Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Rebecca suggested a theme of polishes perfect for autumn, and here are my five picks! I wanted to vary the shades so there would (hopefully!) be something for everyone to consider. There were a lot of amazing limited edition shades that caught my eye, but I wanted to stick with shades permanently available.

  1. Butter London Thames — deep, shimmering teal
  2. Illamasqua Raindrops — cool, bluish gray with flecks of sparkle/glitter
  3. Zoya Evvie — muted, stormy green-gray
  4. Chanel Provocation — muted plum-purple cream
  5. Guerlain Nahema — orange cream

What’s your favorite nail color to wear during autumn?

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

The Sacred Hour is the time to release your inner warrior. Embrace new beginnings at daybreak and re-stoke the fire in your heart as the sun sets. Breathe in the elements, enhance your features, and express yourself. Find your courage, wisdom and power within.

“A moment to reflect your inner fire and strength; a spark that is ignited with the dawn, and rolls towards a raging fire with the dusk. Inside we have the power to fan those flames, connect with our spirits and open our hearts to greatness.” — Alex Box, Illamasqua Creative Di rector

“The Sacred Hour is a time portal for self-reflection, appreciation and empowerment. Let your inner spirit ascend, take flight and descend to rest.” — David Horne, Illamasqua Director of Product Development

New Reflection Palette ($46.50 / £34.00)

Nature’s core elements expressed in one beautiful palette. The water-resistant formula, silky textures and shimmer finishes can be worn in a natural or enchanting way. Long wearing hold, effortless application and blendable. Versatile shades each with a mystical story of their own.

  • Precipice Soft lemon
  • Acute Ash taupe
  • Graphica Graphite grey
  • Dart Toasted bronze

Velvet Blusher ($26.00 / £18.00

Experience unexpected textures with two radiant cream to powder blushers. Illamasqua Velvet Blusher delivers a fresh, long-lasting and wearable matte finish exuding natural radiance. Easily blendable, and containing Mineral Mica, it is available in two complementing shades.

  • Sleek Dusky coral
  • Peaked Dusky rose

Lipstick ($24.00 / £16.50)

A versatile shade to be worn as a symbol of your strength, this lipstick embodies inner empowerment and confidence. Long wearing with a creamy matte finish.

  • Shard Red violet

Nail Varnish ($17.00 / £14.50)

Two complementing shades that capture the essence of dawn and dusk. Inspired by opalescent crystals and flint, these varnishes create a mystical finish whilst being long wearing and chip resistant.

  • Facet Grey crystal
  • Hemlock Pale opal green

Lush Lash ($17.00 / £14.50)

Enchanting, feather-like False Eye Lashes to complete, complement and add drama to any look.

Skin Base Lift ($24.00 / £16.00

Lift, illuminate and create flawless coverage with this brightening concealer. Infused with warm peach tones to flatter every skin tone, Skin Base Lift blends easily,
correcting uneven pigmentation and visibly lifting the eye area. For added brightening effect, custom mix each shade with Skin Base Lift in White Light.

  • White Light, Light 1, Light 2, Medium 1, Medium 2, Deep 1 & Deep 2

Availability: August 30th @ Sephora

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Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Maybelline Vibrant Mandarin NARS Taos Zoya Beatrix YSL Vert d'Orient Illamasqua Supernatural Burberry Cameo Pink Burberry Cameo Pink OCC New Wave OCC New Wave Urban Decay Radium Sephora Fairytale Marc Jacobs The Starlet

The Tempting 10 features my top product picks for the upcoming month, and these are all products I’ve reviewed in the past (you can click around the image above or use the links below to see more photos, swatches, etc.). I think it’s a great way for me to share old favorites (but always ones that are permanent!) and highlight recent limited editions that have captured my attention.  Asking me to narrow anything down to a top ten is difficult, but I’ve tried to capture products across brands, price points, and even types, for a more well-rounded list.

August is that month that, for me, will always be the last real month of summer, even if technically it’s not over.  I think a lot of it has to do with being in school until I was 25, so August meant back-to-school shopping, enjoying the last days with no essays, no textbooks, and no looming exams, and getting away with (at least some of the time) doing nothing.  Now that I’ve graduated from school, summer is a little different, but there’s a part of me that still gets nervous when August 1st pops up on the calendar, because I think, “Nooo, school!”  To that end, I look at the month as one filled with fun, which is why my favorites are vibrant and rich.  I also think with the hot temperatures we see in August, brighter colors just feel so appropriate, and then formulas that are minimalist or long-wearing are musts.  I love how one statement color, whether on eyes, lips, or nails (or wherever else!) can instantly make one look alive and colorful and present without spending a lot of time or having to worry about it breaking down easily.

Bonus: a lot of these products work well for anyone hurried in the mornings or doesn’t want to touch-up a lot during the day–so perfect for those of you who are heading back to school this fall.

  1. Maybelline Vibrant Mandarin — a rich, vibrant orange-red for the perfect pop of color in the summer when you want to look a little done up but not actually wear a lot of makeup
  2. NARS Taos — a bolder, super pigment-rich shade that can be worn subtly or intensely in a burnt red with gold shimmer–the more you blend and buff it into the skin, the more glowy it looks
  3. Zoya Beatrix – a sparkling, dazzling tangerine for your nails that wears well, too
  4. YSL Vert d’Orient – a rich, decadent teal cream that makes me think of swimming pools, tropical islands, and vacation
  5. Illamasqua Supernatural — a dewy, bronzy glow that gives skin a wet, shimmering look
  6. Burberry Cameo Pink – a beautiful, glossy coral-pink shimmered with gold with semi-opaque color coverage
  7. OCC New Wave – glossy, shiny, stained glass color that is lighter than lipstick but still more pigmented than traditional gloss; New Wave being a pinky-red with subtle cool undertones–like a juicy watermelon for your lips
  8. Urban Decay Radium — a deep blue with a frosted finish and would work well paired with golds, greens, aquas, and teals (if the eyeshadow is too much, there is always the eyeliner!)
  9. Sephora Fairytale — shimmer like a mermaid with this blue-based teal that has green and gold shimmer; I love wearing shades like this (I am a teal eyeliner junkie) on the lower lash line with not much else on the eyes for an instant burst of color
  10. Marc Jacobs The Starlet – it’s a lovely palette, period, but I think it’s a nice transition piece from summer to fall, and August, no doubt, is going to be an interesting month for MJB, since we’ll see the full release and I can’t wait to hear what the beauty world says about the range!

I’d also like to take a moment in this post to plead with Tom Ford to make his Cream Colors in Escapade and Pink Haze permanent, because had they not completely sold out months ago (part of the summer collection), they would have earned a spot here most definitely.

I hope you’ll consider sharing your must-haves for August 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:
Monday, July 29th, 2013

Illamasqua is now available at Bloomingdale’s!  Select stores will also be carrying the line.

  • 59th Street – 8/7
  • Soho – 8/10
  • Short Hills -8/15
  • North Michigan – 8/21
  • Aventura – 8/28
  • Huntington -8/31
Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Illamasqua Sadist Eyeshadow
Illamasqua Sadist Eyeshadow

Illamasqua Sadist Eyeshadow ($20.00 for 0.07 oz.) is described as a “matte bright royal blue.” It’s a rich, deep, medium-dark blue–there’s a little indigo/purple that tints it so it looks very cool-toned. It had a matte finish, and the color payoff was quite good. The texture was soft, finely-milled but not powdery–yet still blendable and had a lot of pigmentation. It lasted for nine hours without creasing or fading, but there was some residual staining after I removed it. Sephora My Boyfriend’s Jeans is shimmery and darker. Sugarpill Velocity is similar but slightly lighter. Urban Decay Chaos is similar in color but has some shimmer. NARS Rated R #2 is much lighter. NARS Outremer is darker. Sugarpill Royal Sugar is a touch brighter and shimmery. Inglot #388 is darker, less blue. See comparison swatches.

Vulgar Eyeshadow ($20.00 for 0.07 oz.) is described as a “bright flame orange, matt finish.” It’s a brightened, slightly lightened medium orange with a matte finish and warm, yellow undertones. It had really nice color payoff, and it applied smoothly and evenly. The texture was lovely; soft, finely-milled, but not at all powdery, and still it was easy to apply and blend out on the lid. Vulgar wore well for eight hours–no fading or creasing–and after nine hours, I noticed some slight fading. Disney Rajah is more shimmery, slightly darker. Maybelline Fierce & Tangy is a bit lighter and a cream product. MAC Rule is darker. Chanel Pearl River #4 is lighter, more shimmery. Make Up For Ever #10 is darker, bolder, and a cream product. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover



The texture was soft, finely-milled but not powdery--yet still blendable and had a lot of pigmentation.











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The texture was lovely; soft, finely-milled, but not at all powdery, and still it was easy to apply and blend out on the lid.











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Monday, May 27th, 2013

Illamasqua Hydra Veil  Rehydrating Gel
Illamasqua Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel

Illamasqua Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel ($40.00 for 1.0 oz.) is a cross between a primer and a moisturizer, so perhaps it’s best categorized as a moisturizing primer, as it is not a skincare product (e.g. no long-term hydration benefits are claimed). It’s really supposed to help by providing instant hydration, smooth the skin, and prolong the wear of your base makeup.

It has a thick, jelly-like consistency that looks and feels that way. It jiggles in the pot and is just slightly less solid in comparison to Jell-o. It comes with a small, spoon spatula that hooks to the interior lid for more hygenic removal of the product. Once you disturb the surface of the product, it can look crumbly, but it reforms and looks pristine the next time you open it. You don’t need a lot, but it did seem like a small quantity when I first opened up the jar, though one ounce is about average for a primer. It feels cool when applied, and it spreads easily and doesn’t feel greasy or heavy. It absorbs and dries down quickly. I’ve been using a flat foundation brush (MAC’s 190) to apply and spread it over the skin after my moisturizer but prior to foundation.

One thing I noticed was that sometimes it did give me a light stinging sensation some of the time that I used the product. I’ve used it for a week now, and out of those seven tries, I’d say three of those times had a mild stinging sensation on the drier areas of my face for about thirty seconds or less (in contrast, when I applied it to Shaun’s face, and he didn’t experience any stinging at all, and he has an oilier skin type). It did leave behind a smoother surface, and my foundations (I tried MUFE HD, Guerlain Lingerie de Peau, Kiehl’s Tinted Moisturizer, and Giorgio Armani Maestro) seemed to apply better than they would over the skin alone but not dramatically improved over dry patches.  For me, I didn’t notice particularly better or prolonged wear out of my foundations–an extra half hour at best but nothing dramatic.

I had really hoped for a life-changing product with Hydra Veil, because I often get dry patches along the tops of my cheeks and around my nose, so having an added boost prior to applying foundation can go a long way to giving me a more flawless finish.   It was the product I was most excited for in the new collection, but it wasn’t a good fit for my skin type.


Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, PEG-240/HDI Copolymer Bis-Decyltetradeceth-20 Ether, Phenoxyethanol, Niacinamide, Chlorphenesin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Alcohol, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Phosphate, Fragrance, Methylisothiazolinone, Acmella Oleracea Extract, Potassium Laurate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, BHT, Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract, Sodium Chloride, Tocopherol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene.

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