Monday, April 26th, 2010

Make Up For Ever HD Blush

Make Up For Ever Smooth Talker (13) HD Blush ($25.00) is a soft, pale petal pink. This is a very, very cool-toned pink that looks and applies quite sheerly. On my skin, it makes me look a little corpse-ish, but I can imagine it looking incredible on my fairer friends. It reminds me a bit of MAC Well-Dressed blush but in a cream form.

I’ve reviewed the HD Blushes in the past, but to recap: the formula is smooth, creamy, and applies easily. It dries down quickly so you don’t find it migrates while you wait, but it gives you enough time to blend it out. The formula is fantastic with its creamy feel and long-wearing finish. The packaging itself could use a little tweaking, as the pump delivery system inevitably pumps out much more than you need.

For more on HD Blushes, check out my original review! :)

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a way to prolong the wear of your blushes, you may find these cream blushes work well alone or as a base for your powder blushes.

Availability: Sephora

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Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Lancome Temptingly Bronze Bamboo Bronzer

Lancome Summer Riviera:  Temptingly Bronze Bamboo Bronzer

Lancome Temptingly Bronze Bamboo Bronzer ($45.00 for 1.41 oz.) wins the award for the prettiest product of the summer. (I would say year, but I suppose that’s just a wee bit premature. But let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised…) This is a collector’s item for sure, even though the bronzer itself is certainly lovely, there’s just no way for what’s underneath the design to compete with the intricate, woven pattern you see first.

Often during the summer, Lancome releases a specially designed, limited edition bronzing compact (more like compact disc…). This is not your ordinary bronzer, because this is about five times the size of the average bronzer (which is around 0.30 oz., while Lancome’s weighs in at 1.41 oz.). The compact is about the size of a music CD and half an inch thick and in a soft-glossed bronze plastic. Inside is a large-sized mirror (goes with the territory!), and then the holy grail of overlays.

But sadly, yes, as anticipated, all of the prettiness you see is an overlay. The subtle metallic gradient is an overspray that disappears once you start working your way through the bronzer. This is why I say it truly is a collector’s item, because there is no way to salvage or preserve the gorgeous-ness that is the design if you actually intend to use it. There is still a subtle shimmer-sheen to the bronzing powder, so it’s not entirely matte underneath.

The bronzer itself is a soft, silky-smooth sheered down bronze with slight orange undertones. It’s sheer enough that it’s great for those who are new or otherwise afraid of bronzer and going overboard. You won’t end up looking like an Oompa Loompa with this one! I do like that you’ll most likely never run out of bronzer with this compact.

I’m sure some of you are going to wonder why does this product still earn high marks even though the design is an overspray–that’s because it’s a known quantity with the bronzer, it’s not supposed to. It’s like pretty packaging on the inside instead of a funky compact, whether that makes you sad or not!

Can I just say that I would have died if Lancome had made the design go all the way through? I received this one as a press sample, but I’m probably going to buy another one, just to stare at and drool over–and this is something I never do. I’ve long since gotten over “ruining” designs and the like on products, but this one, I hesitated. I snapped a zillion photos, showed the boyfriend, and then said, “In the name of all that is beauty blogging…” and went to town.  But I pouted the whole time!

Ahh!  Just dreaming about a wickedly metallic, glowy deepened bronze that faded across to a brightened gold bronzer AND went all the way through makes me sigh inside.  Who’s with me?  Tell me I’m not alone! :)

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

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

Recommendation: If you love bronzer and use it frequently–but want a subtle bronzer–Lancome’s ginormous bronzers aren’t a bad way to go. If you are a collector, the design on this is difficult to pass on!

Availability: Lancome

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Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

MAC Pret a Papier Collection
MAC Garb Blush

MAC Pret-a-Papier Collection: Blush & Mineralize Blush Review, Photos, Swatches

For whatever reason, I must have spaced, because I did not realize that Pret-a-Papier was such a large collection.  I kept thinking it was a dinky little collection, but it’s a full collection.  It includes two sheertone blushes and one mineralize blush duo.

Blush ($18.50 U.S. / $22.00 CDN)

  • Garb is a darkened nude with an orange undertone. It has a near matte finish, though there is a subtle shimmer in it that’s really not very noticeable.  Though it’s only a bit on the warmer side, the obvious orange tone may not work well with the fairest of the fair.
  • Instant Chic is a slightly coraled pink with a powdery look. It’s sheerer than Garb, and I found it more difficult to build up the intensity, though. I like the shade, because it’s not quite like anything in MAC’s permanent line, and I don’t know if I’ve seen something like this in recent collections either. I do wish it was a bit more pigmented–I fear it may be a wash on those with deeper skin tones (think NC/NW45 or darker).

Mineralize Blush ($23.00 U.S. / $27.50 CDN)

  • Light Over Dark is a duo of golden copper and a darkened, reddish copper-bronze. Both shades have a very frosty finish to them. The size of the compact is large enough to be able to use the shades separately or together, I’d imagine. I’m personally not a fan of this, because it does have a rather frosty finish, which turns out pretty gnarly in photographs!

Instant Chic is the most unique of the three blushes, despite not having the best color pay off (it is a sheertone, though).  It’s coral enough to be perfect for summer and add some brightness to cheeks, but it’s not so warm that only warmer skin tones will like it.  I do think it’s a better shade for light to medium skin tones, and if you’re of a deeper skin tone, you may want to swatch it in person first.

Any of these catch your eye?

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Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Givenchy Summer 2010

Givenchy’s Summer Collection also featured Fleur de Frangipanier, which is available in two shades:  Island Sun (No. 2) and Island Tan (No. 3).  Each shade retails for $45 and contains 0.35 oz. of product.

I haven’t spotted Island Sun yet, but I know it is the lighter of the two shades available and also has a significant chunk of pink color to part of its flower, so I’d also presume it runs on the pinker/redder side while Island Tan is more on the warmer/orange side.  Givenchy’s Summer Collection is slated to hits stores in May 2010, so you may see it creep onto counters any day now.

Island Tan is a warmed-up, but muted, orange bronze with very, very subtle shimmer. I swatched both heavily and sheerly (and blended out), so you can see the potential intensity along with under more normal usage.   It’s a very soft shade of bronze that will certainly be flattering on warmer skin tones, but I definitely think it’ll have a tendency to turn orange on those with pink or red undertones.  (I would recommend checking out Island Sun instead!)

The texture of the powder is incredibly silky–it’s fine-milled and smooth to the touch.  It blends beautifully and wears well.  The shimmer in it is sophisticated and just barely-there, so it’s great for many skin types.  Not surprising for Givenchy is the palette itself is beautiful with the raised flower and color splotch pattern.  The color splotches range from a bronzed nude to chocolate bronze to peach.

The compact also has a pull-out drawer under the powder that reveals a small face brush, which is usable and certainly a step-up from the majority of included brushes in palettes, but it’s not my favorite!  I’m also pleased (and pleasantly surprised!) that Givenchy didn’t skimp on quantity either–you get plenty of bronzer for your buck.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  For those with warmer complexions and yellower undertones, I think Island Tan is a workable bronzer.

Availability:  May 2010

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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Guerlain Blonde Halee Bronzer

Guerlain Terracotta:  Blonde Halee

Guerlain Blondes (01) ‘Terracotta’ Light Sheer Bronzing Powder ($50.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a multi-colored bronzing powder.  There is also Brunette (02).  I actually thought these were new for this year, but after going back to the summer collection details, it’s the 4 Seasons bronzing powder that launched this year. Apparently, Guerlain launched two different types of bronzers, including the one pictured above–that are limited edition and new and different from the permanent versions.

Anyway, Blonde contains five different shades that come together to create a red-toned bronze.  It’s designed for our fairer, blonde-haired friends, but it’ll work just as nice on our warmer, brunette-haired friends, too–because I am the latter and find this lovely on my skin.  I tend to wear it more as a bronzer, but it’s subtle without being orange and the shimmer gives you a little glowiness that’s perfect for summer.   I wore it in a very natural look, and I felt like it worked incredibly well to give my cheeks a little definition, glow, and that I-just-got-back-from-vacation look (even though I went nowhere!).

It’s a very fine-milled powder, so it’s subtle and easy to use without going overboard–but you can layer it for a greater intensity.  It also has fine shimmer that goes through the compact (no overspray here!) that gives skin a healthier, more luminous look without looking like a glitter ball.  A huge bonus is that this bronzer photographs really well and natural, too!  I may have to check out the Brunette version to see how it stacks up, but Blonde totally wow-ed me (and I’m not even a bronzer person!).

The pricing is just about what I’d expect from Guerlain, but at least they don’t hold back on the quantity–they give you just a little more than the average bronzer, but it’s not significantly more.  Nevertheless, sometimes you’ll see higher prices and lesser quantities, so I always like to see the two still in line.  The packaging is also very pretty–it’s a glossy reddish-bronze with a shimmering sparkle almost!

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you’ve been searching for a light, natural bronzer that’s good on both fairer, cooler skin (aka one that doesn’t turn orange), Guerlain’s Blonde may be the answer!  It’s soft and silky with the perfect bronzing color for those with pinker or redder undertones, but it works equally well on those with warmer, yellower undertones–you’ll see the slightly reddish tinge in it, but it works!

Availability: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Chanel Les Pop Up de Chanel Bronzer

Going Bronze with Style

Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel ($50.00) is available in two different shades – Terre d’or and Terre Halee — and new for Chanel Les Pop-Up de Chanel Collection.  Every Summer, Chanel releases a limited edition bronzer (or two!), and this year is no exception.  It has a soft raised wave pattern across the surface, the illusion of summer sand.  Both shades are a finely-milled bronzing powder that apply naturally to skin.

If you take a swatch with a sponge-tip applicator (or finger), you’ll find it seems too much for a bronzing product, but when used with a brush, you’ll get a much softer, more natural look more appropriate to bronzing powders.  What’s nice about the underlying pigmentation is it can be built up to your preference, plus it works well for a variety of skin tones, too.

  • Terre d’or is a lighter, more golden, peachy bronze.  It has a very soft, silky feel with a subtle shimmer-sheen.  This shade is ideal for light to medium skin tones.
  • Terre Halee is a deeper, dirtier bronze with a subtle golden sheen.  It has the same feel an dfinish of Terre d’ore–a smooth, silken powder with a light shimmer and soft sheen.  This shade is ideal for medium to deep skin tones.

I’m on the lighter side of medium, but I’d definitely classify myself as medium in skin tone.  I find I like Terre d’or just a little more than Terre Halee on me, but I like a softer, lighter application of bronzer.  The sand pattern is cute without being too-beautiful-to-use or just a mist of overspray, too.

With a whopping 0.38 oz. of bronzer, this should last you all summer and then some.  At least Chanel didn’t skimp on product, even if this is a pricier bronzer (but the same price as other permanent shades of Soleil Tan de Chanel).

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  For a very silky smooth bronzer, Chanel’s Soleil Tan de Chanel range is always a good choice.  Terre d’or is suitable for light to medium skin tones, while Terre Halee is more suitable for those with deeper skin tones.

Availability:  May 2010

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