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Estee Lauder Ultra Pink Lip & Cheek Ball

Estee Lauder Ultra Pink Lip & Cheek Ball
Estee Lauder Ultra Pink Lip & Cheek Ball

Estee Lauder Ultra Pink Lip & Cheek Ball ($26.00 for 0.11 oz.) is described as a “translucent berry hue.” It’s a muted, pinkish-red with cool undertones and a subtle shine. NARS Adoration (Right) (P) is a powder. MAC Red Obsessed (LE, $20.00) is warmer. MAC Bred for Beauty (LE) is a powder. YSL Rose Frivole (02) (P, $40.00) is similar. YSL Fuchsia Desinvolte (01) (P, $40.00) is brighter. Illamasqua Peaked (P, $26.00) is more muted. Illamasqua Seduce (P, $26.00) is more muted. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The formula is supposed to be a “jelly-like gloss” with a “full-throttle shine” that gives a “slight tint to lips while imparting a rosy glow to cheeks.” It’s not at all glossy or jelly-like; it’s more like a very thin, firm balm that offers a satin shine with sheer color. The coverage is as described–translucent–and tints the lips and cheeks with a barely-there hue. It’s extremely uncomfortable to wear on the lips, as it feels dry and is drying over time, while the color lasts about an hour before sliding off. As a blush, it wore for six and a half hours before breaking down, but it imparted no real shine, just a smidgen of color (would be better suited for a fairer complexion than mine).

Estee Lauder Lip & Cheek Ball Ultra Pink
Ultra Pink

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Estee Lauder x Courreges Iridescent Ball Highlighter

Estee Lauder x Courreges Iridescent Ball Highlighter
Estee Lauder x Courreges Iridescent Ball Highlighter

Estee Lauder x Courreges Iridescent Ball Highlighter ($26.00 for 0.11 oz.) is a sheer wash of champagne sheen. Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight (P, $28.00) is less shiny. Burberry Nude Radiance No. 01 (P, $48.00) is thinner, liquid. NARS 413 BLKR (P, $30.00) is more shimmery. Illamasqua Aurora (P, $24.00) is more shimmery. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The product’s description is confusing, because in one breath, it’s described as an “iridescent powder gelee,” which is then followed by the term “sensorial cream.” To be totally clear, this is like a very firmly-packed cream–think like a lipgloss that’s been put into pan-form. It’s not at all powder-like, and it doesn’t dry down at all, so it remains shiny and glossy on the skin. If you prefer a more matte finish or lightly luminous highlight, this probably isn’t a product for you, because it is shiny and can look oily as much as it looks glossy. It’s not a product that worked well over foundation and only seemed suitable on bare skin (the latter of which is what I test wear for, but with something like this, I also play with it to see how it would react with base products under it), as over foundation, it tends to break down base products more quickly. It lasts for six and a half hours and migrates slightly over time (so the area that I highlighted got larger as the day goes on).

It doesn’t have underlying pigment in the base, but it has champagne shimmer that translates into more of a sheen, even though in the pan, it looks more beige/champagne. It’s very sheer when used, and the only way to get sheer to semi-sheer coverage is to pat the product onto the skin with fingertips and then only blend the edges with a soft touch. Otherwise, the product sheers out to nothing but a wet-looking sheen. In practice, it is more shine than shimmer, more shine than color. Estee Lauder said it could be used “dotted onto cheeks for an allover polished glow,” which I think would be a very specific look as it would give the skin a wet/oily sheen wherever it is applied (but might be nice for drier skin types), which can work when it’s done on high planes, but it is easy to go overboard if you apply it everywhere! The texture is thin, somewhat spreadable but really benefits from the warmth of fingertips rather than brush for good application. It’s not really tacky, but my hair will get stick to it (as will a stray dog hair, found that out as well!).

The brand could have described the color/coverage of this product better, because I think knowing that is necessary so anyone who purchases knows what they’re getting themselves into. In the press release, Courreges was inspired by his desire to “let the light into my clothes” when making this product. This is absent in Sephora’s description, but the press release seems to indicate that the coverage is something in the sheerer realm (certainly opaque, as light wouldn’t come through), though it isn’t totally clear where it’s supposed to fall, and it falls on the very, very sheer part of the spectrum. Descriptions like these (and lack of more specific ones) are what makes rating more difficult, and I’ve tried to weigh the idea that “this isn’t supposed to be opaque” with “but this is almost clear,” but sheer and clear are quite different to me. (Wouldn’t it be nice if brands used a 1-5 opacity system?!)

The pan is small, and it is hard to get some brushes in it with ease. Something about seeing the pan’s rim combined with the packaging felt cheap to me, but that’s a very subjective observation, so some may love it and others may feel the same. The amount contained in the pan seems small, but there aren’t a lot of products like this on the market to compare size with. I honestly think that a liquid highlighter (like Kevyn Aucoin’s or Becca’s) would be a better investment, but both will give a must less shiny finish.

Estee Lauder Courreges Highlighter Iridescent Ball

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NARS Panic Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Panic Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Panic Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Panic Dual-Intensity Blush ($45.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a vibrant duo featuring a bright pink and rusty coral. This seemed to be the least forgiving of the duos releasing as we’re working with much richer shades to begin with, so any weakness in blending is easily seen, and it is lacking that blendability that is so necessary when you have deeper shades like these two. The texture of the product dry is firm and a little stiff, so getting a really even, smooth layer of color dry wasn’t easy and required some buffing with a separate brush to get everything in place. Applied damp, it was hard to avoid splotchy color. Worth repeating, NARS described the formula to have richer color payoff applied dry with more of a wash of color applied damp, and the latter isn’t true whatsoever–applying with a damp brush results in much richer, deeper color and a more intense finish (typically more shimmery).

Panic (Left) is described as a “shimmering shocking fuchsia.” It’s a brightened, medium fuchsia pink with cool, blue undertones and a soft, frosted finish. Applied dry, it had mostly opaque color coverage, was somewhat blendable but not easy to apply, and the shimmer very slightly emphasized pores, but with enough buffing, it’s possible to tamp it down, while the color itself lasted for seven and a half hours on me. Applied damp, it was fully opaque with really rich color coverage but lacked blendability as it adhered and “dried” in place and didn’t want to diffuse/blend out after a few seconds. The finish is more noticeably shimmery on the skin and tended to emphasize the skin’s natural texture. The damp application lasted eight and a half hours. NARS Adoration (Right) (P) is warmer. Clinique Berry Pop (03) (P, $21.00) is brighter, darker. Tom Ford Beauty Narcissist (LE, $55.00) is darker. MAC Supernova (LE, $27.00) is warmer. MAC Feeling Flush (LE, $27.00) is more muted. Burberry Hydrangea Pink (P, $42.00) is less shimmery, darker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Panic (Right) is described as a “shimmering orange-pink.” It’s a brightened, medium coral with a hint of pink and a gold, frosted shimmer. Applied dry, it had mostly opaque color payoff with a fairly shimmery finish, so it did make my pores more noticeable, and the color stayed on well for seven hours before fading. Applied damp, it deepened and turned a reddish-orange coral with a more metallic sheen, and definitely made my cheeks look very textured as a result, though it lasted a bit longer than dry application at eight hours. It was also rather difficult to blend the color out when I tried using it damp. MAC Secret Admirer (LE, $20.00) is a cream product. Surratt Beauty Ponceau (P, $32.00) is less shimmery, lighter. IT Cosmetics Pretty in Peony (P, $24.00) is pinker. Clinique Ginger Pop (01) (P, $21.00) is less shimmery. NARS Realm of the Senses (Together) (LE, $29.00) is pinker. MAC Simmer (LE, $27.00) is pinker. Tom Ford Beauty Flush (P, $55.00) is less shimmery, lighter. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

NARS Dual-Intensity Blush Duo Panic
Panic
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Estee Lauder x Courreges Illuminations Face Powder

Estee Lauder x Courreges Illuminations Face Powder
Estee Lauder x Courreges Illuminations Face Powder

Estee Lauder x Courreges Illuminations Face Powder ($32.00 for 0.24 oz.) is described as a “glowing, otherworldly” powder with a “burst of pure light.” It’s a brightened, golden champagne with a frosted, metallic sheen. Tarte Champagne (LE) is slightly lighter. Becca Opal (P, $38.00) is darker. Becca Moonstone (P, $38.00) is a smidgen lighter. theBalm Mary Lou-manizer (P, $24.00) is slightly darker. Bobbi Brown 24 Karat (P, $42.00) is darker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Sephora gave early access to VIB Rouges to the new collaboration collection between Estee Lauder and Courreges, and this particularly product went very quickly (it’s not even listed on the site any more, but I’m hoping that it’ll reappear when the collection is fully launched as well as be available at other retailers and at counters). The texture is a lot like a baked powder product (think MAC Mineralize products) with a soft, smooth, but almost dry, feeling to the touch, though it doesn’t look dry on the skin. It had good color coverage that was easily blended and diffused on the skin, and for a really ethereal look, could be applied with a feathery touch and fan brush for a mere dusting of sheen. Applied with a more traditional highlighting brush, the finish can veer too metallic and emphasize pores slightly, but for as high-shine as it is, I was surprised that it didn’t make pores look glaringly obvious. It lasted for seven hours on me before fading.

Estee Lauder Illumionations Face Powder Courreges
Courreges

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NARS Fervor Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Fervor Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Fervor Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Fervor Dual-Intensity Blush ($45.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a mix of warm pink and plum. The formula can be used wet or dry, with dry application yielding a “bold flush,” while damp application gives a “translucent wash of color.” The blushes perform best when applied dry, as they blend and diffuse with little effort and have decent wear (though wear definitely is longer and improved with a damp application). Applying either damp is trickier, as you lose a lot of the ability to blend, and it’s really more like tugging and dabbing color into place, but it never appears as nicely diffused and blended as dry application does. Damp application also means you have to contend with potentially emphasizing pores due to shimmery finishes getting amplified; the lighter shade in the duo didn’t seem to do so, but the darker shade will get very metallic quickly if you aren’t careful (and will take a lot of work to tamp it back down). The texture of the blushes is soft and smooth to the touch, but the powder itself has a firmer press, so really soft, feathery brushes (like Chikuhodo Zs, SUQQU, etc.) do not work well with these in particular. I primarily used MAC 159s when applying these, as they worked well for both dry and damp application methods.

Fervor (Left) is described as a “shimmering, soft pink.” It’s a light-medium pink with warm, yellow undertones and a silvery shimmer. The pigmentation was similar both wet and dry–mostly opaque–but dampened application made the color two to three shades darker and intensified the shimmery effect in the finish. Luckily, while it has noticeable shimmer, it doesn’t intensify to the point where it’s harder to apply; it stayed luminous without emphasizing pores regardless of application method. On me, the blush lasted for seven hours applied dry and eight hours applied damp. LORAC Underrated (LE) is darker, more matte. MAC Modest Blush (LE, $27.00) is more matte. MAC Lesson in Love (LE, $21.00) is lighter. Chanel Sakura (87) (LE, $45.00) is more matte, warmer. Charlotte Tilbury Love Glow (P, $40.00) is similar. Giorgio Armani Eccentrico (LE, $88.00) is warmer. MAC Dainty (P, $27.00) is less shimmery. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Fervor (Right) is described as a “sparkling deep coppery rose.” It’s a medium-dark, coppery brown with pink and gold shimmer for a more frosted finish. Applied dry, it had semi-opaque pigmentation with a soft, frosted finish. Applied damp, it was darker, bolder, and nearly metallic. It is a lot harder to work with damp than dry, so my recommendation is to apply dry unless you really need the color intensify of damp application, but be prepared for a lot of buffing and/or dusting of translucent powder to tamp it down. Just blending the damp product is significantly harder, whereas dry application feels nearly effortless. Applied damp, the metallic finish emphasizes the skin’s natural texture and any pores in the area. Applied dry, it wore well for eight hours, and applied damp, it lasted for eight and a half hours. This one was more of a chameleon between dry and damp applications, as it takes on a stronger rosy/plum color damp compared to how warm and copper it is dry. Sephora + Pantone Universe Marsala (LE) is rosier. MAC Make You Mine (P, $23.50) is less shimmery. Gucci Beauty Cherry Nectar (P, $49.00) is redder. Tom Ford Beauty Contour (Softcore) (LE, $55.00) is redder. NARS Mauritanie (LE, $39.00) is a cream, matte. Chanel Canaille (89) (LE, $45.00) is similar to the dry application, primarily. NARS Na Pali Coast (P, $39.00) is a cream. MAC Scene to Be Seen (Inner) (LE, $30.00) is similar. NARS Lovejoy (P, $29.00) is slightly more plum. MAC Stylish Me (LE, $21.00) is darker. MAC Ambering Rose (P, $21.00) is warmer, brighter. MAC Stratus (LE, $27.00) is darker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

NARS Dual-Intensity Blush Duo Fervor
Fervor
Fervor
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Burberry S/S15 Runway Palette

Burberry S/S15 Runway Palette
Burberry S/S15 Runway Palette

Burberry S/S15 Runway Palette ($68.00 for oz.) is described as a hybrid of a highlighter and blush. Swirled together, it’s a muted, light-medium pink with subtle neutral-to-cool undertones and a semi-matte finish. The shimmer in the lettering is an overspray, while the lighter pink and yellowed beige shades seem to go all the way through (I scraped through several layers to check). MAC Modest Blush (LE, $27.00) is darker. YSL Singuliere (1) (P, $47.00) is similar. MAC Pink Sprinkles (LE, $21.00) is darker. Surratt Beauty Guimauve (P, $32.00) is more shimmery, lighter. Dior Rose (001) (LE, $56.00) is similar. Givenchy It-Girl Purple (P, $44.00) is brighter, darker. MAC Well Dressed (P, $21.00) is darker. MAC Pink Cult (LE, $21.00) is cooler-toned. MAC Launch Away (LE, $21.00) is warmer. Burberry Misty (P, $42.00) is similar. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

It’s more blush than highlighter, especially as the finish is semi-matte with little sheen or visible shimmer. It doesn’t look powdery applied to the skin, but it didn’t highlight or reflect light from any areas either. It had a very soft, smooth, finely-milled texture that tended to kick up excess powder, though it was blendable and easy to diffuse on the skin. The color coverage was good and appears slightly lighter than the dominant pink section of the blush (as the lighter beige section lightens the overall color). It only lasted for seven hours on me before fading noticeably.

Burberry Runway Palette S/S15 Runway
S/S15 Runway
S/S15 Runway
8.5
Product
9
Pigmentation
7.5
Texture
7.5
Longevity
5
Application
83%
Total

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