Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator
Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator

Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator

Several readers asked me how this compares to Guerlain Cruel Gardenia, in terms of the overall grade/rating. This product is available, but you won’t find it online; you’ll have to track it down in stores. Saks seems to be the only distributor (at least in the U.S.) that has some stock left. If you click the link above, it’ll take you to the defunct product page on Saks, but it will allow you to “find in store.”

Generally, if a product is hard to find or sold out, I don’t review it (my order for this arrived only two days before it sold out everywhere). There are always exceptions, but it’s definitely something I try to avoid doing–same with discontinued or really old limited shades. This is an exception and not a change in the rule! :)

Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator ($42.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a gilded bronze with a champagne-bronze shimmer. MAC Rose Ole is a bit more peach but looks similar when applied. It’s also a bit like MAC Crystal Pink, depending on how you combine the two shades.

The texture is soft but firm, and the frosted metallic sheen goes all the way through. It’s not as frosted on as it appears in the pan or in a heavier swatch. It’s more than just a subtle glow, but it’s less than a full-on frost. I call it a shimmer-sheen, because there is noticeable shimmer within the overall glowy sheen. It doesn’t emphasize pores, though.

For me, the major difference between the two formulas is in the wear–with Rose Rendezvous, it wears great for around six hours, but it’s faded by eight.  When I bought the product, I was initially really hopeful about it, because it seemed to be getting great reviews, but the way it looked at the end of the day wasn’t ideal.  Guerlain Cruel Gardenia wore for a shocking ten hours without fading, which was far more than I expected and longer than average. I wore them both over the same foundation (Guerlain Lingerie de Peau). On a very minute scale, Guerlain’s is a little more refined–a smidgen more finely milled, softer, finer shimmer–but it’s such a close call.

They are really different shades (Cruel Garenia is pink, this shade is warmer, more champagne-bronze), even though the products are similar in formula, so it’s more about the kind of shade you prefer and would find more flattering against your skin tone. The price for Guerlain’s Cruel Gardenia is $67, but you’ll get 0.31 oz. worth of product (50% more than Laura Mercier’s), so on an ounce-by-ounce comparison, Guerlain’s costs $216/oz. and Laura Mercier’s is $210/oz. I would expect this shade to flatter warmer skin tones more, while Cruel Gardenia will work well on both skin tones (as it is more neutral in undertone).

The Glossover

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Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
If this wore longer and better on me (say eight hours), this would be more of an A- product, but unfortunately, the mere six hours of wear impacts the product's overall rating quite a bit. I do think the two products are comparable in texture and composition, but the shades and wear are significantly different.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

4/5

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Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Guerlain Cruel Gardenia Meteorites
Guerlain Cruel Gardenia Meteorites

Guerlain Spring 2012: Cruel Gardenia Meteorites

Debuting in January, Guerlain Cruel Gardenia Meteorites ($67.00 for 0.31 oz.) is a limited edition highlighter than can be used to highlight specific areas or as an all-over glow. It delivers a light pink with neutral-warm undertones with a shimmer-sheen. It reminded me of a lighter, pinker version of MAC Crystal Pink. Chanel Beiges Ombres Tissees is lighter, more beige/white. MAC Light Sunshine is more similar in color but is a bit lighter and has more of a sheen than shimmer.

It looked rather frosty when I swatched it on my arm, but it worked well when I applied it with a brush on my cheek bones to test out the wear. There’s no emphasis of pores, and there’s enough glow and sheen to perk up the face without looking like a disco ball. This is more shimmery than other pressed meteorites in my experience but not by much. I was really happy with the wear, which is really what I liked most about the product, which was ten hours undisturbed. No breaking up, migration, or looking like it was worse for the wear .It didn’t have the typical Guerlain violet scent; there’s a lingering scent, but it’s very, very subtle–I practically had my nose buried in the gardenia! When I finally caught the scent, it smelled a little soapy. It’s supposed to be Cruel Gardenia, though.

The powder is finely milled but dense and firm, which is why it doesn’t turn frosty on the face–the brush picks up the right amount of product. Sometimes a product can be too soft, like when you put your brush to the powder, it loosens a ton of product (more than you need), which can be wasteful. Nevertheless, it’s more of a sheen and shimmer than Parure de Nuit from fall.

BritishBeautyBlogger has an excellent write-up about how/why products can be similar (and looking at these two particular products). Industry insiders know that products are often planned at least one to two years in advance; often, the conceptual phase is 18-24 months out, while prototype production can begin a year or further out from launch–products have to move through various stages like creation, testing, reformulation, production, etc. Color agencies like Pantone often determine the trends we’ll see in upcoming months, so some similarities are entirely coincidental or par for the course.

Design similarity aside, though, the two don’t really compare in the way that matters–color. Cruel Gardenia is distinctly pink, and it will do more to flatter cooler complexions (but it is equally flattering on warmer complexions, because it’s a neutral pink), compared to the more bronzy Rose Rendezvous by Laura Mercier. I wanted to review Laura Mercier’s, but unfortunately, by the time I received my order from Nordstrom (boo, ground shipping!) and tested it (seriously, I photographed and started testing immediately after it arrived), it was sold out.

The Glossover

LE
product

Cruel Gardenia

A
If you've been looking for a way to add a little glow and shimmer to the face and never have to worry about overdoing it, the texture of this product makes both of those things easy to achieve. Those who loved the feel and texture of Laura Mercier's Rose Rendezvous will likely love this one, too, and it's nice that they don't resemble each other in hue.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

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Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

theBalm Balmbini Vol. 2 Palette
theBalm Balmbini Vol. 2 Palette

theBalm Balmbini Vol. 2 Palette

theBalm Balmbini Vol. 2 Palette ($28.00 for 0.59 oz.) is a limited edition follow up to Vol. 1 (which is still available, but I don’t have it and haven’t seen it myself). It includes one highlighter, four eyeshadows (or liners), lip/cheek color, and a lipgloss.

As other theBalm products are packaged, this one is also in cardboard packaging with a full-sized mirror on the interior of the lid. The palette opens about two-thirds of the way down so that one side covers or reveals the powder products and the other side covers or reveals the cream products–this is a really nice feature, because it helps to limit any loose powder from contaminating the cream products. It contains a good amount of product and is a good value overall.

  • Promiscuous Pearl is a pale beige with champagne shimmer. It adds a soft glow on cheeks without being overwhelming. If you like Mary Lou-manizer, you’d like this one, just as a more neutral version. The texture is still really buttery and soft, so it is blendable and finely-milled and doesn’t emphasize pores. It reminded me of Chanel Beiges Ombres Tissees.
  • Jinxy Jasmyne is a sooty black that looks morre intense in the pan than it does on the skin. It has a mostly matte finish, but it’s rather dry and ends up being chalky and uneven. When applied, it can easily darken the crease, but you really need to use a fluffy brush (remember to tap off any excess!) to make this one work. Application is better with a damp brush, like one might use if you were to use it as an eyeliner. It’s similar to a lot of matte blacks, like MAC Carbon.
  • Manic Maribel is an orange-y copper with a frosted golden sheen. The pigmentation is opaque with soft, blendable color. It’s almost the same as Bare Escentuals Louder. It’s a little lighter than shades like theBalm Meep Meep, Urban Decay Baked, and MAC Amber Lights.
  • Open to Offers Olwen is a muted teal-blue shot through with silvery-blue shimmer. This shade is also in the Shady Lady Vol. 3 palette. It has good color payoff and a dense, buttery texture. Inglot #413 is a bit lighter but similar.
  • Lavish Latoya is a medium-dark purple with subtle red undertones and a frosted finish. It was on the sheerer side, though. Urban Decay AC/DC is quite similar with a slightly more metallic sheen. Bare Escentuals Encore is also similar. Milani Purr-fect Purple is a little lighter. theBalm All the Way Annie is a bit darker but still close.
  • Strawberry is a poppy red that can be applied opaque or blended out for a sheerer look. On lips, it’s much pinker–more like a slightly coral-pink with a creamy finish. The color coverage is mostly opaque. It’s not as dark as MAC Ultra Darling. NARS Niagara is more coral. It’s pretty close to Bobbi Brown Pink.
  • Nude is an opaque beige nude with a cream finish. MAC C-Thru is similar in color, but this is much more opaque.

It’s not my favorite palette by theBalm; I think it has promise and potential, but it’s not fully there.  The color combination is off for me–this is not a palette that lends itself to a lot of versatility.  I feel like you really need to pull in products from your stash to make the palette really pop.  The cheek/lip color is pretty but vibrant enough that it doesn’t pair well with the eyeshadows.  I was disappointed in the texture and payoff of Jinxy Jasmyne and Lavish Latoya was just slightly under-performing.   Shades like Manic Maribel and Lavish Latoya are found in a lot of brands, so this wouldn’t be a palette for long-time beauty aficionados.  As a face palette, I’d have liked to see a powder blush, rather than a mega-sized black eyeshadow.

The Glossover

palette

Balmbini Vol. 2

B+
The overall quality of the palette is there, but the color combination doesn't resonate as well with me--as a face palette, it needs more in the cheek department; it's too eye-heavy.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Bobbi Brown Party Shimmer Brick
Bobbi Brown Party Shimmer Brick

Bobbi brown Party Shimmer Brick ($40.00 for 0.24 oz.) is a limited edition highlighter for the holidays that uses a combination of gold and “silver.” Though the right side of the compact is certainly not the gold we typically think of, it’s not exactly silver–more like a cool-toned gold.

The left side is a true yellow gold with a shimmer-sheen. I couldn’t think of other highlighters that were similar in color, though there are likely half a dozen eyeshadows! It has good intensity for a highlighter; you can build-it up if you really wanted something more opaque, but it’s soft and blendable. Though the finish isn’t overly metallic, it does emphasize pores (or skin unevenness) a bit. The right side is a more like a cool-toned white with a neutral yellow shimmer-sheen, so it comes off as this cool-toned white gold. It has a more metallic finish than the yellowy side, which is a finish that tends to emphasize pores (and this does do so moderately).

Overall, it’s as frosted as most Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks are.  It’s not unlike previous iterations, so for those who are fans of Shimmer Bricks (and I know there are a number of you!), it’s par for the course.  They can be used together or separately, which is nice–especially because the powder is halved, rather than split into four or five strips of colors, so you can actually just use one shade at a time.  The wear of this is good; it wore for seven hours well, and then at the eight hour mark, it was visibly diminished but still lingering.

The Glossover

LE
product

Party

B
If you like subtle highlighters, this is probably not the right holiday highlighter for you, but if you love more intense highlighters that have more of a frost/metallic shimmer and sheen, this is right up your alley.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Tuesday, November 1st, 2011


Benefit Watt’s Up! Highlighter

Benefit Watt’s Up! Highlighter

Benefit Watt’s Up! ($30.00 for 0.33 oz.) is a “champagne” hued cream-to-powder highlighter that’s designed to work on all complexions. Benefit suggests applying it to cheek and brow bones and use the soft blender to sculpt and blend out the protect. It can be used on its own or over existing makeup.

It’s a shimmered champagne beige that almost seems like it’ll be too much, but once it’s blended out, it results in a beautiful, glowy sheen that’s luminous and lit-from-within. It sits on top of makeup well without looking heavy or caky, though it certainly works well against the natural skin. The consistency is creamy without being thick or greasy; it has enough glide to apply without bunching up in places, but it stays where you put it.

I like blending out the product with fingertips, but the included applicator (on the other end of the tube, which feels like a plush sponge) will work, too. I’m just wary of washing it, but it would do in a pinch, and I think it smears around any underlying makeup.  I was really pleased with the wear, because it lasted for a full eight hours and didn’t settle into pores or look uneven after a long day.

The Glossover

product

Benefit Watt's Up! Highlighter Review, Photos, Swatches

A
Benefit's latest highlighter really impresses--it delivers a luminous glow that looks natural, soft, and effortless... because it is as close to effortless as one can get! The creaminess makes it easy to apply and blend, while the cream-to-powder finish delivers good wear.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Thursday, October 20th, 2011

MAC Glitter & Ice Beauty Powder
MAC How Beautiful! Beauty Powder

MAC Glitter & Ice Beauty Powders

MAC Glitter & Ice Beauty Powders ($24.00 for 0.35 oz. each) include two, limited edition shades: How Beautiful! (pale shimmering beige) and Snowglobe (frosty pink beige). The collection is slated to hit stores on October 27th. Beauty powders are soft, sheer to semi-sheer products that can be used on the face as a highlighter or finishing powder, but occasionally they’ll be pigmented enough (or your skin tone may be light enough) for them to be used as a bronzer/blusher. The two featured in this launch lend themselves more as highlighters, even on lighter complexions.

How Beautiful! is a light-medium beige-bronze with a satiny shimmer-sheen. It’s warmer and less frosted compared to MAC Belightful. It’s very, very sheer. It may be a subtle bronzer on the most porcelain of skin tones, but even that may be a stretch. My arm, which is around NC20, barely shows the product once it is blended out. It’s a nice way to add a hint of warmth (without being orange or gold) to the skin, and the sheerness should allow for easy application for both cool and warm skin tones. I will caution that on medium to dark skin tones, the effect is minimal, so you may prefer something with more oomph.

Snowglobe is a pale pink-white with a satiny shimmer-sheen. It’s even sheerer than How Beautiful! because even the heavy swatch looks sheer. It’s pinker than MAC Lightscapade but lighter than MAC Light Sunshine. The upside of something this sheer is that despite its overall paleness in color, it doesn’t appear chalky or powdery, just because there is little product to be seen.  It’s not too cool-toned that it cannot be worn by warmer complexions, and even if it leaned that way, the sheerness makes it fuss-free no matter the tone.  I could see this working as a light finishing powder on paler beauties.

Both of them had soft textures that leaned on the drier side, but this seemed to be minimized when applied with a brush.  The packaging is a glossy white with silver lettering, and inside the compact is a full-sized mirror.  I was only able to achieve six hours of good wear with these, but by the eighth hour, most of the product had disappeared.

The Glossover

product

MAC How Beautiful & Snowglobe Beauty Powders Reviews, Photos, Swatches

B
The major issue with this product was the shorter wear time, which isn't even a full work day (or school day)! The texture could be a smidgen softer to enable more product to loosen and be applied, so perhaps it would become more buildable. I felt like I had to really layer it on to get it to show on my skin tone.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

Results
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