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

P
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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Friday, October 19th, 2012

Guerlain Wulong Meteorites Pressed Powder
Guerlain Wulong Meteorites Pressed Powder

If You’d Like a Little Luxury in Your Makeup Bag…

Guerlain Wulong Meteorites Pressed Powder ($170.00 for 0.26 oz.) is really meant to be the creme de la creme of luxury compacts and powders. This holiday’s refillable compact is a black lacquered metal case that has a lot of heft–the whole compact clocks in at just under 5 oz. The top of the compact is raised with Guerlain’s signature rosette, and the interior of the rosette is made up of gold mother-of-pearl.

Wulong is a sheer veil of warm, golden ivory glow. It’s glow in a compact, really, but in a subtle, barely-there way. According to Guerlain, the powder “combines six shades to ensure a pure, flawless and luminous complexion regardless of skin tone.” It is subtler compared to Perles du Dragon. I used it dusted all over my face as a finishing powder, though I also used it to set my makeup when I tested it (so you would only see the effect of this product). Without the powder, my foundation only lasts around eight hours, and while it’s good, it’s not pristine after eight hours. With the powder, my foundation lasted well into the tenth hour, and I didn’t get any afternoon or evening shininess on my t-zone.

The effect of Wulong is lightly mattifying but mostly softening and diffusing; it makes my pores (almost) disappear and softens lines.  It’s kind of like real-life Photoshop for your skin.  What it does is similar to what regular Meteorites do, but the compact version is more travel friendly.  I applied it with a large tapered brush like MAC’s 184.  The texture is softer than silk, smoother than butter; it’s finely-milled to the point where it melts against the skin.  It never looks powdery or cakey, and on my medium skin tone, it’s not at all ashy.

I’m not certain that the actual shade of Wulong will be later available in a refill, but Mythic Voyage is at present  and the refill is $55, to give you an idea of the cost of the product compared to the cost of the product and compact. I haven’t tried Mythic to my memory, so I don’t know how comparable it is. I would expect a similar effect overall, because the formula is so transparent and finely-milled.  The back of Wulong says “Refillable with Mythic 01.” You might also consider Guerlain’s Illuminating & Mattifying Pressed Powders, which are also part of the Meteorites family, though those are more matte than Wulong.

There’s no planet where I would feel comfortable saying this is a must-have–not at $170–but it’s a lovely product that performs well by making my skin look 15-20% better than it is and extending the wear of my base.  I’d be more apt to purchase a refill and skip the compact to save $115.  The compact is gorgeous.  It’s exactly what luxury beauty packaging should be.  I’m just not that much of a packaging junkie, but I routinely use pressed Meteorites to finish my foundation.  Wulong is one piece I’ll treasure and enjoy for years.  It’s very much a collector’s item, and I can see why some Guerlain collectors make sure they’re first in line for these compacts.

The Glossover

LE
product

Wulong

A+
There's no planet where I would feel comfortable saying this is a must-have--not at $170--but it's a lovely product that performs well by making my skin look 15-20% better than it is and extending the wear of my base.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Chanel Reverie Natural Finish Loose Powder
Chanel Reverie Natural Finish Loose Powder

Chanel Reverie Natural Finish Loose Powder ($52.00 for 1.0 oz.) is described as a “rosy golden beige.” I think Chanel missed a vital component of the description, though: LOTS AND LOTS OF SPARKLING BITS AND BOBS. The base color is a soft, candlelit beige with a hint of warmth and pinkness that features flecks of sparkle. It seems less sparkly compared to last holiday’s Feerie (which I don’t own but saw briefly). If you’re not a fan of loose sparkle in your face powders, I’d pass on this. It’s a finishing powder that mattifies and sets makeup, but it also had noticeable bits of sparkle everywhere I applied it. I barely patted it on, and there was a healthy blanket of sparkle all over my face (well, the half I applied it to).

The good and bad news is that you can’t really see it in the photos. You can definitely see it in person, though. We were waiting for some to-go food when I was testing it, and my husband looked at me strangely and said, “You have glitter all over your face.” Why, yes, yes, I did! I’d describe the particle size to be more that of sparkle, so noticeably smaller than glitter but larger than shimmer and more reflective. It’s not so densely-packed with sparkle that every inch of your skin is sparkly, but it’s definitely apparent.

I’m not keen on it as a finishing powder; I think the random sparkles take away from the mattifying, finishing effect of the powder itself. I’d rather grab one of the flesh-toned shades (although, this is really quite transparent on, as finishing powders are designed to be) that do just that but do not have any sparkle. However, The Muse loves it, so give her a review a look-see for some balance. With the amount of sparkle in this, I thought it was better suited for holiday glitz on shoulders and decolletage. It would even work well on legs and arms. Now that I think of it that way, it reminds me of an old Benefit powder that was a sparkly powder that came with an elegant, over-sized pouf to apply, which was quite fun and pretty for body.

The powder itself does mattify and finish off foundation quite well, and it helps keep my foundation in place and to last longer by extending the wear an hour or two hours. I don’t think it hides imperfections, though, because the sparkle draws attention to them.  It’s extremely finely-milled and feels truly like silk against the skin.  It’s lightweight, doesn’t look cakey, and should work well on many complexions.

The Glossover

LE
product

Reverie

A-
The powder itself does mattify and finish off foundation quite well, and it helps keep my foundation in place and to last longer by extending the wear an hour or two hours. It's extremely finely-milled and feels truly like silk against the skin. It's lightweight, doesn't look cakey, and should work well on many complexions.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Thursday, July 5th, 2012


OCC Skin: Conceal

OCC Skin: Conceal (Concealer)

OCC Skin: Conceal ($20.00 for 8.5 grams) recently launched with twelve shades (which is impressive for a concealer range). There are six yellow-based shades and six red-based shades. Each concealer is packaged in a clear plastic screw-top jar, and inside is the concealer. The concealer is in a hardened block, but it’s creamy to the touch and as you dip your brush in it. The texture isn’t too creamy, which can lead to a lot of settling or sliding around during the day, but it isn’t so dry that it’s difficult to blend out. It has amazing opaque coverage; it will hide just about anything, and it never feels heavy, looks cakey, or requires a lot of product. Just a quick pat of concealer on any area will conceal most imperfections.

Y2 was a good match for me and most of my face; if I want to be really perfect in color, I mix a little of Y1 in, but usually, Y2 is very, very close. I’ve been reaching for this a lot in the past few weeks, because it’s quick, easy to use, and lasts all day. It doesn’t slide around, separate, or crease during the day. I very rarely use concealer, though I’ve been reconsidering as the older I get, the less sleep I get (I wake up 3-4 times a night and get about 3-4 hours total), I have found it has impacted my under-eye areas. I’ve used this underneath the eyes, but I’ve primarily been using this to conceal little imperfections on the skin before running to the store. I love that it looks as natural as my real skin, because I’m not wearing any foundation or tinted moisturizer – just the concealer patted on the areas I needed and out the door.

My preferred application method is definitely fingertips. It warms up the product just a wee bit, and it helps blend the product in effortlessly. I have used OCC’s Concealer Brush (which is what is recommended by the brand), and it works well, but the brush itself sometimes feels too big. I like smaller, more precise brushes for concealer work myself, and then I like a fluffier brush to blend out the concealer (something like MAC’s 217). One thing about application is less is so much more; a little goes a long way–and I’m serious!–use much less than you think. Even if you use fingertips, and you hardly see any on your finger, go with it. You’d be surprised!

I really appreciate OCC’s commitment to their customer base (both professional and consumer) and quality; these concealers took two years to develop to be David’s (the founder) “perfect” concealer. It’s not too creamy, lasts all day long, doesn’t crease, and works even when my skin is a little dry. The coverage is fantastic; totally opaque but can be sheered out if you need lighter coverage.

Shades as described by OCC:

  • R0 is the palest red-based skin tone.
  • R1 is a pale red-based skin tone.
  • R2 is a medium-light red-based skin tone.
  • R3 is a medium-dark red-based skin tone.
  • R4 is a dark red-based skin tone.
  • R5 is the darkest red-based skin tone.
  • Y0 is the palest yellow-based skin tone.
  • Y1 is a pale yellow-based skin tone.
  • Y2 is a medium-light yellow-based skin tone.
  • Y3 is a medium-dark yellow-based skin tone.
  • Y4 is a dark yellow-based skin tone.
  • Y5 is the darkest yellow-based skin tone.

The Glossover

coming-soon

OCC Skin: Conceal (Concealer) Review, Photos, Swatches

A+
There's so much to love about this concealer: a great balance between creamy and stiff so it wears well and all-day without creasing or sliding around underneath the eye, opaque coverage that's still able to be blended out, and a large color range.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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