Showing posts with label Palettes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Palettes. Show all posts

Friday, October 3, 2014

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette


The latest addition to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting line is the Ambient Lighting Blush Palette ($58 for 3 shades, each 0.116 oz/3.3g). It's a limited-edition palette with three of the Ambient Lighting Blushes in Luminous Flush (champagne rose), Incandescent Electra (cool peach, exclusive to the palette) and Mood Exposure (soft plum). I've been a huge fan of the Ambient Lighting Powders (palette review and Luminous Light review here) and Blushes (review on individual colors here). The addition of a travel-friendly blush palette is just pure genius (for me at least).

If you're new to the Ambient Lighing Blushes, they are multi-dimensional powders with swirls of pigmented color and highlighter. They are infused with what Hourglass calls "photoluminescent technology" which creates depth and dimension. Hourglass claims these give your face an "otherworldly glow" and I can't find any words to better describe their Ambient Lighting products. All of the powders are handmade so no two look alike.


I've been testing the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette for the past couple of weeks and am really pleased with it. Two of the shades can be purchases individually which I already own, so while this is mostly a duplicate of what I have, I do find the packaging design and size of the palettes to be very user-friendly and perfect for travel. I almost always bring the highlighter palette with me on all trips. The compact is sleek and long so it fits easily into my travel bags.

The powders in the blush palette are identical in size to those in the highlighter palette. They are smaller compared to the blushes that you purchase individually. I've photographed them side by side for comparison purposes.


I've found the colors in the palette to look slightly lighter than the ones I own individually but they apply the same on the skin. In my experience, the Ambient Lighting Blushes are all very pigmented on my skin and show up just like blush with a couple exceptions. Dim Infusion and Etheral Glow are both very light and give a very slight hint of color on my medium/tan skin. If you are medium to dark, you may find these don't show up on you. In terms of application, all the other colors, including the shades in the Blush Palette show up very well on my skin. What I love about these is that they are soft but buildable. The blush color is very pigmented but the mix of the soft highlighter inside each shade gives the product a very beautiful glow. I do think these work best on skin that has a bit of moisture. If you have super dry skin or a very powdered face, you might find they don't show up as well. For me over foundation with powder on top these apply just fine. If you don't see any color you may want to add a bit of a sheer highlighter like Armani Fluid Sheers on the cheeks under these.

Comparisons of the individual blush shades in Luminous Light and Mood Exposure (they look different in the pans but swatch identical):


Swatches, on the face they are glowy and not frosty:



Close ups of each shade in the palette:




The Ambient Lighting Palette is bottom line love. After playing with this for a few weeks I've found it really versatile. The colors look good individually or with two of them layered (any combination works). All the colors look good with neutral pinks, nude, plum or peach lips. The blushes have enough color to bring life to the face, but are subtle enough to wear with a bold lip.

If you've been waiting and thinking about the blushes I think the palette is definitely something worth splurging on. Product size differences aside, the palette retails for $58 while three individual blushes at $35 each will cost you $100+. If you already own Luminous Flush and Mood Exposure, then I don't think this is something that falls into the "need" category, however I do think it's a must-have for me. The Ambient Lighting Blushes are compact in size already so they don't take up a lot of room in your makeup bag. I do really like the convenience and packaging of the Hourglass palettes and Incandescent Electra is one of the prettiest light peaches I've ever seen.

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette is currently listed as limited-edition for this fall/holiday. You can find it now at Sephora and Hourglasscosmetics.com. It will also be available later this month at Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Net-A-Porter, Space NK.

The blush palette was provided courtesy of Hourglass for review consideration.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palettes - Native and Streak


Earlier in the spring, Urban Decay released some new shades of their Naked Flushed Palettes ($30 each for 14g/0.49 oz). These are well-packaged face trio compacts with a bronzer, highlighter and blush. I'm a huge fan of their Naked Eyeshadow Palettes (#3 is my fav) and thought these had a lot of promise. I purchased Native (pink) and Streak (peach) in store at Sephora after reading an overwhelming number of rave reviews (4.5 stars out of 5 average rating with 600+ reviews).  
  • Native is a pink option with a medium-dark bronzer with a soft shimmer, a opal pinkish champagne highlighter and a matte pink blush
  • Streak is a warmer option with a lighter shimmery bronzer, a pale peachy shimmer highlighter and a stunning coral matte blush 
Swatching them in store on my hands revealed a soft well pigmented texture that seemed easy to blend. Testing at home with a variety of brushes has me less than pleased. I purchased these late May/early June and have been desperately trying to make these work for me.

The texture is finely milled and soft which is easy to pick up with brushes but the bronzer and blush are both very powdery resulting in a lot of debris/powder kick-up. They don't show up well on lightly powdered skin. Right over foundation the color picks up more but the colors look muddy and look like they just sit on top of the skin. The highlighters are creamier in texture (although they are powders) and blends easily but the frost factor highlights imperfections and after softly applying on the cheeks, I suddenly have large visible pores. I've tried both with a large variety of brushes, cream highlighters, foundations, dewy cheek products as a base even. With the right amount of creamy base underneath I can get the bronzer and blush to apply ok sometimes (I like Tom Ford Fire Lust and Armani Fluid Sheer #3 or #10 the best), but I cannot wear the highlighter on the cheeks at all. That being said, the highlighters are pretty on the eyes. Half of the times I've applied these I ended up taking them off immediately after putting them on the face.

Photos and swatches:


Swatches side by side:


Closeups of each palette, up first is Native:




Streak




One last view, Streak (left) and Native (right):


I'm overall disappointed. I've tried numerous times to make these work, and with extra tweaking I can only make them work 1/2 the time. They look so beautiful in the compacts and when swatched on the hands or arms. On the face the pigment and texture don't quite translate the same. Given the overwhelming number of rave reviews, I suspect I'm in the minority with my thoughts. I've mentioned in recent posts I've had skin issues and breakouts - my skin issues aren't on the cheek area in case you're wondering if it's skin problems causing the issue in application. For additional reference, Temptalia has detailed thoughts on Native, Streak and Strip, my experiences are similar to hers.

Based on the price, packaging and convenience, if you're at a Sephora or Urban Decay counter I think you should still give these a try. If there are clean brushes available, ask a makeup artist or sales associate to apply it on you.

If you've tried these, I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you have these which shade do you have and who do you apply them?

The Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palettes retail for $30 each. I found mine at Sephora. They come in four options, Naked, Native, Streak and Strip.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bobbi Brown Raw Sugar Shimmer Brick Eye Palette


Bobbi Brown has a new bronzy Raw Sugar Collection out for spring-to-summer. The Raw Sugar Shimmer Brick Eye Palette ($48, limited-edition) has been on my radar for over a month. I finally tracked one down in person - it's quite a bit different in real life compared to the promotional photos online. From the ads I expected a neutral-cool mix of bronze, champagne and taupe. In real life Raw Sugar is quite a bit warmer with no taupe. I still found the mix to be quite lovely.

The Raw Sugar Shimmer Brick Eye Palette is similar to the Shimmer Bricks for the face. The one for eyes is quite a bit smaller in size measuring about 4 x 1.5 inches. The colors are all neutral earthy tones ranging from pale gold to a medium bronze. The pigment is quite good and easy to control. It is on the shimmery side but I don't find it overly frosty. The texture is soft and easy to apply and they adhere well to the lids (as long as your lids aren't dry, I recommend using a base or a cream shadow first).


Tom Ford Incandescent on the nails


Click to see the details of the shimmer:


Swatched:



I've been using this one by swiping a fluffy shadow brush like MAC 217 (see my brush essentials here) across the left side mixing multiple colors and applying all over the lids, then taking a smaller contour brush like MAC 226 on the right side over the darkest three browns and applying on top near the lash lines. You can control intensity of color and shimmer depending on how much you apply to the eyes and what brushes you use. A denser brush will pick up more color. You can also use a slightly damp brush to intensify the frost/shimmer.

For those who have previous Shimmer Brick Eye Palettes, Raw Sugar is definitely very different from the others. I only have Sequin which is significantly cooler in tone. I couldn't fit both palettes on one arm to show you how they look side by side but see my review and swatches here. (Sequin was also limited-edition but you can still find it at Barneys right now.)


I'm really happy with the palette even though it looks completely different than the promo photos. It's warm but not too warm. Also although it is on the shimmery side I find the warmth makes it wearable and not too frosty. For my olive skin I find cooler toned shimmers can look frosty on my skin because of the contrast.

Bobbi Brown Raw Sugar Shimmer Brick Eye Palette is limited-edition. Several stores near me sold out of this one because they had events so it took me a bit of hunting to find it. You can find it online now at Nordstrom, Macy's, Bloomingdales and Bobbi Brown.

Did you check out anything from the Raw Sugar collection? There are some new bronzers, nail colors and tinted lip balms that I passed on but looked lovely.



Wednesday, April 30, 2014

NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette


The NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette ($79 for 0.03oz x 15 shades) is a glorious palette of 15 neutrals. It comes in a large mirrored compact and includes a wide range of colors, textures and finishes. I'm late to the party with the NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette (it launched back in January). I thought long and hard for months about purchasing this one because I already owned many of the colors individually and also thought the Urban Decay Naked eye palettes might be duplicates. The Sephora VIB sale earlier this month pushed me over the edge. I put it to the test for several weeks. It was also the only powder eyeshadow palette I brought with me on my recent trip to Dallas. I've been really happy with this palette, the versatility is impressive. This one palette has all the colors you need for a multitude of looks: natural, smokey, bronzey, etc. It will take you from day to night.


The colors in the NARSissist Eye Palette include (from left to right, from top row to bottom)


All About Eve (1 side) - shimmery champagne
Madrague (both sides) - matte cream and matte tan
Fez - shimmery copper
Bali - matte soft brown
Coconut Grove - matte brown
Nepal - shimmery peachy pink
Ashes to Ashes - soft grey shimmer
Brousse - shimmery soft plum
Mekong - dark blackened brown with gold flecks
Bellisima - white base with gold sparkle flecks
Lhasa - shimmery light grey mauve
Bad Behavior - shimmery gunmetal
Dogon - darker blue-grey metallic
Pandora - matte sheer black

There have been mixed reviews about the palette, some have reported a different quality and texture of the palette shades compared with individuals colors. Overall I found the palette to be very good quality on par with the individual colors. There were a couple shades I found to be sheerer in texture and harder to work with (my personal experience). Colors I found to perform different in this palette included:
  • the matte colors of Madrague (the regular duo applies smoothly, this palette's version was a bit chalky)
  • Ashes to Ashes (the singles I have are more pigmented and smoother in texture, but the palette applies ok, just different texture)
  • Dogon (individual is creamier in texture while the palette is drier)
The palette still worked well with no issues for application from what I tested. The colors I noticed differences for still applied well, it just took a little bit more work for me. Close ups and swatches below of the NARSsissist Eye Palette:







Many have asked how this compares to the Urban Decay Naked and Naked2 Palettes. There are similarities in the concept - all have a mix of shimmer and matte neutral-ish colors. I find that my Naked Palettes (1, 2 and 3) are the ones I reach for the most frequently out of any of the eye shadows that I own. The differences between NARS and Urban Decay are mainly in packaging and texture. Both brands have distinct shadow formulas, I can't say one is better than the other, they are just different.

I've swatched them below for your reference. There wasn't enough room for labeling the swatches but the colors are in the order of the palettes. (To have enough room on my arm, I skipped one of the Madrague shades from the NARS palette because it didn't show up on my skin in the photograph.)



Overall love. As you can see above there are similarities between the NARSissist and Urban Decay Nakeds. Your preference will depend on a number of factors, such as packaging preference, if you own a lot of the individual colors already, texture preference (Urban Decay is softer and more buttery, NARS is more like traditional shadows in texture with more complex shimmers).

I believe the NARSissist Palette is limited-edition. It may take a bit of hunting to find it in stores, but you can still find it now online at Sephora, Beauty.com and Saks.

Did you buy the NARSissist Palette? What did you think?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tom Ford Summer 2014 | Unabashed Eye and Cheek Palette, Solar Gold and Moonlight Lip Shimmers


Tom Ford Beauty Summer has arrived with a new Unabashed Eye and Cheek Palette ($95) two new Lip Shimmers in Solar Gold and Moonlight along with a repromote of the stunning Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust ($65). All the items are limited-edition. I purchased the palette and lip items online as soon as I saw them since Tom Ford beauty items tend to sell very quickly.


The Unabashed Eye and Cheek Palette comes in a large white and gold mirrored compact similar in size to the Tom Ford Bronzers. It has three shadows in a glittering light beige/tan/taupe, a soft mauve brown matte and an intense navy/indigo color. There are also two cheek products which include a golden bronzer and a coral shimmer blush. The colors are absolutely stunning - I'm completely in love with the bronzer/cheek colors. The eye colors are also beautiful when used together. I've been applying the eyes starting with the medium shade first and then with the glittery color added on top. The indigo color is a bit tricky to use. It has intense pigment but can be quite messy when applied. I found it best to use as a liner along the lashes by dabbing/pressing onto the eye over a pencil or gel liner. Once on the eyes it doesn't budge, but there is fall out and can get messy. The glittery tan is indeed very sparkly (similar to She Wolf). If you're not 100% in love with every color in the palette, the good news is most of the colors can be duplicated with other shades.

The bronzer is unique in the sense it is more golden and lighter. I wish this came in a full size. I suspect it is very similar to MAC Trace Gold (which I can't find at the moment) if you want a dupe. The blush is a cross between Tom Ford Flush and Love Lust blushes.




Left to right: Gold Dust Bronzer, She Wolf Trio (partial swatch, discontinued), Unabashed Eye and Cheek Palette (partial swatch), Tom Ford Blushes in Savage, Flush, Love Lust, Ravish.


The Lip Shimmers are hit/miss for me. For the price and given my love for other Tom Ford lip products I had high expectations for these. Solar Gold is a very sheer gold. It goes on with only a slight tint similar in concept to the Gold Dust Lip Lacquer from a few summers ago. The texture is semi glossy and moisturizing - it feels incredible on the lips. I do wish the pigment was richer. Moonlight was a huge miss for me. It went on blotchy and uneven. It does feel really nice on the lips but the color just simply did not work on my lips. I have used this mixed with the regular Tom Ford lipsticks and it adds a nice sheen to the pinks or peaches.

Out of the two I like Solar Gold the best. Even though it's sheer it's still nice on the lips. If you want a white shimmer lip, I'd recommend you opt for the regular Tom Ford Lip Lacquer (which I adore and think is a must-have for everyone). Or use NARS Copacabana Multiple mixed with any clear gloss.





Left to right: Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Brilliance (discontinued), Burberry Trench Kiss Lip Gloss, Tom Ford Gold Dust Lacquer (discontinued), Solar Gold and Moonlight, Tom Ford Lip Lacquer, NARS Copacabana Multiple, MAC Sugar Rimmed.


I'm a huge Tom Ford fan but have mixed feelings about this collection. I adore the Eye and Cheek Palette but wish they had released a large bronzer/blush and a separate eye palette. I don't think I could pull off the eyes for everyday but the look is very pretty for evenings or non-corporate work environments. If you're not a fan of the eyes or mixed palettes, you can get a similar effect with the Tom Ford Gold Dust Bronzer or any of the blushes swatched above (amazing in pigment and quality and worth every penny).

The lip shimmers are hit/miss. Solar Gold is nice to have but not a must-have. Moonlight was a fail for me, but if you've tried this and love it I'd love to hear how you've been wearing it.


All items are limited-edition. In stores now and selling out quickly.

Unabashed Eye and Cheek Palette has sold out several times online but keep checking because retailers have been restocking. Currently available at Neiman Marcus, Harrods, Selfridges, Nordstrom (backorder). For SKUs if you want to search physical stores info on Bloomingdales.

Lip Shimmers are available at plenty of locations still such as Nordstrom, Saks, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus.

Fire Lust Skin Illuminator is also going fast. Right now it's still available at Saks, Neiman Marcus, Harrods, and Nordstrom (backorder).

Did you see Tom Ford Summer yet? What did you think?

 

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