Friday, February 5th, 2010

Illamasqua Katie Blush

The First Blush of Spring:  Illamasqua Katie Blush

Illamasqua Katie Blush ($23.00) is an ultra pale pastel pink with a matte finish. It has good color pay off, but it is extremely light in color. I don’t think it’s quite as pigmented as several of the other shade variastions I’ve tried in their powder blush line, though. Personally, I found it didn’t work on my skin tone; the paleness washed me out and made me look sickly. I think this is a shade very well suited for those with more porcelain complexions–could see it looking very spring-y and natural (and not sickly!).

Illamasqua’s blushes are nice for matte, pigmented color. The packaging isn’t my cup of tea (too bulky), but I like that the top is clear, so you can see the color without having to open the compact. Illamasqua brushes are a slightly cheaper investment ($23 to $25) than NARS blushes, though you get a little less (0.02 oz. to be precise). So far, all of the blushes I’ve tried by Illamasqua have had matte finishes, so it’s easy to wear them and have them turn out natural-looking. You can always brush on a highlighter if you want a shimmery look–but you don’t have to, which is nice. Everyone needs a few matte blushes in their life!

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Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Smashbox Paradise Blush

The First Blush of Spring:  Smashbox Paradise Blush Rush

Smashbox Paradise Blush Rush ($24.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a lightly golden shimmered peach with just a smidgen of pink in it. It’s more like an orange-coral, perhaps, but the pink really is downplayed. Paradise isn’t the most unique shade, but Smashbox’s Blush Rush formula is particularly lovely. It’s smooth, soft to the touch, and applies beautifully to cheeks. The color always look natural and never overdone, but they offer buildable color for those who want a light cheek and others who want a more intense look. Paradise is just one of those shades that’s incredibly easy to wear with a variety of looks from the everyday to the bold and dramatic. If you like blushes like MAC Springsheen and NARS Orgasm, Paradise is right there with ‘em!

I’ve always liked Smashbox’s permanent product packaging — it’s functional and sleek.  Cute packaging is fun, but it’s gotta be functional, too.  It just has a very clean look to it, which I dig.  Price-wise, it’s a little more expensive than your average blush at $184/oz. (compared to MAC blushes at $88/oz. and NARS blushes at $156/oz.), but actual investment is in line with NARS ($25) and Illamasqua ($23).

You can see me wearing Paradise in this look! :)

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

Recommendation: If you love your peachy blushes, Paradise may be a good one to add to your stash!

Availability: Sephora

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

MAC Cosmetics Spring Colour Forecast 1
MAC Azalea Blossom Blush Ombre

MAC Spring Colour Forecast: Blush Ombres Reviews, Photos, Swatches

Each part includes one “Blush Ombre,” which is a new product type. The Blush Ombres are really pretty to look at, and they are pretty large. They’re the size of MAC’s Beauty Powders, Pressed Powders, etc. Each of the Blush Ombres has a gradient that fades from one color to another, but in reality, you just swirl your brush on top to apply a single shade. These are all decently pigmented and feel like more pigmented beauty powders from the ultra soft, silky texture.  Each blush is 9 grams / 0.31 oz. and retails for $25.00.

Official MAC description: A powder blush featuring a shade wave of gentle ombre hues. Ultra-fine formula provides the cheeks with flawless, medium-buildable coverage and lightly pearled, natural-looking radiance. Limited edition.

Blush Ombres

  • Azalea Blossom swirls together to blend into a soft, cool-toned pink with an almost lilac to it. For some reason, it reminded me of Saint Germain Lipstick in its coolness and pink tone, but it’s quite obviously not that cool-toned nor the same tone of pink. While there’s definitely shimmer in the powder, it’s very subtle when applied.
  • Ripe Peach is a peachy-orange with subtle gold sheen/shimmer. Like all of the blush ombres, the shimmer is very minimal and hard to see.
  • Vintage Grape is a dirty plum-purple. There’s nearly no shimmer that you can detect when applied, and it is surprisingly dark. Luckily, when applied with a brush, you can build up the intensity so you don’t look like someone punched you in the cheek!
  • Springshine is a dirty medium-brown that reads fairly neutral. I could see this working as maybe a bronzer or a pop of bronze on cheeks. Like the other shades in this product family, the shimmer is very subtle.

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Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Cool, Pink Cheeks with Illamasqua Chased Blush

Illamasqua Chased Blush ($23.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a matte, blue-based medium pink. I know Sephora describes this as a lilac pink, but I don’t know if that’s very accurate. Its not so much lilac as it is just a very cool-toned pink. Personally, I found this shade a bit hard to pull off, but I liked it softly tapped onto the apples of cheeks with a smoky eye and a light pink or nude lip.

The texture is matte, so its great for those who find shimmery blushes too much for their skin. Illamasqua’s blushes, while matte, are not powdery or chalky. As with most matte textures, some trial and error is to be expected, but if you keep working with it, you’ll happen upon just the right technique and application method to give you very natural-looking color.

I also like that you can build up the color intensity by applying more, but you don’t have to worry about getting too much with just one swipe, either. I found just one tap of the brush on the powder was enough to give me the color intensity I wanted more often than not. Its always better to start off lighter rather than heavier–easier to add more than it is to diffuse it. But in the event that you feel like you’ve overdone it, use a buffer brush or take some loose powder and blend it out to lighten the color.

I’m not a huge fan of Illamasqua’s packaging, because its bulkier than Id like (or that it needs to be). You get a good amount of product for your money — Illamasqua’s blushes are just slightly more expensive than NARS in terms of price per ounce ($156 compared to $164). Illamasqua blushes come in a good range of shades, ranging from vibrant to soft.

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Friday, January 29th, 2010

Chanel In Love Blush

The First Blush of Spring:  Chanel In Love Blush

Chanel In Love Blush ($42.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a dirty coral-peach with soft, golden shimmer. It can be applied softly or built up in intensity for a bolder cheek.  I’ve found Chanel blushes to be extremely smooth and silky and have a tendency to blend very well into skin to look natural. In Love had this same texture and feel when I used it. (I wore In Love in this smoky look earlier this week.) It worked best when lightly patted onto skin with a blush brush (I like MAC’s 116) and then a gentle sweeping motion at the end to blend together.

I like pairing it with gold and copper eyeshadows as well as smokier looks. It’s versatile and definitely a shade I’m often drawn to. The shimmer in this is very fine and smooth, so it looks more like a shimmer-sheen than glittery shimmer. I just wish you got more for your buck; Chanel blushes are some of the smallest (by weight) blushes on the market, which then makes them one of the most expensive blushes by the ounce ($300/oz., whereas Dior blushes are $190/oz.).

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For silky soft blush, Chanel always makes for a good choice–when you’re feeling a little indulgent.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Nectar Shimmerbrick

Bobbi Brown Cabana Corals:   Nectar Shimmerbrick

Bobbi Brown Nectar Shimmerbrick ($38.00 for 0.4 oz.) is new for spring–part of the Cabana Corals Collection–and is a coral lover’s dream. If you love Shimmerbricks and have an affinity for corals and bronzed golds, I think this just may be a new favorite for you.  (Also releasing with Cabana Corals is Pink Quartz Shimmerbrick!)

When worn on cheeks, it works as a blusher and highlighter in one, because it packs plenty of color along with a soft frosty shimmer sheen. Although some Shimmerbricks are just a tad too frosty to me at times (at least on cheeks!), Nectar is just right. It hits that sweet spot of color, shimmer, and sheen. It can be applied with a light hand for a softer application or layered for an intense cheek for night time. Since I am an absolute fiend for all things coral, Nectar is most definitely my favorite Shimmerbrick to-date!

Shimmerbricks are a pricey investment, but they’ll last you a long time (or forever, in my case) — you get a whopping 0.4 oz., which makes the cost per ounce just a smidgen more than MAC blushes. Each of the five strips of color swatch beautifully; rich color, intense pigmentation, and smooth to the touch Shimmerbricks can be used on the eyes or cheeks, and you could get a very pretty sunset-esque kind of look out of these shades in addition to its usage of a very coral-bronzed blusher. I like that it can be a multi-tasker, at least. I have to admit, I haven’t worn any Shimmerbricks on my eyes yet but may have to give it try with Nectar.

You can see me wearing it in this look! :)

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

Recommendation: If you’re a Shimmerbrick collector, I know you need to check this out. If it’s your first-time thinking about a Shimmerbrick, I think you need to swatch!

Availability: Bobbi Brown, Nordstrom

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