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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Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

MAC Magnetic Nude Extra Dimension Skinfinishes
MAC Magnetic Nude Extra Dimension Skinfinishes

There are three shades of MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish ($30.00 for 0.31 oz.) in the upcoming Magnetic Nude collection, which launches in-stores and at-counter on December 26th. Superb is a repromote, while the other two shades are new (and of course, limited edition). Those are the two that I’m testing for wear today, so I will update with ratings and wear times once I’ve finished wearing them.

Fairly Precious is described as a “peach with dimensional pearly green.” It’s a light-medium, peach (that leans a little orange) with a warm undertone and a frosted sheen. It had excellent color payoff, and the texture was soft and easy to blend out on the skin. On medium and deeper complexions, it will primarily add sheen with, at best, a little warmth. On fairer complexions, it will do both. It looks soft, glowy, and luminous on the skin and just slightly emphasizes pores and the skin’s texture.  It lasted for seven and a half hours before showing signs of fading. MAC Perfectly Poised (Outer) (LE, $30.00) is darker, more orange. Becca Rose Gold (LE, $38.00) is darker, less orange. NARS Realm of the Senses #3 (LE, $29.00) is similar but less frosted. MAC Solar Ray (LE, $25.00) is more orange, darker. Chanel Espiegle (P, $43.00) is darker, pinker, less frosted. Le Metier de Beaute Whisper (P, $30.00) is pinker. See comparison swatches.

Magnetic Appeal is described as a “medium tan with fine gold sheen.” It’s a coppery-brown with a copper-gold shimmer and warm undertones. This was less frosted compared to the other two, but when blended, it does take on a more metallic finish (but not quite as metallic as Fairly Precious or Superb). I’m surprised to see this one, because it was really quite similar to MAC’s Glorify–the range isn’t so extensive that you’d expect to see such close releases. It had excellent pigmentation, and the color applied well on the skin and blended very easily. I saw slight emphasis of pores/skin texture, but it was minor (and compared to its metallic finish, again, impressive). It wore well for a full eight hours before starting to fade at the edges.  bareMinerals The Many Splendors #3 (LE) is more golden. MAC Perfectly Poised (Outer) (LE, $30.00) is lighter, less brown. MAC Gold Deposit (P, $30.00) is more orange, less brown. MAC Glorify (LE, $30.00) is slightly browner, more metallic. See comparison swatches.

Superb is described as a “soft peachy nude with multidimensional shimmer.” It’s a soft, muted beige-brown with champagne frost and shimmer. This shade has been repromoted twice in the past, and I’ve reviewed it twice before, so I won’t be re-testing this, but the photos and swatches are from the latest release (but is the same as the past releases). To recap, it’s a rather frosted, shimmering finish. Depending on the skin tone, it can add both color as well as a highlighting sheen. It has a fairly metallic finish, and yes, it does emphasize pores, but it is very slight, and for something as metallic as this, it’s impressive how little it does that. It wears eight hours with minor fading on me. Bobbi Brown Nude Glow (LE, $42.00) is lighter. MAC Redhead (LE, $30.00) is less beige. MAC Soft & Gentle (P, $30.00) is lighter. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

LE
product

Fairly Precious

A-

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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LE
product

Magnetic Appeal

A

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
LE
product

Superb

A-

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Saturday, December 14th, 2013

rms beauty Living Luminzer
rms beauty Living Luminzer

rms beauty Living Luminzer ($38.00 for 0.20 oz.) is described as an “ultra sheer, glowing, luminizer with a translucent, satin-pearl finish.” It’s a pale, champagne beige–a warmer, more golden beige–with a soft, frosted sheen that blends out to a barely-there glow (no frost) when applied to the skin. Tom Ford Beauty Blush Guilt (LE, $58.00) is warmer, shinier. Illamasqua Aurora (P, $24.00) is more frosted. See comparison swatches. MAC Strobe Cream, when mixed with moisturizer, also has a similar effect on the skin.

If you’re someone who feels like they’ve tried dozens of highlighters and they all feel over-the-top, pore-emphasizing, too frosted, too shiny, and just too much, you may find the Living Luminizer is exactly what you’ve been looking for. Subtle is the name of the game here. It mimics an illusion of glowing, healthy skin, which may be too subtle for some or just right for others. It doesn’t emphasize pores, dryness, or skin imperfections. When my skin is drier, and I’m not wearing any other base makeup, this is a nice way to add a little natural-looking luminosity onto my skin without wearing foundation and powder. If I apply a light-medium coverage foundation with a more luminous finish, I get similar results–I can’t really tell that I’ve applied the Living Luminizer in that instance. If you have a more matte-finish foundation, it will help to breathe life back into it so it’s not as flat all-over. The consistency is creamy, a little thick, but blendable and does melt on contact with the skin. It doesn’t feel tacky, but it never fully sets or dries down. On me, it lasted five hours on cheeks, four hours on the bridge of the nose, and five hours on the cupid’s bow.

The Glossover

product

Living Luminizer

B
It does exactly as it is supposed to--gives skin a subtle glow that looks effortless and natural without emphasizing pores or imperfections--and it's easy to apply and impossible to go overboard with it. However, it doesn't wear long, so for some, that might be a deal-breaker.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Sunday, December 8th, 2013

NARS Maldives The Multiple
NARS Maldives The Multiple

NARS Maldives The Multiple ($39.00 for 0.50 oz.) is described as a “shimmering pink champagne.” It’s a soft, muted pink-shimmered beige with a luminous finish. On the skin, it’s like a veil of lightly warmed-over champagne sheen. MAC Sparkling Rose (LE) is lighter. MAC Talk of the Town (LE, $25.00) is a powder but similar in color. Urban Decay Glint (LE) is very comparable. Tom Ford Beauty Blush Guilt (LE, $58.00) is somewhat warmer. bareMinerals The Love Affair (LE, $26.00) is more frosted. Bobbi Brown Rose Gold (LE, $42.00) is also more frosted, powder. See comparison swatches.

NARS describes the formula as a “multi-purpose stick for eyes, cheeks, lips and body” that gives “sheer color” that can be blended for “shimmering accents; contours or dynamic highlights.” The suggested application method is with fingers, as the heat will warm up the product and enable it to be more easily blended. NARS’ The Multiples and I have an interesting relationship, because while I like them (at least, some of the time) on cheeks and eyes, I don’t like them on lips (uneven application, tends to drag and pull during application, and drying), so they’re always a disappointment in one of the three areas it’s designed to be used. Maldives didn’t work well on lips, but it did work excellently on cheeks, eyes, and decolletage. The finish is incredibly flattering–glowy, luminous, dewy but not oily or pore-emphasizing–and the wear is about seven and a half hours on cheeks and brow bone (on the lid, it creases within five hours).  It applies and blends beautifully on the cheeks as a highlighter.

The Glossover

P
product

Maldives

B

If you only use Multiples as cheek products, then for your reference, this product is more of an A- product, but if you really wanted a multi-tasking product that worked on eyes, lips, and cheeks (or body), then it's not as adept at working well on all those areas.

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

bareMinerals The Many Splendors Face & Body Luminizer
bareMinerals The Many Splendors Face & Body Luminizer

bareMinerals The Many Splendors Face & Body Luminizer ($45.00 for 1.10 oz.) is composed of three shades that you could use alone or together, but the compact is quite large, so each section easily can be used individually (though probably not with the brush included with the set!). There is a very large powder brush that comes with the compact, and it’s actually incredibly soft, dense, and lovely to use (I was worried, as last time I tried brushes from bareMinerals, they were very scratchy). However, for all those good characteristics, it’s massive and quite long, so it’s almost floppy. It provides a very dense and heavy-handed application. The brush is nice on its own, but I didn’t love it with this particular product. It’s a mega-sized powder–can’t imagine running out of it any time soon!–and if you use highlighters or bronzers on decolletage or the body, it would go a long way.  The quality of the powders is okay; the peachy shade was oddly under-pigmented, while the bronzer was very pigmented and easy to blend.

The Many Splendors #1 is a pale, gold-shimmered beige. It had fairly good color payoff, and the texture was soft and finely-milled. I noticed, however, that applied, it did somewhat emphasize pores. It wore for seven hours. Becca Moonstone (P, $38.00) is warmer. theBalm Mary Lou-manizer (P, $24.00) is similar. NARS Albatross (P, $29.00) is very, very similar. See comparison swatches.

The Many Splendors #2 is a warm-toned, peachy-pink with a frosted, slightly metallic, finish. This one had so-so color payoff–it was unusually difficult to get pigmentation out of it, even though it seemed soft to the touch. When applied, it did slightly emphasize pores and wore for seven and a half hours. On very fair skin, this could work as a blusher, but on my medium complexion, it worked out more as a highlighter with a smidgen of color. MAC Talk of the Town (LE, $25.00) is darker. NARS Sex Appeal (P, $29.00) is more matte. MAC Amber Glow (LE, $25.00) is similar. Le Metier de Beaute Whisper (P, $30.00) is similar. See comparison swatches.

The Many Splendors #3 is a medium-dark, orange-brown with a deep, orange-gold frosted sheen. It had excellent color payoff, and it was the best performing shade within the compact. It wore for eight hours well, though it did slightly emphasize pores and imperfections. Too Faced Sun Bunny #1 (P) is darker. Wet ‘n’ Wild Bikini Contest (P, $3.99) is less shimmery. Disney by Sephora Golden Sands (LE, $55.00) is browner. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

palette

The Many Splendors

B-

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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LE
product

The Many Splendors #1

B-

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
LE
product

The Many Splendors #2

C

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

7/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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