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

Monday, August 15, 2016

On My Radar / New In Beauty


Hope everyone had a great weekend! There are a few new launches on my radar plus some promos I wanted to share with you. Fall beauty and fragrance launches are trickling in and this year it seems like there are a few mini launches in between the larger full color collections.

Tom Ford Lip Contour Duos (1) have launched online at Tom Ford. You can see swatches on Really Ree's blog and I think all the colors look phenomenal! At $53 each though I'm going to do my best and wait for them to launch at Nordstrom or Neimans to see in person first. I am hoping they will arrive soon as the Orchid Collection finally popped up online at Neiman Marcus for pre-order. (I have 2 items to review soon.)

Christian Louboutin just added two new colors to The Noirs Nail Color Line (2) in Miss Mars (gunmetal) and Miziggoo (vamp brown), available at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Sephora and Christian Louboutin.

Marc Jacobs Beauty launched a new eyeshadow palette called Style Eye Con No. 20 (3) I ordered it last week and expect it to arrive today. Review as soon.

Maison Margiela added two new layering fragrances in mini-sized bottles called REPLICA Filter (4) in Glow and Blur. Right now they're Sephora VIB/Rouge exclusives online and are expected to launch in September. I usually try before I buy when it comes to fragrance but given the fact that I've fallen in love with every one from the line I've tried, I may just make an exception. They are described as fragrance primers that you layer with scents from the regular collection.

More on the new fragrance launch, Elizabeth and James (5) added Nirvana Bourbon and Nirvana Rose. I'm surprised how many reviews there already are on Sephora considering these just launched. If you've tried these let me know what you think!

Just when I was ready to do a foundation and base routine post, new formulas popped up and many of you have asked me to review them. Chanel launched Le Teint Ultra Tenue in an Ultrawear Flawless Compact Foundation with SPF 15 (6) and liquid Ultrawear Flawelss Foundation (7). I have high hopes for both of these as I found the Les Beiges Healthy Glow Foundation from summer a huge disappointment.

NARS launched new shades of Audacious Lipstick (8) as part of their Chic Out Collection. Colors are currently exclusive to NARS online and boutiques starting today. Available at all counters starting September 1st.

Away Travel (9) has partnered with four other brands including Solid and Striped, Soludos, Serena and Lily and Ouai Haircare to upgrade your packing list. They've created a site for you to shop select travel items from each brand on packyourbag.co and offer free nationwide shipping. NYC customers can get the items delivered sameday via UberRUSH. This will be available until August 19th. They're hosting some amazing giveaways (including a trip to Cuba) so be sure to check out their site Pack Your Bag and enter! As a huge fan of the Away carry-on luggage (reviewed here) I had to share.

Last but not least, Diptyque has added three items to their skincare line (10) including an Essential Face Cream, Nourishing Lip Balm and Infused Face Oil. My local boutique left me a message over the weekend about these so I'll be checking them out soon. If you're shopping online at Diptyque they have a promo code where you can get a set if Infused Facial Oil 4ml, Nourishing Cleansing Balm 5ml, and Infused Facial Water 15ml with any $150+ order using code FACECAREUS at checkout (valid while supplies last or until September 9th).

One last note since I just missed this - if you're shopping online at Nordstrom there are a few sample gift with purchase bags with any $50 purchase but you need to add a promo code at checkout. I usually forget to check the gift with purchase page. Enter in PINK, ORANGE or BLUE - there are different options in each bag.

I'll have one more post up this afternoon with a review so stay tuned!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Summer Fragrance Rotation


Happy Friday everyone! This has been one of those busy weeks where I felt like I was not able to be as productive as I had hoped. I'm relieved that the weekend is almost here. I have quite a few reviews in the works. Testing is a non-stop continuous process and I have a lot of posts partially completed - stay tuned for posts on new launches from Lancôme, Dior, Chanel, Birchbox, Cle de Peau Beaute along with the roundup/routine type posts many of you have requested. Continuing another one of my routine posts you asked for, today I'm rounding up my warm weather fragrance edit. Summer is nearing it's end (I keep seeing end of summer promos everywhere!) but scents are the kind of beauty product I feel can be transitional in some cases. It takes me forever to use up a perfume and I tend to accumulate them in batches - there are a few of these I've had for a long time.

Up first are the scents I think are most unique. I don't mind wearing popular mainstream perfumes but sometimes it's nice to have something a little more unique.

Shown above, left to right:
  • Byredo Bal D'Afrique has been on my wishlist for ages. I have it in the small travel sized vial from a holiday discovery set I bought last year. I finally caved and bought the full size. It's a sweet warm floral that I feel smells like it has apricot but it does not. Notes include bergamot, lemon, neroli, African marigold, bucchu, violet, jasmin petals, cyclamen, black amber, musk, vetiver and Moroccan cedarwood. It also comes in other formats such as the Body Wash (just splurged), Body Cream (review here), Bath Oil and is also in the current Floral Discovery Set.
  • Lumira Paradisium (c/o) is one of my favorites and it's very unique. I feel I can wear this one year round. Full detailed review here. For a quick take, it has bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, heart of fig nectar, guava, vetiver, sea moss and cedarwood. It's one of the few scents that has fig that I can wear.
  • Diptyque Eau de Sens (c/o) is an orange blossom which I think most will think is best as a spring scent. I agree except that this is one of the very few orange blossom scents I've been able to wear so I've been spritzing it over the summer. Also reviewed in this post here.
  • Oribe Côte d'Azur (c/o) is an Oribe lover's dream come true. The signature scent that you find in most Oribe products is bottled in a perfume version and it's amazing. If you find the hair products to be strongly scented you probably can get away with just wearing the styling creams or sprays instead of buying the perfume. I personally find the hair sprays fade in scent after a few hours, the perfume definitely lasts all day long on me.

Next are two sweet options from Urban Outfitters. These are part of the Gourmand Line and are priced at $18 each. They are both on the sweet vanilla coco side - I know many of you like vanilla-based scents. I have a hard time wearing them because so many are too strong.
  • Sel Ocean is described as having honeysuckle, muguet, pink sea salt which I think is an accurate description. It's very sweet so if you don't like sweet scents, definitely try to test before buying.
  • Lait de Coco is a milky white fragrance you shake to mix the contents. Notes include bergamot, vanilla praline and creamy coconut. It's the closest scent I've found to the long discontinued Jo Malone Sweet Milk.

In my experience and opinion, the best date night fragrances are from Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb. It has a distinct scent that is easily recognizable but smells amazing on everyone.
  • Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb note include bergamot, tea, freesia, jasmine, orange blossom, orchid, rose, patchouli.
  • There are occasional limited-edition variations launched, the Flowerbomb La Vie en Rose is a lighter version of the original with a sparkling feel if that makes sense. Top notes are grapefruit, mandarin, pink pepper, green tea. Middle notes have jasmin, orchid and rose. Base notes have patchouli and amber.
  • Spicebomb is the cologne version for men and it's my husband's favorite. It's what I think all hot guys smell like lol. It's more of a date night fragrance but my husband find it suitable to wear everyday. He's already used up a travel size and full size bottle. I bought the Spicebomb Fresh for him because I often like the lighter/fresh versions. We both agreed it's too light and not masculine enough. It's a good one for those who like light scents but Spicebomb is better.

Last but not least, the scents that are true summer and warm weather scents that make you feel like you're on a tropical vacation somewhere on the beach.
  • NARS Monoi Body Glow II is the ultimate tropical vacation scent. It's not a perfume but rather a scented body oil which I can't get enough of. It has the most delicious monoi oil scent and has a tiare flower inside that has been soaked in refined coconut oil to capture the essence of the unique process used to make the oil. Scent lasts all day on me and gives the skin a nice glow.
  • Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Acqua (c/o) is the lightest Tom Ford fragrance launched and therefore priced at a lower price point compared to his perfumes. It's a lighter version of the Neroli Portofino which I like on others but don't really like on myself. The Neroli Aqua Portofino is a citrus beachy scent with hints of amber. Also featured in this post here.
  • Tom Ford Soleil Blanc is a white floral that has a beachy vacation like feel. Full review in this post here.
  • Urban Outfitters Gourmand Thé Matcha is one of the few I've used up entirely and am on my second bottle. It's a simple fresh fragrance that has a sweet clean green tea scent with citrus and white flowers.
My most-worn scents of the summer are the Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Acqua, Soleil Blanc and Lumira Paradisium. For evenings out or special occasions it's been either of the Viktor and Rolf fragrances. I also really like Diptyque L'Ombre Dans L'Eau (reviewed here) which wasn't featured in the roundup because I feel it's moer of a fall scent, but still nice for going out.

Do you have a favorite go-to for summer? Or do you stick with scents that you wear year round? As always I'd love to hear your favorites - for any season! There are so many scent options out there it's overwhelming to find a good scent so I rely heavily on recommendations!

Items provided courtesy for review consideration marked with a "c/o".

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Easy to Wear Contour and Highlight Sticks


I have mixed feelings about the contouring technique for beauty. Mainly because I'm not very good at doing it myself on my own face. I have used a bronzer like Bronze Universel de Chanel or NARS Laguna in a 3 shaped motion along the sides of my face to warm up the complexion and add depth, but for the popular contouring powders and creams - I find they are easy to overdo and while they look great in photos, in real life I think it can look very much overdone. I do own quite a few contouring powders and the most natural ones to date that I've tried are the Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Light Filtering Powders for flawless finish and textures that blend beautifully with the skin. I haven't really found a cream product that I love - there are a number of compacts others rave about but cream compacts get messy so I haven't really found anything that speaks to me. Today I have a roundup of four brands of contour sticks, several of them are multi-tasking and great for travel because they are double-sided.

I find it rare to find all items I test in a category phenomenal in the sense that I think all aspects  of the product are great but this is one of those rare occasions. I tested highlight/contour sticks from Burberry, Wander Beauty, NARS and Dior and all of them are impressive to me and perfect for a natural look. If you need a contour product for dummies (like me) these are the perfect option for you because they look very natural, easy to use and blend really well. Picking one will come down to brand, texture or color preference.

Up first are the Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighting Luminous Pen in Nude Radiance 01 and Face Contour Effortless Contouring Pen for Face and Eyes in Medium 01. In terms of a highlight the Burberry Fresh Glow Pen is on the sheer and subtle side. You will see a glow on the face if you highlight the cheekbones or eyes but it gives a luminous glow versus a more visible shimmer. The fresh glow highlighting pen comes in 1 shade, if you're similar to my skintone or lighter the effect will be more subtle, but if you're tan to deep there will be more contrast and it will show up better on your skin. Texture is creamy but dries down quickly. It is easy to blend before it dries down so you don't have to rush.

The Face Contour Pen comes in two colors and I picked the lighter option. It dries to a matte finish and blends easily on the skin for a very natural contour. It is on the warm side but it's not too warm. This one is the easiest for me to use by applying a few stripes along the cheeks and then blend with either a finger or brush. This is the easiest to use along the sides of the nose because it's slim. You can find these at Nordstrom, Sephora and Net-A-Porter.



There are two On-The-Glow Bronzer Duos from Wander Beauty. I received both items to try out, each one has the same highlighter in Candle Glow. The lighter option is Malibu which is a neutral brown and Capri is the darker/deeper option. If you go to their website you can see it on different skintones. These have a thicker creamy texture but they don't feel greasy and look completely natural once blended. I love Malibu because it's a lighter color and the perfect shade for my skintone for a barely there contour. Candle Glow Highlighter has the perfect mix of gold and warmth so it doesn't look yellow on my olive skin. You can also find these at Sephora.




Next up are the NARS Sculpting Multiple Duos which are currently Sephora exclusives. I had very high hopes for these as I'm a huge fan of the multiple sticks and they did not disappoint. The texture of the highlighter multiples are stiffer than I normally see in multiples so they do not swatch well on the arms. They do swipe a 100x better on the face or eyes. I found these to be on the more subtle side which I think is due to the slightly stiffer/harder texture. The bronze/contour sides are amazing though. As a lover of lighter contour shades I love the Copacabana and Sidari Beach duo - it's a peachy pinky color on my skintone which makes for a less traditional brown contour.




As you can see below they look to be on the sheer side. I think the highlighters are all sheerer than most multiples I've tried from NARS. The darker contour sides are creamy with little to no shimmer. They look streaky on the arm but blend out easily on the face.


Last but not least are the Diorblush Light and Contour Sticks which are part of the fall 2016 collection launch. They just launched at Dior.com and there are three shades each with a different color of shimmery highlighter and contour cream which has no shimmer. These are my favorite of the bunch because the round tip makes them easy to glide along the face. The flat tips of the others are still easy to apply but having the round tip is easier for me to put on the cheeks. My favorite color is 001 but 002 is probably better suited for my skintone. The browns are on the warm side which I found a bit too warm for my nose but for the rest of the face or eyes it's perfect. Texture is very creamy but natural looking without being too dewy.




Here's a quick look of before and after the Diorblush Light and Contour Duo in 002. Also worn on the face includes NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint Groenland and St. Moritz mixed, Anastasia Glow Kit in Sundipped on the eyes, Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara, Lancome Juicy Shaker in Lemon Explosion. On then nails is Dior Minimal.


I couldn't fit all the items on my arm so I split them between the contour side and highlighter side with a few added items to compare.



That wraps it up for thoughts and swatches on four brands of contour sticks that are easy to wear and natural looking. My personal favorites are NARS Copacabana/Sidari Beach and Diorblush Light and Contour Duo 001 - but all of the ones I tested are pretty good for that natural contour. In terms of application I put these on the face after foundation and powder. I like putting these on the cheeks in stripes along the side of the face directly from the tube and then either blend with fingers or a duo fibre brush like the MAC 159 or any synthetic brush like the ones in this post here.

Do you have any contouring favorites? If so please share in the comments what your skintone is and your favorite shades or brands. If you haven't tried contouring and are interested in starting with natural looking products, I hope this post helps you find something new to try!

Press samples include products from Wander Beauty and Dior Beauty.


Friday, August 5, 2016

Summer Hauls from Sephora and Nordstrom + eGift Card Giveaway


Happy Friday everyone! In the "what would you like to see" survey posted a few giveaways ago, an overwhelming number of you requested I do more haul posts. I tend to buy things in little bits here and there - with free shipping or affordable rush shipping, it's easy to place several orders as I think about things rather than do a larger one-time haul. Sometimes I'll see something in store and decide to wait and think about it and then a few days later I decide to buy it. July was a very pricey and spendy month due to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I already did two haul posts on my picks (here and here) - since it only happens once a year and there were so many good exclusives/value sets I could justify the extra haul. I also found a lot of little things at Sephora so I've combined my recent picks into a haul post.

Up first are Nordstrom picks, some are non-sale items:


My Nordstrom hauls, mostly from online orders:
  1. Antica Farmacista Santorini Reed Diffuser - I discovered the Acqua Reed Diffuser as shown in this home luxuries post and fell in love. Several of you told me there were a number of options on sale at Nordstrom. I bought five variations of the 8.5 oz version. I haven't opened any of them yet - for those who use these, do you use one at a time completely before opening another one? Unlike candles, I suspect you can use for a little bit and store away since the reeds become completely soaked with the oils?
  2. Antica Farmacista Reed Diffuser in Bergamot and Ocean Aria because I love the body cream version of this scent.
  3. Ivanka Trump Ellyn Lace Up Sandals in Rich Chestnut suede are super comfortable and I found them to be true to size. The color is just a tiny bit darker than the stock photo but very close, heel is at 2.5 inches which makes them easy to walk in and 100% pain-free (at least for me).
  4. Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder in Telluride is actually something I ordered from Sephora, but accidentally put it with the Nordstrom haul, it's a luminous soft pink with a very pearly finish, full review next week.
  5. Louboutin Loubilaque in Akenana and Bikini (not on sale), based on the good performance I saw with the Rouge Louboutin Loubilaque, I decided to order a few other shades, I haven't tested them on my lips yet because I swatched a number of other lip products the past couple of days and one item ruined my lips so I'm waiting for them to rebalance/recover.
  6. YSL Vinyl Lip Cream in 404, 407 and 412 are items I was really excited to try. I adore the Glossy Stains (reviewed here and here) and a cream version just sounded like a dream come true. 407 and 412 worked perfectly like a lightweight stain but in creamy form. 404 gave me a WTF moment - it was extremely streaky and for some reason turned my bottom lip bright red, almost like a reaction but there was no tingle, sting or odd feeling. It's now about 24 hours after I lip swatched it and my lip is still red. I tried makeup remover, cleanser and a very gentle rub with a washcloth - it's the oddest thing!
  7. Vince Camuto Drape Front Blazer is something I stalked the web for the anniversary sale, it went out of stock in Size 0 and 2 but restocked. I've been searching for a white blazer for a long time and this has a drapey flowy fabric that feels comfortable. It's a tiny bit long in the arms for me, but fits the shoulders well - it will need minor alterations for me, but I really like it.
  8. Vince Camuto Feina Booties are items I ordered as well, my local store was sold out, but they found them for me and had them shipped to my home. This is the first time I've tried Vince Camuto boots so I don't know how they size compared to other styles. The sales associate recommended I size down since in her experience they run big. Size 6 fits like a glove with room for thin socks.
  9. Hudson Nico Ankle Super Skinny Jeans are very comfortable and they fit like a glove. The fabric is thick enough to be sturdy but not stiff so these feel good to wear. I'm normally one who opts for Paige, but I was really pleased with these. The raw hem gives them an edgy look. As one who is short, these are the perfect length that I don't need them hemmed.
A look at the Vince Camuto Drape Front Blazer (Size 2, for reference I'm 5'3" and 125 pounds) and Hudson Nico Ankle Jeans (Size 27, sized the same as Paige and Citizens, I go up for Frame with 28s).

More views on the blazer, for those curious about the home bits, bed is from Crate and Barrel, rug is from Pottery Barn, on the far right the reflection of the white block is an Ikea Alex unit.


Shoes, left are the Ivanka Trump Ellyn Sandals, true to size 6.5, right are the Vince Camuto Feina Booties which I bought in a 6 based on the sales associate's recommendation that they stretch out.


One more look at the Hudson Nico Jeans (top is an older style silk tee from J.Crew, shoes worn are by Stuart Weitzman which run large on me so I take these in a 6):


Up next are the Sephora haul picks:


Shown above:
  1. Sephora Play! July box contents includes minis of Benefit Dew the Hoola, Ouai Wave Spray, Smashbox Photofinish Foundation Primer, First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser, NEST Citrine Perfume and Beautyblender Blottertazzi, I have yet to try everything in last month's box, but Dew the Hoola is swatched here
  2. Urban Decay 24-7 Glide On Lip Pencil in Peyote is a cool-toned neutral pink with a tiny bit of shimmer, it's a great light pinky color that does last a long time
  3. Bare Minerals GEN NUDE Radiant Lipstick in Strip is a medium nude pink beige - finally balmy glossy lipsticks that have pigment! I picked up two shades (yes, they look almost identical) and love love love the way these feel and look, they're effortless kinds of nude with the feel of Chanel Rouge Coco Shines but more pigment.
  4. Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Trance is a gorgeous pinky mauve shimmer, formula feels a bit thick and dry without a base but it does stay put on the lips, I'll need to experiment more with bases on this one. It's not drying, it just looks a bit dry if that makes sense.
  5. Bare Minerals GEN NUDE Radiant Lipstick in Honeybun is a nude beige tan cream.
  6. Formula X Color Curators in Makeup by Rose XOXO Edition in Mahhveous Rose, Puffin! and Acoustick Dreams, these look gorgeous for fall, I'll have swatches of all three shades soon.
  7. Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation in Nude which is one shade darker than Warm Ivory but too dark for my skintone. Warm Ivory is a better match, but if I mix both shades the match is a 100% exact match.
  8. Kat Von D Lock-It Creme Concealer in M19 and M27 - I matched myself in store and can't believe I braved using a tester on my face in store. When I applied it my skin was a bit dewy as it was late afternoon and hot. It blended to a flawless finish so I bought two shades. When I got home and tested it the following days I found it looked cakey and patchy under eyes on my regular skin. I'm still testing with other eye creams and primers as a base to see how best to make it work. I'm not ruling it out quite yet, I'm determined to put it to the full test as I really like her foundation.
  9. Becca Champagne Splits in Flowerchild and Champagne Pop - by this point I have Champagne Pop in all the forms possible and I do think it's a bit overkill. The individual powder and poured cream (both swatched here) are my favorites. I definitely did not need it in a split pan with a blush, but what can I say - I think we all get sucked in sometimes by pretty packaging.
  10. NARS Sculpting Multiple Duos in all three options, review to follow as soon as I can!
  11. Formula X The System Xcel is something that just popped up online, I already own and use the original System (reviewed here a while ago), the Xcel set is designed for a gel-effect so I'm curious to see how it compares to the original!
  12. Beauty Insider Points minis
Lip picks swatched:


I won't be reviewing everything in this haul in a separate posts, so here are lip swatches for reference. The Bare Minerals GEN Nude Matte Liquid Lipstick in Swag was one of the Beauty Insider minis (love the color, not a fan of the matte finish). Above Bare Minerals Strip and Honeybun look identical, on the lips you can see the difference. If you click to enlarge the photo you can see how patchy YSL 404 applied on my lips, especially on the lower lip.


All the Kat Von D Lock-It Creme Concealer shades swatched, if you're NARS Ginger the closest match is M25 and M27:



That concludes my haul picks from July from Nordstrom and Sephora. There are still a few more days left for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (prices go back up Aug 8th). I'm hosting one last giveaway for the summer and giving away three $100 eGift Cards. The selected winners will have a choice of getting an e-gift card to either Nordstrom or Sephora. Details:

Enter via the widget below, there are several ways to enter:
  • You must be 18 years or older
  • Open internationally
  • Three distinct winners will be selected at random via Rafflecopter
  • Winners will be selected at random on Sunday afternoon and contacted via e-mail by me
  • If you're a selected winner you must send me a response confirming within 48 hours or another winner will be selected, prizes will be sent by the following business day

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!


Friday, July 29, 2016

Favorite Luxury Lipstick Formulas


It's National Lipstick Day today so I'm rounding up some of my favorite luxury lipstick formulas. I think everyone has their favorites - many of you want to know what I think the best ones are and as always, I have to say it depends! It depends on color preference, formula, finish, coverage and packaging. I gravitate towards neutrals and nudes, often times I have duplicates of the same color - but there are so many nuances in undertone, shimmer, finish I think often times they are different enough to justify owning. I've split mine into formula categories.


Best Full Coverage
Best Matte
  • Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution (Very Victoria and Sexy Sienna shown) hands down best matte because it's a luminous matte that also has a hydrating formula that won't dry out the lips, swatches here and here
Favorite Classic Formulas
  • Edward Bess Ultra Slick Lip Color (Pure Impulse shown) my all time favorite in the top 3 lipstick formula, I will have a dedicated post swatching and reviewing all of his lipsticks soon, they are fig scented, creamy and just perfect in terms of pigment and coverage
  • Tom Ford Lip Colors (Guilty Pleasure shown) always a favorite, this is also in my top 3 for the ultimate luxury splurge, formulas have either a cream or shimmer finish, coverage is smooth with medium to full coverage, swatches here
  • Tom Ford Lips and Boys (Austin shown) perfect clutch-sized lip colors, multiple colors and shades reviewed and swatched here
  • Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G (Penelope Pink shown) review and swatches here and here
  • Chanel Rouge Coco (Marie shown) is a classic, they have a wide range of colors from neutral, pink, plum, reds and browns, eight shades reviewed + swatched here
  • MAC Lipstick (not shown but Sunblessed a Nordstrom exclusive featured in intro and final images) this has to be added to my favorites list because even though the formula makes my lips dry and peel a bit by day 2, I just can't resist the classic and edgy colors, they wear really well all day long and I wear them frequently, I just have to add lip balm to my lips like crazy at night
Most Hydrating
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo (Recit and Message shown) is the most hydrating and comfortable lipstick formula I've tried, I love the slim click up wand and the best thing about this one is it's not just a one-way click (you can click it back down too), all the colors reviewed here
Best Sheer and Glossy Formulas
  • Louboutin Sheer Voile (Rose du Desert) is the most expensive lipstick on the market and comes with a hefty price tag, I will say that I don't know that I think any lipstick is worth $90, but it doesn't mean that I won't buy one (or several), the Sheer Voile has a gorgeous glossy finish, it's sheer but gives the lips a visible tint, review on these soon
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Shine (Boy shown) is what I think of as the epitome of classic beauty, Rouge Coco Shines have been a favorite for years, if you want a natural tint of effortless color, these are the way to go
  • YSL Rouge Volupte Shine (Shade 47 shown) are another favorite, they are similar to Rouge Coco Shines but the YSL is a bit more emollient and comes with a fruity mango scent (swatches of the latest Rouge Volupte Shine Oil in Stick eight shades here)



Best Liquid Lipstick Formulas
  • Too Faced Melted Chocolate are my favorites for liquid lipstick because these also have a chocolate scent! They come with a sponge tip applicator. Swatches of all the chocolate shades in this post here.
  • Anastasia Liquid Lipstick (Crush shown) come with a love-hate feeling from me. I love these because the color really does last all day long but I am not a fan of matte finish lipsticks. This one can be fixed by adding a bit of balm or clear gloss on top and then I have a lipstick that will last from morning to night and through snacks/lunch.
  • Chanel Rouge Double Intensite (shades shown Darling Pink, Bright Rose and Light Rose) is another one that will literally last all day on my lips. It's a two step application process, first color, let dry, then top with the clear gloss on the other end. Bright Rose swatched here. Darling Pink is the best baby pink I've ever tried (I don't think I've reviewed it) and Light Rose is a gorgeous pinky rose color too.
  • NARS Lip Cover (Get Dirty shown) is a liquid lipstick with a glossy finish. I have two shades in Get Dirty and Overheated. I believe these are limited-edition from summer, I hope NARS considers adding this formula to the permanent line because the formula is really really good. Both shades swatched on lips here.


That wraps up my lipstick favorites in honor of National Lipstick Day! What are your favorite lipstick formulas or colors?


Friday, July 22, 2016

Loving Right Now + Gift Card Giveaway


Happy Friday everyone! It's been one of those weeks I thought would never end and I am relieved that it's almost the weekend. Thank you to everyone who shared what you wanted to see on The Beauty Look Book blog in my last giveaway post. It's always great to hear feedback on what you've liked and also what you would like to read more about. There were a lot of requests for features on a wide range of topics and I am beyond flattered so many of you want to know what I think about well basically anything! Most popular requests were for higher end skincare (I did not realize you guys liked the skincare posts!), budget-friendly cosmetics, full skincare routine, current hair care routine, more hauls, favorites roundups, inside my purse posts, shoe features, tutorials, makeup storage, more travel (so happy many of you loved this), time management, exclusive promo events and videos!

Since reading your requests, I've started to pull items for a full summer skincare routine and hair care routine post. I do tend to test a lot of products on myself to review for you so my routine changes frequently - but I will pull my favorites and include items I've used up. A few notes:
  • Nordstrom Anniversary Sale hauls posted on the blog, makeup picks here and fashion and skincare items hauled here
  • Exclusive promo savings for readers via Space NK US here - my apologies for those who were not able to use the code on Oribe, after several e-mails to the team, they've fixed the code and it works on all Oribe items (full size and travel sizes)
  • Antica Farmacista is doing a special online promo code, enter code ANTICABLB at checkout for a mini body butter with any online order!
  • Summer bronzer edit posted here (many of you have been asking for this for weeks!)
  • On videos I am hoping to do some in the future!
  • Loving right now/favorites in this post here today!


Right now for skincare, hair care and the home, I'm loving the following:
  1. Chanel Fresh Body Cream is a summer go-to for body lotions. It smells lightweight and fresh and even though a tub is pricey. I use it sparingly but it has lasted a long time. It hydrates without feeling sticky and won't interfere with perfume. My wallet is crying at the thought of having to buy again but I think it is 100% worth the splurge.
  2. Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover is what I use right now to remove mascara and eye makeup, its gentle but effective and doesn't feel greasy. You can find it in two sets for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in the Chubby Lash Set and Take the Day Off Set
  3. Antica Farmacista is a line I just discovered and I really don't know how this has passed my radar for so long, I received a few samples and the line is exquisite! My favorite item is the Cucumber and Lotus Flower Candle which is the perfect cooling relaxing scent for the home, I am going to need this one in all formats, detailed review next week - if you have any favorites from the line let me know! If you order online they're offering a free mini body butter with any order, use code ANTICABLB
  4. Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ample Angora Volumizing Mousse is something new to me, I will say up front I typically hate mousse products because they're usually sticky and make my hair hard to comb/brush, this one is really good though. I have naturally thick hair and find most volumizing products don't really add that much volume to my already thick hair (I have tried dozens of sprays, creams, lotions, shampoos etc.) This one combined with heat styling of the T3 PROi Dryer (best dryer ever, thanks RaeView for recommending to me!!) gives serious volume all the way through from roots to ends.
  5. La Mer The Tonic is a toner I alternate with the SK-II Clear Treatment Lotion, I like both but reach for the La Mer more these days to help remove impurities after cleansing and rebalance the skin. The formula has been a go-to for years and often times I try others in attempts to find a more affordable option, but this one never fails me.
  6. Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash is a favorite for every day multiple times a day. It's one of the few I can use frequently without it stripping my skin. I've tried and repurchased all her cleansers and this is the only one that won't irritate my skin on tender skin days. My brother has acne-prone skin that is even more sensitive than mine. I bought him this one to try and it's one of the few he says is gentle enough for his skin (he's in his early 20s). Also available in a larger 16 oz size with a pump and her Clinic Solutions Kit (I bought this for travel).

For makeup and fragrance:
  1. Hourglass Ambient Luminous Light Palette is nothing but pure love, it's a Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive for this year's Anniversary Sale and I think it is perfect. If you already own the palette from last holiday or the individual colors you can skip this one. Also there's a new marble palette that's coming out for holiday that you might want to wait for as previewed on @gossmakeupartist's Instagram (it looks dreamy but I think the colors are different!). My review + swatches in this post here.
  2. Chanel Aqua Glossimers for summer are sheered out glossimers new for summer. Review on all the shades in this post here. These are nice for an effortless wash of shine and a hint of color.
  3. Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche in Sugarcane is a perfect baby pink that covers the lip entirely, I also like Honeycomb which is a perfect nude, swatches + review of the neutrals in this formula can be found in this post here
  4. MAC Sunblessed Cremesheen (in the Nordstrom Sunblessed Kit) is a great pinky nude on me even though it looks more peachy in the tube. Swatched on my lips here.
  5. Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips are almost too hot to handle. I adore her Matte Revolution formula and was thrilled to see more neutrals and brights launched in her Hot Lips Collection. All the shades purchased by me and swatched in this post.
  6. NARS Long Hot Summer Eyeshadow Palette (review soon) is an exclusive to NARS online and boutiques. This has great neutrals deep enough for medium to tan skintones. I'll review and swatch this soon.
  7. Tom Ford Soleil Blanc is the perfect white floral summer fragrance. I love it. Review here.
  8. YSL Glossy Stain 07 is a ripe juicy peach that has enough color to be more than a neutral but isn't too bright so it will suit neutral makeup lovers (also in the Nordstrom Rebel Nudes Set)
I'm hosting one more Nordstrom eGift Card Giveaway! I'm giving away 3 $100 USD eGift Cards to Nordstrom. Details as follows:
  • Open internationally
  • You must be 18 years old or older
  • Enter through widget
  • Entries will be collected through Sunday 7/24/2016 11:30 AM PST
  • Winners will be selected at random via the widget, emailed Sunday evening
a Rafflecopter giveaway
What are you loving right now? Did you haul anything good from the Nordstrom sale or any other places recently?

Press samples featured include Shu Uemura, Antica Farmacista, Bite Amuse Bouche.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2016 Beauty Exclusives Haul


The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale this year has quite a lot to offer for beauty exclusives. I've been a busy bee all weekend swatching and photographing my haul and today I have close ups and swatches of the palettes and sets I picked up. Early access goes through the end of 7/21 for card holders and the sale goes live for the public on 7/22. This beauty haul is quite extensive so grab a cup of tea or coffee or maybe a snack. While browsing the Beauty Exclusives section I noticed quite a few items weren't available at stores near me so I ordered a couple items sight unseen. For those who can't get to a store and need to order online I feel your pain about not being able to see things in person, I hope these swatches help! Don't forget to check out the Gift With Purchase listings too, there are some nice gifts available, I'm glad I checked for the La Mer and Hourglass gifts.

First a quick look at the Early Access Sections in store, walls of skincare from a wide range of brands. Skincare sets this year are priced at really good values/savings.


A look at some of the gift with purchase sets (full list online), there are some lines that give you options to choose from with different sets:


If you've been wanting to splurge on a Clarisonic, the sale is one of the best times to do so because they offer them at a discount. The Mia Fit is marked down to $153 from $219. The Alpha Fit for men is also marked down to $153. My husband loves his and recommended I buy another one for my brother.



Onto my haul picks. In this post I've focused primarily on the makeup and palettes. I did pick out a few hair care items and skincare sets, I'll post those in a separate post if you're interested so let me know in the comments. Bobbi Brown has several Bobbi On Trend Sets. It's been a while since I've explored her line but the options were too good to pass up.

The Sultry Bronze Eye Set has an eyeshadow palette with 6 colors (Pale Cream, Bikini Bronze Metallic, Seashell Shimmer Wash, Beach Bronze Shimmer Wash, Frappe and Smokey Brown), Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner in Chocolate Truffle, and Eye Opening Mascara in Black. The palette has 6 easy to use neutrals and the eyeliner is a nice alternative to black. I had low expectations for the mascara because I usually do not like mascaras in sets, but I was beyond impressed. It volumizes, thickens, defines and did not smudge all day. Thumbs up! There is a cooler-neutral toned option called Sultry Topaz which is also very pretty.

For lips there are two options Pink Lips Set and Nude Lips Set. I picked out the Nudes which has her Art Stick in Brown Berry (neutral nude peach), Sheer Lip Color in Pink Buff (perfect neutral pink) and Lip Gloss in Pink Sunset (sheer sparkling pink). I have lip swatches of all the lip items I picked out at the bottom of the post. Many of you like the lips lined up side by side for reference.



Charlotte Tilbury launched an exclusive Instant Look in a Palette called the Seductive Beauty for what she calls The Dolce Vita Look with deeper shades compared to her original. I was not impressed with the first one and found it sheer and chalky for my complexion. I am happy to report the Nordstrom Exclusive is a lot better, shows up on my skintone and is not chalky at all. The texture has the same softness for the powders but pigment is significantly better. The Nordstrom set comes with a mini mascara.
 The Nordstrom Seductive Look Palette:


Original Natural Look vs Nordstrom Seductive Look swatched side by side:


Diptyque has the cutest 5-piece set available for the sale. These are the baby sized candles you can't purchase individually in the 1.2 oz size (these are smaller than the 2.4 oz versions). This is the perfect way to try the line as it has the best Diptyque scents available. It would also make a great hostess gift.

Hourglass has launched an exclusive palette called the Ambient Luminous Light Palette which has Luminous Light, Luminous Flush and Luminous Bronze Light. I already own the shades individually but could not pass on the set because it's perfect for travel. There is a gift with purchase I took advantage of (I ordered 3 palettes, one for myself, two as gifts).

Palette swatched next to the individual colors I own to show that the colors in the palette are indeed the same color, pigment and quality as the individual ones:


NARS has quite a few options for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale including Survival Kit 1, Survival Kit 2, Nordstrom's Best Cheek Kit and the Cult Survival Kit. All the sets are seriously good - it as really hard to narrow down my pick given all options. I picked out the Survival Kit 1 which has Naiad Eyeshadow, Kalahari II Eyeshadow, Off Limits Blush, Mata Hari Blush, a mini Lip Gloss in Party Girl and a mini Audacious Mascara. This set is the most neutral and easy to wear option. Outer Limits Blush looked very shimmery upon first swipe on my face, but adding the matte Mata Hari on top softened the frost in a nice way.



YSL Rebel Nudes has three lip products in a black zip pouch. I actually already own all three items in the set but a friend asked me to pick it up for her as she was worried it would be sold out by the time the public sale started. I swatched the colors from my own stash, I think this set is a really good one. It has Glossy Stain in 200 Plump Up (clear which does plump and tingle), Glossy Stain 07 Corail Aquatique which pulls a brighter peach on my lips, and Rouge Volupte Shine Oil in Stick 47 Beige Blouse which is one of my favorite pink nudes for everyday.


Nordstrom has an exclusive Dior Anniversary Collection that seems to be more spring-like rather than summer or fall. The offerings are still really pretty. I picked up three of the Flash Luminizer Radiance Booster Pens in 003 Apricot (my match) and two of the shimmers in 500 Pearly Vanilla (gold) and 800 Pearly Pink (shimmering opal). These take about 40 clicks to get product going the first round (just as an FYI). I have only tested for a few days so I can't say yet if I think they are worth the splurge. I do like 003 under eyes as a medium coverage brightening under eye concealer. The shimmers help add radiance anywhere you want a soft glowy shimmer.

There is a new Addict Hydra-Gel Core Mirror Shine Lipstick which is the first time I've tried the new formula. Baby Dior is a sheer peachy pink in the tube but applies a sheer pale cool pink on my lips. It's hydrating and smooth with a glossy finish.

There are also two nail colors in the collection in Ruban and Steel Grey. I was hoping to swatch these on the nail for you but I just broke three of my nails so arm swatches will have to do for now.


Last but not least are two options from MAC. First is the C'est Chic Eyeshadow Palette which I am seriously tempted to buy for myself. The one I have shown below is a gift for a friend (her birthday is this month) and it has all mattes in neutral to warms and plums. She saw this and asked for it specifically. The one MAC set I picked up for myself is the Look in a Box Sunblessed Kit which has a full sized Frost Eyeshadow in Deception (plum taupe), Fluidline in Blacktrack, False Lashes Mascara and Cremesheen in Sunblessed (peachy nude). I think all four items in the set are excellent, the mascara doesn't really give me a false lash look, but it's a good defining deepening mascara that adds a bit of volume and doesn't smudge. I believe the eyeshadow and lipstick are exclusive to the set.

Lip swatches:


That wraps it up for my massive Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Beauty Haul! I hope you found the swatches and detailed photos helpful to help with your shopping decisions. Definitely browse the options online first, especially the gift with purchase options. I think I missed out on a few because I didn't realize there was a Bobbi Brown GWP available and my sales associate did not know either. There is a lot to choose from and these sets and savings are offered only once each year.

I'm really impressed with the offerings this year and am pleased with all my purchases. Out of all the color options for makeup, I think you really can't go wrong with anything. Lots of value sets to pick from. My top 3 favorite items I hauled include the Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette Set, Bobbi Brown on Trend Nude Lip Set and Hourglass Ambient Luminous Light Palette. If I did not already own all the lip items in the YSL set, the Rebel Nudes set would also be added to my favorites list.

Have you shopped the sale for early access yet? What did you haul? Or are you waiting for the public sale on the 22nd? Let me know in the comments!



Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions my own. All items selected and purchased by me.


 

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