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

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.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation and Soft Velvet Loose Setting Powder


This spring NARS has released some new products for the face including the All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation ($48 for 1 fl oz) and the Soft Velvet Loose Setting Powder ($36 for 10 g). I've been testing these for a couple weeks now. I purchased the liquid foundation in store after swatching several of the shades. The NARS team kindly sent the powder for review with Beach as their best guess for my color match. Today I'll be sharing my thoughts on the formulas, wear time, texture and swatches with comparisons.

For quick reference, I use the foundation in Punjab and powder in Beach:


The All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation is incredible. It has a lightweight fluid texture that gives you full coverage with one to two pumps. To me it has a similar texture to the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation but has a more natural looking finish that has just the right amount of glow. On me this one covers most of my scars and imperfections flawlessly. Coverage is slightly heavier than the Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation but the overall look and effect is similar to me.

In terms of wear, the new NARS foundation blends into the skin flawlessly without streaking or caking. It gives medium to full coverage and evens out the skin beautifully. For wear time, I found it lasted all day long without getting oily or glowy. I do think what you use underneath will make a difference, since this is on the luminous side, if you are oily you may want to go lighter on the moisturizer or base. For me, these days to prep the skin these days I've been using Ole Henriksen's Pure Truth Serum and Sheer Transformation Moisturizer. Sometimes I'll use primers and my current favorites are the NARS Pro-Prime and Tom Ford Illuminating. For me I find the texture of the NARS foundation is easy to blend so I find that it doesn't need a primer.


For color, I am a match to the NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Punjab. I've been matched to this color in most of the formulas, it's a good medium color with olive and yellow tones. Finding something with the right mix of olive and yellow undertone is hard for me. I'm often in between shades or find that I have to mix colors. Most foundations are not yellow enough or too olive. Punjab is the perfect match for me and I was thrilled to find that the new formula's color to be an exact match. If you're similar in skin tone to me but not as olive and are a bit more pink/peach go with Santa Fe. For reference, I found the swatches of all the foundation shades on Café Makeup extremely helpful.

I have two sets of swatch comparisons below to other NARS foundations and other brands. I've reviewed most of the items below before. I'll link reviews where applicable:



  • NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska
  • NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard and Ginger (I mix them, review)
  • NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Groenland (my match)
  • NARS All Day Radiant Weightless Foundation in Punjab
  • NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation in Punjab (review)
  • NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder in Beach
  • NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation in Punjab (review)




  • Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet in B30 (review)
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Cream Foundation in O30 (review)
  • Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation in Bisque 04 (review
  • Dolce & Gabbana Luminous Foundation in Caramel 110 (review)

Bottom line I give the foundation a huge thumbs up. I think it's their best foundation released to date. I'm a huge fan of the Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer for texture and finish but sometimes I want more coverage. The new foundation is exactly what I wanted for an amped up version of the Tinted Moisturizer. I love that there is no detectable fragrance and on me it really did last all day from morning to evening without budging or sliding.

Next on to the powder. I tested a number of NARS powders in the old formulas at makeup events (both pressed and loose). I didn't like any of them because I found they caked on my skin on top of foundation. It wasn't until NARS released the Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder that I changed my mind about their face powders. It's one of my top picks for setting powders because it doesn't alter the color of your foundation and even though the powder is white it doesn't make you look like a ghost or powdery. Given my love of the reflecting powders, I was excited to try my sample of the new Soft Velvet Loose Setting Powder in Beach. After playing with this for a few weeks, I have mixed feelings.


There are eight different colors of the loose powder. Even though I was sent Beach for review, I went to the counter to look at the shades in person to make sure it was the best color match. Eden is also very close in color but it's more pink, while Beach is more yellow. On my skin they looked almost identical, but since I prefer yellow tones, Beach is the better of the two for me.

The powder is a soft and lightweight with a very finely milled texture. It feels silky on the skin and truly weightless. When dusted over the All Day Weightless Luminous Foundation I found it set nicely if I applied while the foundation was still a bit dewy (as in it didn't set all the way). A little goes a long way so you only need a sheer wash of powder to set the entire face. The powder performed well over the NARS tinted moisturizer too creating a soft sheer matte finish.

It didn't work so well over other foundations though and I'm not entirely sure why. It caked over the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation, the Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation, Cle de Peau and also the NARS Radiant Creamy Compact Foundation. It settled into pores that seemed to be blended and covered perfectly by those foundations. My personal preference is to use the Light Reflecting Loose Powder or the All Day Luminous Powder Foundation as a setting powder. Still, I have seen some pretty good reviews on this one, if you're near a NARS counter I recommend checking it out to see how it wears on you. My experience might not be typical with this one.


Overall, huge thumbs up on the foundation, mixed thoughts on the powder. If you've tested these please share what you thought and what shade you were matched to. I know readers often need to order sight unseen and your comments on color matching are always helpful!

You can find the NARS All Day Weightless Luminous Foundation and Soft Velvet Loose Setting powder at all NARS counters now. Online at Nordstrom, SephoraSaks, Neiman Marcus and NARS.

The Soft Velvet Loose Powder was provided as a press sample for review consideration. The All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation was purchased by me.

Monday, January 26, 2015

On My Radar


Soft washes of neutral colors and getting organized are on my mind this week.

Deborah Lippman Whisper Collection (1) has four shades of pale pastels that look so dreamy. The names are absolute perfection with Chantilly Lace (pink), Misty Morning (grey), Dreamers Do (mauve), Fine Romance (nude).

The spring releases from Marc Jacobs Beauty look amazing. Three new #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powders (2) have been released to sculpt, highlight and add definition. Shades include Dream Filter (soft pink/medium bronze), Hi Fi Filter (warm peach/ deep bronze) and Mirage Filter (light gold/ light bronze).

There are new lipstick formulas as well from Marc Jacobs Beauty. There is a long-wear bold color formula called Le Marc Lip Creme and New Nudes Sheer Lip Gel (4).

NARS Spring 2015 is all about soft nudes (5). I have so many things sitting in my cart right now. I'm trying to resist the urge to order sight unseen since nudes can be tricky. They look so beautiful, especially the Guyane and Vent Salé Lip Glosses, Reckless Blush, Valhalla Eyeshadow and Porto Venere Eye Paint.

I've been accumulating quite a few flat pouches and clutches but don't have a way to store them properly. I've been propping them vertically next to each other. This GLAMdivide (6) lucite box by Glamboxes looks like it could be the perfect solution for me. (How do you store your slim clutches and flat pouches? I'm open for all ideas!)

New highlighting and contouring powders in different colors are popping up. Clinique Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palettes (6) come in four shades: Defining Nudes, Berries, Roses and Nectars. Bobbi Brown Brightening Bricks (7) now come in four colors too including Coral, Pastel Pink, Pink and Cranberry.

Last but not least, if you're looking for a good chic document case, Truffle has a promo on their Clarity Document Cases for 25% off through Sunday 2/1 with code TIDY2015 at checkout.

What's on your radar this week?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Winter Glow


This time of year my skin feels like it lacks natural luster so I rely on illuminators and soft nude shimmers to fake that glow-from-within. Today I'm sharing my favorite go-to's along with thoughts on a few new items I've been testing to get that soft glow. Picks include items for nails, lips, cheeks and eyes. When it comes to shimmers I like to mix them in for one to two areas of the face with color rather than wear champagne shimmers all over the face, otherwise it's just too much. I like using these as a cheekbone or very soft brow bone highlight too in order to add dimension.

First up are pale shimmers for the lips. I am always a huge fan of those soft pale shimmers for the lips but can't always pull them off easily. I have medium pigmented lips with olive skin so often times pale shimmers make me feel like I have white lips. Two I've discovered that work for my lips include Rouge Dior Baume in Star and Lipstick Queen Ice Queen. Both have that lovely translucent quality with multidimensional shimmer to prevent these from looking too frosted.  


Both look similar in photographs on my lips but I think they are different enough to justify both. The Rouge Dior Baume in Star has a cooler-toned quality and is sheerer. Lipstick Queen Ice Queen looks lighter in the photos but it has a higher level of frost which reflects more. It has a mix of silver and gold particles which makes it a good layering lipstick. I have a slight preference for the Lipstick Queen because the shimmering quality is really pretty. If you are anti-shimmer for lips, you may find it too frosty.



For the nails, I've been obsessed with Rescue Beauty Lounge Bubblegum Punk for a fun multi-colored shimmer frost. It has an ultra smooth finish even though it's on the sparkly side. I can never resist pale shimmers for nails, but some are hard to work with if they are frosts. Marc Jacobs Beauty has released two new Hi-Shine Enamored Nail Polishes. Blanche was released last fall. It's a metallic soft white which I found took some extra effort to make work. Being a metallic I found brush strokes visible with two coats, but they disappeared a bit with the third coat. I have yet to find a good white shimmer that is streak-free. This one is pretty good if you are patient. Milk is a new addition to their Runway Shades. This is an iridescent beige that flashes pink and opal. I adore these kinds of colors but I know some women find the colors like this difficult to work with on their skin tone (something about the beige makes the skin look sallow). Milk flashes enough iridescent shimmer to prevent the beige base from dominating. I find it very wearable.



For highlighting, there are a number of multi-tasking products for eyes and cheeks. I love a good shimmer that gives a glow without looking frosty. I know everyone has different preferences for what degree of shimmer they are comfortable wearing so I'll give a summary ranking of what I think is the most subtle to the most frosted.

First up are creamy ones. NARS St. Lucia Multiple is the latest from NARS (currently a Nordstrom exclusive, available at all NARS counters in March, review here). It's a multi-purpose creamy twist up stick. On me it gives a natural glowy soft pink highlight to the cheeks and eyes. On fairer skins this will probably give you more color and look more blush-like.

My holy grail cream highlighter is Edward Bess All Over Seduction. He has two shades, Sunlight is the paler one (shown below) and Afterglow is a bronzey version. Both are incredibly natural and glowy. The texture blends in beautifully with the skin and the shimmer is finely milled. If you're afraid of shimmer I highly recommend you check these out because it's impossible to overdo and looks amazing on everyone I've seen it applied on.

One of the newest illuminators I've been testing is the Chantecaille Liquid Lumiere Anti-Aging Face Illuminator in Sheen (I received this as part of the Net-A-Porter holiday beauty box but it's available separately). At first swipe I found the shimmer in this one to be on the high side but after playing with this I found it blended out to a soft smooth veil of shimmer. It does have more shimmer than Armani Fluid Sheers or the Edward Bess Sunlight but it is still very wearable. The pigment and shimmer is intense but it's concentrated so you only need a tiny amount. A little goes a long way. If you're one of those beauty lovers who is in search of a liquid highlighter that won't disappear on the skin once you blend it this is a good one to look into. I've dabbed it on top of the cheekbones or eyes (after foundation/powder) and it doesn't disrupt your makeup base. Check out the review on Best Things in Beauty to see how the colors look once blended properly. 



For additional highlighters, my go-to powder highlighter is from Hourglass. The Ambient Lighting Palette (review here) goes with me on all trips. I use the full size versions at home and take this palette with me for on-the-go or on vacations. The palette came out after the individual ones were released, so I have some duplicate colors. If you're new to these powders, I hands down say go for the palette. There is a good amount of product so it will last you a long time and it's super convenient to use and carry with you.

I used to use the Kevyn Aucoin Celetial Powder in Candlelight a long time ago when it had the larger compact packaging. I liked it but didn't love it. Several have recommended I check it out again claiming it reached holy grail status for them. I like the new compact packaging and the powder is lovely but I don't love it. I find it a bit too pale for my medium-olive skin. That being said if you thought the Hourglass Luminous Light was too shimmery or glowy I recommend the Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight because it is a notch down in the shimmer intensity. If you prefer neutral to cool-toned highlighters then you will really like Candlelight. I have friends who are on the fair side (Chanel Beige 10 or MAC NC20) and they swear by this one.

Last but not least, I think the NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadows in Himalia and Dione are the best shimmers on the market. It has a really good blendable cream texture. The shimmer/frost is high on this so your mileage may vary. Full review here. If you don't have a lot of the colors you may want to check out the NARSissist Dual Intensity Eyeshadow Palette. I already own 5 of the 8 shades so I'm having a hard time justifying a purchase since it will result in a lot of dupes for me.



What do you like to use to get a nice glow in the winter time?

The Lipstick Queen Ice Queen, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, Rescue Beauty Lounge Bubblegum Punk Nail Polish and Chantecaille Illuminator were provided as press samples for review consideration. All other items purchased by me.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Inside My Bag


Here's a peek at what's inside my bag this week (another shot here @beautylookbook). Truffle  Clutches are keeping my bags streamlined and organized. I like to use the Clarity Clutches for makeup because I can see what's inside (nude is shown). The Privacy Clutches for me are used to keep card cases, wallets, notecards and keys in (blush shown). I ordered a bunch of these for Christmas and gave them out as gifts to friends. They put them to use immediately and it brought a smile to my face seeing that they were well received - everyone has been sending me pictures of their pouches in action.

As usual, I have too many lip products in my purse. Left to right is NARS Dolce Vita Lip Gloss (review), Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (swatched), Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Étourdie (swatches), and Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Champagne (review).

I've been carrying the Tatcha's Original Aburatorigami Beauty Papers to blot. They are packaged in a slim compact sturdy paper case making them easy to carry with me, although the new Travel Sized Papers-To-Go Tube is now on my wish list. Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powder in 20 stays with me these days for refreshing makeup although I often forget to bring a powder brush with me so having it in my bag is kinda pointless.

Two last beauty items I've been carrying with me include Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black mini and L'Occitane's Shea Butter Hand Cream (from the limited-edition holiday L'OcciBox).

What's in your bag this week?

The Truffle Blush Clutch and L'Occitane Hand Cream were press samples. All other items purchased by me.

Monday, January 5, 2015

NARS Eye-Opening Act - Beauty Look Book Picks


This month, NARS Cosmetics introduces a limited-edition collection called the Eye-Opening Act featuring Tilda Swinton as the face of the campaign. This collection focuses on creating different looks for the eyes with new products and colors.


All the items in the Limited-Edition Eye-Opening Act Collection are exclusive to Nordstrom through March 15 of this year:
  • Matte Velvet Eyeshadow Stick ($28 each for 0.05 oz / 1.6 g)
    • Flibuste - black
    • Dark Angel - brown
    • Reykjavik - grey
    • Glénan - blue
    • Nunavut - purple
  • Yeux Irresistible Eyeshadow Palette ($48 for 6 shades each 0.03 oz / 1 g)
    • All About Eve Duo Eyeshadow (right side) - Flesh-toned neutral with shimmer
    • Jezebel Eyeshadow - Shimmery sable
    • Thunderball Eyeshadow - Midnight gray
    • Colombo Eyeshadow - Vintage gold shimmer
    • Brousse Duo Eyeshadow (left side) - Sable
    • Coconut Grove Eyeshadow - Deep Brown infused with reflections 
  • Inoubliable Coup d'Oeil Eyeshadow Palette ($48 for 6 shades each 0.03 oz / 1 g)
    • Dalliance Eyeshadow - Dusty lilac stone
    • Pyla Eyeshadow - Smokey hunter green
    • Sidi Bou Saïd - Blackened grape
    • Pandora Duo Eyeshadow (left side) - Sheer white shimmer
    • Luberon - Iridescent sand with rose gold sheen
    • Pandora Duo Eyeshadow (right side) - Matte black
  •  Illuminating Multiple St. Lucia ($39 for 0.5 oz / 14 g)
    • Sheer Rose

I ordered some items sight unseen a little over a week ago and have been putting them to the test. I have my picks to share with you today. First up are the new Matte Velvet Eyeshadow Sticks. These are twist up creamy shadows that come in five colors. I've had really good experiences with the NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliners and Soft Touch Shadow Pencils so I thought these new shadow sticks might be a cross of the two products. I ordered Reykjavik, Flibuste and Dark Angel sight unseen.


The shades I ordered are quite intense and pigmented. I found Reykjavik (grey) and Dark Angel (brown) easy to apply straight on the lids along the lash line. They glided on without tugging. Flibuste (black) was a bit drier in texture and tugged a little bit on my eyes but I was still able to apply on the lash line fairly easily. The Velvet Matte Shadow sticks do dry very quickly and once they set they don't budge. For me, these work best as a liner. I've played with these by using a small smudge brush to apply them (take the brush and swipe the shadow stick, then use the product on the brush to apply to the eyes). Or I've also applied these directly to the eyes and blend with the fingers or a blending brush very quickly.

I like the sleek and simple packaging but given the intensity and pigment of the colors, I feel these act more like eyeliners rather than eyeshadows and wish they came in the Larger than Life Eyeliner form for easier and more precise application. That being said, for any darker cream shadow I usually use a brush to apply (versus fingers) whether it's a pot, twist up stick, chubby stick or compact form.




Here are a few swatched comparisons. I think the NARS Reykjavik grey is a phenomenal grey color. It's my favorite out of the ones I've tested because it's an intense grey without being too light or dark.


Next are the two Eyeshadow Palettes. These are my favorite items from the Eye-Opening Act Collection. Both are super compact and cute. I thought my favorite for sure would be the Yeux Irresistible but I actually really like Inoubliable Coup D'Oeil just as much, especially since it has a lot of new colors (versus repromoted shades).


Yeux Irresistible contains a mix of warm and cool. All the shades are available in other Single Shadows and Eyeshadow Duos with the exception of Colombo which is exclusive to this palette. For me this one has colors that will create a smokey or dramatic eye.


Here are the shades swatched with a heavy hand. If you're familiar with NARS Eyeshadows you are well aware that they have a smooth texture with medium pigment that is easy to build. All the shades here perform just like the individuals. They glide on the eyes nicely and layer well with each other. There is only one shade I've found requires extra work. In my experience with Thunderball (the single), I've found it works best when packed on the eyes with a detail brush as a liner. If you apply with a regular eyeshadow brush all over the lids, you may find it looks uneven and chalky. I found performance to be the same with this palette.
  • All About Eve II is a cool shimmering champagne pink with finely milled shimmer
  • Jezebel is a reddish brown color with subtle shimmer
  • Thunderball is a matte navy teal grey
  • Colombo is a shimmering gold with a very soft texture
  • Brousse I is a shimmering plum
  • Coconut Grove is a satiny dark brown that acts more like a matte on the lids



___________________

Inoubliable Coup d'Oeil surprised me. With the exception of Luberon, all the other colors are very much cool-toned which can be hard for me to wear easily. That combined with the fact that I rarely wear green shadows on the eyes made me a bit hesitant to order this. I decided to give it a try and I'm really glad I did. Most of the colors with the exception of Pandora Duo are new and exclusive to this palette. The combination of these colors creates a unique and softly defined eye.

  • Dalliance is a sheer soft matte lilac tan, it goes on smoothly over an eyeshadow base
  • Pyla is a soft olive green with a slight grey tone and satiny shimmer
  • Sidi Bou Said is a dusty purple grape color with a satiny matte texture
  • Pandora I and II is a sheer iridescent cool white shimmer with a matte black
  • Lumeron is a shimmering coppery rose gold champagne




Last but not least is the new St. Lucia Multiple. This is a beautiful soft shimmering rose champagne. On my medium-toned skin it's a highlighter color (I use the NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation and All Day Luminous Powder Foundation in Punjab), but I suspect on fair skin tones it will look more bronzey with more color. This one has a finely milled shimmer with a super smooth texture (no glitter). On my skin it's light enough that I can wear it on the eyes without having to worry about getting that pink-eye look. On the cheeks it adds a very natural but visible glow to the skin. It's really stunning. It's a multi-dimensional color with lots of different colored shimmers in it. It has a rose base with champagne, silver, and pink shimmers that makes it glow. I found it sheer-to-medium in coverage. It's not invisible on the skin, but it is on the sheer side for my particular skin tone. You can build the color naturally.





I'm really pleased with the eyeshadow palettes and new multiple. The colors in the palettes make creating an eye look easy whether you want something for day or night. There is a nice simplicity to the color combinations that will give you a classic look with a modern edge. The small size of the palettes makes these easy to carry with you if you need to travel or carry something with you to take you from day to night if you can't make it back home to get ready. The new St. Lucia Multiple is really quite stunning. It is sheer but gives a really stunning glow. I have mixed feelings about the Velvet Shadow Sticks. If you're looking for a more pigmented version of the Soft Touch Shadow Pencils, you will probably like the Velvet Shadow Sticks. I like the packaging design and the rich pigment. I also found lasting power very impressive (they don't budge). I do think they set a bit too quickly for me and due to the intensity of the colors I think they work better as liners than shadows.

All the items in the NARS Eye-Opening Act are limited-edition. They are currently exclusive to Nordstrom counters and online. Have you checked out the collection? Or have anything on your wish list? I'd love to hear your thoughts?




This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. All opinions my own. All products purchased by me. For more information please refer to my disclosures.

 

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