Monday, January 20th, 2014

NARS NARSissist Cheek Kit
NARS NARSissist Cheek Kit

NARS NARSissist Cheek Kit ($49.00 for 0.24 oz.) includes three cheek products–a highlighter, blush, and bronzer. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to start photographing and swatching this only to realize that lo and behold, it’s Orgasm and Laguna yet again. NARS has a full range of blushes, and even more, a lot of them are amazing. I wish NARS would work on introducing fans to new shades rather than throwing the same two at us over and over again. If you picked up the One Night Stand palette over the holidays, you already have all three shades within that palette. The permanent versions of Orgasm and Laguna that I have are both softer, less stiff,  and easier to work with than the palette versions included here. I didn’t care for the brush; it was somewhat scratchy and rough against the skin. I used it for application, and it agitated the skin on my cheeks to subtle but reddened bumps (something I experience with MAC’s 129 as well).

In terms of value, it’s hard to really pinpoint it, since you are getting a brush with it. If we just pretend the brush isn’t part of the equation, it works out to be $204.17/oz. as compared to $181.25/oz. for a full-sized blush (and $128.57/oz. for full-sized Laguna). You can also purchase a duo of Orgasm/Laguna for $41 (or $117.14/oz., as it contains 0.35 oz. — more than this palette in total!), or the mini-sized version for $24 (0.17 oz. total, or $141.18/oz.).

Devotee is a pale, pink-tinged beige with a frosted finish. The texture is soft, lightweight, and easy to blend. It had buildable color payoff to about semi-opaque, but it is designed to be a highlighter than a blush. I was surprised, but it just barely emphasizes pores, and if you really blend it out a lot, it becomes very glowy and luminous without the emphasis. It wears six and a half hours on me, which is short of average. Urban Decay Naked (P, $29.00) is similar. Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight (P, $44.00) is warmer. NARS Debbie Harry Highlighter (LE, $29.00) is cooler-toned. See comparison swatches.

Orgasm is described as a “peachy pink with golden shimmer.” It’s a warm, medium pink with a stong golden shimmer-sheen. Too Faced Peachy Keen (LE) is similar. Guerlain Blush G (LE, $65.00) is also similar. Milani Dolce Pink (P, $6.49) is very similar. Guerlain Peach Boy #2 (P) is slightly less pink. Benefit Sugarbomb (P, $28.00) is softer. See comparison swatches.

Laguna is a medium-dark tan brown with warm, orange-yellow undertones and a golden shimmer-sheen finish. I reviewed this in full here. I find the quality of the Laguna in this palette to be the same as it was in the previous palette I tried (NARS Hearts New York); the quality of the individual pan is slightly higher. It lasts well for eight hours, had good color payoff, and a fairly soft texture. Urban Decay Toasted is darker, browner. MAC Lush Light Bronze is warmer. MAC Refined Golden is browner, darker. MAC Soft Sand is slightly warmer, lighter. Burberry Summer Glow is more yellow-toned. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

LE
palette

NARSissist Cheek

B+

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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LE
product

Devotee

B+

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
P
product

Orgasm

B

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

theBalm Cindy-Lou Manizer
theBalm Cindy-Lou Manizer

theBalm Cindy-Lou Manizer ($24.00 for 0.30 oz.) is described as a “soft peachy-pink highlighter.” It’s a soft, pinky-peach–but I’d actually call it rose gold–with a frosted sheen. bareMinerals The Many Splendors #2 (LE) is lighter. bareMinerals The Magic Moment (LE, $26.00) is very similar. MAC Talk of the Town (LE, $25.00) is darker, less peach. Benefit Rockateur (P, $28.00) is not quite as shimmery, darker. MAC Adored (LE, $30.00) is pinker. MAC Lust (LE, $30.00) is pinker, more metallic. See comparison swatches.

You may have heard of Mary-Lou Manizer. This is a very similar product, just in another shade. It adds luminosity, warmth, and an overall glow wherever it is applied. It can be used on cheeks, as well as on lids and the rest of the face, if desired. On my medium complexion, it adds subtle rosy, bronzy warmth but not a lot of obvious color, along with a glowing, luminous sheen. On fairer complexions, I would expect that this could be used as a subtle blusher in addition to being a highlighter. It doesn’t have a chalky or white base, so it should work as a highlighter on deeper complexions. The finish is high-shine but forgiving, so it doesn’t emphasize pores. It lasted for eight and a half hours on me before starting to show signs of fading. This powder had such a soft, buttery, silky texture that it was easy to apply and blend, and it’s very, very pigmented–a little goes a long way.

The Glossover

P
product

Cindy-Lou Manizer

Temptalia Recommends
A

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Sunday, January 12th, 2014

NARS Adelaide Illuminator
NARS Adelaide Illuminator

NARS Adelaide Illuminator ($30.00 for 1.10 fl. oz.) is described as a “shimmering lavender pink.” It’s a lightly cool-toned, light-medium pink with pink and white shimmer/sheen, plus silver glitter. Giorgio Armani No. 08 (P, $59.00) is similar in type (also a liquid) but is a smidgen lighter and has no glitter. NARS New Order (P, $29.00) is a powder and appears lighter swatched, but the effect is similar on. Bobbi Brown Lilac Rose (LE, $42.00) is also a powder and is a darker, more noticeable rose with a stronger metallic sheen. See comparison swatches.

If you’re unfamiliar with NARS’ Illuminators, they’re supposed to “light the skin from within.” They’re “deceptively sheer, decidedly luminous.” The formula can be applied all-over the face, used as traditional highlighter, and can be worn mixed with, over, or under foundation. With the amount of glitter (plus, the size), I didn’t like it mixed with foundation, because the bits of glitter all over the face looked more like random dirt particles at a glance–unless you stood in the sunlight, and then you twinkled here and there. In order to keep the color from adding a pink tint, you use just a very, very little amount. I had the best results when patted over cheeks with my fingertip and blended, as it gave a very light pink flush, luminous sheen, and then glittery sparkles. There was some emphasis of pores. If you don’t like glitter in your blush or highlighter, then I would skip this shade, because it is a noticeable amount. On cheeks, it remained apparent for six hours and then started to disappear.

The Glossover

LE
product

Adelaide

B

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Guerlain Clair (02) Meteorites Pearls
Guerlain Clair (02) Meteorites Pearls

Guerlain Clair (02) Meteorites Pearls ($60.00 for 0.88 oz.) is described as a “harmony of green … white … and champagne pearls.” Clair (02) contains “green pearls for extra redness correction,” along with “white pearls to reflect the light” and “champagne pearls to adapt to the skin and gently illuminate it.” It also contains three colors that are the base of all the Meteorites (mauve, pink, and yellow). In general, this combination of colors and the way the powder swatches and applies to the skin, it seemed rather brightening. It softened the look of skin (primarily by smoothing out pores), brightened, and added a very, very subtle radiance.

The effect is lovely, and I’ve been a long-time fan of the Meteorites range; as they always improve the look of the skin and making skin appear healthier, more radiant, smoother, and lovelier.  It works best as a finishing powder–it’s not a traditional highlighter, and it’s not a setting powder.  If you use a setting powder or more matte foundation, finishing powders help to add back some of the luminosity that gets lost by a more matte finish without leaving the skin looking too dewy.  If you go on in wanting something to highlight cheek bones and high planes of the face, you’ll be disappointed. This gets dusted all-over the face.  I would say skip the Meteorites brush; I will do a review of the revamped brush released for spring later on, but in short, it’s unnecessary for applying Meteorites, and I thought it was a little rough/scratchy.

Guerlain has re-released their famous Meteorites Pearls with their Meteorites Blossom Collection. The formula and packaging have both undergone a revamp. The tin has the same size, shape, and feel as the last iteration released in 2010–the embellishments and patterns are different. The formula is supposed to have “softer” pearls that “allow for an even easier application and a more visible effect with every brush stroke.” There are three shades, this one, along with Medium (03) and Dore (04). I only have Clair (02), but I wasn’t able to find any noticeable or visible differences (for better or worse).

This seems to replace Teint Rose. Worth noting is that they were previously priced at $58 and contained 1.05 oz. and now are $60 a pop and only 0.88 oz., which is a squeeze on both ends. I didn’t notice any difference between Clair (02) and Teint Rose; the texture, feel, appearance–all the same. In general, Meteorites, once applied, tend to look more similar than not. On very fair skin, any differences may be more amplified but still quite subtle, and on deeper skin tones, any of the more brightening shades may have a tendency to look chalky or ashy.

The Glossover

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product

Clair (02)

A

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Giorgio Armani Belladonna Highlighting Palette
Giorgio Armani Belladonna Highlighting Palette

Giorgio Armani Belladonna Highlighting Palette ($88.00 for 0.177 oz.) is described as a “universal illuminating powder.” It’s a pale, champagne beige with a soft, frosted sheen. The finish can get more or less metallic depending on your application method–a denser brush or a dampened one will give you a more pronounced metallic finish, while a fluffier brush will give you a softer sheen. It adds very subtle warmth, but it primarily highlights and adds sheen to the skin. Bobbi Brown Nude Glow (LE, $42.00) is more metallic, slightly darker. MAC Sparkling Rose (LE) is pinker. Urban Decay Naked (P, $29.00) has sparkles. Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight (P, $44.00) is less golden but appears similar on the skin. Becca Moonstone (P, $38.00) is very similar applied. NARS Albatross (P, $29.00) is lighter, whiter. Illamasqua Aurora (P, $24.00) is a cream product. See comparison swatches.

Per Giorgio Armani’s description, it sounds like a variation on the slightly baked, powder formula that’s been used by brands like Estee Lauder (the Gelees), Laura Mercier (Spellbound), MAC (Extra Dimension), Guerlain (Cruel Gardenia), and so on. The biggest difference I noticed was the powder’s texture felt even softer and more finely-milled in Belladonna than others–it had less of that baked consistency (almost dry). Belladonna has a soft, finely-milled texture that feels almost buttery but very lightweight. It blends easily across the skin, and it definitely yielded a noticeable sheen on the skin. On my skin, it just very slightly emphasized pores, and the powder wore well for eight and a half hours before starting to fade slightly.

Worth noting, Giorgio Armani’s is one of the most expensive highlighters at $88, but it is worsened by the fact it only contains 0.177 oz. of product–Laura Mercier, MAC, and Guerlain all contained 0.31 oz. or more (Estee Lauder’s contained 0.17 oz. as well).

The Glossover

LE
product

Belladonna

A

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Skin Liquid Illuminating Emulsion
Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Skin Liquid Illuminating Emulsion

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Skin Liquid Illuminating Emulsion ($52.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a “long-wearing formula” that can be used as a “primer, foundation, or even a highlighter.” It says it can last as long as 12 hours. It has a lightweight, thin, liquid-y consistency with a warm, golden sheen. The powder version of Candlelight The Celestial Powder is much more beige, less golden/yellow. See comparison swatches against some golden powder highlighters. The most comparable shade with a similar formula that I could think of was Giorgio Armani No. 10, which is liquid as well, but it is warmer, darker. Other formulas that have similar consistencies would be MAC Lustre Drops, MAC Strobe Liquid, and Tom Ford Skin Illuminator.

The consistency definitely lends itself to an easier all-over application, whether applied alone as a primer before foundation or mixed with your favorite liquid or cream foundation. I mixed this with Guerlain Parure de Lumiere, and it seemed to extend wear slightly by a half hour or so, but I didn’t feel like it really contributed to added longevity. It did, however, add all-over luminosity and gave my skin an even better, more lit-from-within appearance. It doesn’t emphasize pores or skin imperfections, while the consistency spreads easily across the skin, whether bare, mixed with foundation, or patted on as a highlighter. When I tried it patted on the cheek bones, down the bridge of the nose, and above the cupid’s bow to highlight, it had a soft, dewy, candlelit glow for about nine hours (not twelve, though). It really seemed to give skin a lovely natural radiance and smoother, healthier appearance overall.

It’s backordered at the moment at Nordstrom, but Neiman Marcus has it in stock.

The Glossover

product

The Celestial Skin Liquid Illuminating Emulsion

A-

It really seemed to give skin a lovely natural radiance and smoother, healthier appearance overall. I'm quite enamored with this product, and the only reason it wasn't rated higher was that it doesn't live up to the 12-hour wear claim (either as a primer or as a highlighter), but if that's not a deal-breaker, it's well worth considering.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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