Monday, February 18th, 2013

NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder
NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder

NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder ($34.00 for 0.24 oz.) is described as a “weightless, translucent powder” with a “soft matte finish that looks luminous in any light.” It looks stark white in the pan, and there’s a definite sheen; a pearly finish that certainly reflects light. The texture of the powder is very unique; I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything like it. It almost feels like a cream and powder hybrid–not just a cream-to-powder product–but the texture has the smoothness of a cream but the thinness and dryness of a powder. Because of this texture, you really need to swirl and swish your brush across the surface (if you use a brush) to loosen the product.

I primarily used a powder brush to apply the product (I liked the results of MAC’s 134 best), and the powder, while it can swatch more heavily and look white and almost chalky, disappears and holds true to its translucency claim applied to the skin. There’s no powderiness in the pan or as seen on the skin. It absolutely softens and smooths out the skin’s texture and appearance. There is a faint reflective quality as an overall glowing sheen but doesn’t translate as visible sparkle or obvious particles.  It extended the wear of my foundation by an hour or so–I have normal-to-dry skin.

Even though it’s titled a setting powder, it feels more like a finishing powder, though the category is, frankly, one that I always feels blends together/overlaps where the two are often more alike than not. In that vein, Guerlain Wulong has a similar sheen and coloring, but Wulong has a stronger shimmer-sheen finish, so it gives skin a more luminous (“glowy”) appearance. We are talking degrees, not canyons, of difference, though. It has more of a sheen to its finish than Hourglass Diffused Light, which I reviewed yesterday.

One thing I noticed about the Pressed version is that you have to be really good about the brush or tool you use to apply it, because the surface of the powder doesn’t seem to react well to anything liquid/moisture/cream. It was really imperative to wait for my foundation to dry before brushing this on, because any smidgen of foundation caught on the brush (which I only used for applying the setting powder) would slightly harden the surface of the pan. There’s a very thin sponge included with the powder, and it works for application, but I found it dirtied very quickly and resulted in far more foundation transfer into the pan than preferable.

I will be reviewing the Loose version shortly after this, and while I prefer the look of the Pressed over the Loose, I really don’t like how touchy the surface of the pressed powder is and find the Loose one is easier to apply and maintain. Also worth noting: the pan of this is on the smaller size at only 0.24 oz., though physically it seemed rather large (even the Loose version has 0.35 oz.).

The Glossover

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product

Translucent Crystal

A

There's no powderiness in the pan or as seen on the skin. It absolutely softens and smooths out the skin's texture and appearance. There is a faint reflective quality as an overall glowing sheen but doesn't translate as visible sparkle or obvious particles.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder ($45.00 for 0.35 oz.) is described as a “soft, warm pale yellow powder.” It’s a pale, pale white with subtle yellow undertones and a barely-there sheen. This one didn’t have any sparkle or shimmer. I’m not an expert on finishing powders, as I’ve only tried a dozen or so on the market, but you can see my past reviews, which may be helpful. From what I’ve tried, I felt like MAC’s Sheer Mystery Powder may have been the most similar in terms of feel, look, and composition (pressed, soft, no sparkle), but I wouldn’t say they’re dupes for each other.

Diffused Light is supposed to “reduce redness and give skin clarity.” Like all of the shades within the new range, it is supposed to be suitable for all skin tones. The larger idea behind the Ambient Lighting Powders is that they help to make your skin look like it’s been lit by soft, diffused light; think having a bit of a photographer and his lighting crew follow you around, except in powder form.

I applied Diffused Light over Hourglass’ Veil Fluid foundation using the Ambient Powder Brush to the right half of my face (see photos below), and I think the effect is exactly as anticipated: something that’s nigh on invisible to the eye in terms of seeing the product but that it does soften the way the skin looks. The natural textures and imperfections of the skin, including some unevenness, pores, and the like, look softer and smoother. Because it is a powder, too, it will take down any shine and does help to prolong the wear I get out of my foundation by an hour or so.

It didn’t look heavy, caky, or obvious on; there’s no residual powderiness that’s there as it sits on the skin, because you can’t see what you’ve put on. This is exactly what a finishing powder should be; and really, it’s what base makeup is all about: your skin but better. I have a medium complexion, and this did not look chalky or ashy when I applied it to my face, though it did look potentially chalky when I did a heavy swatch on my arm–so if you do the same in-store, you might try seeing it blended and applied on the face.

The powder itself is incredibly finely-milled and soft, which is great for application and blending of the product on the skin. However, a downside to that is that it does kick up a fair amount of excess powder (and I used Hourglass’ own Ambient Powder Brush) as the bristles disturb the surface of the powder. Again, none of this excess turns up on the skin, but there is some waste, I’d say. It is more “pigmented” as a result compared to other products in the category, like Guerlain Pressed Meteorites.  The excess is, ultimately, wasted product, and it does get into the nooks and crannies of the compact and some disappears into the air. That’s really my only complaint!

The Glossover

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product

Diffused Light

A+

Hourglass launches another great product, and it's easily a line I can see becoming holy grail material for some. It's impossible to over-do, and it definitely makes skin look better without looking like you've patted powder all over.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Monday, January 21st, 2013

Too Faced The Secret to No Makeup Makeup Face Palette
Too Faced The Secret to No Makeup Makeup Face Palette

The Secret to No Makeup Makeup is Makeup

Too Faced The Secret to No Makeup Makeup Face Palette ($39.00 for 0.65 oz.) includes a bronzer, cream blush, powder blush, concealer, luminizer, and brightener.

Bronzing Veil is a beige-brown with a soft shimmer; it’s definitely not even close to being orange. For very fair complexions, it’ll be well-received. For medium to dark, it will hardly show up (better as a highlighter than anything else). It has a soft, finely-milled feel, but it is a little powdery. On its own, it wore for six and a half hours. MAC Sun Dipped is warmer and browner.

Creme Blush is a cool-toned, blue-based cotton candy pink with a semi-matte finish. There’s very little sheen/shimmer in this, so it looks natural on the cheeks, and it does blend out well. The cream blush only lasted four hours on me, and I have normal-to-dry skin (and I was on the drier side at the time of testing). MAC I’m the One is darker and powder-based. NARS Gaiety is a touch bluer and powder-based. MAC Peony Petal is darker and powder-based.

Blush is a cool-toned, bule-based cotton candy pink with a light dusting of silver shimmer over a matte finish. It is very, very close in color to the cream blush in the palette. The pigmentation was good, and it blended well on the skin. It wore for seven and a half hours. MAC I’m the One is darker. NARS Gaiety is a touch bluer. MAC Peony Petal is darker.

Conceal is a light beige with subtle warm undertones. It’s very creamy and wet, and it’s thin with semi-sheer coverage. The dry down time was a little long, and it tended to get caught in fine lines and settle there. For anyone who regularly uses concealer, I don’t think this will be your go-to; if you rarely use concealer or only in emergencies, it might work. Because of the lighter shade, it will be better for lids and under eyes for more complexions, whereas light-medium complexions may find it works all over.

Luminize is a shimmering beige. It’s very, very sheer and more of a faint, dustnig of sheen/shimmer. I tried wearing it on cheeks as well as on the brow bone–you couldn’t really see the brow bone getting highlighted. It seemed a little better on the cheek.

Brighten is a pink-toned, very pale beige. It has a thin, creamy consistency. I used this lightly on the lid and patted over the concealer (that I used beneath my eye). This had more impact on brightening/covering my under eye area more than the concealer.

This is a palette that would be best suited for lighter complexions; I think darker skin tones will find the bronzer to be better as a highlighter, while the concealer and brightener may not be useful at all. Similarly, if you don’t like cool-toned blushes on you, both are very, very blue-based. As a comment for all, I wasn’t overly impressed by the concealer, luminizer, or brightener–I think there are definitely better standalone products on the market that will do a lot more for your complexion. Sometimes palettes knock it out of the park because you get a ton of fantastic products for the price of just a few, and other times, palettes perform decently, but individual products out-perform them. With staples like concealer, brighteners, and the like–I would spend my money on the right shades for your skin tone in excellent formulas.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Too Faced The Secret to No Makeup Makeup Face Palette Review, Photos, Swatches

B
The bronzer and two blushes are the better part of the palette, but the concealer, luminizer, and brightener are really so-so. They're best for someone who rarely uses these types of products and doesn't have standalone versions.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm
Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

More of a Base than a BB Cream

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm ($34.00 for 1.18 oz.) is described as a “beauty balm that minimizes pores, lines, wrinkles, and redness instantly” plus “significantly firmer, more-lifted skin in eight weeks.” This is really not a tinted moisturizer, sheer foundation, or the like; the coverage is described as “translucent” once it dries down. Instead of tinting, it’s supposed to “[diffuse] light with high-tech pigments.”

Muse has an excellent write-up for this, and the best takeaway from her review is, “Put aside what you know about traditional Asian BB Creams because this is not a BB Cream formula that would be comparable to those.” She is my personal go-to for all things BB Cream, because she’s tried them extensively (and not just what we see in the states as marketed as BB Creams!).

Straight out of the tube, it looks like a light-medium peachy-beige; definitely warm-toned, and almost orange-y. Blended out, it matched my forearm (about NC20), and when I applied it to my face, matched me there–well, more like you couldn’t really see it. It kind of looks, feels, and acts more like a primer than anything else when I used it. The way it looks is my skin just a little better–yes, everything is just a bit softened overall. There’s no real coverage, so any redness, spots, and the like doesn’t really get evened out or covered, but otherwise, it definitely minimizes the look of “pores, lines, [and] wrinkles,” just as described (but misses on redness, at least for me). I can’t weigh in re: “firmer, more-lifted skin,” since I haven’t used it for eight weeks and won’t be doing so.

The texture is lightweight, creamy, and thin (but not runny). It didn’t feel tacky on the skin, and it was easy to blend, but I found it spread best in small areas, rather than in larger areas, because it dried down quickly. I did feel like I needed to apply a fair amount to cover my entire face in the product, not because I was trying to achieve coverage (as in covering up my skin), but as a result of the quick-to-dry texture that just wouldn’t really spread from say, forehead to nose or chin. It is also mint-scented; I didn’t notice it when I wore it, but when I swatched it on my arm, and then put my nose to my arm, I could definitely smell it–so depending on how sensitive you are to scents, you may or may not notice it.

If you have good skin naturally, it might be worth checking out if you’re looking to diffuse the look of lines and pores. On its own, the diffusing effect seemed to last for six to seven hours.  It feels and acts a bit like a primer, but when I wore it as a primer, it didn’t extend the wear of my foundation/blush, and I felt like it made blending my foundation on top of it more difficult (not by a lot, just noticeably a different application experience). On my end, because my biggest skin concern is evening out my skin tone (and if I’m going to wear a face product, I want a little coverage otherwise I’ll just go bare-faced), I haven’t found a way that I’d personally incorporate it into my routine.

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Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Guerlain Mythic Meteorites Voyage Powder
Guerlain Mythic Meteorites Voyage Powder

Instant Photoshop for Your Skin

Guerlain Mythic Meteorites Voyage Powder ($55.00/$170.00 for 0.26 oz.) consists of a “blend of matte and pearly shades … mixture of six correcting or light-enhancing colors to deliver the purest radiance.” When blended and applied together, they create a pale pink powder with subtle shimmer/sparkle. Chantecaille Les Petales de Rose is more shimmery with a warmer golden sheen. MAC Lightscapade is more shimmery. MAC Light Sunshine has a bit more of a sheen and powderiness to it.

So, after discovering the majesty of Wulong over the holiday season, I knew I had to see whether the always-available Mythic was similar/comparable (because Wulong is limited edition, and while you can refill the compact, it would have to be with Mythic). One of the reasons I wanted to find out about their similarities is because you can purchase the pan without the compact–the pan will run you $55, whereas the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle with cost you $170.

Initially, I thought, “This is going to be different,” but as is the nature of the product, no, not really (and that’s not a bad thing). What I noticed more with Mythic is that it’ll be a better mattifying product, because it has more of a matte, powdered base color with a very subtle sheen and a dusting of delicate micro-shimmer. Wulong reads slightly more as a barely-there sheen with less of a mattifying texture. In the pan, Mythic appears cooler-toned, but on, I don’t notice any coolness at all, because it is designed to be a transparent finishing powder over all else. For those who couldn’t bear the price of Wulong, if you have an existing compact or an empty palette to store it in, Mythic is something worth checking out instead. I measured, and the diameter of the pan appears to be 55mm.

Guerlain’s Meteorites Voyage Powders are really a pressed version of their famous Meteorite with less emphasis on shimmer, more on radiance, brightening, and creating an illusion of better skin.  That’s really what these powders do for me:  give me the effect of Photoshop in real life. They’re a subtle something-rather that no one can point to and say, “Oh, nice highlighter!’ but instead say, “Hey, are you doing something different with your skin today?”  As a finishing powder, it’s the very last step in the routine, right after setting powder, but honestly, I regularly use this (and Wulong) as both my setting and finishing powder–I have normal-to-dry skin, so I imagine that’s part of why I can get away with it–but I have noticed it still extends the wear of my base makeup by about an hour.

This is the kind of product that either makes it into your everyday routine or you’ll never understand how anyone on earth could shell out money for something they can’t (or barely) see. It’s okay to feel either way; what’s most important is that you enjoy your makeup. I’ve used either this or Wulong since getting Wulong (and prior to that, I was using Guerlain’s Illuminating & Mattifying Pressed Powder, which is also a worthwhile alternative), but I have been using this specifically for the past two weeks.  For me, it is absolutely part of my everyday routine.  If you asked me to choose, I would say Wulong–but that is because it is limited edition, because I like the look of the compact, and I’m just a little warm.

The Glossover

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product

Mythic

A+
This is the kind of product that either makes it into your everyday routine or you'll never understand how anyone on earth could shell out money for something they can't (or barely) see. It's okay to feel either way; what's most important is that you enjoy your makeup.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

MAC Light Medium Sheer Mystery Powder
MAC Light Medium Sheer Mystery Powder

MAC Making Pretty has a Mystery–Powder That Is!

MAC Light Medium Sheer Mystery Powder ($65.00 for 0.56 oz.) is a sheer, pressed powder. Each year, MAC launches it with their “couture” collection (typically at the end of the year), and this is one of three shades. Light Medium is likely a good bet for NC/NW20. It has a mostly neutral undertone, and when sheered out, matches my forearm pretty well (which is around NC20).  It also is available in Medium Plus and Dark Secret.

It can work as a finishing or setting powder. It has a lightweight, finely-milled texture that’s very soft and silky-smooth. Now, one aspect that must be mentioned is that you actually get a refill with your purchase (each pan is 0.28 oz.). To compare, MAC’s Select Sheer/Pressed Powder is $24.00/0.42 oz.  I’ve used this many times in the past, and it helps to set or mattify makeup.  What’s nice about the finely-milled powder is that it doesn’t look powdery on the skin, and it’s impossible to overdo.

This collection is all about packaging, but I think it’s a let-down.  Over the years, the Mystery Powder compacts have gotten lighter and lighter, and this year’s feels the lightest so far.  It’s in the same style as this year’s holiday palettes, but instead of the pastel cushion, it has faux shagreen.  It’s just the metallic edging is all plastic. It doesn’t feel like a $65 compact without some heft.

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