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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Urban Decay Naked On the Run Palette


The latest addition to the Urban Decay Naked series is the travel palette called Naked On the Run ($54, limited-edition). I'm a huge fan of the Naked Eyeshadow Palettes so I jumped on the bandwagon and ordered the newest palette of neutrals which has products for eyes, lips and cheeks.

Naked on the Run has five neutral eyeshadows with a mix of shimmer and matte colors, a mini 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner, a Naked Gloss, Bronzer, Blush, Highlighter and a mini Perversion Mascara. The colors in this palette:
  • Dive Eyeshadow is a sparkly medium rose pink with a high frost and some gold sparkle
  • Fix Eyeshadow is a matte light-to-medium tan brown
  • Resist Eyeshadow is a shimmering warm taupe
  • Dare Eyeshadow is a matte medium-dark warm brown
  • Stun Eyeshadow is a sparkling chocolate with gold and brown chunky shimmer
  • Bronzer is a finely milled soft bronze color
  • Blush is a cool pink with a slightly satiny sheen
  • 50/50 Highlighter is a satiny pale pink shimmer
  • Stag 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner is a deep brown with some plum tones, it has a lovely shimmer
  • Sesso Lip Gloss is a nude plum pink with an iridescent sheen


The Naked on the Run Palette is designed to be travel-friendly or to carry with you on the go. It does have everything you need for a complete look (minus brushes) and the colors are versatile, neutral, extremely pigmented and easy to wear. The compact however is huge. It's about 5.4 inches by 5 inches and a little over 1 inch thick. For a travel palette I expected something more compact, but the palette is deep to accommodate compartments for the lipgloss and mascara. The mirror is one of the biggest that I've seen in a compact which makes it super useful to apply the product whether you're at home or traveling or on the go.

For size reference next to a medium-sized tote and magazines. You can see that the Naked on the Run is fairly large. It won't fit in any of my makeup bags, but it does fit into one of the larger compartments in my purse:


Scarf by Nordstrom, iPhone Case by Gray Malin, L'Occitane hand cream mini, Prada Saffiano tote, Fujifilm Instax Mini 25 (similar version here and here), Smythson Notebook, NARS Contour Brush

For the products, the eyeshadows are richly pigmented and velvety in texture, true to Urban Decay's signature eyeshadow formula. There is a higher degree of frost with the shimmer shades but I found them very wearable. The colors do seem to be standard neutrals, but with most of Urban Decay's neutrals, I find they always manage to add a special mix of shimmer or sheen to their neutrals that gives them a new twist making them unique.

The cheek products which include the bronzer, blush and highlighter are finely milled with a very soft texture. The pigment is sheer to medium but buildable. I reviewed two of the Naked Flushed Palettes before and think I might be the only one who cannot wear them on their own. There is something about the texture that makes my cheeks look very dry where pores are suddenly emphasized and skin looks chalky. I had the exact same experience with this palette, but based on reviews I've read, it appears I might be in the minority with my thoughts on the cheek products.

Sesso Lip Gloss is a gorgeous plum rose pink but it's very sheer. You can see the natural lip through the lip gloss but it does leave a very natural rosy tint. It has a smooth texture with a slightly minty scent. I like the Naked Lip Glosses because they make the lips feel hydrated and smooth without that sticky tacky gloss feeling. Lasting power is medium for a few hours before it disappears. This is exclusive to the palette.

Stag Eyeliner is a really pretty dark brown plum shimmer. It leans more plum on me. I believe it's currently exclusive to the palette, but I hope that Urban Decay adds it to the permanent line or releases a powder shadow version of it. It's really quite pretty.

Last but not least, the palette includes a mini Perversion Mascara. This is the first time I've tried it although it's been on my radar for months. The 200+ customer reviews on Sephora were mixed so I didn't know what to expect. I found it lasted all day without smudging or flaking. The color is a rich deep true black and stayed the same rich color once it dried. For application I felt like I had to pack on 3 layers to make it adhere to the lashes. Application was overall easy and clump-free. It defined the lashes and added a bit of volume. The only thing I didn't like about this one was that it didn't hold the curl quite as well as other mascaras I've tried.








Swatches, eyeshadows swatched on the arm without a base:


Eyeshadow pigment is richer when swatched over a base (here is a mix of face primer and tinted moisturizer):


Other products with swatches on bare arm:


One last shot:


I'm a huge fan of the Naked series so this is overall a nice addition for me. The cheek products take extra work for me to make them work. I need to add a dewy base or highlighter underneath to make them look less chalky-looking but the colors are nice and naturally flattering. If you already own all the other Naked Eyeshadow Palettes and Naked Flushed Cheek Palettes you may find this has too many similarities to the others to justify owning. Even though this is designed to be a travel palette for on-the-go, I don't know how I feel about lugging this around in my purse. The compact seems fairly sturdy and while I am usually gentle with purse handling, I'm not sure that I would want to leave this inside for an extended period of time. Also the palette is huge and takes up a lot of space in my purse. I did test it on-the-go with me for a few days and for me it's just too big to carry around.

I'm happy with mine, but it's not something I plan on repurchasing. For reference, Naked + Naked2 + Naked3 swatched here, Naked2 Basics swatched here, Naked Flushed featured here.

You can find Naked on the Run at Urban Decay counters and stores now. Online at Sephora, Ulta, Urban Decay and Nordstrom.

Did you buy Naked on the Run or test it in store? What did you think?

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

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: For Those Who Already Have Virtually All Things Beauty-Related


I'm usually really good at finding gifts for close friends and family. I like finding new things for people to try in beauty, food, home and various accessories. I do have a few friends who are a bit more challenging to shop for. Many of my friends are beauty lovers themselves, these are women very much in-the-know with all the latest and greatest so they own virtually all the cool things beauty-related. I've put together a gift guide for the beauty lover who already owns virtually all things beauty, but these really could suit a number of different tastes. I do have some friends who like beauty items but aren't really into them. Here are some options for them as well.
  1. Charlotte Tilbury Holiday has literally just launched in the US, chances might be that your friend might not have these yet, the Fallen Angel Eyeshadow Quad and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds Lipgloss look amazing.
  2. Diptyque has a Full Sized Photophore + Feu De Bois Set this year, I've featured some photophores before, they are usually a boutique exclusive, but for the first time you can get these at Diptyque counters like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, any of the three new holiday scents in Spice, Winter and Pine are beautiful as well (review here) and would make good gifts even if they are duplicates of what someone already owns these scents.
  3. Gray Malin makes some really fun iPhone cases (5, 5S and 6 options) with some of his amazing photos printed on them, I have the pink umbrellas one and really love it, I'm constantly asked about it from random strangers.
  4. 2015 Desk Calendars are always a nice gift, this Sugar Paper Black and Gold version is super chic but simple and elegant.
  5. A super soft scarf is always a welcome gift, I adore the Nordstrom Tissue Weight Wool + Cashmere blends for myself, but I've given at least one as a holiday gift every year for many years, they come in a multitude of colors.
  6. Tatcha Deep Hydration Lifting Mask is the ultimate luxurious gift for the skin, I've purchased several boxed sets in the past and split them with friends to try and they send me selfies with the mask on (also with raves). You can purchase individual packets or a set of four. It's also available in a number of holiday gift sets and travel sets.
  7. Kate Spade has a number of coaster sets during the holiday like this Silver Street Set of 4. They are fun to pair with a bottle of wine or champagne.
  8. Truffle just released some new colors for clutches. There is a new Nude, Black and limited-edition Metallic Rose Gold for holiday. (There are new color additions for the Clarity Clutches too.)
  9. Tory Burch has a number of metallic Rose Gold and Silver stocking stuffers. This Measuring Tape is just too cute. The Lipstick Case and Cheers Key FOB also look really fun.
  10. Garance Dore Stationary is always a hit when I send out cards. The card set or notepad set can make easy no-fuss gifts.
  11. Smythson makes some of the most luxurious leather covered notebooks. The pink Inspiration and Ideas or navy Notes books are classic and chic.
  12. For the coffee lover, Nespresso machines are amazing. The year the Pixie Machines came out, I purchased four (one for myself and my husband, three as gifts). The new Inissia Espresso Machine is more compact and modern looking. It is perfect for small spaces and the espresso lover who is particular about flavor and intensity.
  13. Clare V Flat Clutches are always a chic and fun option to give as a really nice splurgy gift.
  14. Urban Decay Naked on the Run was just released online last week, it's not yet available in stores, so if you have a beauty-lover friend, this one might not have made their radar yet.
  15. This Fashion Memoires Book Set can make a nice addition for the home, coffee table or workspace decor. I have many of these book sets on my wish list and have been slowly adding more and more fashion books into my collection.
Shop more ideas:




Also check out:


What do you usually get friends or family who already own almost all things in the beauty world? Or who maybe aren't beauty lovers at all? I'd love to hear your ideas. I'm always looking for creative options that are different and new.

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!

Friday, October 31, 2014

October Beauty Favorites


October's beauty favorites include:

SK-II Skin Refining Treatment (1) has been a miracle worker in improving my skin. It's a night time skincare treatment that helps to refine the skin and remove dead skin cells overnight. I have been using it regularly since September and it is gentle but very effective at clearing up the complexion and giving it a more radiant look.

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre Luxe Color-Lasting Lip Lacquers in Sweet Stiletto and Seduction (2) are both great pigmented neutrals. I have Sweet Stiletto swatched and reviewed here. Since then I've bought a few more of the glosses (and really like them). Let me know in the comments if you are interested in seeing a review.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette (3) has been a staple this past month. During my move, I had most of my beauty items packed away in bubble wrap and boxes, I kept a small handful of things in a makeup case for regular use. This was one of them, I used this almost exclusively the past few weeks. It's versatile and goes with just about any kind of look. Swatches and review can be found here.

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Moonlight (4) is a new shade I discovered in the Mini Caviar Stick Eye Color Set for this holiday. I just reviewed it a few days ago but purchased it the first week of October (sometimes testing takes a long time for me). I will definitely be purchasing the full size of this color soon. It's the perfect platinum warm taupe shimmer.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard and Ginger (5) are my two newest concealer discoveries. I'm super picky when it comes to concealer (I've used Clé de Peau Beauté and By Terry almost exclusively for years, swatches of all Cle de Peau Beaute shades here). I'll have a full review up next week, but the NARS lives up to the hype. It's quite incredible.

Wayne Goss Brush #16 is a large super soft domed brush (6). I bought it from Beautylish which describes it as being "designed for controlled application and pristine blending." This brush is one of the largest shadow brushes I own. I've been using it to apply Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder under the eyes. It's a soft but dense brush that picks up the powder nicely and gives smooth application.

Charlotte Tilbury Air Brush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder Shade 2 is another new favorite (7). The powder comes in three shades, I was matched to #2 which is a very good match for my Chanel 30 / Tom Ford Bisque 04 skin tone. I'm normally not a fan of pressed powders because I find that they look chalky or end up darkening my face (I prefer powder foundations instead). This one by Charlotte Tilbury changed my outlook completely. I saw it applied on my friend who is very fair in Shade 1. The artist brushed it over her skin as a touchup without adding any foundation or concealer and the effect was quite incredible.

Urban Decay Naked2 Basics (8) is the best matte eyeshadow palette I have tried. You can see swatches in this post here. I've been reaching for this one quite frequently as my no-fuss go-to everyday kind of palette.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Dry Oil Spray (9) has made my favorites list for a nice pick-me-up. It has a really nice soothing scent and hydrates the skin nicely without being too heavy. More thoughts on three dry oils here.

By Terry released six tinted shades of her cult classic Baume de Rose called the Baume De Rose Nutri-Couleur. I splurged on four of the shades but I'm smitten with the plum shade in Fig Fiction (10).

Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil (11) is a regular favorite. The past month I've been using it more frequently as my hands and fingers have been dryer than normal. It smells like lush coconut. Works like a charm to fix dry cuticles.

Tom Ford Spanish Pink (12) is my favorite nude pink lipstick of the moment. There's nothing like it that I've tested. It has just the right amount of warmth in it to make it look slightly peachy but not too much. Swatches here.





What were your beauty favorites in October?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Urban Decay Cosmetics Favorites and My Top Picks for Neutral Makeup Lovers


Readers often ask me if I had to pick one high-quality eyeshadow palette, what would it be? Picking a good eyeshadow palette depends on a number of things such as what kind of look you want, your skin tone, hair color, eye color, shimmer vs matte preferences and lifestyle. For my neutral makeup loving self, I find my most-reached-for palettes are Urban Decay Naked2 or Naked3. They both have a really good mix of neutral shades with matte, shimmer and satiny finishes. I find them extremely versatile and for me they are my do-it-all kind of palette. You can create so many different looks for day and night. If you like more neutral cool tones, I recommend Naked2. If you want something warmer or more unique, I vote for Naked3. I love the soft romantic feminine tones and they are neutral enough so you don't end up looking like you have pink-eye if you wear these.

 Naked vs Naked2 vs Naked3 swatched


For those who prefer matte-eyeshadow the new Naked2 Basics is a godsend. I'm not usually a fan of an all-matte eye look because matte shadows end up looking so flat on my skin and age my face. I will occasionally use one as a liner because I like a soft defined line along upper lashes. The Naked2 Basics has completely changed my outlook on matte shadows. It has a selection of medium taupe neutrals where every single one is wearable and layerable. I prefer it over the original Naked Basics which I found was too pale for my skin tone.


If you're the type who prefers to pick out individual shades, Urban Decay has a wide selection of beautiful taupes and sandy shimmers in the single Eyeshadow format. My favorites include Chase (a soft metallic gold), Suspect (shimmering sand), Busted (dark plum taupe), Lost (shimmering brown) and YDK (metallic taupe). They are on the shimmery side but I don't find them too frosty. The texture of the Urban Decay eyeshadows is amazing. They have this rich almost buttery feel that melds in with the skin. I don't need an eyeshadow base with these and they last all day. I like mixing and layering these with the matte shades for added depth. There are also some matte options available individually.

Some other favorites from Urban Decay include their 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils. These have a super creamy texture and apply easily. I like these because they really do glide onto the eyes and don't tug at all. They last pretty long on me with normal wear, although if it's really hot and humid they will smudge a little by late evening. I like to use them along the upper lash lines as a base for deeper/smokey eyeshadows. I find they bring out the pigment shadows when they are layered over the liners. My top three picks are Zero (matte black), Underground (soft shimmery neutral taupe) and Rockstar (a deep eggplant).



I haven't explored much in the lip arena from Urban Decay recently. Their lipsticks and glosses have been repeatedly revamped and repackaged. I purchased the Naked Ultra Nourishing Lip Glosses in Liar recently and really like it. There are 9 variations of nude in the lipgloss lineup, all of which looked really stunning but the sheer texture and finish make many of them look similar on my lips. I picked out Liar which is a gorgeous sheer cool mauve pink. It has a slight minty feel but doesn't numb the lips. It's a good everyday swipe and go color that adds just the right amount of shine. I like that it's smooth and not sticky. It gives a super lush lip look.


Last but not least, I'm a huge fan of the Naked Skin Beauty Balms. I have the original one (which now comes in extended shades) and the Bronzing Beauty Balm. I like to use the Naked Skin Beauty Balm as a primer. I find when I use it over moisturizer and under foundation, it helps liquids blend better on the skin. The Bronzing Beauty Balm is something I like to use as a subtle contouring product or a base for powder blushes. It adds a bit of dewy texture and color to help powder sheer or light blushes go on better without looking heavy or changing colors. I also like using the Bronzing Balm mixed in with foundations if they are too light (I tend to tan easily) so it works wonders to adjust foundation colors for me.



Here's a quick summary of my favorite Urban Decay items:


Urban Decay Cosmetics has just re-launched their line at Nordstrom. I remember back in the 90's through the early 2000's when Nordstrom had their modern/edgy beauty section with Urban Decay items when they had these out-of-this-world nail polish colors, iridescent blushes and scented shimmer body powder. I was sad when the line was pulled but I'm really happy that is is back now.

I hope this has been a helpful overview of some of my Urban Decay favorites. I've played with the line for over a decade now and I'm glad many of favorites are still in the line (like the Stray Dog, Sin and YDK eyeshadows). If you're looking for an eyeshadow palette to start with, I do think the Naked Palettes are the best for the price, quality, ease of use and versatility. I consider all 3 of the Naked Palettes and the new Naked2 Basics must-haves in my makeup wardrobe.

Do you have any Urban Decay favorites? Everytime I check out the eyeshadows, I am amazed that I'm always discovering new shades.



Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. More information on my Disclosures page.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Inside My Bag


Inside my Prada Saffiano (in camel) bag this week:

NARS Lipgloss in Ophelia (swatches here)
Urban Decay Naked Lipgloss in Liar (swatches soon)
Guerlain Maxi Lash Waterproof Mascara (review here)
Chanel Les Beiges 20 (swatches)
Revlon Marchesa Tweezers
Louis Vuitton Empriente Wallet
Dior Rouge Baume in Milly (review soon)
Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black mini (review)
Smythson Notebook

What's in your handbag right now?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

On My Radar / New in Beauty


A few new items on my radar this week:
  1. Truffle Privacy Clutches have just launched in 4 colors Dove Grey, Blush, White and Seaglass
  2. Edward Bess has designed a new Ultra Slick Lipstick in Betty named for personal shopper Betty Halbreich, an emblem of style at Bergdorf Goodman since 1976
  3. Urban Decay Naked Basics2 just launched today on Urbandecay.com (it will be available at other retailers later this fall)
  4. Make Up For Ever launched their new Artist Shadows (over 200 shades), I quickly swatched a few in-store a couple days ago but didn't have time to look in detail, the texture seems super soft and pigmented
  5. Guerlain Les Sables Four Pan Palette is one of three Guerlain eye palettes to launch early fall
  6. Guerlain KissKiss Lipstick is a new formula that comes in over 20 shades, there are a number of stunning soft rose pinks, I have my eye on Fall in Rose, Baby Rose, and Golden Girl
  7. MAC Prep + Prime Finishing Mist is supposed to be the regular Fix+ in upgraded packaging, I've been a huge fan of the regular Fix+, I hope the formula didn't change too much (or at all really), if you've seen this, do you think it's the same?
  8. Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate is Shiseido's latest for anti-aging and skin smoothing, it claims to give your skin the ultimate glow in just one week, I'll have to investigate and see if I can find a small sample
  9. Bobbi Brown has a new limited-edition Smoky Nudes Eye Shadow Palette, I've found these to be hit or miss in the past with formulas, the colors look stunning from stock photos
  10. Bobbi Brown Sandstone Shimmerbrick is a repromote with the Smoky Nudes collection, it is one of my favorites of all the Shimmerbricks, if you missed out before I highly recommend you check this one out
  11. Bobbi Brown has four new Creamy Matte Lip Colors in Nude, Warm Nude, Soft Nude and Pink Nude, all of these colors look like they are right up my alley, although I'm not a fan of matte lips, I might make an exception if the colors are naturally flattering
What's on your fall beauty radar?

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.

 

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