Friday, February 5th, 2010

Illamasqua Katie Blush

The First Blush of Spring:  Illamasqua Katie Blush

Illamasqua Katie Blush ($23.00) is an ultra pale pastel pink with a matte finish. It has good color pay off, but it is extremely light in color. I don’t think it’s quite as pigmented as several of the other shade variastions I’ve tried in their powder blush line, though. Personally, I found it didn’t work on my skin tone; the paleness washed me out and made me look sickly. I think this is a shade very well suited for those with more porcelain complexions–could see it looking very spring-y and natural (and not sickly!).

Illamasqua’s blushes are nice for matte, pigmented color. The packaging isn’t my cup of tea (too bulky), but I like that the top is clear, so you can see the color without having to open the compact. Illamasqua brushes are a slightly cheaper investment ($23 to $25) than NARS blushes, though you get a little less (0.02 oz. to be precise). So far, all of the blushes I’ve tried by Illamasqua have had matte finishes, so it’s easy to wear them and have them turn out natural-looking. You can always brush on a highlighter if you want a shimmery look–but you don’t have to, which is nice. Everyone needs a few matte blushes in their life!

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Friday, February 5th, 2010

Guerlain Barbara Rouge G Le Brilliant Lipstick
Guerlain Barbara Rouge G Le Brilliant Lipstick

The Spring Season: Guerlain Barbara Rouge G Le Brilliant Lipstick

Guerlain Barbara (B02) Rouge G Le Brillant Lipstick ($46.00) is a browned down nude with a glossy sheen and subtle shimmer. Rouge G de Guerlain Le Brilliant Lipstick is a new kind of lipstick from Guerlain just launched this spring. The lipstick formula is a spin-off from the original Rouge G formula, and the twist is all about a glossier, shinier look that feels lighter but still creamy like the original formula.

Barbara is semi-opaque and truly glossy; it definitely feels like a mix between a lipstick and gloss. It also doesn’t pull moisture from my lips, so it keeps them feeling hydrated while I’m wearing the color. Because it is particularly glossy and creamy, it does have some slip to it.

In the past, I have found that more slippery lipsticks and glosses have a tendency to fade and wear off faster than drier or tackier lipsticks and glosses.With this particular formula, I found it did outlast many of the other lipsticks I’ve tried with similar formulas–about three to four hours–though not nearly as long as a typical Rouge G, which is four to six hours). The glossiness is what fades first, but the color does linger.

The price is wicked, so it’s definitely an indulgence!

Is this the right nude lipstick for you? Would you wear it?

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Benefit Candy Store Lipstick

The Spring Season: Benefit Candy Store Lipstick

Benefit Candy Store Lipstick ($18.00) is a semi-sheer medium pink with golden shimmer and a glossy sheen. On my lips, it really deepens and emphasizes the natural rosy-pink of my lip color while adding golden shimmer and a reflective, glossy sheen. Benefit’s Silky Finish Lipsticks have this really moisturizing, glossy feel. It’s almost like lipstick and lipgloss had a baby and called it Silky Finish. It’s very wearable all on its own, partially because it does have such a nice sheen without having to add a gloss (which also makes it convenient to keep in your bag!).

Is this the right pink lipstick for you? Would you wear it?

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Smashbox Paradise Blush

The First Blush of Spring:  Smashbox Paradise Blush Rush

Smashbox Paradise Blush Rush ($24.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a lightly golden shimmered peach with just a smidgen of pink in it. It’s more like an orange-coral, perhaps, but the pink really is downplayed. Paradise isn’t the most unique shade, but Smashbox’s Blush Rush formula is particularly lovely. It’s smooth, soft to the touch, and applies beautifully to cheeks. The color always look natural and never overdone, but they offer buildable color for those who want a light cheek and others who want a more intense look. Paradise is just one of those shades that’s incredibly easy to wear with a variety of looks from the everyday to the bold and dramatic. If you like blushes like MAC Springsheen and NARS Orgasm, Paradise is right there with ‘em!

I’ve always liked Smashbox’s permanent product packaging — it’s functional and sleek.  Cute packaging is fun, but it’s gotta be functional, too.  It just has a very clean look to it, which I dig.  Price-wise, it’s a little more expensive than your average blush at $184/oz. (compared to MAC blushes at $88/oz. and NARS blushes at $156/oz.), but actual investment is in line with NARS ($25) and Illamasqua ($23).

You can see me wearing Paradise in this look! :)

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: If you love your peachy blushes, Paradise may be a good one to add to your stash!

Availability: Sephora

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Thursday, February 4th, 2010

NARS Purple Rain Nail Lacquer

Stunning Spring Nails with  NARS Purple Rain Nail Lacquer

NARS Purple Rain Nail Lacquer ($16.00) is a deep jewel-toned purple with red undertones shimmered with flecks of violet and wine red shimmer. It looks kind of like a dark grape purple when there’s no real light, but I like that it doesn’t look black in low light conditions. Of course, like many polishes, this one really shows off best in the light. Even just regular lighting will catch the shimmer in such a lovely way. This is a richly pigmented nail lacquer; it needs only one thick coat and it goes opaque, though I did two coats for good measure. It wears well (one week with just tip wear, no chipping), and it applies easily–doesn’t streak or drag. The formula is thick without being goopy, so it doesn’t require any experimentation in application–it’s just apply, dry, and enjoy!

I was surprised by how much I liked this shade, even though it doesn’t conjure up any spring images in my mind, I’m really glad NARS put it out, spring season or not!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love purple nails, Purple Rain is really one of those must-see shades!

Availability: BlueMercury

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Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Guerlain Beige Mousseline Lipstick
Guerlain Beige Mousseline Kiss Kiss Strass Lipstick

The Spring Season: Guerlain Beige Mousseline Kiss Kiss Strass Lipstick

Guerlain Beige Mousseline Kiss Kiss Strass Lipstick ($31.00) is a new-for-spring shade of nude beige with golden peach sparkle. The press sheet for Kiss Kiss Strass reads like a fantasy–Guerlain has some of the best writers for their collections, I swear.  I feel like I’m ready a fantasy novel!  But basically, Kiss Kiss Strass is an ultra shimmreing, glittering lipstick with a soft texture and moisturizing feel.  Guerlain says that the sparkling is owed to “the inset of purse crystal beads to intensify and multiply the interplays of mother-of-pearl and colours” (see, the stuff of fantasy!).

Now, with all that fancy talk, does Guerlain deliver?  I’m a big fan of Guerlain lip products–they really do a fantastic job with their lip line.  (I am also a Guerlain blush/highlighter fiend!)  Kiss Kiss Strass does have this really shimmery, glittering-water type of effect on lips and doesn’t feel chunky despite all that shimmer.  The pigmentation is decent (you can’t see my birthmark on my lip much), but it really just depends on the shade–some shades run more pigmented than others; I wouldn’t say universally this is a pigmented or sheer line.  It is smooth, soft, and doesn’t suck the moisture from your lips.  It is very comfortable to wear, and it’s priced just around their regular Kiss Kiss line (where each retails for $30, but I’m unsure whether there may be a future price increase to match with Kiss Kiss Strass at $31).

This is a good, subtle beige with sparkling pop.  I can see myself wearing this lipstick alone, because it has that glossy sheen and lots of shimmering reflection, so it doesn’t need a gloss necessarily.  Of course, I am a sucker for lip combinations, too, so can’t say that would stop me from going for it anyway!

Is this the right pink lipstick for you? Would you wear it?

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →