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

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Inside My Bag


I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend! I have a few things to share that I've been loving lately - all of which are compact in size making it easy to slip into a flat leather clutch.

First, Elizabeth and James just released a new Solid Perfume Compact for Nirvana Black and White. It's the prettiest solid perfume compact I've seen. It comes in heavy duty a mirrored compact with the same detail as the full size bottles. It's currently a VIB/VIB Rouge Exclusive at Sephora.com through 12/27 and will be officially launch in the new year. The solid Nirvana Black smells just like the Eau De Parfum and Rollerball (full review on those here) with decent lasting power.

Next, I've been really enjoying the Tom Ford Lips & Boys clutch-sized lipsticks. I have posted a few sneak peeks here and on my Instagram, I'm working as fast as I can to get the full review and swatches up this week. Below is William, a sheer glossy nude peach shimmer.

NARS is a regular go-to these days with their Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Dione (review) and Audacious Lipstick in Barbara (review). I've been shopping my stash with both formulas.

For the dry winter weather, I've been using hand cream and lip balms religiously. Two I really like at the moment is L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand cream mini that I got as a gift with purchase at the boutique (always a classic) and the Malin + Goetz Lip Moisturizer.



Full clutch contents this weekend:

1 / NARS Audacious Lipstick in Barbara
4 / Chocolate Mints Tin
5 / Louis Vuitton Key ring
6 / L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream
9 / Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (review soon)
10 / Tom Ford Lips & Boys in William
12 / iPhone


Hope you have a lovely Sunday afternoon!

The Elizabeth & James solid compact was provided for review consideration. The mini L'Occitane hand cream was a gift with purchase in store. All other items purchased by me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Beauty Look Book's Guide to Building a Makeup Wardrobe


This year I've received quite a few e-mails from new readers who just started getting into higher-end cosmetic brands. Being a beauty junkie and beauty blogger, I put dozens of products to the test each mont. This allows me to offer comparisons in order to help others determine differences or similarities across brands, formulas and product families.

For the makeup newbie it can be a bit overwhelming to sort through all the options. Finding good makeup that works for you often has to be done through trial and error. I think we've all been at that place where we bought something that ended up not working so well for our skin tone or skin type. Finding a store with a wide range of brands to choose from with a good return/exchange policy is one of the main reasons I really love to shop at Nordstrom. Today I've teamed up with them to create a personal beauty guide on how to start building a makeup wardrobe.

Most of my makeup preferences are for natural colors that will enhance features. New readers frequently e-mail me requesting a customized shopping list of my top beauty picks for them to take to the counter. Picking favorites is almost impossible for me since I really do love a lot of brands, but I've compiled an edited list that I think will be good for the makeup newbie. I've split my guide into three categories: Lips, Eyes and Cheeks.


For lips, if you're just starting to get into makeup, my recommendations would depend on what kind of look you want. Even if you want a natural color, texture and finish plays a major part in picking out the right lip product. Do you prefer sheer, glossy, velvety, full-coverage? Are you a lipstick or lipgloss kind of person? Do you like shimmer or prefer creams?
Chanel Rouge Allure Glosses offer rich pigment with high shine and flawless coverage. My favorite soft pink is Sensible 15. If you want a no-fuss medium to full coverage lip gloss that stays put, these will give a really pretty shine while adding a good amount of color. There are naturals and brights in this formula to suit a wide range of skin tones. Another really good full coverage lip gloss is the Dior Addict Fluid Stick. These are a hybrid lipstick + lipgloss and it packs in a ton of color with high shine. Whisper Beige 219 is a good natural beige nude that won't wash out the complexion.

If you prefer to ease into color and want just a tint of color and shine, Chanel Glossimers are among my favorite out of all the lip glosses in the market. Shades range from sparkling light pinks, bright corals, soft rose, beiges to plums. The holiday Chanel Give It Shine Glossimer Lip Trio has the perfect collection of shades to start your lip wardrobe. It has Amour (soft peach), Sweet Beige (nude beige shimmer) and Wild Rose (the perfect rose pink shine). These have a smooth texture with a naturally glossy sheen.

If you want a more budget-friendly lip gloss, MAC Lipglasses are hard to pass up. These are a bit sticky and tacky, but there are a lot of colors and finishes to choose from. Lovechild Lipglass is one of the most universally flattering colors I've seen. It's a soft plum with pink tones and gold shimmer. On me it pulls very natural, on fair skin it's the perfect plum, on darker or deeper skin tones it also looks good. Laura Mercier Lip Glacés also offer a wide range of colors with a natural finish. Pink Pop is a bright but sheer pink which brings the complexion to life with a sheer wash of bright color.

If you are more of a lipstick kind of person but want something natural, Chanel Rouge Coco Shines are my favorite no fuss swipe-and-go kind of lipstick. Boy 54 is the best classic rose pink shade that adds the prettiest hint of color and shine. The sheer formula won't be as long lasting as a regular lipstick but the color is flawless and formula is hydrating. These are really good if you're timid with bold colors and want something to ease into for lips. The sheer glossy formula is slightly transparent and lets you natural lip shine through.

If you want a full coverage lipstick but still want something that looks natural, the NARS Audacious Lipstick formula is hands down the best that has been released this year. The formula is full coverage with an amazing coverage that melds with the lip. If you have dry lips or peeling flakes you will need to moisturize or prep with a lip balm first, but if your lip is smooth, these are the best I have tried. It has a semi-matte and semi-velvety finish but there is a slight sheen to these which prevents it from looking flat. Raquel is my perfect nude pink. Brigitte is a nude pink beige that has more color but is still very natural.




For the eyes, there are a lot of different eyeshadows and liners that I adore. If I were pressed to pick my current top three favorites for eyeshadow, they would be Urban Decay Naked3, Chanel Tisse Rivoli and Dolce & Gabbana Smoky.


The Urban Decay Naked3 Palette is my most reached-for palette. It has 12 shades of neutral rosy-toned neutrals that can create a wide range of looks. There are shimmers, sparkles and mattes all of which have really incredible pigment. The texture of Urban Decay eyeshadows is buttery smooth and this particular palette doesn't have any glitter shades which is a huge plus for me (and any neutral makeup lover). This is the one palette that goes with me on almost every trip. It's a palette I find can go with everything. Pink shadow can be hard for me to wear (it often gives me a pink-eye look) but Naked3 is neutral enough to be very wearable. If you don't feel comfortable wearing rose-colored shadow the next best option is Naked2 which is more neutral and taupe-based.

If having 12 shadows to play with in one palette is too overwhelming and you need something more edited, Chanel Tisse Rivoli is my favorite neutral quad. The texture adheres well to the eyes and layers well. The colors are smooth and pigmented. For something with more dramatic color, Dolce & Gabbana Smoky (swatched here) is my holy grail smoky eyeshadow quad.

For a cream shadow that is a good over wash shadow the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Rosegold is a good pick. It's a soft shimmery champagne with rose and gold tones. It is creamy and blends easily on the eyes. You do need to let it sit for a minute or so to dry and then afterwards they last pretty well. It also works as an eye base for powder shadows and helps bring out the pigment.

For liners and mascara, a simple classic black is a good place to start. Not all black eyeliners are good though. Some pull grey in undertone or can smudge easily. Finding good eye makeup that you don't have to worry about throughout the day is essential. My favorite mascara is the Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch because it grabs every little lash and volumizes, holds the curl, doesn't smudge, doesn't clump and defines the lashes really well. For me this one lasts all day without budging.

For liners, the Tom Ford Liquid Eyeliner is hands down the best liquid liner I've tried. It's extremely pricey but it is worth every penny and will last you a very long time. There are two ends with different sizes of tips which allows for precise application and complete control. If you're new to liquid liners, this hands down is the best one I've tested. It makes applying liquid liner super easy. If you prefer a pencil liner, Burberry's Effortless Kohl Eyeliners were just released this year. Jet Black is one of the deepest and richest black liners I've tried and it stays put all day from morning to night. It comes in a twist up pencil format with a built in sharpener at the end which I find very convenient (especially if you carry it on the go or when you travel).




Out of all the beauty products I own, I would say blush, bronzer and highlighters dominate my makeup collection by far. Picking out a few favorites was a difficult task. For the face I've narrowed down my recommendations to a few items that will multi-task.


If I could only wear one blush palette for the rest of my life I would pick out the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette. It has three shades in a mirrored compact that cover all the shades you could need to go with any look. Luminous Flush is a coral pink, Incandescent Electra is a soft peach, Mood Exposure is a plum rose. The colors are very pigmented with easy to control buildable color. There is a bit of highlighter mixed into each blush which gives these a luminous glow. Those who don't like shimmer need not fear with this one. The shimmer is finely milled and very natural on the face. It's impossible to overdo but the pigment is rich enough to add visible color.

For a bronzer and highlighter, Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow offers both in one  convenient mirrored compact. The bronzey shade can be used as a contouring powder, although I like it as a bronzer on me. The highlighter is a pale warm gold champagne which has a high frost but looks very natural on the skin. The two combined can be used on the cheeks, temples and eyes.

Liquid illuminators are also something I consider in a makeup wardrobe. They can be used as highlighters on top of powder/foundation to add a glow or they can be used under blush to help color adhere better. I like to use these on the eyes occasionally to highlight. If you need a bit of shimmer in your foundation these can be mixed in. My favorite liquid highlighter is the Soleil Tan de Chanel in Sunkissed. It's a pale golden champagne that dries to a semi-matte finish which means it stays put all day long. If you want more color options or want something more dewy, Armani Fluid Sheers are classic staples that will give you that glow from within look.



I hope you found this introductory guide useful! Whether you are new to higher-end makeup or want to know what my current favorites are, I hope this provides an edited list of recommendations for you to start exploring. If you could recommend your top 5 beauty picks to a makeup newbie, what would they be? I would really love to hear what your favorites are!





This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. All opinions are my own.
For more information please refer to my Disclosures

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Holiday Beauty: Reds for Lips and Nails


The holiday season is in full swing and I have another holiday inspired beauty post to share with you today. Last month I shared some Champagne and Gold Shimmer favorites from Nordstrom. I'm a neutral makeup lover at heart but still like to like to wear brighter colors. Red is very much in season although finding a good red nail color is easy with so many good options, finding a good red lip can be challenging for me. I have full lips that tend to pull a lot of pink with lipsticks and glosses. Many reds can be too bright, pull orange, or turn fuchsia pink if they have too much blue.


I've pulled seven of my favorite reds ranging from soft pink red to a deep berry red for lips that I'd recommend for neutral lip lovers. They have enough pigment for those who want a bolder lip, but still natural enough to be wearable for even the most conservative makeup wearer.

If you're super scared of red, opt for a pink red. YSL Volupté Sheer Candy Succulent Pomegranate #4 (1) is a super sheer but hot pink with some red. It has a sheer glossy finish which makes it more wearable. Burberry Oxblood Lip Glow Lip Gloss (2) looks super dark in the tube but has a jelly finish making it a super sheer jelly pink red.

If you're braver for more color, NARS Tech Fashion Gloss Shade IV (3) is a warm red, there is a hint of a natural shimmer in it making it not a pure red. The warmth also makes it softer.

For those who want a true red with shine, I'd recommend Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss in Seduction (4) which stays put quite well for a gloss formula. It's layerable for rich color but still has a hint of pink making it a youthful red. NARS Burning Love Lip Gloss (5) is a true red that packs a punch. For a gloss, this is also very pigmented. This is the true-est red I have that is the perfect in between of warm and cool. For me, this is the perfect holiday red.

If you want a lush brighter red, Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Sugar Cherry (6) is surprisingly pigmented on the lips. Swatched on the arms or hands it looks like it will barely show up, but the Fresh Sugar Lips tend to adhere really well to the lips which brings out the color. This one just glows.

For those who want a deeper berry red, Burberry Beauty Lip Mist in Oxblood (7) is as perfect as it gets for deep reds. It's a hybrid gel formula so it's supposed to be sheer, but the formula hugs the lips and swiping back and forth brings out the color. Burberry Blueberry Lip Mist is a redder and deeper option. Oxblood also comes in a more pigmented Lip Cover version as well.


If you still are convinced you can't pull of red lips but still want to wear red, nail polish is the easiest way to incorporate a bit of red into your holiday beauty routine. The best thing about red nail polish is that it's timeless. There's no need to buy a new color if you already own reds, you can always shop your stash from spring or summer. That being said, I do always look forward to what brands release each holiday for their version of what they think is the latest and greatest modern red. Three I'm loving right now include:

Burberry Oxblood is re-promoted this season with gold packaging for holiday. It's a jelly deep oxblood color. Two coats will give you a deep plum red. Chanel Expression (from late fall) is the perfect hybrid of red and pink. On me it definitely leans more red, but the pink tone brightens the colors and makes the hands look alive (not drab). YSL Rouge Pablo was a release from spring. It's a bright and very warm red but festive.



Some inspiration on what to coordinate with a red lip. Keep the eyes and cheeks simple since the statement color will be on your lips. Neutral earthy eyes can be dressed up with deeper smokey browns or blacks.  For cheeks, I've always found earthy, peachy or soft bronzed colors work well with any undertone of red.




Do you like to wear reds for lips and nails for holiday? Please let me know what your favorite go-to's are! Or if you have any new recent discoveries I'd love to hear about those too.





Special thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. Burberry Oxblood Lip Glow, Lip Mist and Nail Polish were provided for review consideration. All other items purchased by me. As always, all opinions are my own. For more info, you can refer to my Disclosures.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NARS Tech Fashion Lipgloss Coffret


NARS has so many beautiful holiday gift sets this year. So far I've managed to limit myself to one. I ordered the NARS Tech Fashion Lipgloss Coffret ($39 for a set of 4 mini glosses, 0.12 oz/4 ml each). I'm a major sucker for minis and the lip gloss set was too cute to pass up. The colors don't have names but are labeled with numbers:

  • Shade I is a super sheer sparkling light peach with silver flecks
  • Shade II is a mix of rose and bronze with gold and silver sparkles, also very sheer
  • Shade III is a cool plum orchid with silver flecks
  • Shade IV is a soft red with a hint of shimmer


Left to right, I, II, III, IV

Shade I and II are both very sheer but still show up on my lips. I think these will be better layered over lipstick if you want a more visible gloss look. Shade III and IV are both medium in pigment. All the colors have some degree of shimmer, I and II are more shimmery, while III and IV are not quite as sparkly on the lips. As far as I can tell there is no detectable scent or fragrance in the glosses. The finish is ultra glossy but not too wet looking. Lasting power is average. They adhere well to the lips but won't last the entire day without touchups.

These come with an angled sponge tip applicator.


Swatches are shown below applied on the arm with a couple swipes. Lip swatches are also straight from the tube, applied with the sponge tip:







A few comparisons to other colors for reference:


Set 1 with Shade I and II:

Bite Beauty Mix n Mingle Lush Fruit Lip Gloss in Papaya
MAC Cremesheen Glass in Romantic Overture
NARS Lip Gloss in Sweet Revenge
Surratt Lip Lustre in Ensoleille
NARS Lip Gloss in Supervixen (review + swatched)


Set 2 with Shade III and IV:

Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Violet and Orchid
Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss Distinction and Seduction (lip swatched)
Burberry Lip Gloss in Oxblood


I have more than enough gloss to last 20 lifetimes but I think this one is a winner. It has a good range of colors to suit a number of needs. The small sizes means I will be able to use them up easily within the next few months and not have to worry about them going bad. I'm a sucker for minis and I'm thrilled with this one. I love each and every shade in the collection which is rare for me when it comes to sets. It is limited-edition for holiday so once the sets sell out, they're gone.

I give it a huge thumbs up. If you've been eyeing this one, you might want to hold off until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to check for deals. I'll have a roundup in a couple days on deals posted on the blog.

The NARS Tech Fashion Lipgloss Coffret retails for $39. It's available at Nordstrom, Barneys, Neiman Marcus and Narscosmetics.com.





Did you get any of the NARS holiday sets? Any of them worth splurging for? They look so tempting and I'm trying to resist.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: Travel and Trial-Sized Beauty


Here is my first gift guide for the holiday season. This time of year always brings about tempting value sets and travel-sized beauty gifts. I think these travel-friendly sets are a great way to try new skincare without committing to the full-sized options. For color, if you're one of the types that takes forever to use up an eyeliner or lipstick, minis are the way to go and get more options for the same price. Here are some gifts this year that I think look like great samplers.

2 Sephora Favorites Glitz and Glam Party Essentials Sampler
6 Diptyque 5 Piece Mini Candle Set
8 Fresh Sugar Cravings Kissing Trio 
12 Marc Jacobs Beauty The Sky-liner 7 Piece Mini Set
13 NARS Virtual Domination Cheek Palette

Have you bought any good sets this year yet? I'd love to hear what you've been eyeing and any loves so far. I'm always up for recommendations on what is the latest and greatest on the market for the holiday sets and gifts.

Some more gift set ideas below:



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Loving Right Now

iPhone case by Gray Malin, bracelet by Celine

November is flying by faster than I expected it to. The holiday season is just starting and I'm not prepared at all. This weekend I'll try to start making to-do and shopping lists to try and get an early start. I think most of my holiday shopping will be done online this year to avoid crowds and lines. Our new place is slowly coming together as we get all of our furniture delivered piece by piece. Our coffee table and some bookshelves finally arrived and I'm excited to start decorating and adding personal touches.

Right now, I'm loving a mix of new and old beauty items.


I'm all about flat zip pouches, I've been loving this Black Croc-Print Small Clutch (1) by Whistles, (similar here, white here) which is the perfect size for a makeup bag or a clutch. This newly released all-black Privacy Clutch by Truffle is also calling my name.

For cheeks, I've been using soft bronzers non-stop. The Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder (2) has been raved about for quite some time. Several of my blogger friends told me to get it. I listened, bought it, and I love it. I've been using Bronze 02.

Pinks have been my go-to lately for lipgloss. I've been loving the Dior Pink Excess (3) for holiday and Laura Mercier Pink Pop Lip Glacé (also in this mini 5 piece set) (4).

On the eyes, I've been using the Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Set (5) almost daily. Amethyst is a really pretty soft purple mauve that goes with virtually every lip/cheek look I've tried. If you gift yourself one beauty item this season, I would highly recommend this set (unless you already own all the colors).

Charlotte Tilbury's Powder and Sculpt Brush (6) is a tool I keep reaching for. It's perfectly shaped for contouring and highlighting. The bristles pick up just the right amount of product. (Review here.)

NARS Audacious Lipsticks (7) are still a huge hit with me (swatches of my picks here). Every color I've tried is amazing. I've been loving Anita a neutral pink.

Lumira released a new collection called Paradisium. The Eau de Parfum (8) is to die for. It has Bergamot, Grapefruit and Lemon, Fig Nectar and Guava, Vetiver, Sea Moss and Cedarwood. It's the most unique scent I've smelled. It's refreshing and uplifting and soothing. The closest thing I can think of is Jo Malone's Wood Sage and Sea Salt which I liked but wore during super humid weather where it turned on my skin (in a bad way) and did not work well with my body chemistry. It was too earthy and after having it turn once, I can't wear it anymore (thank goodness I got a sample to test before splurging). The Lumira Paradisium is a better alternative, it has enough sweetness in it to keep it from turning on the skin. the lasting power is phenomenal. A dedicated post on the line to come soon.

My Tatcha love continues. I've been loving the Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm (9) and Indigo Hand Cream Mini (10). Be sure to check out the holiday sets, these two products are included in a number of beautiful gift options this year.

Burberry's Effortless Liquid Liner (11) is a beautiful classic liner. I've been experimenting more with this liquid liner and although it still takes me some time to get a good even line, practice is improving my liner skills.

I know it's fall/winter season now where darker scents are in season, but I'm still loving the florals like Diptyque Geranium Odorata (12). It's a brightening scent that I find refreshing. (Original review here.)

I hope your week is going well so far! What have you been loving this week?

The Lumira EDP, Diptyque Geranium Odorata and Burberry Liner were provided for review consideration. Rest purchased by me.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sephora Haul for the VIB Rouge 20% Off Sale


Several have e-mailed me asking what I bought from Sephora for the VIB Rouge/VIB 20% off sale which ends tonight at 11:59 PM PST online. I went in store last week with a list of items I wanted to restock. I should have ordered items online because I tend to get easily distracted in store, but it is always fun to play with the items and see them in person.

What I picked up:
  1. Shiseido Eyelash Curler - I used this many years ago, the design appears different from I remember it to be, but I'm not 100% sure if it has changed. I've heard good things about this one (the Chanel artists I buy from say they buy the Shiseido ones). I've decided to give it another try.
  2. Formula X Delete Nail Polish Remover - I've gone through another bottle and needed to replenish. (Review here.)
  3. Phytojoba Shampoo - this is my all time favorite shampoo, I haven't repurchased in a while, but the sale seemed like a perfect time to buy a replacement.
  4. Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment - this is a replenishment purchase. One jar has lasted me since the August summer surge event and I really like this mask for clearing up the skin. I find it super effective at drawing out dirt. It is gentle enough for my sensitive skin. I bought it back in August because a friend recommended it as the best one out of all the Glamglow masks, I haven't tried them all yet, but I really like it.
  5. Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment - this is something I tried 2-3 years ago. I received a sample but the tingle sensation really freaked me out so I removed it immediately and ended up giving my jar to a friend. I received a small sample packet that I tried again recently and found the tingly (slightly burning) sensation disappeared after 30 seconds and didn't cause a bad reaction like I had expected. The skin was left with a tighter feel and felt refreshed. I will have to do more testing to compare the two masks, but this one works well for me too.
  6. Bite Beauty Mix N'Mingle Lip Mini Lush Fruit Lip Gloss in Papaya - this was an impulse buy I picked up while waiting in the checkout line. It was too cute to pass up. I contemplated the larger Mix N'Mingle Set too but decided to wait.
  7. Marc Jacobs Beauty Twinkle Pop in Volver and Au Revoir - both are cream shadow sticks that come in a twist up tube. Volver is a sparkling peach and Au Revoir is a shimmering taupe. Both are very sparkly but looked really really pretty. I've played with these numerous times at Sephora but never caved. I'll have a review after testing these over the next few days.
  8. Urban Decay Naked Basics - After I did a feature on my Urban Decay favorites, many of my readers insisted that I check out the Urban Decay Naked Basics. I decided to give this a try because of so many raves. I'll have a report as soon as I have it tested. It does look promising.
  9. NARS Tasmania Lip Gloss - This was an "oops" buy. I already own this color but did not remember that I did. (Swatched here.) Not a problem though, I have a friend I know who will take this off my hands happily.
  10. Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Vertigo - This is a gift for my mom. She likes brighter colors, this is a mix of plum and fuchsia and pink which is right up her alley.
  11. Urban Decay Urban Obsessions 500 Point Perk - this palette has four shadows in Skimp, Bust, Guilt and Oil Slick with a mini Zero Pencil. I believe it was available online as well to redeem points for but I just checked and didn't see it.




What I also thought about but didn't pick up: Beautyblenders, NARS Virtual Domination palette and  a couple more of the Dior Rouge Baumes (first round of picks and swatches here). I have them sitting in my virtual shopping cart online, I'm going to probably pass and think about them some more.

If you're shopping online, the sale ends tonight at 11:59 PM PST, use code GIFTROUGE at checkout if you're VIB Rouge or code GIFTVIB if you're a VIB.

Did you buy anything during the Sephora sale? I'd love to hear about your picks!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Concealers In Rotation


For years I've stuck to concealers from two lines: Clé de Peau Beauté and By Terry. I've never had much need for concealer but my skin changed this year. These slightly dark circles under the eyes started to appear and I've needed a lot more coverage in certain areas of the face with scars and blemishes. Both of my go-to concealers still work really well for me, but I've been experimenting more with other brands and products. I thought I'd share a round up of the ones I have in rotation right now plus what tools I use.


My personal preference for blending concealer is for rounded brushes made of synthetic materials. My most reached-for tools include the MAC 252, Chanel Concealer Brush #10 and Trish McEvoy Medium Laydown #40. All of them are about the same medium size which works best for me. I've tried smaller detail brushes during makeovers and while they are good for precise application, I usually find larger brushes for cream products work better for me. They blend concealers well and also double as cream shadow brushes. Some days I will use fingers or a sponge, but my preference these days is for the brush.

Concealers I use right now:

  • Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Almond is my current skin tone match. The Cle de Peau Beaute concealer is the best stick formula I've tried. It covers the skin very well but looks natural. It works well under the eye area when dabbed on with fingers to warm up the product and doesn't look cakey. The color selection is limited but they recently added two shades (all shades swatched here). This is one of the best I've tried, it's pricey but performs well and a tube will last you a very long time.
  • NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard and Ginger are new discoveries for me. I've had several of the older formulas in gift with purchase compacts in the past but wasn't impressed with the formula so I never thought to try the new formulas. A NARS artist recommended I try this during a makeover when I asked for a foundation with full coverage. She suggested the Radiant Creamy Concealer and it really does cover incredibly well and blends out to have a soft velvety looking finish. It comes with a sponge wand tip. I use both Custard and Ginger and mix them depending on what area of the face I am trying to cover. I've found this to live up to all the hype.
  • Edward Bess Extreme Cover Cream is a full coverage creamy concealer in a pot. This one is definitely the most creamy that I've tried. It's also the most pigmented but blends nicely to cover areas completely. Since the pigment is really intense, I recommend using only a tiny bit, otherwise it will be too heavy. The container is tiny but the formula packs a punch so it will last a very long time. All the shades swatched and review here. The color selection is a bit limited, but Medium is a good match for me. This one has a slightly dewy finish but does not get oily as the day wears on.
  • By Terry Touche Veloutée in Beige #3 is a highlighting concealer in a click pen type of packaging. This one gives a brightening effect even though the color Beige matches my skin tone exactly. I like it best under the eyes to cover dark circles and brighten the skin. It's also good on days you have a bit of redness around the nose. This one has a smooth medium coverage and dries to a semi-matte but natural finish.


Swatches of the shades below (with Clé de Peau Beige for reference):


If you ask me to recommend just one concealer, I would say that I think picking a good one depends on where you want to use it and what you want it to do: eyes, spots, cover completely or brighten? For me, a concealer for under the eye won't necessarily be suitable for spot coverage along the jawline or cheeks.

For under the under eye area, I look for colors that either brighten or have a bit of warmth. Many artists want to go lighter than my skintone to "brighten" the area, but it really just ends up looking ashy if it's too pale. If they insist on using one that is 1-2x lighter than I think they should I usually ask them to try 2 shades on me just to make sure I can see it for myself. I think all the concealers I listed above will work for under the eyes because they have a good blendable formula, but my favorite for under the eye area is the By Terry Touche Veloutee. It has a slightly sheerer coverage compared to the others which prevents the area from looking flat.

For cover up on spots or acne scars, the Edward Bess will give the most opaque coverage followed by the NARS and then Clé de Peau Beauté.

My top two picks include the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer and Clé de Peau Beauté, but there are a few downsides. If you test the NARS concealers at the counter or store, you may find it difficult to find an exact match and might be in between colors (like myself). When it comes to foundations, powders and concealers I want to find an exact match, but it's not always possible. There are times I have to buy two shades to mix which can get pricey. If I can't find a almost exact match for concealer, I will skip it all together, but I've made an exception for the NARS. I found the price of the NARS reasonable and the formula is really amazing so I did not mind splurging on 2 tubes to mix colors. The downside for the Clé de Peau Beauté is also a limited color selection and price of $70 is very steep. That being said, I do think if you can find a good match I do think formula is well worth the price. A tube should last well over a year even if you use it on a regular basis as a spot cover. 





I hope you found this round up helpful! Do you have a favorite concealer?

 

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