Wednesday, November 6th, 2013


Holiday Indulgences

One question I get asked a lot prior to Sephora’s winter sale (20% off for VIBs with code VIBTOPIA, 11/7 through 11/11!) is, “What do you recommend?” This is a loaded question! There are so many ways to answer this question! The way I tend to frame my answer is in the context of, “What have I wanted to buy but felt was a little too expensive normally? What favorites do I need to stock-up on?” I think sales offer us an opportunity to indulge in something that might be above our price point comfort zone the rest of the year, or be more willing to take a chance on a brand we’re not familiar with (because they’re not cheap!) as well as stock-up on things we know we’ll use over and over again.

Of course, it being the holiday season, there are also plenty of seasonal offerings to indulge in like sets and palettes–you can see my top palette picks in full here as well as some picks for sets and kits generally. Those both cover some of the seasonal offerings, and this post is less focused on seasonal/limited edition as it is just really fantastic products that I highly recommend from trying them.

Products to Indulge In — Lips

  • Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick ($22 @ Sephora, see my review here) — great if you love creamy, more emollient lipsticks with high pigmentation and moderate lasting power
  • YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stains ($34 @ Sephora, see my review here) — long-wearing, moderately pigmented color that doesn’t dry out lips
  • Givenchy Le Rouge ($36 @ Sephora, see my review here) — creamy, luminous opaque lip color that wears well, makes lips look smoother than they really are
  • Guerlain Rouge G Lip Color ($49.50 @ Sephora, see my review here) — Rouge G is a long-time favorite (still reigning supreme after years and years of trying new formulas) for long-wear, hydration, opacity, and feel
  • Buxom Full-Bodied Lipstick ($21 @ Sephora, see my review here) — superbly hydrating, smooth, rich color that wears well
  • Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lipgloss ($24 @ Sephora, see my review here) — for a high-gloss, insanely shimmering/glimmering gloss

Products to Indulge In — Face

  • Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush ($26 @ Sephora, see my review here) — a variety of gorgeous shades from intensely pigmented to subtly neutral with a soft, blendable formula
  • Illamasqua Velvet Blusher ($26 @ Sephora, see my review here) — perfect for someone who loves the feel and blendability of of a cream blush but look and finish of a powder
  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder ($45 @ Sephora, see my review here) — a gorgeous finishing/luminizing powder to give that something special to the skin (and don’t forget the Ambient Lighting Palette!)
  • Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer ($ @ Sephora, see my review here) — creates a lovely, smooth canvas and helps keep makeup on longer

Products to Indulge In — Eyes

Most of what I wanted to recommend (in terms of what came to mind) were palettes, which I’ve recommended previously here.

  • Hourglass Visionaire Eyeshadow Duo ($38 @ Sephora, see my review here) — buttery, soft texture and intense color payoff
  • bareMinerals Ready Eyeshadow ($30 & up @ Sephora, see my review here) — one of my all-time favorite eyeshadow formulas for texture and color payoff
  • Dior Diorshow Fusion Mono Eyeshadows ($30 @ Sephora, see my review here) — obsessed with these pigmented cream eyeshadows that wear well

Products to Indulge In — Nails

  • Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer ($18 @ Sephora, see my review here) — high-shine, long-wearing formula with a nice range of colors/textures
  • Illamasqua Nail Varnish ($17 @ Sephora, see my review here) — one of my all-time favorites for application, wear, and range
  • Guerlain Nail Lacquer ($23 @ Sephora, see my review here) — so glossy and high-shine, pigmented, long-wearing

Products to Stock-Up On

These are your favorites, but this is a little list of basics that we sometimes blank on but often have a favorite we use quite frequently, so consider what you reach for in these product types:

  • Eyeshadow Primer
  • Lip Balm/Lip Care
  • Foundation
  • Skincare
  • Mascara
  • Shampoo/Conditioner/Sprays
  • Top/Base Coats (for nails)
  • Makeup Remover

Are you indulging in Sephora’s upcoming VIB sale? What’s on your list? What would you recommend to someone?

And if you aren’t a VIB, while Sephora has hinted at upcoming promotions for BIs as well, they haven’t confirmed what that means (could just be more samples, free shipping, etc. or it could be really awesome), Beauty.com’s F&F sale is open to all with 20% off.

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Too Faced Be Merry, Be Bright Kat Von D Spellbinding theBalm Balm Voyage Urban Decay Vice 2 Eyeshadow Palette Sugarpill Cold Chemistry LORAC Pro Palette Too Faced Pretty Rebel Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Sleek MakeUP Vintage Romance

As promised, here are my top picks for palettes to snag during the holidays! :)  Also… as I review other palettes from the holidays (I don’t think I have too many more!) and find other great choices, I’ll be sure to add them here.

  1. Too Faced Be Merry, Be Bright Set ($45.00 for 1.28 oz.) consists of two “books” of makeup–each has six eyeshadows and two blush/cheek colors. The quality was good across the board, and there was a nice variety of colors and textures. You can read part one and part two of my reviews on it.
  2. Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 1.20 oz.) contains twenty-four (24!!!) eyeshadows, and they’re even designed to be layered and used together, so you can have an endless amount of combinations and textures! You can read part one and part two.
  3. theBalm Balm Voyage ($42.50 for 1.21 oz.) has sixteen eyeshadows and three lip/cheek colors, but the eyeshadows are the stars. This is a great choice for someone who prefers more matte/satin finishes. Check out part one and part two for reviews on this palette.
  4. Urban Decay Vice 2 ($59.00 for 0.60 oz.) has twenty eyeshadows to choose from with a variety in texture and color to choose from. If you love pigmented, buttery, soft eyeshadows–this one’s for you. You can read part one and part two of my reviews.
  5. Sugarpill Cold Chemistry ($34.00 for 0.48 oz.) is a wintry mix of cool-toned gray, white, purple, and teal for someone who loves bold, rich colors and a lot of them. Not limited edition but a perfectly-timed release for the holiday season. Read my review here.
  6. LORAC Pro Palette ($42.00 for 0.55 oz.) is a cult-favorite palette for a reason–it combines mattes with high frosts. There are eight matte shades and then eight more frosted shades, and you can mix and match them for satin and pearl finishes, too! Permanent and available year-round, there’s no hurry to snag one, but with holiday deals and sales, now’s a great time to try it. Read my review here.
  7. Too Faced Pretty Rebel ($46.00 for 0.50 oz.) contains ten eyeshadows, which might not be as sexy as a mega palette, but these are ten fantastic eyeshadows. If you love jewel-tones, bold and bright shades, and your frost finishes, this is a palette worth considering. Read my review here.
  8. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette ($58.00 for 0.35 oz.) is for those who love a beautiful, glowing complexion and flawless canvas. Ambient Lighting Powders are amazing on their own but getting three for a little more than the price of one? Great opportunity to try more shades or add them to your routine. Read my review here.
  9. Sleek MakeUP Vintage Romance Eyeshadow Palette ($9.99 for 0.36 oz.) is my more budget-friendly pick for a fall/winter palette with great quality–nicely pigmented shades in hues of gold, berry, and purple. Read my review here.

What palettes would you recommend to others for the holidays?

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette ($58.00 for 0.35 oz.) contains three shades of the brand’s Ambient Lighting Powders. The three shades include Dim Light and Radiant Light, both which are part of the permanent range, and a new (and limited edition) shade called Incandescent Light. Each shade is 0.116 oz. in size, compared to the full-sized compact which contains 0.35 oz. At a $45 price point for individual shades, the palette is a nice way to try the new powders and have multiple shades to choose from.  You do also get a 0.16 oz. vial of Veil Mineral Primer (worth about $8), which I’ve reviewed here. It’s not a value-packed palette in terms of price-per-ounce (total value of the palette is $53, including the primer), but getting a variety of shades of a product that is quite pricey individually may be worth it–it will take awhile to get through these pans even at this size.

Dim Light is described as a “neutral peach beige powder.” It’s a pale, light beige with neutral to warm undertones and a very subtle satin shimmer/sheen. The color is barely visible against my skin tone when layered heavily (to show color), and it blends out seamlessly without making me look any darker or lighter. I applied this all over my face like a setting/finishing powder with Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Brush. I couldn’t think of anything I have that’s quite like this and in this shade. The closest product that I’m familiar with is Guerlain’s Meteorites Voyage Powders, which are more translucent and sheerer. According to Hourglass, the main purpose of Dim Light is to blur imperfections–which it does admirably.

Incandescent Light is described as a “pearlescent powder.” It’s a pale, light beige with neutral undertones and a soft ivory shimmer. It’s a bit different from the other Ambient Light powders, because it is a lot more shimmery, and Hourglass is positioning it to “highlight cheekbones and [brighten] the complexion with a celestial glow.” It works well for illuminating the skin where it is applied, and the shimmer doesn’t emphasize pores or make the skin appear oily. Urban Decay Naked (P, $29.00) is more sparkly. Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight (P, $44.00) is similar but a smidgen warmer. NARS Debbie Harry Highlighter (LE, $29.00) is lighter. See comparison swatches.

Radiant Light is described as a “golden beige powder.” I reviewed it here when it was originally released. The purpose of Radiant Light is to had subtle warmth; very pale complexions will see this work more obviously on their skin tone than medium or deeper complexions. You can see some comparison swatches</> against Chanel Lucky Stripes, which is much more golden and darker (more of a bronzer on the skin) and NARS Miss Liberty, which is a bit more sparkly.

The Ambient Lighting Powders breathe life back into the skin after you’ve applied foundations and setting powders–especially if you have more mattifying base products on. They’re not full-on highlighters, but they’re not exactly setting powders (by Hourglass’ definition, they are finishing powders). If you have very oily skin, you may still need your usual setting powder, but for my normal-to-dry skin, the Ambient Lighting Powders work as a setting and finishing powder in one for me. I get extended wear out of my base products, but the powders also smooths the skin’s appearance, minimizes pores and imperfections, and gives the skin a natural luminosity (not shiny, not shimmery). It is that something extra that someone won’t see and go, “Oh, nice lipstick!” but “Did you do something different with your skin?” When people start asking you about your skincare routine, that’s when you know a product is really delivering on its promises! I’m not alone–there are 47 reader reviews with an overall rating of 4.5. The only negative I have to say about the products is that the texture is very, very soft, so depending on the brush you use, excess powder can be kicked up (and wasted).

If you were one of several readers wondering about my skin in my last NARS’ post, this palette is responsible as I wore Dim Light all over my face with Incandescent Light done the bridge of my nose and along the tops of my cheekbones as a highlighter.

The Glossover

LE
palette

Ambient Lighting (Holiday 2013)

A+

The Ambient Lighting Powders breathe life back into the skin after you've applied foundations and setting powders--especially if you have more mattifying base products on. It is that something extra that someone won't see and go, "Oh, nice lipstick!" but "Did you do something different with your skin?" When people start asking you about your skincare routine, that's when you know a product is really delivering on its promises!

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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P
product

Dim Light

A+

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
LE
product

Incandescent Light

A+

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Hourglass Radiant Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Radiant Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Radiant Light Ambient Lighting Powder ($45.00 for 0.35 oz.) is described as a “golden beige powder.” It’s a subdued, light-medium peach-orange with golden shimmer. Because of the type of product it is, it sheers out considerably to mostly translucent powder that adds warmth and radiance. NARS Miss Liberty has a similar coloring but has larger shimmer/sparkle. Chanel Lucky Stripes is more pigmented and works as a bronzer/highlighter. See comparison swatches.

The texture is very soft and finely-milled; feels like silk and blends out smoothly, but it is a very soft powder so there is some excess powder that gets dislodged while brushing against the surface. Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Powders are supposed to mimic different types of light, generally giving skin a softer, smoother look with subtle glow Radiant Light is supposed to “[enhance] the overall complexion with believable, subtle warmth.”  That’s exactly what it does:  it gives skin a gentle warmth while having a soft-focus effect that makes skin appear smoother than it actually is.  Because this is a powder, for my normal-to-dry skin, it also sets my foundation and prolongs the wear of my foundation by an hour (like a setting powder), even though it’s not claimed to do so. I suspect on very fair skin that this may be like a soft bronzer.

The Glossover

P
product

Radiant Light

Temptalia Recommends
A+

It gives skin a gentle warmth while having a soft-focus effect that makes skin appear smoother than it actually is.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil
Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil

Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil ($42.00 for 0.25 oz.) is supposed to help lips look better both in the short-term as well as over the long-term by conditioning, hydrating, and relieving dry and chapped lips. The applicator is a “24-karat gold-plated, anti-bacterial palladium,” slanted and slightly curved tip. You lightly press to dispense the product to apply.

This lip treatment is a follow-up to Hourglass’ No. 28 Primer Serum, and it contains 14 essential oils, as well as vitamins A, B5, C, and E. It also includes Saliporine 8, which Hourglass says, in clinical studies, has shown to “reinforce the natural moisturizing factor of the skin and boost moisture levels,” Volulip, which in clincal studies has shown to “provide improvement in the appearance of lip shape, softness, volume, hydration, and youth for at least 69% of volunteers.” The third ingredient is K3 Viamerine, which Hourglass said in clinical studies was shown to “deliver deep hydration and reduce the appearance of depth in wrinkles.”

I’ve been using this for several weeks now, and I think this is the type of product that will work best (and will be most “worth it”) for someone who finds most products don’t work for them; for someone who suffers from dry, chapped, cracked, or peeling lips and truly needs a treatment.  If your lips are fairly smooth with whatever lip care you’re using, this is going to feel lovely, but I don’t know if you’ll see dramatic improvement or truly feel it.

I deliberately wore some of the more drying lipstick formulas I’m aware of to essentially roughen up my lips so they would be cracked and peeling (I don’t recommend that, and I don’t think I’d go that far again), and then I tried this.  I routinely reached for this over my regular lip balm (Jack Black) after a particularly long “lip swatching” session.  I also used it when my lips felt and looked normal (soft, smooth, no cracking/peeling).  Hourglass’ Lip Treatment Oil seemed to soothe, relieve, and repair my lips faster than my normal lip balms would when my lips were in a really rough state.

It always felt lovely on; slightly thick, somewhat creamy but not wet, with medium-weight.  It had a very light tack to it, more from its thickness than anything else.  It has a lemony, herbal scent and slightly herbal taste–it wasn’t a taste I was fond of but didn’t notice after a few regular uses.  When I first started using this, I applied it in the morning and before bed (I usually am testing gloss/lipstick during the day).  My lips were normal, and I really didn’t feel like it was doing anything more than what normal lip balm does for me.  I didn’t like using it during the day as much, because I felt like it wasn’t very long-lasting and would disappear after two hours or so.  Obviously, at this price point, frequent reapplication isn’t something the wallet wants to here.

That’s why I decided to give it more of a challenge, and then maybe, I’d see more of the restorative effects of the product–and I did.  The wear time didn’t improve, but I noticed improvement within a few hours (especially in terms of making my lips feel more soothed and less discomfort) and saw more dramatic improvement after three to four days of using this three to four times a day.  It also seems to relieve my lips when they’re normal but rubbed raw from swatching slightly faster than my normal lip balm (within two hours, as compared to three).

Based on my experience, it’s a product I’d recommend considering if you have lips in need of serious treatment, not simply routine care.  It is absolutely hydrating and soothing even when lips feel good to start, but the efficacy was not much more (if at all) than I’ve experienced with other lip balms at varying price points.  It’s also a product that can work well for anyone who has moderate lip concerns as a night-time treatment to help maintain good lip care.  Now, if you ordinarily splash out for your lip balm, then it might just replace your current go-to.  For reference:  Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment is $150/oz., Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil is $168/oz., Dior Creme de Rose is $108/oz., and La Mer’s Lip Balm is $156/oz.

Ingredients

Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Octyldodecanol, Amyris (Amyris Balsamifera) Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora Wood Oil, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Benzoin Siam Absolute, Bois De Rose (Aniba Rosaeodora) Oil, Borage (Borago Officinalis) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cedar (Thuja Occidentalis) Leef Oil, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Cherry (Prunus Avium) Pit Oil, Clove (Eugenia Caryophyllus) Oil, Dimethylmethoxy Chromanol, Eucalyptus Globulus Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Geranium (Geranium Maculatum) Oil, Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis) Oil, Hazelnut (Corylus Americana) Oil, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis) Oil, Kukui (Aleurites Moluccana) Nut Oil, Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) Oil, Lemon (Citrus Medica Limonum) Peel Oil, Lithospermum Officinale Root Extract, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Olive(Olea Europaea) Oil, Orange (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis) Peel Oil, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Panthenyl Triacetate, Petitgrain (Citrus Reticulata) Oil, Portulaca Pilosa Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Rose Geranium (Pelargonium Roseum) Oil, Rose Hips Seed Oil, Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Leaf Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Sorbitan Isostearate, Sucrose Cocoate, Sweet Almond (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis) Oil, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Vanilla (Vanilla Planifolia) Oil, Ylang Ylang (Cananga Odorata) Oil.

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Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Hourglass Mood Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Mood Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Mood Light Ambient Lighting Powder ($45.00 for 0.35 oz.) is described as a “soft, sheer lavender pink powder.” It’s a nearly-matte, pale pink with neutral undertones. The aim of this powder is to imitate the “softest, most forgiving light and [to brighten] the complexion.” Like the other Ambient Lighting Powders, the effect is subtle, natural, and it is the, “Did you change your skincare regimen?” kind of product. Mood Light has a softening, lightly luminous effect that’s hard to really pin down. I can see this particular shade working well on all skin types, because it’s subtle and won’t make oilier skin appear oilier.

The texture of the powder is very, very soft and silky, but it can be a little powdery–which does work well for minimizing or absorbing oil for those who have normal to oilier skin. Even though my skin can be dry, I didn’t notice this powder emphasizing dryness either. The powder is very soft, so a soft brush and light hand will be key to minimizing excess product getting dislodged from the pan. It’s designed to work as a finishing powder, but I’ve found it helps just as well to set and prolong my base makeup (by about two hours) as it does to finish it, so I usually use this as my setting and finishing powder.

The Glossover

P
product

Mood Light

A+
Mood Light softens the appearance of the skin's natural texture, giving it a smoother, refined appearance with a lightly luminous quality. It worked well to both set and finish my base makeup, as it prolonged the wear of my foundation by almost two hours, and it helped to minimize oiliness that can sometimes occur (on my skin) after a full day of wearing makeup.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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