Thursday, March 29th, 2012

MAC Superb Extra Dimension Skinfinish/Highlighter
MAC Superb Extra Dimension Skinfinish/Highlighter

MAC Superb Extra Dimension Skinfinish/Highlighter

MAC Superb Extra Dimension Skinfinish/Highlighter ($29.00 for 0.31 oz.) is described as a “soft peachy nude.” It’s a champagne beige with a little hint of rosiness and a champagne metallic sheen. While I didn’t review Estee Lauder Illuminating Powder Gelee (by the time I was ready to photograph it, it had already sold out), it is exactly the same as Superb. I could not detect a single difference between the two! MAC Redhead is a little pinker and has a whiter sheen, not as warm. Bobbi Brown Rose Gold has more of a frosted finish. MAC Rose Ole is peachier.

Again, fans of Estee Lauder’s Powder Gelee formula will love these–not just like–because I couldn’t find real differences between the two.  So far, MAC’s formula seems to wear a little longer for me.  I’ve never used the original Powder Gelee Estee Lauder released (I left it brand new, until I did the comparison swatch in this post!), so I couldn’t tell you how long that wore on me for–I just know that Topaz Chameleon was more like seven to eight hour wear, whereas Whisper of Gilt and Glorify both hit the eight hour mark with the majority of the product still intact (just some fading around the edges).

Superb has a soft, dry texture that’s really smooth.  It will feel different than other powder products, but it’s not quite the same texture as a baked product (like MAC’s Mineralize line).  There’s a high-shine metallic finish that reflects light really well and smoothly, and the real surprise is that it manages not to emphasize pores or skin imperfections much–it will call more attention to it than a lower-sheen product, but for something with as strong as a sheen here, it’s very little emphasis.  More or less, it’s the kind that’s worth trading off for really dewy, glowy cheeks.

This shade is the most universally wearable shade out of the three–it will work well on cool and warm, light and dark complexions.  I also suspect that with the comparison swatch to Estee Lauder’s powder, which sold out extremely quickly, it will be snapped up in a heartbeat–especially since this is much more affordable than Estee Lauder’s.

The Glossover

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MAC Superb Extra Dimension Skinfinish/Highlighter Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
This shade is the most universally wearable shade out of the three--it will work well on cool and warm, light and dark complexions. I also suspect that with the comparison swatch to Estee Lauder's powder, which sold out extremely quickly, it will be snapped up in a heartbeat--especially since this is much more affordable than Estee Lauder's.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, March 29th, 2012

MAC Glorify Extra Dimension Skinfinish/Highlighter
MAC Glorify Extra Dimension Skinfinish/Highlighter

MAC Glorify Extra Dimension Skinfinish/Highlighter

MAC Glorify Extra Dimension Skinfinish/Highlighter ($29.00 for 0.31 oz.) is described as a “copper with golden shimmer.” It’s a coppery bronze with a golden-copper shimmer and sheen. Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon is very similar, but it’s just ever-so-slightly darker–with a lighter/heavier hand, you could get nearly the same color, though. theBalm Betty Lou-Manizer is slightly browner with less orange tones. Urban Decay Gilded is more orange and a bit lighter.

If you’re familiar with Estee Lauder’s Powder Gelees, you’ll know what these feel like. They’re virtually the same. I really couldn’t distinguish any differences beyond the pattern that has been emblazoned onto the product itself. It has that same complex texture that’s dry yet soft and smooth. I tried applying Glorify with MAC’s 128 brush, which is being repromoted in this collection, but I didn’t care for it–just didn’t seem to yield the right finish for me. I ended up using the 168, which worked out better for me. This particular shade has plenty of pigmentation.  To apply as a highlight, I would recommend a fan brush so you can get a soft, precise look.

I did think it was interesting that while Estee Lauder refers to it as a tribrid (three-in-one) powder, MAC only lists it as a hybrid, but then it tacks on “almost liquid” as an afterthought–so they end up being similar in description.  Given that Estee Lauder owns MAC, these are probably even closer than they seem.  Though, MAC’s seems to wear a little longer on me.

MAC actually claims that the new Extra Dimension Skinfinishes (also, confusing, that they are listed as Extra Dimension Highlighters, but the boxes say Skinfinish) last for ten–yes, ten!–hours on the skin. I didn’t even realize they had made such a huge claim until I sat down to write the full review, but thankfully I wore my testing face-of-the-day for eleven hours yesterday! The shade I tested yesterday was Whisper of Gilt, which wore surprisingly well. When I checked the highlighter after eight hours, it was still mostly intact, with just a bit of fading along the edges of the apples of the cheeks. After ten hours, there was a little more fading along the edges but a fair amount of it was still there, looking reflective and glowy. I’m testing Glorify today, and I’m only in about eight hours, and there’s the same subtle fading along the edges but overall, it still looks good.

This would be a beautiful highlighter/light blusher on someone with red undertones. Used with an incredibly light hand, it can be used as a glowy, warmed-up highlighter with a hint of bronze, but it’s more easily used as a bronzy blusher. It has a fair amount of shimmer and sheen in the finish, though, so it may not be the most practical application if you want to highlight/contour.

The Glossover

LE
product

Glorify

A-
This would be a beautiful highlighter/light blusher on someone with red undertones. Used with an incredibly light hand, it can be used as a glowy, warmed-up highlighter with a hint of bronze, but it's more easily used as a bronzy blusher.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Monday, March 19th, 2012

Chanel Lucky Stripes Iridescent Powder
Chanel Lucky Stripes Iridescent Powder

Chanel Lucky Stripes Iridescent Powders for Eyes and Cheeks

Chanel Lucky Stripes Iridescent Powder< ($95.00 for 0.53 oz.) is described as a highlighter for both cheeks and eyes. It’s part of the online exclusive (and at select boutiques) Las Vegas de Chanel collection and easily the pricest piece of the launch! It has six stripes of color, though the medium orange and gold shades seem to have been done twice, which resulted in four unique shades.

When blended together, the result is a warm, orange-tinted gold with a glowy shimmer-sheen. It looks a lot like Guerlain Terracotta Sun in the City, actually! Perhaps not quite as dark, but when blended out, the differences nearly disappear. Lucky Stripes has a less metallic finish. Chanel Shimmering Tweed is more golden, less orange. MAC Sun Rush is similar but in liquid form. Chanel Empreinte de Chanel also is similar, perhaps a little less golden.

There’s a medium-dark brown with red-orange undertones and a subtle satiny sheen. Urban Decay Chopper is similar but slightly redder. NARS Isolde is deeper. MAC One to Watch is a touch lighter. Bare Escentuals Fire is similar but a little more orange.  To the right of that is a medium orange with a golden shimmer-sheen. MAC Fresh Daily is darker, more intense. Dolce & Gabbana Cocoa is similar but a bit darker and matte. Inglot #368 is lighter.

Next, there’s a medium yellow gold with gold shimmer–it’s actually not quite as refined, soft, or as pigmented as the other shades. It’s similar to golds like MAC Goldmine, Urban Decay Blunt, and Bare Escentuals Remix. The last shade is a pale white with larger white shimmer. It’s similar to MAC Winterscape and MAC White Frost.

It adds a warm, golden reflective quality to the cheek without emphasizing the skin’s texture.  More glowy than metallic, but it’s still a more noticeable highlighter overall (which may or may not be to your liking!).  I think it performs best as a cheek product, but it can be used on the eyes, too.  There it blends out too easily; the colors seem to disappear as you blend, which can be frustrating.  The texture of the powder is soft, finely-milled, and not at all powdery.  On cheeks, it wore for seven hours and looked patchy after eight hours.  On eyes, without a primer, it wore for seven hours with some fading, but with a primer, I didn’t have any wear issues.

I cannot figure out just what about this powder gave Chanel the gall to price this at $95. It’s like with every ultra limited edition launch, they tack on another $10 (and it may just feel that way). There’s nothing about this powder that feels different than other Chanel highlighting powders (or other high-end/designer powders for that matter). It’s gorgeous to be sure, and it’s a pretty design on the interior, but it’s still a plastic black compact on the outer edge. Hey, at least Dior and Guerlain will often give you limited edition, specially-designed packaging with their high price tags! (Dior often has signature limited edition pieces that come out in the $80+ range, and Guerlain has debuted similar products in the $60+ range.)

The Glossover

LE
product

Lucky Stripes Iridescent Powder

B
I suspect that for most readers, the price alone will be a major turn-off. For me, a product at this price point needs to perform immaculately. This is a good product but falls short of greatness. It's too similar to both past Chanel powders but also to recently released Guerlain Sun in the City--which is $25 cheaper.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Guerlain Terracotta Sun in the City Illuminating Powder
Guerlain Terracotta Sun in the City Illuminating Powder

Guerlain Terracotta Sun in the City Illuminating Powder

Guerlain Terracotta Sun in the City Illuminating Powder ($70.00 for 0.52 oz.) is a metallic yellow gold with buildable color. It doesn’t take a lot of product to achieve an appropriate amount of highlighting color on the cheek, but it is very blendable so it can be sheered out or applied softly from the start.  When I wore this, it lasted for seven hours with noticeable (but not disastrous) fading by the eighth hour.  I wore it as a blusher, just because it’s easier to identify how well it wears when you cover a larger area, but I’d typically dust this on cheek bones and paired with a warm-toned blush (maybe a coral or natural brown).

If you have a yellow gold eyeshadow, you could likely achieve a similar look with that. Chanel Empreinte de Chanel is a little darker, almost orange-ish, as is Chanel Shimmering Tweed. While Guerlain often has incredibly subtle, finely-milled highlighters, this one is more metallic, more noticeable–it’s therefore easier to dupe (it’s usually that finish that is more difficult to dupe). It still feels soft to the touch, but there’s that metallic shimmer that keeps it from being buttery soft. The way it feels reminds me a bit of Estee Lauder’s Illuminating Gelee formula, though this is less dry.

Guerlain knows how to design a powder; the design looks like fields of golden wheat swaying in the breeze.  The design doesn’t fade away after one use either, which is nice, though eventually you will wear away a lot of the texture on the top, it should take several uses or more.  The compact also contains a brick o’ highlighter–weighing in at 0.52 oz.–and most blushes and highlighters come between 0.15 oz. and 0.25 oz.  It is heavily fragranced, as is typical for the brand, so if you’re sensitive to scents, you may want to check it out in person.  I had this open on the desk where I take photos, and I could smell it from a couple of feet away.

The Glossover

LE
product

Terracotta Sun in the City Illuminating Powder

B+
While Guerlain often has incredibly subtle, finely-milled highlighters, this one is more metallic, more noticeable--it's therefore easier to dupe (it's usually that finish that is more difficult to dupe). I know this is selling quickly partially because of the design, but from a use standpoint, I don't think it's a must-have.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

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Monday, February 20th, 2012

Bobbi Brown Wild Rose Shimmer Brick
Bobbi Brown Wild Rose Shimmer Brick

Bobbi Brown Wild Rose Shimmer Brick ($39.00 for 0.40 oz.) has five shimmery strips of pink-tinted shades that can be used as a blush or as an eyeshadow. It’s designed to highlight the skin with “pearlescent shimmer.” The individual strips include: a rosy light-medium pink with a frosted metallic sheen, pink-shimmered peach-orange with a frosted metallic sheen, warm-toned dirty pink with a frosted metallic sheen, warm-toned pink with orange undertones and a frosted metallic sheen (very similar to the one before it), and light rose pink with a frosted metallic sheen.

When everything is swirled together, it takes on a rosy champagne-bronze color. It looks a lot like MAC Blonde, which may have a slight orange tint in comparison. Bobbi Brown Rose Gold is warmer, bronzy; it doesn’t have the same pink element that this shade has.

Applied, it highlights and adds a touch of warm pink color to cheeks with lots of shimmer and sheen. Bobbi Brown’s Shimmer Bricks tend to be high shimmer, so if you prefer subtler, more refined highlighters, I would look elsewhere. If you love products like MAC Mineralize Skinfinishes, you’ll probably like the Shimmer Bricks. The high shimmer emphasizes pores slightly–it’s not off-putting enough in lieu of the glowy sheen it delivers, because it’s not noticeable from a normal viewing distance.

When I wore this shade to see how long it would wear for, it hung on well for seven hours and looked a little faded after eight hours. The powder itself has a soft texture that’s very shimmery and metallic-like, but it never feels gritty, despite the amount of shimmer in the product. This product also looks really lovely wet, which enables you to bring out the metallic sheen for a very glitzy look.

The Glossover

LE
product

Wild Rose

B+
If you love shimmer and sheen, you'll enjoy Bobbi Brown's Shimmerbricks--they're full of shimmer with a really soft, smooth application and texture. This one will also give light to light-medium skin tones a subtle pink flush.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

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Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee
Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee

Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee

Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee ($40.00 for 0.17 oz.) is described as “high polish for your skin.” It’s a liquid, powder, and gel formula all-in-one. Estee Lauder says it “smooths on as an all-over soft sheen” and “builds for luminous pearl highlighting.” I wouldn’t describe it as an all-over powder or really so much a highlighting product–maybe a highlighting bronzer. The product is very, very intense. The pigmentation is insane; one tap of the brush, and it’s more than enough color to add a bronzed look to my cheeks. To achieve mere highlighting, I found that a fan brush and a very, very light hand (think of just a tap) was the only way to get just a faint sheen. If you use a regular blush or highlighting brush, and you use your typical method, you’ll probably find there’s too much for just a highlighted sheen.

This is a product that would be really lovely on deeper, golden-toned skin. It’s a rich coppery bronze with red undertones and a molten gold shimmer and sheen. theBalm Betty Lou-Manizer is browner, less orange and red. Urban Decay Gilded is a little lighter, more orange and less red-toned, but compares to the softer swatch of Topaz Chameleon.  If you want to bring out the metallic sheen, you can use the powder with a wet or damp brush.

I feel like this product is too pigmented if its aim is to be an all-over highlight.  Even on darker skin tones, I can’t imagine using this all over.  It’s very metallic and frosty, so it does emphasize the texture of the skin slightly.  The brush that Estee Lauder includes applies this more heavily if you aren’t careful (light hand, tapping away excess).  As a bronzer, it should work on warmer skin tones.  There are strong copper and orange tones, so I’m not sure if this would work as well on cooler complexions.  Estee Lauder just doesn’t call this product out as a bronzer, when it just feels and looks so much like one.

It can be used as a highlighter, but the application is more difficult and takes some practice.  It looks very dirty on my skin tone as a bronzer, but with a fan brush, a light hand, and a buffing brush, it can yield a softer, more manageable golden sheen.  The texture is soft but has this dry feel; it’s a different texture compared to most powders, but it is similar to Estee Lauder’s recent formulas like this.  When I wore this as a bronzer, it lasted for seven hours before beginning to fade.  I wish it would blend out more easily, because it’s just too easy to over-apply, so a more blendable texture would make for a more forgiving application.

I had a tough time trying to figure out exactly what Estee Lauder was going for here and whether this product should have been sheerer or if the pigmentation was on point.  I decided that since Estee Lauder said it was buildable (and it is) and didn’t mention it being sheer, the product would receive full marks for pigmentation.  Because achieving the highlighting the brand describes is more difficult, this was reflected in the application score.

The Glossover

LE
product

Topaz Chameleon

B
As a bronzer, it should work on warmer skin tones. There are strong copper and orange tones, so I'm not sure if this would work as well on cooler complexions. Estee Lauder just doesn't call this product out as a bronzer, when it just feels and looks so much like one.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

3/5

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