Thursday, August 5th, 2010

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer
theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer

A Highlighter for Generations

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer ($24.00 for 0.30 oz.) is a mega highlighter–no, seriously! This compact contains a ton of product–it’s double the amount of your average blush. I can’t fathom ever finishing this, because you need so little to get that shimmering glow.

It’s a soft, shimmering champagne with subtle gold tones. It’s not the subtlest highlighter, but it’s not glittery, heavy, or overly shimmery either. It seems to have a combination of noticeable shimmer and subtle, glowy sheen. I think it’s a very pretty shade–ultra flattering on most skin tones–but it is absolutely gorgeous on warmer skin tones.  (Again, this should work beautifully on cooler skin tones, too!)

On my cheeks, I just tap the tiniest amount on the tops of my cheeks using a tapered face brush, and then I blend it out. I will say that this is a product where blending is necessary–if you just tap it on, it will look obvious and accentate pores, but a few quick swishes of a brush will turn you into a glowy goddess.  You can also use this as a highlighter anywhere–cheeks, eyes, lips, you name it!

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you love highlighters and don’t own this one, I really think you may want to put it on your list.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

NARS Douceur Blush
NARS Douceur Blush

Douceur… aka Softness!

NARS Douceur Blush ($26.00 for 0.16 oz.) is a new and limited edition shade of dirty neutral pink-brown. This is a hard color to describe, because I think it’s going to take on a lot of the natural tones from each person. It’s not pink on me, at all, and it doesn’t even swatch very pink, but it almost looks pink in the pan. On my skin (warm, yellow undertones, medium in color), it adds just a touch of flush but almost just darkens my cheeks. I love a product that challenges me to describe it, but simultaneously, I get very frustrated since I’m almost at a loss for words. (Almost!)

According to my good friend Google Translate, Douceur means softness in French.  (Thanks for the lessons!) Foreign language, by the way, was never my strong suit (I took five years of French and yet I can’t even translate “douceur” on my own)!

Beyond the dirty neutral pink-brown shade (which is about as close as I think I’m going to get here), this is one of NARS’ least pigmented blushes. It is surprisingly subtle and light; it does not build to something more intense. I think those with medium to dark skin tones may want to try it out in person first. It’s very barely-there on me, so while I think paler beauties will love the near matte finish and subtler coloring of the blusher, darker beauties will find it less useful and maybe even invisible on their skin tone.

By the by, while the NARS imprint is gorgeous, it will disappear within one or two uses!

Don’t forget — use code TEMPTALIA for a free mini lipgloss trio featuring Turkish Delight, Gothika, and Greek Holiday at NARS.

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

RECOMMENDATION: For those with light to light-medium skin, I think this would be a lovely shade to add depth without strong color.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Saturday, July 17th, 2010

NARS Exhibit A Blush
NARS Exhibit A Blush

Baby, I Think My Cheeks are on Fire!

NARS Exhibit A Blush ($26.00 for 0.16 oz.) is a fiery orange that’s as pigmented as it looks in the pan.  It is an intimidating shade to be sure, because it does go on something FIERCE! even when you are careful.  Exhibit A has a matte finish, so it won’t accentuate fine lines or pores, and it can easily be buffed and blended onto skin so it looks natural and not quite so obviously orange.

When I wore this the other day, I used MAC’s 184 Brush, because it gave me the ability to really apply it subtly and softly against the angle of my cheek.  The width of the brush allowed me to deposit the initial burst of color onto the majority of my cheek, and then I could feather it out with soft strokes.

It doesn’t pull too red, and it certainly doesn’t pull yellow, which makes it wearable regardless of your undertones.  I particularly love this blush on our darker skinned beauties (plus, it shows intensely even on darker skin tones).  Don’t let this blush scare you — it can be worn and worn without fear.  Just be sure to have your buffing brush and some loose setting powder on hand to blend and diffuse it!

P.S. — U.S. NARS customers can get a trio of miniature-sized lipglosses in Stolen Kisses, Risky Business, and Moonfleet with code TEMPTALIA on orders of $25 or more, expires 8/15. :)

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Whether you want a subtle touch of orange or a heart stopping shade of fiery orange on your cheeks, Exhibit A is capable of both.

AVAILABILITY: NARS, Nordstrom, Sephora

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Thursday, July 15th, 2010

theBalm Cabana Boy Blush

Kick Off Your Summer with a Cabana Boy of Your Own

theBalm Cabana Boy Blush ($21.00 for 0.3 oz.) is one whopper of a blush! It’s a muted raspberry pink with a subtle golden sheen that looks more luminous than shimmery. It’s plenty pigmented, but it can be sheered out for a subtler cheek, too (thankfully!)–definitely recommend using a light hand with this shade. The texture is soft, smooth, and silky. It applies beautifully and without a fuss.

It’s housed in a cardboard compact with vintage imagery. theBalm also gives you plenty o’ product–a veritable blush brick at 0.3 oz.–and you won’t have to shell out $40 to take advantage of the value, either. It’s reasonably priced as a high-end brand at $21 a pop.

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Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Burberry Beauty Blush
Burberry Peony (04) Blush

Burberry Peony (04) Blush ($42.00 for 0.24 oz.) is a pale neutral pink that can be sheered out for just a hint of color or layered for a more intense, doll-like look.  This is definitely the softest of the three blushes I’ve seen (the other two being Russet and Cameo), and I think it best suits light to light-medium skin tones, with medium skin tones seeing a soft look overall.  I think deeper skin tones will find it doesn’t do much to their skin tone without a good amount of layering.

The texture is soft and buttery but a little dusty, though it still melts onto the skin and looks as natural as can be.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: For really light skin tones, this is a great blush.  Those who are medium or dark in skin tone may want to be cautious.

AVAILABILITY: Burberry, Nordstrom

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Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Burberry Beauty Blush
Burberry Cameo (02) Blush

Burberry Cameo (02) Blush ($42.00 for 0.24 oz.) is one of only five blushes!  I picked Cameo because it seemed like it might be one of the natural hues available.

Cameo is dirty rose with a very subtle satin sheen.  It can be applied sheerly or built up for a more intense, noticeable cheek.  It’s such a natural hue that it’s wearable on both cool and warm skin tones, and it’s so hard for it to look garish.  The texture is buttery and smooth, and it applies like a dream–like it melts onto the skin.  I had no issues with wear–I wore it for eight hours with no noticeable fading.

The blush comes in the same gunmetal compact with Burberry’s check pattern on the cover and the logo by the opening.  It’s magnetic, weighty, and feels luxe when you hold it.  It also comes with a check covered velvet pouch for safe keeping.  Inside the compact is a mirror and slightly angled miniature blush brush–that’s actually functional.  The brush is not only usable, but it works well and feels incredibly soft against the skin.  It’s probably one of the best brushes I’ve seen included in a compact that wasn’t full-size.

Though the blush will cost you a pretty penny (but in line with other designer brands like Chanel and Dior), you get much more than the typical high-end brand provides–0.24 oz., which makes it a pricey (by the ounce) as Illamasqua and Smashbox (and significantly less expensive–by the ounce–as Dior and Chanel).

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: For an easy to apply, easier to wear, and incredibly natural but not boring shade of blush, Cameo is a new favorite.

AVAILABILITY: Burberry, Nordstrom

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