Cosmo and Brave, also Kat Von D Lolita shown next to it for reference:



I didn't reswatch KVD Lolita but you can see it lip swatched in this post here, the other MAC lipsticks shown above lip-swatched below:


I'm thrilled So Select is a neutral rose-pink-brown that works for my complexion. It's dark enough on my skin that it's not quite neutral, but it's still light enough in color that it doesn't look too vampy on my lips. As with other MAC Mattes, it has full coverage. If my lips are on the dry side, I do like to prep the lips with the MAC Prep + Prime first.


The MAC Select Program applies online and also in MAC stores but I haven't checked to see if they carry this one (I usually buy MAC products online directly from their website or shop in store at Nordstrom) - if you've spotted this in store let me know in the comments.

Bottom line thumbs up! Have you tried this shade yet? What did you think?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Inside My Bag


February flew by so quickly, I cannot believe it's March but I'm excited for spring. I've been working my way through swatching all of the Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipsticks and hope to have the post up by the end of the week (fingers crossed my lips can handle the swatching). A few of you have asked for a review of my Celine mini belt bags (seen here and here) - I haven't really done purse or accessory reviews but will definitely do one on both in the upcoming weeks so stay tuned!

Here's a peek of what I have in my bag right now. I've been loving my Prada Saffiano still - I think I've had it going on 2.5+ years now and it's held it's shape remarkably well, hasn't shown any signs of wear or scratches and is extremely versatile for a number of different occasions and outfits. I've had my eye on the Saffiano Cuir Double Bag in black ever since I saw that they started carrying a small one on Extra Petite. She has a really good review and comparison (although my camel tote is a different style and has different dimensions compared to hers). It takes me months to decide on a splurge - I've been looking for a classic black leather tote for a long time, but cannot make up my mind because size and structure is really important to me.

Inside my Saffiano Tote this week:
What's in your bag this week? Any new beauty discoveries from the weekend?

Press samples featured include the Tatcha beauty papers and Truffle clutch+case.

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!

 

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