Showing posts with label Urban Decay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Urban Decay. Show all posts

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.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Travel Makeup | Summer Edition


As requested, here are the items I brought with me on my recent trip. All the items were carried in my well-loved Bobbi Brown Train Case (from 12+ years ago and no longer available for sale, Old Hollywood Version still available). I tend to overpack for makeup so the case limits what I bring. If it can't fit, it doesn't travel with me. I've split the items into three categories: Lips, Face/Cheeks and Eyes.













To those who asked to see what I brought with me, I hope this helps! I always have a makeup overpacking problem so my fellow beauty lovers - if you have any tips I'd love to hear what you bring with you on trips/travel whether it's a weekend getaway, a week trip or extended vacation.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Travel / Trial Sized Beauty - Skincare for Face and Body


Since my last trip in April I've been on the hunt for more mini-sized beauty items for travel and testing. One area I always neglect in packing is skincare for face and body. I almost never check in luggage so I'm limited to one carry-on and therefore subject to the one quart-size bag rule for liquids. Squeezing in all the items into one bag is a challenge for me but I've learned that skipping out on good skincare usually results in ruined skin that takes weeks to recover (at least for me). This time I took extra care to plan in advance and did quite a bit of research in the weeks leading up to the trip looking for good travel-sized minis. This is what I brought with me, all of which fit perfectly into one quart sized bag. I love minis for skincare anyways as a way to test out new items without having to splurge on the full size.



  • SK-II Facial Treatment Cleanser ($70 for full size) was part of a mini gift with purchase from Saks, I frequently check the Special Offers page before stocking up on the full size, this is one of my favorite face cleansers, when I don't have minis of my regular face cleansers, I squeeze some into a little disposable container
  • Caudalie Cleansing Water (50 ml/1.69 fl oz) the mini size is part of The Favorites Set ($32) which I've been a huge fan of, this is a gentle makeup remover that makes the skin feel clean and moisturized (FYI there is a Caudalie GWP online for a Deluxe Size Divine Oil with $50+ purchases using code DIVINE through July 2nd)
  • MAC Cleanse Off Oil / Tranquil ($10 for 30 ml/1.0 fl oz) is one of the mini to-go sizes for MAC skincare, I bought this to test out since I've been a huge fan of the regular Cleanse Off Oil, I find the Tranquil version to be more gentle with a moisturizing feel, I prefer the Regular version to remove makeup before cleansing (with long-wear makeup, I've found I need a few extra steps to remove every trace of primer, concealer, foundation, powder and blush)
  • Chanel Gentle Biphase Eye Makeup Remover ($34 for the full size) is a mini I stock up on with gift with purchases during Chanel events, it's the best I've tried (I favor it over Lancome) that removes waterproof mascara and long-wear eyeliners without stinging the eyes
  • Giorgio Armani Regenessence 3.R Pre-Regenerative and Retexturizing Lotion ($53 for the full size) is my current toner of choice, it makes the skin feel really and soft and helps to smooth out the surface before serums or moisturizers, I got the mini size with a Neiman Marcus gift with purchase event and saved the bottle, I refill it with the full size when I go on trips or weekend getaways



  • Caudalie Divine Oil ($9 for 15 ml/.05 fl oz) is a must-have for me, I use it almost daily for the legs and arms, I love how this one smells refreshing and especially how it absorbs into the skin quickly, it's often available in value sets like this Sephora Summer Crushes set and I've seen it in seasonal duos, I bought my first Divine Oil because my friend said, "at $9 you won't be crushed if you don't like it, but you will, you need to try it, it's amazing" - she was right, I'm rarely without this one (it's often in my purse)
  • Caudalie Divine Legs (25 ml/0.84 fl oz) in the mini size is usually part of yet more value deal sets, there's one for $32 that comes with a 50 ml Divine Oil + 25 ml Divine Legs, I have super sensitive skin that often reacts to tanning and bronzing products, although this one from Caudalie doesn't tan, it does give a nice bronzed leg effect that I found very natural, since there were mixed reviews on Sephora, I thought getting the set with the mini was good to try, I tested the Divine Legs this past weekend rubbing quickly into the legs after moisturizing with a light layer of the Divine Oil, it dried quickly but I was able to work it in quickly before it set, I wore a black dress and skirt over the past few days so I didn't notice any transfer to clothing, I'll have to test this one out a few more times but I liked it and didn't experience any irritation
  • Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream (30 ml/1 fl oz) is another lovely item from The Favorites Set, I have a number of tried and true favorite hand creams, I picked this one because of the refreshing lightweight scent and compact size
  • Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Body Butter (30 ml) is a new addition to Tatcha's Travel Sized beauty, if you're on their mailing list you might recognize this as one of the past gift with purchases they offered (they have special promo codes), this one will this one will be available for purchase mid to late July, you can read my full review here, some might wonder if I brought a body oil with me, did I really need to bring a body lotion as well? I could have gotten away with bringing just one, but I like the Tatcha for it's soothing qualities, sometimes my skin acts up and gets itchy from being dry, the Tatcha Indigo line works wonders for hydration and soothing



  • Chanel Sublimage La Creme Texture Fine ($390 for the full size 1.7 oz) is one of the most amazing face moisturizers I've tried and also one of my biggest splurges, it hydrates the skin and keeps it looking smooth and clear, there are often minis available with gift with purchases, sometimes counters have samples to give out (they are more friendly with samples if you make a decent sized purchase) 
  • Ole Henriksen Truth Serum ($15 for 0.5 fl oz/15 ml) is one of my favorite serums, I love the small travel/trial size which is available at a good price, it's often part of deal sets as well such as The Works, the best part is the mini packaging comes with a super convenient pump dispenser making it easy to use
  • Tatcha Camellia Beauty Oil ($33 for 10 ml) is the cutest mini-sized beauty oil, it's the perfect size to test out in case you're hesitant about oils in general (I am), when I travel, my skin tends to dry out a bit, I used this at night before bed to smooth the skin and give it an extra boost of hydration over night, on regular days, I use the oil for day 1-2x per week alternating with my regular serum/moisturizer routine, it gives the skin a super hydrated refreshed feel without feeling heavy (more thoughts on this one here)
  • Tatcha Ageless Revitalizing Eye Cream ($29 for 3 ml) came with a Barneys gift bag event offer, I love testing out mini eye creams and this one is super tiny which was good to fit into the corners of my quart sized bag, I found this one to be a bit heavy for my needs, it's a rich creamy eye treatment I found good for overnight hydration (applied in small doses) but for everyday it will probably be too heavy for my skin type, this is the beauty of minis, you can test items to see how they work for you before committing to the full size



  • Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray ($14 for 30 ml/1.0 fl oz) has had so many raves on Sephora so I made a quick stop to one of the stores during my trip and picked one up. It's described as a weightless spray that keeps your makeup looking fresh for up to 16 hours. I attended a wedding over the weekend in semi-humid weather and thought this would be the perfect time to test something like this. Most of the wedding was indoors and it didn't last 16 hours so I couldn't really test this to see if it lived up to its claims. I did like the lightweight feeling, it spritzes a super fine layer of mist over the face evenly (huge plus for me) and it kept my makeup looking fresh and melt-free for around 7 hours.
  • Clinique Color Correcting Superprimer ($27 for 1 fl oz, review here) was my primer of choice for the weekend for its smoothing properties, you can see the difference in the texture of the skin once applied, it works well under liquid foundations as well
  • Origins Clear Improvement Mask Pods ($8 for 4 one-time use pods) is another item I picked up during my trip, I loved the concept of the one-time use pods and am usually skeptical about pore-cleansing masks since most usually are either too strong and sting the skin or so gentle it feels like nothing (my favorite from MAC was discontinued). I used one pod during my trip and was really impressed with how well this cleansed and tightened the skin, after one use pores were visibly smaller, there is a slight tingly feeling but it did not irritate or sting the skin, based on the reviews I've read and my experience with one pod, this one shows a lot of promise
All the liquid/gel items in my zip-loc quart size bag - yes, they all fit including a mini perfume and bottle of Chanel foundation :)


Overall this trip I felt like I packed all the essentials (and then some) for skin care face and body. I did skip bringing shampoo, conditioner and shower gels and relied on what was at the hotel (I was really happy that they had Neutrogena). I ended up using everything I brought with me along with the two items I purchased on the trip at Sephora. I don't travel often so it's taken a few tries for me to get the right mix of products while I'm away from home. I think this time I've finally found my perfect mix of items for skincare. (If you want to know what makeup I brought with me let me know in the comments below, otherwise you can see what I carried with me on previous trips by clicking on the Travel tag.)

Do you have any favorite travel sized beauty items? What items did you end up loving from mini-testing that made you buy the full size? Any new discoveries lately? Also if you ended up hating something from testing out a mini, I'd love to hear about your experiences.

Some items in this post were provided for review consideration and some minis were acquired from various gift with purchase events. Most items were purchased by me. For more information please refer to my Disclosures.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Top 13 Beauty Discoveries in 2013

The top 13 beauty discoveries of 2013 from The Beauty Look Book (reviews from the past year are linked for each item listed):
  1. Caudalie Divine Oil - my absolute favorite beauty discovery this year
  2. By Terry Baume de Rose - pure luxury for the lips, worth every penny
  3. Drybar The Chaser Shine Pomade - my holy grail hair product to add shine, remove frizz, long lasting and smells amazing, my husband also loves this for his hair
  4. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder - the perfect answer to glowing skin and my second favorite discovery this year
  5. Urban Decay Naked3 Palette - lovely rose-gold neutrals
  6. Chanel Taboo Le Vernis - a dramatic purple with red and silver shimmers, The Beauty Look Book's second most popular post from 2013
  7. Dior Diablotine Le Vernis - the most striking intense coral red shimmer
  8. Tom Ford Illuminating Cheek Colors - unfortunately these were released in very limited quantities, but close alternatives you can get right now are MAC Magnetic Nude Skinfinishes in Magnetic Appeal and Fairly Precious
  9. Edward Bess Black Sea Mousse Foundations - I've mixed Light and Medium to get a good match, I've found that this is indeed the perfect full coverage foundation that gives a flawless airbrushed look that still manages to look natural, I truly hope Edward releases this to all his counters and in more shades (it was a QVC exclusive that sold out almost instantly)
  10. Chanel Les Beiges Powders - my favorite is 20 for all over, 30 and 40 work wonders for natural contouring and adding a soft glow of color to the face
  11. Diptyque 10-Piece Set - special release this holiday and the perfect way to try multiple scents at a more affordable price than buying the full sizes of each candle
  12. YSL Rouge Volupte Shines - my favorite lipsticks of the year for and The Beauty Look Book's most popular post from 2013
  13. Chanel Illusion D'Ombre in Initiation - holiday 2013 release and the perfect bronze shimmer
I am thankful from the bottom of my heart for each and every one of my readers. You inspire me every week with your thoughtful and insightful comments/e-mails/tweets. I can't express enough how appreciative I am for those of you who take the time to share your expertise and add your input to my weekly features. Your experiences, tips and tricks help others like myself figure out what works or how to make things work better. Thank you for following my blog and for your support.

What were your top beauty discoveries this year?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Urban Decay Naked3 Palette


Urban Decay's latest addition to the Naked family is the Naked3 Palette ($52 for 12 shades, 1.3g each). The theme of Naked3 is rose-gold. It's a warmer palette compared to Naked and Naked2, but still neutral. I'm a huge fan of the other versions. Urban Decay makes amazing shadows with impressive pigment and wear. Naked3 comes with a double-sided brush and a sample packet of their primers. The brush is very well made however I prefer softer hair brushes for powder shadows (versus synthetic material) mainly because it's what I'm used to.



The colors in the palette vary from matte to shimmer to sparkle and tiny micro-glitters. I'm on the conservative side when it comes to glitters and find each and every shade in this palette wearable and suitable for everyday. The pigment on all the shades is really incredible. The only color I had issues with is the Blackheart which applied a bit chalky alone but works well when applied over a creamy liner with a tiny detail brush. There was no fallout with any of the glittery colors. Most of the shades in this palette appear to be new colors:
  • Strange is a soft matte ivory pink
  • Dust is a glittery light pink
  • Burnout is a warmer pink shimmer
  • Limit is a matte mauve-pink
  • Buzz is a pink mauve shimmer
  • Trick is a coppery pink glitter
  • Nooner is a matte mauve
  • Liar is a warm taupe
  • Factory is a darker brownish taupe shimmer
  • Mugshot is a neutral taupe shimmer
  • Darkside is a satiny purple brown
  • Blackheart is a dark black with red shimmer
Close ups plus swatches:




After my Instagram picture a few weeks ago many emailed me asking for comparisons to Naked and Naked2. I do think Naked3 is different enough to justify owning if you have either of the other two. Naked3 is the warmest and pinkest of the three options but has the most universally flattering colors. Here are the palettes photographed and swatched:


Swatches:

I really love the Naked3 palette. The color options are simply stunning and combinations endless. It's priced well for the size and quality. The packaging is well designed and sturdy. I think it's a definite must-have and will make an amazing holiday gift for beauty lovers.

Naked3 was a quick sellout online at a many locations but keep checking back - they are restocking frequently. You can find it online at Macy's, Sephora, and Urban Decay.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

My latest skin/foundation/primer discovery is Urban Decay's Naked Skin Beauty Balm ($34 for 35 ml/1.18 fl oz). I had been saving my Sephora Beauty Insider Points for months but as soon as I saw the Naked Skin minis available in-store, I redeemed some points for two mini 3.7 ml samples to try. I liked it so much after using a few days that I immediately ordered a full size tube from Urbandecay.com when they had their Friends and Family Sale.

After reading numerous reviews on this product, I decided to try this as a primer, over moisturizer but under foundation. I found that the Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm has a peachy beige color but applies to an almost transparent finish. Since it comes in only one shade I was concerned about the way it would look on my skin. I have light-medium olive skin and right now use NARS Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska and Chanel's Perfection Lumiere in B30 along with Dolce & Gabbana's Warm 100 in the Powder and Cream. I think I'm at the right skintone where the Urban Decay Naked Balm is perfect for my skin. I've been using it two ways:

1) Apply moisturizer, then layer Urban Decay's Naked Beauty Balm, then dust powder foundation on top (I like Dolce & Gabbana's and Chanel's): the beauty balm helps to even out and prime the skin to help the powder adhere better but apply evenly, sometimes layering powder foundation over foundation can be too heavy, but applying powder foundation over moisturizer only doesn't give enough coverage, the UD beauty balm helps give a good in-between
2) Apply moisturizer, layer Urban Decay's Naked Beauty Balm, then feather in liquid foundation on areas that need coverage: the beauty balm helped the overall application of foundation and also helped it last longer on my skin throughout the day


I have normal but sensitive skin, I don't typically use primers or beauty balms. When it comes to foundation, I like to keep the layering as minimal as possible: moisturizer, foundation then powder. Adding anything else usually ends up feeling too heavy for me although I have used and loved Guerlain Meteorites Perles Light Diffusing Perfecting Primer, Chanel Le Blanc de Chanel and Chanel Base Lumiere. The results of the Urban Decay Beauty Balm surprised me. I haven't used it a full eight weeks to test out everything such as improvement of lines, lift, smoothness. After using it for a little over two weeks now, I can say that the overall look of my skin with foundation added has improved tremendously. There is a soft slightly minty fresh scent to the balm, it seems odd, but it's really subtle and rather refreshing. The scent disappears on me after a few minutes of wear.


Right now, NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska is a good match for me, you can see side-by-side the Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm is warmer/peachier, it does blend out to an almost transparent finish.


Here are the ingredients from the sample package:


For me, I was lucky to try a sample (thanks to Sephora VIB points) long enough to see how it worked. This allowed me to decide whether or not to buy. I give it a huge thumbs up. However, given the fact that it comes in only one shade, I don't think it will work for everyone. Also note that I like it as a primer which I don't think is the intended purpose of this, so your mileage may vary. Hundreds of people have written reviews on Sephora.com and Urbandecay.com - I found them helpful.

Did you try Urban Decay's Naked Skin Beauty Balm? What did you think? Did it work for your skin tone or skin type? Do you have any favorite primers or beauty balms?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Loving Right Now


Right now I'm loving ...

Jo Malone Tea Fragrances - layering these together creates the most lovely uplifting scents. I find them simple, pure and refreshing! (each scent reviewed here)


Chanel Ombres Perleés de Chanel, perfect for a lovely glow and easy to apply with fingers (reviewed and swatched here)


NARS Kalahari Duo & Fez Single Eyeshadow - I've been using my depotted Kalahari and it was about time for a replacement so I bought a new one. It's one of my holy-grail neutrals. Fez is a beautiful bronzey copper (swatched here).


Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Ébène is a pure black and stays put all day and Urban Decay's 24/7 Shadow Pencil Blending Brush is the perfect brush for blending smokey colors (not so great for blending lighter shades all over the lid, but for darker shades and detail areas or smudging it's great)


Giorgio Armani Blush #2 - the original Armani products were the best in my opinion. Classic nude soft neutrals never go out of style. #2 is a soft luminous peachy pink.


Bobbi Brown Aruba Illuminating Bronzing Powder is a golden shimmer bronze (see it here too)


Chanel Joyeuse from the Le Blanc Asia Exclusive Collection is a beautiful bright pink (see it reviewed here as well)


More bright lips: Paul & Joe Lip Lacquer 02 Can-Can (here too), Dior Model Addict Lipstick (also here) and Chanel's Rouge Coco Shine in Adventure (I used up the entire sample from the little card I received and went out to buy the full sized version)


What are you loving right now?
 

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