Showing posts with label NARS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NARS. Show all posts

Monday, April 20, 2015

Foundation Rotation for Spring


This time of year many of my readers have asked for foundation recommendations as they have mentioned they need something new in their beauty wardrobe as we transition to warmer spring weather. There seem to be quite a few new foundation releases and being curious, I stopped by my local Nordstrom to check out some of the latest formulas. Right now Nordstrom has a foundation guide online with filters to help you find the best formula for you by category. You can also filter your search by price points, brand and store availability if you want to try in store. The three main categories they have include:

1) coverage - sheer / medium / full
2) finish - luminous / matte / natural
3) skin type - aging / combination / dry / normal / oily

For coverage I prefer a medium to full finish because I don't have perfect skin, although it's improved significantly over the past year. For finish I tend to prefer something luminous but not too glowy as mattes tend to make my face look flat. On skin type, I am approaching my mid-30's so anti-aging is something I am concerned with, but I prefer to look for anti-aging ingredients in skincare. Aside from aging concerns, my skin is combination and sensitive. I have a roundup of some foundations that I have in rotation right now along with thoughts on each one I've tested by coverage type. I would say all of these have a natural to luminous finish.

Full Coverage:
Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil Free Foundation (I use Sand Beige)

Medium to Full Coverage:
NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation (I use Punjab, sometimes I mix in Santa Fe)
Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation (my match is Bisque 4)

Sheer to Medium Coverage:
NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer (Groenland)
Chanel CC Cream (30 Beige)

Sheer Coverage:
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (Sand)
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow (20 Beige and 30 Beige)

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Hands down, my current favorite formulas are from NARS. The All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation offers medium to full coverage with 2-3 pumps. It's very concentrated so a little goes a long way and you need to shake the bottle before pumping out any product. I've found application works best by blending with fingers or a damp beauty blender. Having a good base for this is key. I really like the Dolce & Gabbana Primer or the NARS Pro Prime Radiance Enhancing Primers right now. For color I am closer to a NARS Punjab, but I tend to tan and lighten easily so I picked up Santa Fe to mix in for days when I feel slightly lighter.

The Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Groenland has been a long-time staple for me. I have Alaska to show below for comparisons, but my go-to shade for a long time has been Groenland. I like this because it's not as rich as a traditional tinted moisturizer but has more of a lightweight foundation feel. It glides on the skin and covers in the most natural way melting into the skin. It gives the skin a radiant glow without looking too dewy or shiny. There is no shimmer in it but it still gives the face a  luminous look while offering an impressive amount of natural coverage. I like this set with the NARS Light Reflecting Loose Powder or Hourglass Diffused Light.

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Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation is my second favorite for a medium to full coverage foundation right now. It covers really well, lasts all day and photographs nicely without giving your face a white cast. Being that it gives a fuller coverage compared to other formulas, it isn't as fluid or liquid as other formulas and feels slightly thick, but it doesn't feel heavy on the face. It lasts all day long without many touch ups required and holds up in warmer weather nicely. It is on the pricey side but I've had nothing but good experiences with this one.


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Next up is Laura Mercier. The Tinted Moisturizer is a classic cult-favorite in her line but I have a love/hate relationship with this one. There have been shade extensions and although the formula is sheer and very forgiving, I feel that there are only certain times during the year when I can wear this. Spring to summer is one when I have more color and have a better color match to Sand. Due to the sheer coverage I find this is good only on the good-skin days. If you're one who only needs a light base and something to even out the skin naturally, this is a really good one.

The latest from Laura Mercier is her Silk Creme reformulations in the Oil Free and Moisturizing formulas. I tried the Oil Free at the counter since I just used up the Flawless Fluide in Honey (which a lot thinner in texture and quite fluid). For the Silk Creme, I am in between shades but the nice thing about the Silk Creme Oil Free is that it adjusts and warms up on the skin without oxidizing. These new formulas are designed to be "Photo Ready" that have a natural matte finish that is long-wearing. I found the Oil Free to be full coverage on my skin. It's ultra concentrated and a bit on the thick side but a tiny bit goes a very long way and you don't need a lot. I didn't quite see a matte finish, on me it looked a bit dewy but it did last a remarkably long time (with powder to set of course) without budging or fading. The texture does feel a bit heavier than others so you will need to experiment with application. I decided on Sand Beige for now (it has a lot of olive), although I will probably need Cashew Beige (more golden) in the summer.


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Swatches Set 1 with NARS, Tom Ford and Laura Mercier:


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Chanel has some new shades of the CC Cream out this season (finally!). The formula originally came in two of the lighter colors in the US. This spring/summer they've added 30 Beige and 40 Beige. The color selection is still extremely limited so I am thrilled I was able to find a match to the 30 Beige. The Chanel CC Cream is something that offers medium but buildable coverage and contains SPF 50. It is on the semi-thick side like many CC Creams but it's still has a lightweight feel. It's very hydrating but not too moisturizing which is perfect for my normal/combination skin. If you have normal to dry skin and found that the NARS foundations weren't moisturizing enough, I highly recommend you try the Chanel CC Creams - it offers a fresh glow with medium natural coverage that makes the complexion look healthy. I've swatched all three shade options below and compared it to other Chanel formulas as well.

Another favorite for me this time of year is the Chanel Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid. This one has been listed as limited-edition since it launched last year so I'm surprised it is still available. This is a glow fluid tinted foundation that has a tinted moisturizer feel. It comes with SPF 15 and has a more lightweight texture compared to the CC Cream. It's also sheerer in finish making it more forgiving in terms of color match, but they are all on the pinkish side. I am a 20 Beige right now, but I also own the 30 Beige and mix the two occasionally depending on my skin tone. Below are swatches of all the Les Beiges foundations (they skipped shade 50 for some reason). Also included are the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet foundations I've used in 20 Beige and 30 Beige.
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Swatches Set 2:


When it comes to base makeup, I'm not particularly adventurous in trying new brands. I usually stick to the ones I like and look for new releases because of formulas, color selection and texture. I have a lot of olive and yellow in my skin so many foundations turn pinkish on me. MAC and Bobbi Brown have really good color selections but I can't wear the formulas (they irritate my skin with tiny red bumps). Armani has really good formulas but these days they often have a gap in color options and usually are missing my shade. 

Recap of what I have in rotation below (you can click the icons to shop the formulas):


If you're in search of a new foundation I hope you found this roundup helpful. Out of all the formulas my top three picks are the NARS All Day Weightless Luminous, NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer and the Chanel CC Cream (because I'm a huge Chanel foundation fan).

Do you have a favorite go-to foundation right now or do you switch things up this time of year?



This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. As always all opinions my own. All items purchased by me. For more information, refer to my disclosures.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Makeup Show LA - March 2015


A few weekends ago I attended The Makeup Show in Los Angeles for the first time. The Makeup Show is series of events held for beauty professionals and students. Earlier last month, the team kindly sent over a preview package mid-March to showcase some new items and brands that would be making their debut at the show. I was glad to be able to attend the show in person to experience the event first hand. There will be events held throughout the US this year, check out the details for tickets and exhibits at The Makeup Show and follow them on Instagram @themakeupshow or The Makeup Show Blog to stay up to date with the latest and get sneak peeks of what is to come.

Quick overview of dates for upcoming shows:
  • May 3-4, 2015 NYC
  • June 13-14, 2015 Dallas
  • August 29-30, 2015 Pop-Up Shop in San Francisco (new!)
  • January 30-31, 2016 Orlando
There were over sixty beauty brands that with booths from the show. At the top of my list to visit were the Beautylish and Hakuhodo. The Beautylish booth was setup like a mini pharmacy with shelves of their Bioderma Sensibio and Bioderma Sébium - both of which are currently sold out, but be sure to put yourself on the wait list online. I was beyond excited to see the Hakuhodo brushes in person for the first time ever and limited myself to purchase 4 although I have a very long wish list now. A new discovery for me was the Korean brand MustaeV. The Makeup Show Press package included the Bloom Pouch (also shown here) which is perfect for travel. I picked up some items from the line and will have a review soon. Additional stops included the booths for Make Up For Ever, Nigel's Beauty Emporium, Kevyn Aucoin, and NARS.


A few quick snapshots from the show that I was able to get in between the crowds of attendees:

Beautylish


MustaeV


Make Up For Ever



NARS


Ellis Faas Gallery


Inglot


Most of the lines offered their items at discounted prices from retail listed prices for those who attended the show. Here is my extensive (and rather expensive) haul. I left with four different kinds of brush cleaner that I've been putting to the test. I am eager to see if there is really a difference between the brands or if they all perform the same.


The Make Up For Ever items can be found at Sephora. The only thing exclusive to the show (and perhaps the pro line) was the mini Step 1 Primer Set. There were four small primers in a clear zip bag, but each item was rung up at the register separately. The OCC Creme Color Concentrate in Discipline can be found at Nordstrom

The Hakuhodo brushes I bought include the ones with white goat hair. I purchased J501 and J505 (both cheek/powder), G5514 (for eyes), the Fan Brush White H2369 and the Brush Cleaner. Hakuhodo did not have any discounts on their brushes at the show but it was nice to be able to see and touch them in person. Other items I picked up were some Kevyn Aucoin items like the Matte Lip Color in Enduring, The Celestial Skin Liquid Lighting in Candlelight and Lip Gloss in Neottiana. After falling in love with the Large Bloom Pouch from MustaeV, I knew I had to stop by the booth at the show. They have an extensive line of brushes but the ones that stood out to me were the travel-sized EasyGo Line. The Blush Brush is the perfect size and shape for travel. They were kind enough to gift a few items to test out. I've already put the brush cleaner to use and the Spray is perfect for when I'm swatching a large number of items. It cleans the brushes effectively and but doesn't make the brushes too wet so they dry quickly.
Last but not least includes the Bioderma Makeup Removers from Beautylish. I already purchased the smaller 250ml size of the Sensibio right when it launched in February thinking the small size would be sufficient. I also prefer smaller sized items so they don't take up a lot of counter space. However, both of these are so good, I've already used up 1/2 of the Sensibio H20. If these are something you think you'll use daily, I highly recommend that you opt for the larger 500 ml size. You also get the travel sized mini as a bonus when you buy the larger ones. I ordered 1 back up of each of the large sizes online because they keep selling out and this is something I don't want to be without when I run through the bottles. They've sold out online yet again so I highly recommend you add yourself to the wait list. They will shoot you an e-mail once it is back in stock.

One last shot of the Make Up For Ever booth, I didn't pick up any of the shadows because there were too many people crowded around the items:


Hope you enjoyed this brief recap of The Makeup Show LA! I wish I had gotten more photos of the booths but I got lost in all the makeup goodness. Plus there were so many people in attendance it was difficult to get photos of the booths like Stila, Smashbox, Sephora and OCC. Have you ever been to one of the events before? If so which city?

Be sure to check out the details of upcoming events, ticket information, exhibits and schedules online  at their website The Makeup Show. You can also follow them via social channels for more photos of the events on Instagram @themakeupshow, Twitter @themakeupshow and Facebook.

Many thanks to The Makeup Show for inviting me to the event! The MustaeV and Beautylish items were gifted courtesy for review consideration. All other items purchased by me.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sephora Beauty Insider VIB Rouge 15% Off Event Starts Today: 4/12 through 4/21/2015


The Sephora Beauty Insider event is happening this month! VIB Rouge Members get early access starting today where you can get 15% off your purchases online at Sephora.com with code ROUGELOVE and in stores by showing the mailer or copy of the e-mail you received with the barcodes 4/12 through 4/21. VIB and other Beauty Insider Members will have access at later dates (will update as more as I receive more info).

I placed an order online this morning to avoid the crowds, although quite a few of the Surratt Beauty items I had on my wish list sold out already. I'll have my haul to share with you in the next week (my package is expected to arrive Tuesday or Wednesday).

In the meantime if you need some recommendations here is a list of items I've reviewed from the past few years that are good to save on. Sales on mid to high-end luxury products rarely occur except with the occasional friends and family discounts. In the mix a few splurges along with classic staples.

Row 1, left to right:

Row 2, left to right

Row 3, left to right:

Row 4, left to right: 

Did you buy anything for the VIB Rouge Beauty Insider sale at Sephora? If you're shopping online be sure to enter in the code ROUGELOVE at checkout. If you're a VIB/Beauty Insider Member, what's on your wish list or in your shopping cart?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

New In Beauty / On My Radar


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 9, 2015

Trending Now: Spring Neutrals


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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




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

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

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

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


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



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



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

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Favorite Setting Powders: Pressed and Loose


I've discussed foundations, primers and tinted moisturizers on this blog but haven't done a roundup on my favorite beauty powders. One of the keys to making my foundation or tinted moisturizer last is to use a good setting powder to make everything stay put. I've rounded up my favorites for my sensitive medium-toned skin.

Finding a good powder can take time and a lot of testing. Just like foundation, some colored powders look good once you apply it but can end up darkening after a few hours. Others might be too matte and make your face look completely flat. Then there are powders that are too heavy and can end up looking cakey on your skin or feel like it just sits on your skin.

When it comes to setting powders, I like both translucent kinds and ones with medium to medium-full coverage. If a powder is tinted but too sheer, I find it can look too powdery on the skin and I'd rather just stick with something that is translucent.



Translucent Loose Powders

I have two favorites for translucent loose powder that I've repurchased several times over. First is the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder which is an oil-free loose powder. It has a silky texture and colorless finish. The powder itself looks white but it doesn't make you look pale or turn the skin white. At my darkest, I am a Chanel B40 and this works when I have a tan. It's lightweight but you can definitely see a soft transformation on your face once you apply it. This one sets foundation really well without looking too powdery or cakey. It's also good for my sensitive skin, doesn't irritate my face or emphasize pores.

My next favorite is the NARS Light Reflecting Loose Powder. This is another colorless powder that has contains what NARS calls a Light Reflecting Complex which optimizes light-reflection on the skin. It doesn't add any visible shimmer or glow but it sets the makeup really well and once applied it melts into the skin and photographs really well. It does help to blur any lines or pores but won't make them disappear completely. This gives a slightly more matte finish to the face compared to the Laura Mercier but it doesn't make the skin look flat.

Loose Powders - Tinted

I've tried and used up a number of loose powders including Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Laura Mercier (Mineral), Becca and Clinique. Loose powder is one of those things where I use up entirely even if I don't 100% love it as long as it doesn't irritate or break out my skin. For me it's challenging to find a tinted loose powder that has enough color or coverage. So many darken or look so powdery on the skin. Laura Mercier made several Loose Powders in Ivory and Beige but it appears they have been discontinued. I am hoping it makes a comeback or is simply being repackaged because Beige was one of the best loose powders I've used. The Laura Mercier Mineral Loose Powder is another alternative I've used before, it has a pearl finish similar to other mineral powders. In terms of loose mineral powders, the Laura Mercier is the best one I've tried, but it's a bit heavy for my personal preference.

My all time favorite loose powder is Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Natural Lighting Powder. It comes in one shade that will suit fair to medium skin tones. I do hope they add more colors in the future because this one is really good. It's made of an ultra-fine pearl powder formula that works to set foundation and add a bit of coverage to even out the skin. The soft pearls particles cover pores and balance skin surfaces for a natural glow. The shimmer in this one is visible but it's not over the top and it won't make your face look shimmery.

Powder Foundation

I typically prefer powder foundation to set my liquid foundation. I know you might think it sounds too heavy, but I've really loved the way dusting powder foundation with a brush over liquids gives a flawless canvas to work with. Those who have seen me in person usually can't tell I'm wearing foundation (which is always a good thing because you don't want it to look super obvious). My all time favorite used to be Chanel Double Perfection Powder but they've reformulated it several times and I've found that I am sometimes in between colors. Right now I'm in between Beige 20 and 30. If you can find a good color match this is a really good silky smooth powder that adds the perfect amount of medium coverage. Using a sponge will add more coverage but I prefer applying this one with a brush. It's a good touch up powder too for mid-day. It won't cake if you touch up your nose or forehead.

My current favorite is the Dolce & Gabbana Powder Foundation in Warm 100. I have alternated between Warm and Tan depending on how dark my skin is, but 100 has been my exact match for a long time. This one covers perfectly and flawlessly. It won't irritate or break out my super sensitive skin (MAC and Bobbi Brown always break me out). It has a soft velvety finish that doesn't cake, darken or look overdone while still giving you a decent amount of coverage to even out the skin.

Pressed Powder

I've avoided regular pressed powders for a long time because so many just don't look good on my skin. They look like they sit on the face or alter the color of my foundation. I've found three that are phenomenal. The Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powders are among my favorite. (Review + swatches here). #20 is my match for an all over dusting powder. #30 and #40 are good for subtle contouring or adding color for warmth. These are ultra smooth powders that have a sheer to medium finish that just melts into the skin. I dust with a powder brush to set powder and it gives a sheer smooth finish.

The Charlotte Tilbury Air Brush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder is as good as pressed powders get. I saw this one applied on my friend at the Nordstrom Charlotte Tilbury counter at the grove. My friend already had some tinted moisturizer on, she just needed a touch up. I watched her skin transform into this amazing airbrushed finish that looked amazingly natural. It evens out the skin but won't alter the color of your foundation (as long as you get a good match). The only downside is the color selection is pretty limited and there's a big jump in between the three colors. I use #2 Medium and am a Chanel B30 in foundation. My friend is a Chanel B10 in foundation and was matched to #1 Fair.

Tom Ford Translucent Finishing Powder is another really good pressed powder. I've had this one applied on my face numbers times at the Tom Ford counter and it took me a long time before I was willing to splurge on this one (it's $77, yes ouch!). My match is Ivory Fawn which looks light in the compact but it has a sheer enough finish to be quite forgiving (I use the Traceless Perfecting in Bisque 4). The only downside (other than the ridiculous price tag) is the color selection is limited. There is a huge gap between Ivory Fawn and Sahara Dusk which is the next shade up. If you are either fair or tan you will have better luck finding a match compared to those of us with medium skin. Once I get tan in the summer, I will be in that gap.

For translucent pressed powders, I've found most end up looking and feeling too powdery on my skin. The only one I've tried and loved is the NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Powder which performs the same way on me as the loose version. It sets the foundation with a sheer finish and gives the skin a slightly matte looking finish. I prefer the loose version because I find it lasts longer on my skin compared to the pressed.





I hope you found this roundup of setting powders helpful! As always I'd love to hear from you what your favorites are. Do you have any tried and true powders? Do you prefer loose or pressed?


Saturday, February 28, 2015

February Favorites


I haven't done a monthly favorites roundup in a while since I find my favorites rotate quite frequently. I like to mix things up and change things around. This month I narrowed down a favorites list to some items I've been enjoying thoroughly. As always I'd love to hear from you about your favorites for the past month. (The items below include links to previous reviews where applicable.)

This month feels like it's been all about new lip releases. I'm still working on reviews for the new Rouge Dior Brilliant Lipshine but will say right now these new Dior  glosses are phenomenal. I've been loving them a lot - they have the perfect mix of color and shine. I have all the swatches and review finished but still need to pull colors for comparison swatches.

Other lip staples this month include Charlotte Tilbury Confession, Marc Jacobs Beauty Infamous and Tom Ford Lips & Boys in Peter. I've also been reaching for the Chanel Hydrabeauty Lip Balm. Initially I thought this was just an average lip treatment. The more I use it the more I like this as a lightweight lip balm that doesn't feel heavy on the lips and adds a nice veil of moisture.

For the skin I've been going through a lot of masks. My favorite is the Aesop Parsley Seed Mask. It's the best clarifying face mask I've tried that is good for sensitive skin. It will draw out impurities and is gentle enough to use multiple times a week. I like it because it smells like a spa and it doesn't irritate the skin. My favorite new cleanser discovery is the Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser. It's a bit too strong for daily use but I do use it multiple times per week.

For eyeshadow palettes, the Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con in The Dreamer has a beautiful mix of warm neutrals. There are golds, corals, champagnes and tan shimmers with a really good matte brown. This one is what I wanted Lolita to be. Let me know if you want a full review of this one.

My current foundation routine includes a mix of Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow + NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation. This combo gives the perfect glow with medium to full coverage.

For fragrance, I've become smitten with the Byredo Bibliothèque, Cotton Poplin and Fleur Fantôme set from Net-A-Porter. These are so cute although pricey, it's a nice way to try the candles at a cheaper price than buying the full size. My favorite is still Fleur Fantôme (which I have the full size of). Full review to come soon.

Last but not least, I've still been loving the Lumira Paradisium perfume. It's the perfect mix of florals with a hint of fig.

What have your favorites been this month?


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On My Radar / New In Beauty


Some new items on my radar this week that have popped up. I'm still working my way through photographing and swatching items from Marc Jacobs Beauty, Hourglass, Burberry, Chanel and Charlotte Tilbury. There's not enough hours in the day for all the fun stuff. As usual I'd love to hear what's on your beauty radar right now. I'm in the process of testing out some eye creams (sample packets and a few I've bought) - if you have any favorite eye creams I'd love to hear your recs in the comments.

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  1. NARS will release six shades of Dual-Intensity Blush next week at online at Sephora, NARS Cosmetics and NARS Boutiques on March 4th and at all other locations April 1st. As someone who is obsessed with the Dual-Intensity Eyeshadows, I'm beyond excited for these.
  2. Chanel has some new items in skincare. The entire Le Blanc line has been reformulated so if you have some staples I recommend you check your counter as soon as possible to see if they have the older formulas to stock up. I just ran out of my go-to Estee Lauder toner so I decided to give the Le Blanc Brightening Moisturizing Lotion a try. I'll have a more detailed report once I give it a test drive. 
  3. Another new item from Chanel is the Hydra Beauty Micro Serum. From what I've heard, it will not replace the current Hydra Beauty Serum, but is simply an addition to the line for more moisture. I bought the Micro Serum yesterday and can't wait to try it out.
  4. The Bite Beauty Butter Cream Lipsticks are now available for everyone to purchase (no longer a VIB/VIB Rouge exclusive). There are eight shades of nudes and mauves which are super tempting. Given the fact that I have acquired a number of Chanel Rouge Cocos, Dior Glosses and Marc Jacobs Lipsticks buying another lipstick just seems silly. But many of you keep raving about Bite so I might check out 1 or 2.
  5. Dior has three new Gel-Shine Vernis Nail Lacquers launched with the release of the lip glosses.  The three colors are Rose, Pink and Corail. I'll have swatches for you next week.
  6. Bobbi Brown has new Cheek Palettes with different color themes in Berry, Pink and Calypso. These are so stunning and well pigmented. I haven't splurged yet but these are on my radar.
  7. Tatcha's latest is the Indigo Soothing Rice Enzyme Powder for sensitive skin. It's also available in a travel size. I'm a huge fan of the regular version (reviewed here) and this new one looks promising for days that my skin is experiencing extra sensitivity.
  8. Burberry has reformulated all of their shadows. In addition to their powder shadows, there is another new formula called Wet & Dry Glow Shadows in Optic White, Gold Pearl, Nude and Shell which are mind blowingly gorgeous. I'm working on swatches this week.
  9. Clinique has two Chubby Sticks out. There is a Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight and Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour. I like the look of the packaging and they look like they are really easy to use but reviews are mixed. Have you tried these? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
What's on your beauty radar this week?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day Pink for Lips


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



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

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


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

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

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

Most unique:
Chanel Crazy Fuchsia Glossimer

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

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

 

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