Sunday, December 1st, 2013

If I had to pick one product, Illamasqua’s Nail Varnish would be my very, very favorite, but I really like quite a few of their formulas. Their polishes wear exceptionally long on me (fourteen days with just minor tip wear) and come in a variety of shades.

  1. Illamasqua Velvet Blusher — long-wearing, highly pigmented cream-to-powder blush; can’t wait until they have more shades
  2. Illamasqua Nail Varnish — one of the best nail lacquers on the market; favorites include Obsess (pictured), Raindrops, Creator
  3. Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss — for really opaque lipgloss, this is a good bet! Love shades like Belladonna (pictured), Hermetic, Move
  4. Illamasqua Eyeshadow — they have a particularly lovely matte formula that’s richly pigmented, blendable, and soft; recommendations include Sadist (pictured), Burst, Fledgling
  5. Illamasqua Cream Blusher — cream blush with a lovely, natural finish and nice color payoff; one of my favorites is Seduce (pictured)

What are your favorite Illamasqua products?

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Illamasqua Culminate Sheer Lipgloss
Illamasqua Culminate Sheer Lipgloss

Illamasqua Culminate Sheer Lipgloss (£14.50 for 0.20 fl. oz.) is described as an “iridescent sheer metallic copper.” It’s a warm-toned, orange-copper with flecks of pink and white shimmer and sparkle. Marc Jacobs Beauty Heart Shaped (308) (P, $28.00) is pinker, more opaque. Revlon Pango Peach (P, $7.99) is pinker. MAC Rising Sun (LE, $20.00) is similar. MAC Imperial Light (LE, $20.00) is also similar. Bobbi Brown Citrus (P, $24.00) is slightly pinker. Dior Etincelante (432) (P, $29.50) is more shimmery. Dior Ambre Lumiere (227) (P, $29.50) is similar. Chanel Attirance (LE, $32.00) is also similar. See comparison swatches.

Applied, it looks more rose gold due to the semi-sheer color coverage of the gloss and the natural lip color coming through. As you might expect, the Sheer Lipgloss formula is supposed to yield sheer color with a glossy shine. If you like sheerer glosses but still want some color, shine, and sparkle, this is a nice option as it definitely enhances and changes-up the natural lip color but not as drastically as an opaque gloss would. It wears four hours on me, which is about average.

Illamasqua Wanderlust Intense Lipgloss (£14.50 for 0.20 fl. oz.) is described as a “deep gold.” It’s a blackened brown with chartreuse, gold, bronze, and emerald green shimmer–it tints the whole thing into a mix of black, brown, green, and gold. I’m sure it’s not too surprising, but I don’t know of a dupe for this shade. It had mostly opaque color coverage, but it was difficult to apply evenly. This particular shade wore for four and a half hours.  It was neither drying nor hydrating.

The Glossover

LE
product

Culminate

B+

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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LE
product

Wanderlust

B-

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Dupes

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Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Illamasqua Fusion Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Fusion Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Fusion Nail Varnish (£14.50 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “khaki gold glitter.” It’s a deepened, muted, olive brown with golden olive shimmer and sparkle. It was mostly opaque in two coats, and the consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin. It dried a little faster than average, but it still had a naturally shiny finish without a top coat. Chanel Mysterious (601) (P, $27.00) has no shimmer and is greener. Rescue Beauty Lounge Scrangie 2.0 (LE, $20.00) is lighter. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Ripley (P, $10.00) is lighter, greener. SpaRitual Lithophonic (LE, $10.00) has green shimmer, is greener overall. See comparison swatches.

Perseid Nail Varnish (£14.50 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “galactic black glitter.” It’s a blackened purple with green-teal micro-shimmer and larger holographic, hexagon-shaped glitters. It’s nearly opaque after two coats of polish, but the consistency is quite thick. It’s a polish that tends to pool along the edges. About half of the glitter seems caught underneath the polish, so it gives the finish a more uneven/bumpy look. It took two thick coats of top coat to smooth it out, and it still didn’t seem entirely smooth. I think this polish looks very interesting in the bottle, and on the nails, less so, but I only saw some of the dimension on the nails when I was outside and the sun was shining–otherwise it looked very black and lost a lot of the character.  The good news is that I don’t have anything like it, so it is a more unique shade from what I can tell–but the formula needs work.

Illamasqua’s Nail Varnish formula wears as long as ten days with minor tip wear but no chipping–it’s one of the longest-wearing formulas I’ve come across.

The Glossover

LE
product

Fusion

A

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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LE
product

Perseid

C

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Dupes

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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.

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

I shared my favorite oranges yesterday for Halloween, so of course, the other side of the coin is rich, inky blacks! Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Illamasqua Creator — a deep, dark black with silver flecks and sparkle with a glossy, high-shine finish
  2. Chanel Mirifique — a sparkling, creamy, deep dark black
  3. Urban Decay Perversion — a cult favorite; deep, dark, inky matte black for the lash line
  4. Milani Pitch Black — a deep, dark black eyeshadow with a matte finish for under $10
  5. Sugarpill Stella — a deep, dark black loose eyeshadow with teal, violet, pink, and emerald green micro-shimmer

What are your favorite black-hued beauty products?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Illamasqua Apocalips Lipstick Sleek Sunset Eyeshadow Palette Inglot #434 Marc Jacobs Th(ink) Giorgio Armani #701 Giorgio Armani #701 NARS Taj Mahal Cult Nails You're My Dandy Lion Fyrinnae Parental Advisory OCC Jubilee Illamasqua Stranger

October is a time that reminds me to be brave; to not be afraid of bold, unusual colors. Halloween is an often excuse to play with color in ways we’ve never felt comfortable doing so the rest of the year, but it also serves as a great reminder to: experiment more. play more. go outside of our comfort zone. embrace the unknown. thirst for something different. These are a few of my favorite more unique and unusual shades that I’ve come across, and I hope you’ll share your own unusual finds with me!

  1. Illamasqua Apocalips is a vivid, medium-dark blue-teal with a matte finish. I love the unusual color, but what I love even more is that it still applies and wears fairly well. It’s definitely a show-stopping color!
  2. Sleek Sunset Palette is a budget-friendly palette that’s top-to-bottom fantastic. No duds in the bunch; not only is this a feat for an eyeshadow palette in general, but to do so at under $15? It’s quite unusual!
  3. Inglot #434 is a cool-toned, purplish taupe–a glorious mix of purple, gray, and brown for something infinitely complex, bold but neutral.
  4. Marc Jacobs Beauty Th(ink) is a bold, cool-toned violet purple with a pearly shimmer that really opens up the eye–and it is a shade that had many, many readers asking, “What are you wearing?” Purple eyeliners that can be applied with opaque, rich color are hard to come by, but Th(ink) makes a strong case for one that does.
  5. Giorgio Armani #701 is a cool-toned, sheer bluish-purple gloss filled with blue and violet shimmer. It’s very intriguing on its own, but it can be layered over lipstick for a different look.
  6. NARS Taj Mahal is bold, bright, but not totally over-the-top, and it’s more of a tangerine than a full-on orange with red tones, so it has more golden, yellowy undertones.
  7. Cult Nails You’re My Dandy Lion is a warm, buttery yellow with a cream finish–and lo and behold, it applies beautifully. It’s practically a unicorn among polish!
  8. Fyrinnae Parental Advisory is a bold, bright, royal purple like I haven’t seen before. It’s so vibrant and pigmented–if you are a fiend for purple eyeshadow, it is a must-have.
  9. OCC Jubilee is a pale, aqua-green with a blue-purple duochrome. It’s metallic, shimmering, and reflective. I love the way the color shifts as you move, as it is layered over other products, and will lean one way or another depending on what is paired with.
  10. Illamasqua Stranger is a green-ish gold gloss with a high-shine finish, lots of metallic shimmer, and it is a shade that changes as you move.

I hope you’ll consider sharing your must-haves for October in the comments! Here’s a quickie list to get you started…

Must-Have Eye Products:
Must-Have Cheek/Face Products:
Must-Have Lip Products:
Must-Have Hair/Skin Products: