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Best Brushes | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

Best Brushes | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year again:  holiday gift guides aplenty!  This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes.  These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year.  For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products. Here’s a look at a few of my must-have brushes (there are so, so, so many more I wanted to include!):

Chikuhodo GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush<

READ REVIEW

Chikuhodo GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush ($25.00) is a small-medium, dome-shaped eyeshadow brush made out of gray squirrel hair. The narrower width allows it to apply color more precisely, which is helpful if you’re using more than two or three colors on the lid. It packs on, sweeps, and diffuses eyeshadow beautifully. The edge also fits into the crease area well and can apply color there, too. It’s incredibly soft and silky against the skin, but it still picks up plenty of product, so you don’t sacrifice color payoff in your application. This is a brush that I have multiples of!

Availability

Beautylish

Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush

Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush

READ REVIEW

Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush ($73.00) medium-sized, blush brush with a domed edge and tapered bristles (so the lengths get shorter as you move outward from the center). It’s not a rounded brush, more flattened, but it is not really thin or flat. The brush is made out of gray squirrel. It’s excellent for applying soft, even color along the cheeks with minimal blending required.

Availability

Beautylish

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Best Lipglosses | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

Best Lipglosses | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year again:  holiday gift guides aplenty!  This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes.  These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year.  For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products. Here’s a look at the best lipgloss formulas I’ve tried:

Anastasia Lipgloss

Anastasia Lipgloss

Anastasia Lipgloss ($16.00 for 0.16 fl. oz.) is supposed to be “opaque” with “high-shine” that’s “non-drying.” It is one of the more pigmented lipglosses out there that has a smoother, more cushion-y consistency that typically spreads well across the lips. My experience from wearing the formula is that they are often lightly to moderately hydrating and wear three to five hours. Check out our list of the top 15 Anastasia Lipglosses, plus here are of my favorite shades are: Weekend Barbie, Purple Rain, Orchid, and Warm Bronze.

Availability

Sephora, Ulta, Macy’s

Tom Ford Patent Finish Lip Color

Tom Ford Patent Finish Lip Color

Tom Ford Patent Finish Lip Color ($52.00 for 0.07 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a “lip stain with an ultra-glossy finish” that has “intense, vibrant color” and “long-lasting high shine.” The formula feels lightweight, almost watery, when initially applied but thickens and feels more like a moderately tacky gel after thirty to forty seconds. It has great staying power with the glossiness lasting for six hours and the color itself still going strong eight to ten hours later (after two meals and coffee)–by the end of the day, it has more of a natural sheen to it (like a lip stain) but looked even. It does stain as well. I would forget that I was wearing it, which is a testament to how comfortable and hydrating it is for all-day wear. The coverage is nearly opaque but has that slight translucency that you would expect to see in a lip stain. Some of my favorite shades are: Infamy and Red Corset.

Availability

Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks

Best Blushes | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

Best Blushes | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year again:  holiday gift guides aplenty!  This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes.  These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year.  For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products.  I hope you find this list of top performing blush formulas useful 🙂

Tom Ford Cheek Color

Tom Ford Cheek Color

Tom Ford Cheek Color ($60.00 for 0.28 oz.) has been a go-to blush formula for me since I first tried it many years ago. As time has passed, I have tried many more blush formulas from brands, but I still go back to this one frequently. I keep a few of my favorite shades (Love Lust, Ravish, Wicked) in my go-to drawer, where I keep products I want to wear again and again (when I’m not testing something!). The formula is soft, moderately dense, and smooth, which results in good pigmentation, a satin to pearly sheen, and easy application–plus, they wear long on me (over eight hours).

Availability

Bergdorf GoodmanNeiman MarcusNordstromSaks

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Blush

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush ($26.00 for 0.23 oz.) is a powder blush with medium, buildable coverage and a more satin-to-luminous finish. I like how the range includes a mix of more “wearable” neutrals along with brighter pops of color, so it’s a versatile range that can work for many skin tones. Some of my favorite shades are Rapture, TMI, Fetish, and Crush.

Availability

Sephora, Ulta, Nordstrom

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Tom Ford Soleil Color Collection for Winter 2016

Tom Ford Soleil Color Collection
Tom Ford Soleil Color Collection

TOM FORD introduces the Soleil Color Winter 2016 Collection, a curated resort collection of cosmetics and skincare inspired by remote private islands where summer lasts all year long. Shimmering metallic lip formulas, sensuous eye and cheek palettes, and a luxurious set of travel brushes impart radiance while a lightweight sunscreen and dry body oil provide protection and nourishment for endlessly luminous summer skin.

Availability

Pre-order at TomFord.com

The Details

Soleil Eye & Cheek Palette | $155.00 | Limited Edition

Create an array of luxurious makeup looks with the ultimate Tom Ford Soleil accessory. Housed in a reflective ivory-and-gold-colored clutch, the eye and cheek palette features vibrant color combinations of illuminating shades, including four eye shadows, a highlighter, and a blush to create two sensuous results: sultry warm or icy cool.

  • Cool
  • Warm

Soleil Lip Foil | $53.00 | Limited Edition

A reflective, mirror-foil finish lip color comprised of three-dimensional ultra-fine mica. Available in a range of six stunning, shimmering shades to flatter all skin tones from bronzy neutrals and peachy pinks to plum.

  • Private Life
  • Spanish Flame
  • Aperture
  • Creme Conque
  • Venus Rising
  • Seadragon

Soleil Blanc Dry Oil Spray | $70.00 | Limited Edition

The first-ever Tom Ford dry oil spray veils the body in a nourishing mist with Sweet Almond Oil that quickly absorbs into the skin. Infused with the sensual Soleil Blanc fragrance, its solar floral amber scent exudes seductive refinement and refreshing decadence for a luxurious yet lightweight application that easily dispenses from any angle.

Face Protect Broad Spectrum SPF 50 | $74.00 | Limited Edition

The essential base for maintaining healthy-looking summer skin year-round, this broad spectrum SPF 50 skin protector is the first defense against harmful effects of the sun. Fortified with powerful antioxidants and soothing anti-irritants, the lightweight and fast-absorbing formula primes and calms the look of skin for effortless makeup application. Wear it alone or under foundation.

Soleil Brush Kit | $850.00 | Limited Edition

Designed to ensure effortless makeup application while traveling, the Soleil Brush Kit includes the Cheek Brush, Eye Shadow Brush, Eye Shadow Contour Brush, and Angled Brow Brush. Each one is equipped with natural hair to grip pigment with ease while the handles are constructed to provide comfort and balance with flawless results. The sleek white leather case includes a zipper closure to maintain organization of the four brushes.

Sneak Peek: Tom Ford Lip Contour Duos Photos & Swatches

Tom Ford Lip Contour Duos
Tom Ford Lip Contour Duos

Tom Ford Lip Contour Duo ($53.00 for 0.08 oz.) is a two-in-one product that features a Lip Color and Lip Shaper. I’ve already tested most of these, but I’m trying to focus on holiday reviews at the moment – I did manage to add all the products, photos, swatches into the gallery, though, so I can share those with you. Overall, the lipstick portion is nice–very creamy–but the lip liner is terrible: dry, patchy, draggy, and breaks off extremely easily. Whether lining just the edge of the lips or filling them in entirely, the Lip Shapers were frustrating to use, and at this price point, the last thing I want is the lip liner snapping every time I use it, because it is so dry and brittle. It is also strange that the liners have sparkle in them, as it makes the surface more uneven, and it is odd to have a few sparkles on the edge of your lips (if you aren’t filling them in).

The photos below show the two products layered, and then each color separately. Since there is no layered swatch on the skin, the product photos are repeating (apologies!).

Tom Ford Lip Contour Duos

View More Swatches

Tom Ford Black Bloom Nightbloom Powder

Tom Ford Black Orchid Nightbloom Powder
Tom Ford Black Orchid Nightbloom Powder

Tom Ford Black Bloom Nightbloom Powder ($80.00 for 0.28 oz.) is a light-medium gold with strong, yellow undertones and a sparkling, golden shimmer finish. Anastasia Sunburst (LE) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). Wet 'n' Wild Sun Ceremony (LE, $2.99) is lighter (90% similar). Anastasia Butterscotch (LE) is more shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Chanel Routes des Indes de Chanel Illuminating Powder (LE, $65.00) is darker (90% similar). Smashbox Glow (LE) is lighter (90% similar). Becca Prosecco Pop (LE, $38.00) is darker, warmer (85% similar). Bobbi Brown Party (LE, $46.00) is less shimmery, darker (85% similar). Giorgio Armani No. 02 (P, $62.00) is warmer (85% similar). Tarte Gator Wings (LE) is lighter (85% similar). bareMinerals The Shining Moment (LE, $26.00) is less shimmery, darker (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

The Nightbloom Powder is supposed to have a “luxurious” feel and “sumptuous color.” In reality, it is a powder highlighter with a noticeable about of shimmer and shine, so it is more suitable for someone who likes their highlighter stronger. The texture was dense, a little dry to the touch, but blendable on the skin and did not emphasize my pores or the natural texture of my skin. I noticed some of the shimmer separated from the base powder, so it did not look as even on the skin as desired. On my light-medium skin tone, I get visible yellow gold color, but it is possible to diffuse and sheer it out so there is fainter color as well. The pigmentation was buildable, starting around medium coverage and building up from there. This shade wore well for eight hours on me before fading.

Tom Ford Beauty Nightbloom Powder Black Bloom
8.5
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
8
Texture
8.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
84%
Total

See more photos & swatches!

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