Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

MAC Pink Power Mineralize Skinfinish
MAC Pink Power Mineralize Skinfinish

MAC Wonder Woman: Pink Power Mineralize Skinfinish

MAC PINK POWER MINERALIZE SKINFINISH ($35.00 for 0.70 oz.) is a super-mega-jumbo-sized tri-colored mineralize skinfinish. MAC describes the colors as peachy rose with pink shimmer, soft rosy bronze, and soft shell pink with fine shimmer.

The oversize mineralize skinfinish does allow for easy use of each color individually, and I could see mixing and matching, though they’re wearable on an individual level. The way I looked at these mineralize skinfinishes was they included a “highlighter” shade, “bronzing” shade, and “blushing” shade.

The “highlighting” shade, which I found was best used that way (more shimmer than color when applied), is a pale champagne beige with white-gold shimmer. The “bronzing” shade is a mid-tone orange-tinged brown, but it doesn’t feel orange-y (like Golden Lariat) with a subtle satin sheen. The “blushing” shade is a peached pink with a shimmer-sheen.

my thoughts on the formula: Mineralize Skinfinishes can be used for a variety of things–from blush to bronzer to highlighter. The way you use it depends on your skin tone, how pigmented the particular shade of mineralize skinfinish is, the texture, and what you want to use it for. These are baked products, so they can be used wet or dry without fear of ruining the product. The texture is soft, but the fineness of the shimmer depends on the individual shade. Stippling brushes like the 187 and 188 are ideal for applying mineralize skinfinishes.

Normally, mineralize skinfinishes retail for $28 (0.35 oz.), so this is double the size for $7 more. To put it simply, you’re paying $50/oz. rather than $80/oz. Whether you’ll ever use all whopping 0.70 oz. of it depends on you! It does feel huge, though, and the size makes it less convenient to tote around in your bag or makeup bag. I also think that for its gigantic-size, I would have loved to see a mirror included.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

final thoughts: I thought this one actually worked well–I can see a variety of skin tones working this. Golden Lariat may pull too orange to be wearable for some, but Pink Power looks beautiful applied. It has enough warmth to work for my warmer-toned friends, but it’s not so warm that it turns orange, so it should be lovely on cooler skin tones, too.

where to buy: MAC Cosmetics

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

MAC Golden Lariat Mineralize Skinfinish
MAC Golden Lariat Mineralize Skinfinish

MAC Wonder Woman: Golden Lariat Mineralize Skinfinish

MAC GOLDEN LARIAT MINERALIZE SKINFINISH ($35.00 for 0.70 oz.) is a super-mega-jumbo-sized tri-colored mineralize skinfinish. MAC describes the colors as true coral with fine gold shimmer, soft suntanned bronze, and soft gold with fine shimmer.

The oversize mineralize skinfinish does allow for easy use of each color individually, and I could see mixing and matching, though they’re wearable on an individual level. The way I looked at these mineralize skinfinishes was they included a “highlighter” shade, “bronzing” shdae, and “blushing” shade.

There is a yellowed gold with pale white-gold shimmer that seems best used as a highlighter (virtually colorless when applied with a blush on my medium skin tone), while the middle shade is a reddened brown with a pearly sheen and seems more appropriate for bronzing (should work nicely on darker skin tones in particular). The final shade is a lightened rusted orange with pale gold shimmer and sheen; it’s less shimmery than the “highlighter” but more pigmented and does best as a blush–too much color to highlight, too orange to bronze.

my thoughts on the formula: Mineralize Skinfinishes can be used for a variety of things–from blush to bronzer to highlighter. The way you use it depends on your skin tone, how pigmented the particular shade of mineralize skinfinish is, the texture, and what you want to use it for. These are baked products, so they can be used wet or dry without fear of ruining the product. The texture is soft, but the fineness of the shimmer depends on the individual shade. Stippling brushes like the 187 and 188 are ideal for applying mineralize skinfinishes.

Normally, mineralize skinfinishes retail for $28 (0.35 oz.), so this is double the size for $7 more. To put it simply, you’re paying $50/oz. rather than $80/oz. Whether you’ll ever use all whopping 0.70 oz. of it depends on you! It does feel huge, though, and the size makes it less convenient to tote around in your bag or makeup bag. I also think that for its gigantic-size, I would have loved to see a mirror included.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

final thoughts: I like this best for warmer, more golden complexions. It reminded me somewhat of Cheeky Bronze Mineralize Skinfinish, because of the orange-y pull of the shades.  I think this product is good but not great–keep in mind that ultimately the value metric boosts up the overall rating of this product.

where to buy: MAC Cosmetics

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Clarins Barocco Gold Shimmering Powder
Clarins Barocco Gold Shimmering Powder

Clarins Barocco Gold Shimmering Powder

Clarins Barocco Gold Shimmering Powder ($35.00 for 1.2 oz.) looks so beautiful on the inside, it’s hard to believe that the insides did not make such a splash. Inside, there are gold “nuggets,” which are incredibly soft and delicate. Every time I opened this, there was a cloud of sparkly dust that hovered and spilled over the edges and on my desk.

I had presumed these would be more like Guerlain’s Meteorites, which are shimmering spheres that impart a soft, subtle shimmer-sheen glow–these produce a bronzy, glittery bonanza. It does impart an orange-toned bronze brown with chunky bronze and gold glitter. Even when buffed, the chunky glitter is hard to disguise. This looked absolutely disastrous on face, and I did not find it worked well for decolletage either. The only place that seemed to work so-so was on legs, but it still had to be really blended and buffed so it looked natural and used considerably more product per use than I’d like.

Given that it is supposed to be face and decolletage, going as far as using it on legs was more to see if it worked anywhere than something I’d use this as a go-to for. I can do shimmer, sheen, and even glitter; I’m not at all scared of glitter, and while I don’t need to wear it every day, I have no problem wearing even heavier glitter on face or cheeks or lips. But this powder goes beyond what I see even glitter fanatics wanting in a face/decolletage glitter.  I would also not recommend using the provided pouf unless you want to be a bronze sculpture — one pat packs far too much product!

The concept is nice but there needs to be serious improvement on execution in order to make it work.  I would have loved to see this impart a much subtler, softer micro-glitter or shimmer.

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

  • Product: 10/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a product that was beautiful in concept and dressed to impress in the beautiful filigreed canister, but the product itself just doesn’t work well in real life. It’s a mess to open but doesn’t work anywhere but legs–everywhere else is just too much. From Clarins, I would have expected something subtler and sophisticated.

WHERE TO BUY: Bloomingdale’s

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Le Metier de Beaute Romeo & Juliet Blushing Bronzed Duet
Le Metier de Beaute Romeo & Juliet Blushing Bronzed Duet

Le Metier de Beaute Romeo & Juliet Blushing Bronzed Duet ($65.00 for 0.49 oz.) contains a blush and bronzer in one. The brand’s blushes retail for $30 while their bronzer retails for $55. The duo, while an expensive investment, does pack a ton of product into the shiny silver compact)–by the ounce, it is cheaper than NARS blushes.

Unlike the Traviata, it appears these shades are exclusive to this duet. I asked Le Metier de Beaute yesterday for confirmation, but between you and me, the bronzer shade looks very similar to the bronzer in Traviata (which is available full-sized as their Sun Kissed Bronzer).

The blush is a soft cotton candy pink with subtle blue undertones and a micro-fine silver shimmer-sheen. It reminded me of MAC’s Dollymix (but more pigmented) or a lighter NARS Desire. The bronzer is a soft golden tan with more of a sheen than noticeable shimmer; it applies softly at first but can be built up for a more intense look. It doesn’t pull orange or red, so it’s more of a universal color.

Le Metier de Beaute does an amazing blush; the texture is beyond fine.  It’s like silk skimming across the cheek, and the way it glows with a beautiful sheen differentiates it from many other blushes on the market.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re in the market for both shades, it’s well worth it. If you’re just looking for one or the other, then you’re better off getting something similar individually. Though the value is certainly there, it comes at a high investment cost.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Clarins Bronze Instant Sun Light Highlighter
Clarins Bronze Instant Sun Light Highlighter

Clarins Instant Sun Light Highlighters: Bronze

Clarins Bronze Instant Sun Light Highlighter ($32.00 for 0.28 oz.) is a creamy–almost gel-like in consistency and texture–golden bronze with soft flecks of gold shimmer that glides onto skin and gives a warmer, luminous look. Though rather deep bronze in the compact, it applies rather sheerly and much lighter on the skin. On both paler and deeper skin tones, this is more of a highlighter than a contouring shade–on the palest of skin, I could see this working as a subtle bronzer. I like this best as a natural highlighter on medium to deep skin tones.

I do wish this product lasted longer on the skin, though; it seems to slide off within three to four hours, even on my normal skin, so I would imagine even shorter wear time on oilier skin types. It doesn’t dry down to a powdery finish, which is good news for those with drier skin types, because it won’t emphasize any dryness or flaking skin. I definitely recommend using a translucent setting powder to help this stay in place longer.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I think those of light-medium to medium skin tones will find this most flattering, because it will add some warmth as well as sheen. It’s not ultra long wearing, though.

AVAILABILITY: Clarins

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, October 25th, 2010

MAC Tartan Tale: A Triumphant Blush Face Kit
MAC Tartan Tale: A Triumphant Blush Face Kit

MAC Tartan Tale: A Triumphant Blush Face Kit

The A Triumphant Blush Face Kit ($38.00) includes two blushes and a beauty powder: Melba (soft coral peach), Peachtwist (golden peach), and Smooth Harmony (neutral mid-tan; beauty powder). Both Melba and Peachtwist are permanent shades. Smooth Harmony was last released in 2008 with Heatherette.

  • Melba is a matte medium-dark, browned peach. This is a permanent shade with a matte finish. It’s a great shade for warmer and cooler skin tones, because it’s a peach without a lot of yellow. Very smooth and pigmented, not at all chalky.
  • Peachtwist is a bronzy peach with champagne sheen. It’s permanent shade with a sheertone finish, so it has a frostier finish. It’s also less buildable, though it’s not really that sheer when worn.
  • Smooth Harmony is an orange-tan with a soft sheen. It always looks orange when I wear it on my cheeks. I recommend using a stippling brush like the 187 to get a softer, more natural glow for light to medium skin tones.

Each blush is 0.13 oz. (full-size is 0.21 oz.), while the beauty powder is 0.20 oz. (full size is 0.35 oz.). Ultimately, you’re getting approximately $23 worth of blush and $14 worth of beauty powder–total value around $37 with a price tag of $38. It’s not a value palette based on quantity of products, but you do get three products for $38 instead of buying two blushes ($18.50 each) and a beauty powder ($25.00) separately.

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: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I really like the face kits, because sometimes MAC blushes can be too expensive to purchase on their own, so this palette lets you try more for less–and you won’t get through a pan any time soon.  I think this palette is more suitable to warmer skin tones, though.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Counters/Stores on October 28th

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →