Saturday, July 12th, 2014

Next up, here are five blushes to consider if you have a medium skin tone. I tried to include different price points, finishes, and undertones, but there are so many blushes available, there are many more worth trying. I’m a firm believer that we can wear whatever we desire, whether or not it is supposedly “suitable” on us or not–there’s no harm in trying :) Please share any suggestions in the comments!

  1. theBalm Cabana Boy — a medium-dark, cool-toned plum with a satin finish
  2. Kevyn Aucoin Neolita — a rich, berry-red with a satin finish
  3. Makeup Geek Summer Fling — bright pop of orange with a matte finish
  4. Clinique Peach Pop — a pink-coral with warm undertones and a luminous sheen
  5. Tom Ford Love Lust — a brightened, coral with a frosted finish

>> See side-by-side swatches! <<

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

A few of the new coral blushes that I’ve recently reviewed, plus one long-time favorite that I always reach for when I want a coral blush. I am a fiend for coral blush, I’ll have you know! :)

  1. Becca Lychee/Opal — a shimmery, light coral that can be used as a highlighter or blusher
  2. Clinique Peach Pop (02) — a medium coral with a luminous finish
  3. Tom Ford Love Lust — a warm, orange-coral with a luminous finish (if there could only be one coral in my life, this would be it)
  4. IT Pretty in Peony — a rich, vibrant coral-pink
  5. NYX Pinched — a coral-pink with a soft shimmer

>> See them all side-by-side! <<

What are your favorites?

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Neutral Eyes with Teal Eyeliner
Neutral Eyes with Teal Eyeliner

Last week, a few readers said they missed seeing looks posted on the blog (as in, cohesive ones!), so I’ll try to post some periodically–depending on whether there’s time for a more “free” day.  Sometimes there are so many products to test, I can’t give up the facial real estate :)  On Saturday, we spent all day with my husband’s family, which is usually a 14-hour minimum, so it’s a day where I prefer to just go with something that works.  I remember several readers wanted to see Stila Smudge Stick Mint Julep in action, so I thought this might a good opportunity to showcase that as well.  Going forward, I will try to post looks using recently reviewed products, but this was a very “for me” look more than anything, so hopefully you can forgive the excess of older products in it.

Eyes

A lot of the times if I’m not specifically testing something for wear, then I’ll reach for products that I really, really love that are, more-than-likely, discontinued or long ago limited editions. I love the two shades of cream eyeshadow Tom Ford released a year ago so much that I keep them in my basics/regular routine drawer, and I always take them with me when I travel. I’m so used to not using primer these days, but when I know I’m going out and about all day and am not testing, then I’ll still start with a primer!

I used NARS Smudge Proof spread all over the lid to the brow bone with a finger tip. I also like to take a little and apply it to the lower lash line for extra hold for the eyeliners I’ll use as well. Next, I applied Tom Ford Escapade Cream Eyeshadow to the first two-thirds of the lid, starting from the inner lid and moving outwards. Tom Ford Pink Haze Cream Eyeshadow was applied to the outer third of the lid and into the crease, blending outwards and upwards. To soften the edge of the crease eyeshadow, I applied Burberry Trench Eyeshadow to the brow bone (this is my go-to highlighter). For the lower lash line, first I applied Marc Jacobs Beauty Ody(sea) (62) Highliner Gel Crayon, and then I applied Stila Smudge Stick Mint Julep underneath the inner two-thirds of the lower lash line and along the water line. The effect made it look as if the eyeliner was glowing–I was quite in love with it! For lashes, I used a mascara fan brush to apply MAC Opulash Mascara.

Face

Normally, I find primer an unnecessary step with my skin type (normal-to-dry) for regular, everyday wear, but yesterday was going to be a longer, 14+ hour kind of day, so I started by applying Hourglass Mineral Veil all over my face. Then, I mixed two shades of Guerlain Parure de Lumiere Foundation with half of a pump of Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Skin Liquid Illuminating Emulsion as my base. For blush, I applied Troy Surratt Duchesse Blush  on the apples of cheeks. I set with Urban Decay Naked Loose Finishing Powder and finished with Guerlain Wulong Pressed Meteorites Powder.

Lips

I mixed two shades of OCC Stained Gloss in Aurora and Dune (reviews are forthcoming).

See more photos! Continue reading →

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Tom Ford Solar Gold Lip Shimmer
Tom Ford Solar Gold Lip Shimmer

Tom Ford Lip Shimmer ($49.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a new formula released in two, limited edition shades for summer. These are supposed to give a “glimmering effect” or “veiled over [lipstick] to add radiant shimmer,” and the formula is supposed to be hydrating as well. If you’re not into sheer, shimmery color, you’ll want to just skip this post entirely; both shades are on the sheer side–mostly shimmer without a lot of color. I did not find the formula moisturizing; I actually felt like it was somewhat drying, and the high frost/shimmer content was a little uncomfortable to wear. Initially, it feels very slick and emollient–like a glaze–but it dries down and all that glossy goodness disappears and all that is left is shimmer, which has a noticeable texture once the shine is gone. I also tried the gold shade as a highlighter, but it’s somewhat tacky on the skin and doesn’t sit as well on the skin as a true liquid or cream highlighter does.

Tom Ford Solar Gold Lip Shimmer ($49.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a light-medium, yellow gold shimmer. It has a subtle base color that does seem to add warmth to my natural lip color, but the primary effect is shimmer. It lasted for two hours on me. MAC Playland (LE, $16.00) is more shimmery. Dolce and Gabbana Topazio (LE, $32.00) is slightly darker. MAC You’ve Got It (LE, $16.00) is lighter. MAC Ruffian Gold (LE, $16.00) is very similar. Guerlain Altoum (LE, $35.00) has larger sparkle. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Tom Ford Moonlight Lip Shimmer ($49.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a frosted, silvery-white with a high frost finish. This one was more pigmented–it had semi-sheer color coverage–but this felt so drying when worn for longer than an hour, though it managed two and a half hours. MAC Eloquent Air (LE, $16.00) is very similar. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Iced (P, $18.00) is more pigmented, more metallic. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Glossover

LE
product

Solar Gold

C-

Product

5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

7.5/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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LE
product

Moonlight

D+

Product

4.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

6.5/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Dupes

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Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Tom Ford Unabashed Eye & Cheek Compact
Tom Ford Unabashed Eye & Cheek Compact

Tom Ford Unabashed Eye & Cheek Compact ($95.00 for 0.47 oz.) is a new and limited edition palette just in time for summer that includes three eyeshadows, one bronzer, and one blush. It’s housed in a white lacquered square compact (the same size as Tom Ford’s bronzer, which is, for all intents in purposes, quite large). The sparkly eyeshadow and the warmer taupe shade are reminiscent of the She Wolf Eyeshadow Trio; they’re not one-for-one dupes, but if you have She Wolf, you may feel this is redundant, depending on how important the undertone is (She Wolf runs cooler-toned, these run warm). The deep blue is interesting, and there’s no doubt that it’s pigmented–seems even more pigmented in practice, not just swatched–but it’s a shade that I can see people loving or leaving. I give props to Tom Ford for actually putting out such a bold blue and not reducing it to sheer nothingness (a la Dior). The quality is good, overall, but I think the texture and quality of Tom Ford’s individual blushes is better and more luxurious.

Believe it or not, but this palette has sold out almost everywhere online in the U.S. Nordstrom is the only U.S. retailer that has it listed, and it’s backordered presently. Selfridges also has it for those outside of the U.S. (it might also be available for shipping to U.S., but international shipping is pretty high). It’s a lot of money to plunk down on a single item, though technically, it has more product than an eyeshadow trio has ($60.00/0.16 oz.) and a single blush ($56.00/0.28 oz.) combined.

Unabashed Eyeshadow #1 is a sparkling, golden beige with warm undertones and a glittery finish. It almost feels wet in the pan, and it’s one of those rare sparkly finishes that doesn’t seem to have fall out all day long. There is some minor fall out, but it’s not noticeable unless you really go looking for it. Divergent Choose (LE) is less warm-toned. theBalm #7 (P, $6.50) is less sparkly. MAC Phresh Out #3 (LE) is pinker. Too Faced Moon on Their Wings (LE, $16.00) is more golden. MAC Warming Heart (LE, $21.00) is slightly more peach. MAC Hey (P, $15.00) is less sparkly. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Unabashed Eyeshadow #2 is a medium-dark, neutral-to-warm-toned taupe brown with a matte finish. The texture was impossibly soft and finely-milled; really felt more like a loose powder with just how silky it was. It had good color payoff, but because it was so soft, it was a little powdery. On the lid, it was very easy to blend and work with and lasted for nine hours. Givenchy Taupe Velours (5) (P, $23.00) and Dior Mirage (761) (P, $30.00) are both cream products. bareMinerals Head Over Heels (LE) is cooler-toned.Kat Von D Renholder (P) is lighter. Bobbi Brown Slate (P, $22.00) is similar. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Unabashed Eyeshadow #3 is a deep, dark cobalt blue with cool undertones and a matte finish. It’s mostly opaque, and it is rather rich applied to the lid, but it seems a little brighter in the pan then applied on the lid. The texture was soft, silky, and blendable, but there’s a little powderiness due to the overall softness. This color wore like iron, though, and it did stain the skin. NARS Outremer (P, $24.00) is similar. Illamasqua Sadist (P) is lighter. Inglot #388 (P, $6.00) is purpler. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Unabashed Bronzer is a gold-shimmered, peachy-brown with a soft, frosted finish. It had good pigmentation, and the texture was soft, smooth, and blendable on the skin. It emphasized pores slightly when applied, and if applied more sheerly, then I didn’t notice any emphasis so it may depend on how you wear it. It wore well for eight and a half hours on me. Too Faced Jingle All the Way Bronzer (LE) is more orange. Too Faced Spice (LE) is browner. Urban Decay Gilded (P, $26.00) is more frosted. Urban Decay Baked (P, $26.00) is browner, more frosted. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Unabashed Blush is a light-medium, coral-pink with a golden sheen. It’s just bright enough to add a pop of color, but it’s not neon. The texture was blendable when applied, and it felt soft and finely-milled. It had good pigmentation, but it wasn’t as pigmented as Tom Ford’s individual blushes typically are. The color wore well for eight and a half hours. MAC Petal Power (LE, $25.00) is similar. Revlon Racy Rose (008) (P, $9.99) is lighter. NARS Day Dream (LE, $29.00) is less shimmery, darker. Tom Ford Beauty Love Lust (P, $55.00) is darker, less pink. NARS Orgasm (P, $29.00) is slightly pinker. MAC Stereo Rose (LE, $30.00) is more orange. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Glossover

LE
palette

Unabashed

A-

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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LE
product

Unabashed Eyeshadow #1

B

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
LE
product

Unabashed Eyeshadow #2

A-

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Reader Dilyana wanted to see more top picks for corals… so here’s my current top ten list of coral lipsticks, lipglosses, and blushes! (See them in the Swatch Gallery here.) What are your favorites right now?

  1. Hourglass Radiant Magenta — a warm-toned, pinky-coral with a satin finish
  2. Too Faced Bon Bon — a bright, warm-toned coral
  3. Chanel Reflexion — a shimmering, coral-red gloss
  4. Clinique Peach Pop — a muted, coral-orange with a luminous finish
  5. Maybelline Caramel Infused — a soft, pink-coral gloss
  6. Urban Decay Streak — a glossy coral-pink
  7. Tom Ford Love Lust –a shimmering, dark coral
  8. Burberry Camel Pink — a peachy-gold shimmered coral-pink gloss
  9. Givenchy Rose Dressing (202) — a vibrant, pink-coral
  10. MAC Be a Lady –a brightened, pink-coral