Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Estee Lauder & Michael Kors: Very Hollywood Collection — Bits & Bobs

The Very Hollywood Collection is divided into two looks: Rodeo Pink and Bel-Air Beige. Rodeo Pink features very pink-themed shades, whereas Bel-Air Beige is more about corals and beiges. Additionally, there is also a Shimmering Loose Powder that can be used with either look. I ended up trying out the Sunset Coral Blush, Hollywood Gold Lip Sheen, and Starlet Peach Lip Gloss from the Bel-Air Beige look, as well a the Shimmering Loose Powder.

The packaging for the Very Hollywood Collection is a pleasant reprieve from Estee Lauder’s typical packaging–it’s a nice update and take on something still more sophisticated and in line with the brand but yet doesn’t feel old.

  • Sunset Coral Blush ($26.00) is really more of a pink-coral. It has just a hint of coral, but it turned out pinker than I imagined it would be. It’s a nice shade, though I’d say more summer-appropriate than necessarily for spring (but that’s just if you go by seasons, which I don’t myself!). It has a very matte finish and texture with good pigmentation, so you can definitely get a good pop of color on your cheeks with this one.
  • Shimmering Loose Powder ($32.00) is a pinky-peach with golden sheen. It’s almost like a pink beige flesh-toned powder. It’s very finely milled and can be used lightly or more heavily, depending on what kind of look you’re going for. Used with a very fluffy brush and a light hand, it could definitely be used as an all-over powder or just to highlight parts of the face.
  • Hollywood Gold Lip Sheen ($22.00) is a sheer, peachy-coral with a golden sheen. It took several layers to build up the color on the swatch alone, so this is most definitely a product that’s aptly named–lip sheen. If you like ultra pigmented lipsticks, I’d look elsewhere. If you like just a sheer wash of color on your lips, lip sheens may be up your alley. Estee Lauder released four other shades (Bungalow Pink, Honey Blonde, Starlet Peach, and Starlet Rose), though two are sold out online.
  • Starlet Peach Lip Gloss ($20.00) is a sheer, peachy-orange gloss with champagne shimmer. It looks quite orange in the tube, but it’s really sheer, so it ends up looking much more peach in practice. It’s a non-sticky gloss that goes on sheerly and lasts a few hours on me. It has a strawberry-ish kind of scent, which took a little getting used to, but wasn’t bad overall.

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Thursday, January 7th, 2010

MAC in Lillyland Collection
MAC Pearlmatte Eyeshadow

MAC in Lillyland Collection: Pearlmatte Eyeshadow & Powder & Coconut Ice Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

The two prettiest-looking items in the collection are my two least favorites of the collection. Both the Pearlmatte Eyeshadow and Face Powder are lovely to look at with their floral design, but the product itself is just okay.

Pearlmatte Eyeshadow

This is basically three eyeshadows in one, and the pieces are big enough that you can get your brush into each. It consists of a lightly shimmered white, a soft yellow-green with gold shimmer (think Juxt), and a medium blue-based pink with light shimmer (think Da Bling, but blue-based). The design dusts off pretty fast — I could barely see any of the floral portions once I did swatches. The shadows themselves are decently pigmented, but they’re not ultra rich. They also felt a little powdery, which I wasn’t thrilled with. Nice design, just an okay product.

Pearlmatte Face Powder

This contains four different shades within the compact, but realistically, as a face/cheek product, you’re going to end up with a swirl of colors, not just any of the four. In particular, the orange shade is incredibly small, so good luck wearing that alone if you’re brave enough to try! Nonetheless, I did swatch the four individual shades, and then I did a swirled swatch. The individual shades are: a yellowed, shimmered gold, mostly matte/satin peachy orange, sheer, deep pink, and a neutral tan-brown with no real shimmer. Swirled together, I ended up with a rather bronzy shade — it ran a little orange and had the yellow-gold shimmer in it. I don’t know if I’d use this as an all over face powder myself, because it seems more like a bronzer based on playing around with it so far.

Coconut Ice Nail Lacquer

I’d like to know why they named this Coconut Ice. Maybe I haven’t consumed enough coconut ice in my life, but I just envisioned a lightened shade — based on the name. I’ve read the description previously, so I wasn’t misled, but the name seemed off to me. This is a brightened peachy-coral kind of shade. It’s like Seasonal Peach with a lot more pink. It has a creamy finish, and I’d say it needs two to three coats to look right. It kind of reminded of an old, old nail polish called Pink Radar, except lighter and less pink. I liked it, but I like corals, so this wasn’t much of a surprise.

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Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection
MAC By Candlelight Mineralize Skinfinish

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection: Mineralize Skinfinishes

I know many of you were excited to see two new skinfinishes join the Warm & Cozy Collection. I’ve never been able to jump on the mineralize skinfinish train with all my heart, but some of them are nicer than others.

  • By Candlelight is a light-medium peachy-pink with a surprising amount of pigmentation. It has a very shimmery, frosty sheen, so a little can go along way. (I’d definitely recommend using a light hand or the 187 brush and build up intensity with this shade.) It kind of reminded me of a way more pigmented Porcelain Pink or a peachier Glissade.
  • Comfort is a warmed-up medium bronze. It has a little orange to it, as well as a soft gold sheen. It’s not as shimmery or frosty as By Candlelight. It’s like a more intense, bronzed out version of Sunny By Nature or a more orange version of Gold Deposit, maybe.

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Monday, December 21st, 2009

A Fresh Face of… Roses?

Dolce & Gabbana Rose the One Shimmer Powder ($50.00 for 0.91 oz.) is a scented, subtle loose highlighter. It is scented with the same-named scent, Rose the One, also by Dolce & Gabbana (no surprise, I’m sure, ha!).

I know that some cosmetics are fragranced, but I can’t remember coming across a powder so deliberately scented before, so I was eager to try this (well, more to sniff it, I suppose!). It really does smell like Rose the One, which is a very feminine rose. There’s no better descriptor than fresh, sweetened roses. It’s not too sweet at all, which is something I was a little worried about. Surprisingly, you can even catch a little whiff of the rosy scent when it’s applied to your cheeks.

The loose powder itself is a soft, golden peach shimmer. It’s very finely milled, and it lays down quite well and doesn’t migrate all over the place, as some loose highlighters sometimes do. At $50, it is a splurge, but at least you can rest easy knowing you’ll likely have enough to last you a lifetime, with nearly an entire ounce of product. The product reminds me a bit of MAC’s Loose Beauty Powder ($22.00 for 0.28 oz.).

I would caution those with more sensitive skin that a fragrance-filled product may not be your best bet, at least not your face.  It does work quite nicely as a decolletage highlighter as well!  Otherwise, it’s kind of a fun product that puts a twist on wearing your favorite scent.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you’re in the market for a loose highlighter and wouldn’t mind smelling like a rose, check out Dolce & Gabbana’s Rose the One!

AvailabilitySaks


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Monday, December 21st, 2009

Chanel Les Impressions de Chanel Collection

Hot–No, Lukewarm–Springs with Empreinte de Chanel

Chanel Empreinte de Chanel ($65.00  for 0.49 oz.) is the signature product (and limited edition, of course) from Chanel’s Les Impressions de Chanel Collection for the spring.

Chanel describes the product as a “radiant glow highlighting powder” designed to brighten cheeks and brow bone with shades of rosewood, beige, and brown. It also includes an angled brush (the size you’d typically find in a compact, not a full-size brush), which is surprisingly soft and usable–though I’ll still use my full size brushes myself.

The compact has these lopsided circles in creamy white-gold, bronze, and peach outlined in the bronze. Then there are, of course, the two signature interlocking Cs in a shimmering, gilded gold (not quite a true gold). I was trying to furiously swatch away anything that would be an overlay, and though it seems like the circles seem to fade away, the color remains the same regardless. The Cs seem to be shimmery (as far as I could tell without destroying the compact) to stay shimmery as well.

Empreinte de Chanel is a warmed-up, peachy gold. It’s surprisingly pigmented, and it’s definitely something that would lovely as an eyeshadow as well as on top of cheeks. It reminded me of a more pigmented, way more shimmery version of Lancome’s Sparkling Cherub; Empreinte is also warmer and less brown (more gold).

Bottom Line: It’s soft, silky, and certainly looks beautiful on, but it is definitely a shimmery highlighter; so if you prefer a more subtle highlighter, you may want to test this in person first! The price is steep, and Chanel fans won’t be surprised, but if you’ve never considered Chanel, this probably isn’t the best product I’d take the plunge on (they have better; including Kaska Beige Eyeshadow Quad, if you are jonesin’ for spring).  The only thing that compensates for the price is you do get 0.49 oz. of product, which is quite a bit for a blush/highlighter product (typically 0.20 oz. or so).

P.S. – The entire Chanel Spring collection is now available at Nordstrom and Saks. You’ll probably have to search by name or click through the Chanel categories, but they’re up there. I just purchased Particuliere through Saks ’cause Saks has FREE EXPRESS SHIPPING (!) right now.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Chanel fans will likely enjoy this piece, but the price tag is a little steep for a product that’s good, but not great.

Availability: Nordstrom and Saks

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Monday, December 14th, 2009

Get Glowy Cheeks for the Holidays with Benefit

Benefit Cosmetics Sugarbomb ($28.00 for 0.42 oz.) is the newest powder addition to Benefit’s line-up. It joins cult favorites like CORALista and Hoola, and Benefit describes it as a “sugar rush flush” for the face.

The powder comes with four triangles of color, which Benefit describes as “rose, shimmering pink, soft plum, and peach.” The powder is designed to be used all at once, rather than one triangle at a time. I’d completely agree with that notion, particularly because the space is just not big enough to really grab one shade over another that well.

When swirled together, the outcome is a beautiful peachy-pink shade with a very, very subtle golden sheen. This is half blush, half highlighter, because it’s not ultra pigmented and on my skin tone (which you could describe as “medium”), while it shows up, it looks very soft. It’s certainly not invisible (which would make it more like a highlighter), but it’s not vibrant. This is good and bad, depending on your usage — but it’s a good thing to me.

It actually reminded me of a peachier version of CORALista, but they are different, since CORALista is much more pigmented and pinker. On my skin, it gives me just enough color and really gives me that “glow.” That super sought after glowy cheek look? That’s what this is in a cute lil’ box.

Both the texture and the results reminded me quite a bit of my beloved Dior Skin Shimmers (particularly Pop Diamond). The shade itself is a reminiscent of NARS’ Orgasm, but it’s less orange (on me) and the shimmer more refined. But here’s something fun: Benefit is way, way cheaper than both. Benefit’s Powders are HUGE–a whopping 0.42 oz.–compared to the average blush that weighs in at a mere 0.20 oz. NARS’ blushes are $156/oz., MAC’s are $88/oz., and Dior’s are $150/oz., but Benefit is $67/oz.

It’s packaged exactly like other Benefit powders, which is in a cute little cardboard box. If you don’t dig Benefit’s packaging, this is probably not going to do it for you either. It’s typical Benefit–and I say that as a good thing–and even though I do prefer sturdier packaging, this will hold up quite well, even if you do keep in your purse. Of course, if you toss it in your bag, the outside will get dinged up a bit, but in the end, it should still survive with the product intact, which is the more important part.

Bottom Line: This is a beautiful get-glowy-cheeks product if you’re light to medium-dark. If you have a deeper or darker skin tone, I think this will end up being more of a highlighter–if that’s what you’re looking for, it’s worth considering, but I don’t think the color will show much very well. I fell in love with this product at first swatch (and I had a hunch it’d be mine kind of color just from looking at it, too) – it’s everything I love: soft, subtle shimmer (think Dior Skin Shimmers, mmm!) that gives me glowy, naturally flushed cheeks. This is something I could wear everyday, with or without other makeup. Benefit, I’m totally impressed by this!

P.S. I also want to give props to Benefit’s website for showing incredibly color accurate photos of Sugarbomb, too. You don’t always see such accuracy in official product imagery, so it’s really a nice touch.

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

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

Recommendation: If you love glowy cheeks, check out Benefit’s Sugarbomb!

Availability: Benefit Cosmetics, Sephora

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