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.

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  • 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

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Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

MAC In the Groove Collection
MAC Mineralize Blush Duos

MAC In the Groove Collection: Mineralize Blush Duos

In the Groove features five different blush duos, and there is a good range of colors in the collection. Happy Together and Hang Loose are the most wearable of the five, while A Little Bit of Sunshine and Band of Roses are the most pigmented and should be used with a light hand or stippling brush. New Vibe is a bit more of a glittery mix than the others, which have more luminous/soft satin sheens.

  • A Little Bit of Sunshine is an orange-y bronze duo — it features a shimmery orange-copper with a frost finish paired with a orange-toned medium brown with a satin finish. Together, they blend to create a muted orange-brown with soft sheen. It would better suit warmer skin tones, just because it does run rather orange. On my skin, it turns a little orange and definitely needs to be buffed out and used lightly.
  • Happy Together contains gilded champagne and peach-brown, and together they create a soft champagne-peach. Very luminous. I think this works well on warm skin tones for a little glow–more as a highlighter than intensely pigmented blush, though. It looks like a subtle bronzer on my skin. I think that you can go lighter/darker with ease, since you just have to focus on one half of the duo.
  • New Vibe is a duo that features a satin-y raspberry pink and shimmery bright copper with microglitter. When swirled together, they create a muted raspberry shade. I don’t really like the way they come together–it’s kind of muddy, even when worn. It’s not as pigmented as the other shades, too, when mixed.
  • Hang Loose is a mix of slightly cool-toned baby pink with a satin sheen and a frosted pale lilac with a white sheen. Together, they blend into a subtle shimmery pink–imparts some color on cheeks with enough build-up and concentration on the pinker side, but it’s very shimmery. It’s a very cool-toned, baby doll pink on my cheeks, but it does deliver a surprising amount of color. Again, you have to use the pink side more than the shimmery lilac side to get decent color pay off on cheeks.
  • Band of Roses features a played down fuchsia pink and darkened raspberry pink, both with more satin-y finishes. They create a pinker raspberry shade when blended together. It’s very pretty when worn, but it’s also incredibly easy to over-do it. Use a light hand with this one!

I did, however, finally figure out why mineralize blushes and skinfinishes don’t work so well with my skin–dimethicone is the third or fourth ingredient–and my arch nemsis! At least I know feel like I have a handle on it, even if it makes me sad that I won’t be wearing these much.

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Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

MAC Alice + Olivia Collection
MAC By Candlelight Mineralize Skinfinish

MAC In the Groove Collection: Mineralize Skinfinishes

In the Groove is most likely so anticipated because of the repromotion of Stereo Rose mineralize skinfinish.  Which will sell out… in hours.  If you’re grabbing it online, it most likely will pop online on the 6th, but there is always a chance it will make an appearance on Monday afternoon.  I’ll be sure to tweet about its availability as soon as I see it online.  I don’t have Stereo Rose yet–have to buy that when it launches–and I don’t have the original for comparisons, so my deepest apologies for that.

Edited @ 4:24PM (pst): I hope to update this post tomorrow–the 8th–with photos/swatches of Stereo Rose, assuming my store did in fact hold the Stereo Rose like they said.  Nevertheless, I updated the post with photos of me wearing the other three mineralize skinfinishes.

  • By Candlelight is is a soft, sheer gilded pink-beige. It’s really great as a highlighter on cheeks or even subtly all-over the face.
  • Petticoat is a darkened raspberry pink-bronze. This is one of the mineralize skinfinishes that can change color depending on how much glitter veining you have (and also, the less glitter veining, the less glitter). I don’t find Petticoat obnoxiously glittery, though. It’s pigmented enough to be worn as a blush for light and medium-dark skintones–the deepest skin tones may find it very subtle.
  • Comfort is a slightly bronzed brown with golden sheen. This is nice on warmer skin tones as a subtle flush on cheeks or as a bronzer. It’s one of the less shimmery mineralize skinfinishes, and it’s also one of the more pigmented ones, too.

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Monday, July 5th, 2010

Illamasqua Powdered Liquid Metal

Bronzed from Head to Toe

Illamasqua Thalia Powdered Metal (£22.00 for 0.52 oz.) is a golden bronze shimmered with gold with a soft, almost metallic sheen. It’s a loose powder that can be used alone or mixed with other products–it’s very much like any other multi-purpose loose color (e.g. Illamasqua’s Pure Pigments, MAC Pigments, etc.).

Thalia is a beautiful bronzer on medium to medium-dark skin, and it also works well as a light illuminator mixed with moisturizer or liquid foundation for those with medium to medium-dark skin. You can also throw it in your hair (try mixing it with shine spray), swirl it in a clear nail polish or creme-finish nail polish to frankenstein something new. It can also look pretty patted lightly on the center of lips over plums and reds finished by a quick slick of gloss.

A little goes a long way, and this is an incredibly finely milled powder, so it’s easy to use more than you need!   The packaging has a nice sifter on it, so it’s easier to control how much product comes out.  I like that you get plenty of the product without paying an arm and a leg, too. This is also a great body product for the summer, because you can dust it lightly on shoulders and legs (try it right after moisturizing, so it sticks better) for a subtle bronzy sheen.

Illamasqua also carries Bebhionn (soft pink shimmer) and Erzule (deep bronze shimmer).

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’d like a bit of faux glow tan without a lot of work, Powdered Metal definitely gets you there in a hurry!

AVAILABILITY: Illamasqua

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Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Le Metier de Beaute Traviata Blushing Bronze Duet

My New Favorite Summer Blush:  Le Metier de Beaute Echo

Le Metier de Beaute Traviata Blushing Bronzed Duet ($65.00 for 0.49 oz.) is a blush-bronzer duo that includes Echo Radiance Rouge Blush (delicate coral-pink) and Sun Kissed Bronzer (sheer, light bronze powder). Normally, the blush retails for $30 and the bronzer retails for $55. I don’t own either (and couldn’t find it via googling), so I’m not sure of the size of each individually. All I know is that 0.49 oz. of product is a good deal of product no matter how you slice it. (The average blush is around 0.15 oz.!)

Traviata is part of Le Metier de Beaute’s Endless Summer Collection for the summer season. They also have Romeo & Juliet (which I will review soon as well!). The collection includes Bella Bronze Liquid Illuminator ($85); Canvas, Spicy, Jade, Sequoia True Color Eyeshadows ($30 each); Tamarack Dualistic Eye Pencil ($36); San TropezManhattan Color Core Moisture Stain Lipstick ($32); Lip Creme Lip Gloss ($36).

Echo is pure gorgeousness swatched and applied. Warm-toned beauties will love this shade in particular–it has the depth and dimension and sophistication that every blush should have. It’s smooth, soft, and wickedly pigmented but easy to use. It’s buildable, but it’s a richly pigmented product if you want it to be. It has a lovely soft, subtle shimmer-sheen of gold over a coral-pink base. I wore it lightly in this look. This is definitely a very “me” color, so I’m obviously a bit biased/partial to it! I love that it gives my cheeks a warmed-over glow but doesn’t emphasize pores with frostiness.

Sun Kissed is nice, but I was a little gaga for Echo that Sun Kissed didn’t leave much of an impression on me! It has the same soft, smooth texture of Echo, but it’s not quite as pigmented. It’s a nice subtle bronzer that doesn’t turn orange nor pull too red, which makes it a nice, universally appealing shade. There is a slight golden sheen but very little shimmer.

Even though the duo may give you more product for your money, Echo is really the star in this product for me. If you’re as sold on it as me, luckily you can buy it on its own for $30 rather than $65. I like that, to be honest, just because you aren’t roped into buying one product you’re so-so on and one you’re dying for simultaneously! (Hello, most palettes, I’m talking to you!)

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Echo is to-die-for if you’re a coral blush fiend like myself. Truly a gorgeous, stunning shade that looks every bit as beautiful on as it does in the pan. Sun Kissed is a nice bronzer, and if you’re a regular bronzer wearer, the duo is certainly something worth looking into.

WHERE TO BUY: Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus

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Friday, June 4th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Beach Shimmer Brick

Bobbi Brown Beach Club Collection:  Beach Shimmer Brick

Bobbi Brown Beach Shimmer Brick ($38.00 for 0.40 oz.) is a new Shimmer Brick for the summer. Shimmer Bricks come with five strips of color and can be used on cheeks or eyes, mixed or individually.

Beach actually works really well as eyeshadow, because it does have a nice fade from light to dark. When mixed together, Beach is a little darker than Beige Shimmer Brick but lighter than Bronze Shimmer Brick. Beach comes together to give a dirty bronze with red undertones and a very, very high frost finish. It has a champagne sheen, but it definitely feels like one of the frostier Shimmer Bricks I’ve tried.

I think on darker beauties, this could be a really lovely way to enhance your natural skin tone and give you that glow. On my light-medium skin tone (NC25), it comes off looking dirty when I wear it alone or maybe like I have a bit of a sunburn. It’s better if I wear a blush and use this as a light highlighter, but I still have to be careful to get it to work just right. My advice is to definitely use a stippling brush when applying it to avoid going overboard.  The shimmer seems to accentuate my skin flaws/texture of my skin–and not for the greater good!

I’m not loving it as a blush/bronzer, but I think the shades could definitely be used individually as eyeshadows, like the lightest as a quick wash of shimmer on the lid on days when you’re pressed for time. I also found this one just a bit too shimmery for my liking as well–but I do tend to find they’re more shimmer than I personally want (but hello? they are called SHIMMER Bricks for a reason!), so it’s not an issue of the product itself.  One thing that I do want to point out is that the Shimmer Brick contains over twice the amount of your average blush.

I’m curious to hear from other Shimmer Brick fans on whether this one hit the spot for them!

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

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: When used lightly, Beach can definitely add a nice dose of glow to your skin, but I think it may be better suited for those of medium to dark complexions. If you don’t like shimmer or if you only want subtle shimmer, Shimmer Bricks–particularly this one–are not for you!

Availability: Bobbi Brown

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