Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette ($58.00 for 0.35 oz.) contains three shades of the brand’s Ambient Lighting Powders. The three shades include Dim Light and Radiant Light, both which are part of the permanent range, and a new (and limited edition) shade called Incandescent Light. Each shade is 0.116 oz. in size, compared to the full-sized compact which contains 0.35 oz. At a $45 price point for individual shades, the palette is a nice way to try the new powders and have multiple shades to choose from.  You do also get a 0.16 oz. vial of Veil Mineral Primer (worth about $8), which I’ve reviewed here. It’s not a value-packed palette in terms of price-per-ounce (total value of the palette is $53, including the primer), but getting a variety of shades of a product that is quite pricey individually may be worth it–it will take awhile to get through these pans even at this size.

Dim Light is described as a “neutral peach beige powder.” It’s a pale, light beige with neutral to warm undertones and a very subtle satin shimmer/sheen. The color is barely visible against my skin tone when layered heavily (to show color), and it blends out seamlessly without making me look any darker or lighter. I applied this all over my face like a setting/finishing powder with Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Brush. I couldn’t think of anything I have that’s quite like this and in this shade. The closest product that I’m familiar with is Guerlain’s Meteorites Voyage Powders, which are more translucent and sheerer. According to Hourglass, the main purpose of Dim Light is to blur imperfections–which it does admirably.

Incandescent Light is described as a “pearlescent powder.” It’s a pale, light beige with neutral undertones and a soft ivory shimmer. It’s a bit different from the other Ambient Light powders, because it is a lot more shimmery, and Hourglass is positioning it to “highlight cheekbones and [brighten] the complexion with a celestial glow.” It works well for illuminating the skin where it is applied, and the shimmer doesn’t emphasize pores or make the skin appear oily. Urban Decay Naked (P, $29.00) is more sparkly. Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight (P, $44.00) is similar but a smidgen warmer. NARS Debbie Harry Highlighter (LE, $29.00) is lighter. See comparison swatches.

Radiant Light is described as a “golden beige powder.” I reviewed it here when it was originally released. The purpose of Radiant Light is to had subtle warmth; very pale complexions will see this work more obviously on their skin tone than medium or deeper complexions. You can see some comparison swatches</> against Chanel Lucky Stripes, which is much more golden and darker (more of a bronzer on the skin) and NARS Miss Liberty, which is a bit more sparkly.

The Ambient Lighting Powders breathe life back into the skin after you’ve applied foundations and setting powders–especially if you have more mattifying base products on. They’re not full-on highlighters, but they’re not exactly setting powders (by Hourglass’ definition, they are finishing powders). If you have very oily skin, you may still need your usual setting powder, but for my normal-to-dry skin, the Ambient Lighting Powders work as a setting and finishing powder in one for me. I get extended wear out of my base products, but the powders also smooths the skin’s appearance, minimizes pores and imperfections, and gives the skin a natural luminosity (not shiny, not shimmery). It is that something extra that someone won’t see and go, “Oh, nice lipstick!” but “Did you do something different with your skin?” When people start asking you about your skincare routine, that’s when you know a product is really delivering on its promises! I’m not alone–there are 47 reader reviews with an overall rating of 4.5. The only negative I have to say about the products is that the texture is very, very soft, so depending on the brush you use, excess powder can be kicked up (and wasted).

If you were one of several readers wondering about my skin in my last NARS’ post, this palette is responsible as I wore Dim Light all over my face with Incandescent Light done the bridge of my nose and along the tops of my cheekbones as a highlighter.

The Glossover

LE
palette

Ambient Lighting (Holiday 2013)

A+

The Ambient Lighting Powders breathe life back into the skin after you've applied foundations and setting powders--especially if you have more mattifying base products on. It is that something extra that someone won't see and go, "Oh, nice lipstick!" but "Did you do something different with your skin?" When people start asking you about your skincare routine, that's when you know a product is really delivering on its promises!

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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P
product

Dim Light

A+

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
LE
product

Incandescent Light

A+

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Friday, October 4th, 2013

Chanel Moon Light Natural Finish Loose Powder
Chanel Moon Light Natural Finish Loose Powder

Chanel Moon Light Natural Finish Loose Powder ($52.00 for 1.00 oz.) is described as a “luminous peach beige.” In the pot, it looks like a warm, yellowed peach with light gold sparkle. Swatched, it’s a pale, yellow-tinted beige with gold sparkle–but it looks virtually colorless on me (it seemed to sheer out and apply almost translucently). Guerlain Perles du Dragon (LE, $58.00) has smaller shimmer. Chanel Reverie (LE, $52.00) has a lighter base color. See comparison swatches.

If you like Chanel’s holiday loose powders like Reverie from last year, then you’ll probably enjoy this one. If you don’t like larger sparkle all over the face, I would skip. It’s a product where you can see visible sparkles on the skin, so while the powder tends to set and mattify the skin, the sparkles are on top. It’s not densely-packed with sparkle, but it will show up as the product is swept across the face. I like these powders by Chanel on legs and shoulders more, but on face, the sparkle size seems doesn’t work well. The texture feels lovely–very, very finely-milled and silky to the touch. When applied all-over, it does help to set my makeup and extends the wear of my base by an hour and a half.  One thing that Chanel claims, though, is that it is supposed “disguise imperfections” using photo-reflective pigments, but it doesn’t seem to make the finish of my skin better, blurred, softened, or anything like that–it does take down any shine and leave a smooth, matte finish that doesn’t look powdery or caked on but pores, for example, aren’t masked entirely.

The Glossover

LE
product

Moon Light

A-

If you like Chanel's holiday loose powders like Reverie from last year, then you'll probably enjoy this one. If you don't like larger sparkle all over the face, I would skip. It's a product where you can see visible sparkles on the skin, so while the powder tends to set and mattify the skin, the sparkles area on top.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Monday, August 26th, 2013

Guerlain Meteorites Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer
Guerlain Meteorites Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer

Guerlain Meteorites Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer ($71.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is supposed to “camouflage blemishes and discoloration” with “pearlescent extracts to capture and reflect light and blur the appearance of fine lines.” Guerlain says that it can be used under makeup or on its own (after moisturizer). It’s an illuminating or radiance-enhancing primer that gives skin a more luminous finish without being shiny (or even dewy).  It extends the wear of my foundation by an hour and a half to two hours, which just means everything looks better for longer.  The consistency is lightweight and so easy to spread and blend out on the skin, so it really does look good and feel good when worn over moisturizer without any foundation on top, and it can also be mixed in with tinted moisturizer easily.

After reviewing Les Ors, which was a limited edition primer for summer, many readers asked how it compared to the one of the permanent primers (there are two!), so here I am with a review! The biggest–and most obvious–difference is in the tint or color. This one is pink-based, so it’s more neutral and doesn’t really tint the skin, only adds very, very fine pearl all-over the skin. Les Ors is distinctly peachy, so on very fair skin, it could add a slight tint as well as radiance. The glow is slightly warmer, even on my medium complexion, as compared to the Meteorites primer. Both are lightweight with gel consistencies that absorb quickly and dry down without any shininess. The finish is decidedly luminous–not sparkly, glittery, or even shimmery–so it enhances the natural look of the skin rather than emphasizing pores or imperfections. They’re both the same price and size, and there was no visible difference on my skin tone, but on very fair or really cool/warm complexions, there might be a more perceptible difference.

The Glossover

P
product

Meteorites Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer

A+

The finish is decidedly luminous--not sparkly, glittery, or even shimmery--so it enhances the natural look of the skin rather than emphasizing pores or imperfections. It extends the wear of my foundation by an hour and a half to two hours, which just means everything looks better for longer.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Guerlain Parure de Lumiere Foundation
Guerlain Parure de Lumiere Foundation

Guerlain Parure de Lumiere Foundation ($59.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is supposed to be moisturizing, light-diffusing, and have medium coverage with a “sheer satin” finish. It’s available in a mere eight shades (which continues to be Guerlain’s biggest weakness with their foundations–a lack of shade range). It is recommended for normal, dry, and combination skin types (note, oily was not listed).

I’m usually between 02 Beige Clair and 03 Beige Naturel in Guerlain’s foundations, and it was no different with Parure de Lumiere. I used one pump of each shade for light-medium coverage all-over. To get more medium coverage, I used one and a half pumps of each shade. 02 Beige Clair is mostly neutral with beige undertones, whereas 03 Beige Naturel has moderately strong yellow undertones. When 02 Beige Clair is blended out on my skin, it actually looks almost pink-toned. I really wish the shade range was larger, but I don’t expect so (their newest foundation just popped up on Nordstrom with only six shades!).

Parure de Lumiere is a lightweight, long-wearing, skin-smoothing foundation that makes skin appear natural, radiant, and luminous without looking oily or greasy. The coverage is buildable from sheer to medium, though it lends itself naturally to a light-medium to medium application. For sheer coverage, I spritz my brush with a little water, and then I work the foundation across the skin; this enables me to get the sheerest coverage all-over and then build up coverage in the areas I need it most. I’ve been using this foundation on and off since November 2012, so I’ve had ample opportunity to use it under various skin conditions, seasons (though “seasons” in California are obviously less meaningful), and with many tools. I like applying it with fingertips quite a bit, and sponges work well, too. I really liked using Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush with this, as well as Hourglass #2 Foundation Brush. There hasn’t been a brush I’ve used with this that hasn’t done an admirable job of applying it, really; it’s not a tricky product to apply at all.

The consistency isn’t too thick or too thin, and it spreads well across the skin and looks very natural when it dries down. It’s not so dewy that it looks oily or wet, but it is definitely a more luminous finish, which is why I can see it not being recommended for oilier skin types. It is also somewhat hydrating, but it certainly wouldn’t replace your full-time moisturizer; it is one of the more forgiving foundations on dry patches and flakiness–especially after a half hour or so, as it absorbs into the skin. It lasts eight and a half hours well on my skin, but if I set with powder, I get closer to ten hours of wear.  The only downside (which isn’t that bad) is that it takes a little longer to dry down on its own if you don’t apply powder.

Ingredients

Active Ingredient: Titanium Dioxide 2.37%, Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate) 5.49%

Aqua (water), isododecane, glycerin, hydrogenated polyisobutene, methyl trimethicone, pentylene glycol, polyglyceryl-6 polyricinoleate, disteardimonium hectorite, butylene glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate, maris aqua (sea water), phenoxyethanol, chondrus crispus (carrageenan), polyglyceryl-2 isostearate, silica, dimethicone, calcium sodium borosilicate, PEG-10 dimethicone, stearic acid, sodium myristoyl glutamate, parfum (fragrance), alumina, silica silylate, propylene carbonate, aluminum hydroxide, butylphenyl methylpropional, linalool, citronellol, BYHT, alpha-isomethyl ionone, benzyl benzoate, geraniol, tropaeolum majus extract, tocopherol, limonene, citral, ethylhexylglycerin, [may contain: ci 77891 (titanium dioxide), ci 77492, ci 77491, ci 77499(iron oxides)]

The Glossover

P
product

Parure de Lumiere

A

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation
Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation

Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation ($62.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a lightweight foundation with buildable coverage and a natural finish. Giorgio Armani Beauty really pushes that it is about getting the least amount of product with the most amount of bang; it’s supposed to “[look] invisible and [make] skin appear luminous.” It’s available in twelve shades. The brand says #2, 3, and 4 are best for fair skin tones; #4.5, 5, 5.5, 6.5, 7, and 8 for medium complexions; and #10, 11.5, and 12 for darker skin tones.

I’ve used up an entire bottle of #5.5, having first used it around late November/early December, and recently finished it about a week ago. It usually takes me quite awhile to really determine if I love or just like a foundation. #5.5 is slightly light on me (but forgiving enough to be worn), while #7 is definitely too dark.  There are some I fall in love with right away; others I never want to wear again, but usually I fall in the middle and waffle. Maestro had a unique texture (to me), because it almost felt like a silicone primer and foundation in one; it has that velvety-smooth, mostly matte finish and feel once applied to the skin. The actual texture is thin and very liquid, so it is easy to apply a very sheer layer of coverage or build up without getting too much coverage (if undesired). It feels a bit like a dry oil, so synthetic brushes, sponges, and fingertips tended to be best for application in my experience. It is lightly scented with something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it; I did not notice the scent when applied or as I wore it, but it’s not scent-free in the bottle.

The brand recommends applying three drops in the palm of your hand, though I’m not certain what constitutes a drop, because you can fill the entire stem with product and really get all of it out, or you can do small squeezes and get small drops out. Three drops is half of what I need, and a whole stem-full is more than enough–so don’t be afraid if you’re bewildered and find yourself needing more than three drops! I’m not keen on the droplet applicator. I’d rather a pump or an open bottle, as the cap with the stem attached to it wobbles around if you just want to get some directly out of the bottle, so you can get bits of foundation on the surface it’s lying on. Dropping it directly on the face was also a 50/50 proposition where it would dribble down my face and land on my shirt. So, most of the time, I filled the stem and then squeezed it on the back of my hand. I would have much preferred a pump, though. I haven’t traveled with mine at all, but I have heard some people have had issues with the packaging surviving travel.

The coverage is light to light-medium, with almost medium coverage possible with layering, but overall, light to light-medium coverage, and it had a semi-matte finish. It wasn’t a totally flat, dull matte finish, but it was still quite matte. Between the finish and texture, I felt this was most appropriate for normal to oily skin. On drier skin, especially if you have any visible signs dryness, it can accentuate dry patches or flakiness. I only experienced this when my skin was at its driest and did not find it a problem for most of the time I wore it. The other thing to note is that when I did have some visible dry patches, while initially accentuated, after twenty to thirty minutes, they were less noticeable than they were initially, so there appeared to be some hydration coming from the formula itself. It has alcohol denat. as the fourth ingredient, which is drying in high concentrations (it is often used as an antiseptic and a solvent), but in my experience, appeared to be offset by the other ingredients as my skin did not get drier, so your mileage may vary and consider your skin and what it is/isn’t affected by (note: I am not a chemist, esthetician, or scientist!).

It’s a comfortable, long-wearing foundation, too, and you don’t always get supreme comfort with a longer-wearing product (which are often tight-feeling). With Maestro, it typically lasts me between eight and ten hours, without a primer or setting powder. With setting or finishing powder, the wear is usually more consistent and closer to ten hours with no patchiness or visible fading. Maestro photographs very well for me, and it performed well at evening out the complexion, hiding mild to moderate post-acne marks or scars, and refraining from settling into fine lines.  I would not recommend using this as your sole source of SPF; you’re not going to get the protection needed based on amount applied.

Ingredients

Active Ingredient: Octinoxate 3%

Cyclohexasiloxane, dimethicone, isododecane, alcohol denat, vinyl dimethicone/methicone silsesquioxane crosspolymer, phenyl trimethicone, acrylates/polytrimethylsiloxymethacrylate copolymer, peg-10 dimethicone, disteardimonium hectorite, fragrance, nelumbium speciosum flower extract, limonene, benzyl salicylate, synthetic fluorphlogopite, linalool, benzyl alcohol, propylene carbonate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, disodium stearoyl glutamate, water, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) flower oil, butylphenyl methylpropional, aluminium hydroxide, hexyl cinnamal; may contain: iron oxides, titanium dioxide

The Glossover

product

Maestro Foundation

A

For normal to oily skin types, this could be a nice foundation, as it has a natural matte finish (not too flat, but not too luminous) with light-medium coverage that wears well. For drier skin types, it can emphasize dry patches or flaking.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Monday, August 12th, 2013

Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Super-Charged Foundation
Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Super-Charged Foundation

Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Super-Charged Foundation ($48.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a gel-based formula that is “anti-aging, long-wearing” and “awakens your skin to its ideal radiance and clarity.” The coverage is supposed to be buildable from natural to full coverage, and it is supposed to have “supreme hydration.”

I tried Ivory Medium (14), which is most certainly not my shade (it appears to be the second lightest shade in the spectrum). I’ve included a photo below, but it’s a very sheer application so that most my natural skin tone can come through more and ended up having to apply loose powder (in a shade just darker than my natural skin tone) to make it presentable. Ivory Medium has a soft yellow undertone and a natural satin finish. It’s a little lighter than my forearm, which is light-medium. The very first thing you absolutely need to know is that this foundation is heavily fragranced–one of the most perfumed formulas I have tried. I don’t even remember Chanel being this scented. It smelled like stale flowers to me, but I’m not keen on floral scents (there just seemed to be something off about the scent, though), and I loathed wearing this foundation for every second because of the lingering, all-day scent.

From afar, the foundation looks fine, photographs nicely without any flashback. It has a lightly thickened liquid consistency that spreads evenly across the skin and has a wet, cool feel. It’s completely unforgiving to dry patches, though, and I thought maybe it would be more forgiving after a few hours (because this is touted as hydrating), but it just got worse. I have normal-to-dry skin, but this accentuated any dryness to the point where anyone talking to me would notice the foundation clinging to each piece of imperfect skin. Part of this seemed to be ensuring not to apply more than a light layer of product, and the best way to apply this was with a sponge (like a Beautyblender) over a brush, as most brushes seemed to give it a rather streaky finish. I was able to build to about medium coverage, but it starts to look thick and slightly caked on the skin.

It wears eight hours well, and then it starts looking faded/patchy in places (beyond just the drier areas) after ten hours of wear, so the wear-time was good. I wouldn’t say much longer than average, and I live in a dry climate (California), so I can’t say I’ve tested this under extreme conditions.

Marc Jacobs Bright Idea Remedy Concealer Pen ($39.00 for 0.08 oz.) is described as “an all-in-one eraser, brightener, and corrector.” It’s available in nine shades, and the one I tried was Bright Idea, which is a universal shade. It’s a pale pink with warm, pink undertones. It worked well to camouflage dark under eye circles and smudges (I’m wearing it on my left eye, which is on your right). The consistency is thin, not as thin as water but still quite liquid. It offers light-medium to medium coverage, and it takes a few minutes to really set in place. I would recommend applying, and then checking as you continue to do your makeup or get ready to blend the product again, because it will settle into creases as it sets. Once I’ve let it set and blended away any initial creasing, it doesn’t settle into my fine lines for the rest of the seven hours it wears well. After seven hours, the darkness seems to come back slowly but surely over the next few hours. It comes in a click-type pen, and the applicator is made out of palladium, so it is cool to the touch.

The Glossover

product

Genius Gel Super-Charged Foundation

C-

I have normal-to-dry skin, but this accentuated any dryness to the point where anyone talking to me would notice the foundation clinging to each piece of imperfect skin. Part of this seemed to be ensuring not to apply more than a light layer of product, and the best way to apply this was with a sponge (like a Beautyblender) over a brush, as most brushes seemed to give it a rather streaky finish. I was able to build to about medium coverage, but it starts to look thick and slightly caked on the skin.

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

7/10

Texture

7.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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product

Remedy Concealer Pen

B-

I would recommend applying, and then checking as you continue to do your makeup or get ready to blend the product again, because it will settle into creases as it sets. Once I've let it set and blended away any initial creasing, it doesn't settle into my fine lines for the rest of the seven hours it wears well.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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