Thursday, April 7th, 2011

TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer
TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer

TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer

TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer SPF 18 ($25.00 for 2.25 oz.) is designed to give “long lasting moisturizer” with a polished look while skin feels “silky.” Immediately, I wished there were more shades available–there are only three: Light, Light/Medium, and Medium. I tested out the Light/Medium shade, which I found to be a pretty good match, though perhaps a hair light, for my complexion (I’m NC25/30 in MAC, Punjab in NARS).

Tinted moisturizers are great for days when you want a little coverage but not a lot of makeup. Hallmarks of a great tinted moisturizer are sheer coverage, creamy consistency, and hydrating. BalmShelter provides enough coverage to even out my skin tone (especially around the cheeks, where I am a bit blotchy) and helping to give my face a uniform color (I’m darker around my hair line than anywhere else). It has a natural finish, so it’s not matte but not too dewy. I did find it more dewy than not, and if you have oilier skin, you may find it even more necessary to finish with a setting powder. I do, normally, set even tinted moisturizer with powder, though.

What I really liked about BalmShelter was its very creamy consistency; it was thick without being goopy and spread really well and evenly. It definitely felt like a lotion, which made it even easier to blend and cover my face during application. It comes in a squeeez tube, and there is no problem getting just what you need out. I wasn’t as keen on its ability to hydrate, though; it was decent but I felt like I needed to layer moisturizer underneath. I couldn’t just use BalmShelter in lieu of a moisturizer. For oilier skin types, it may be enough, but for my normal-to-dry skin type, it wasn’t quite enough. It wears for six to eight hours before I notice it has sheered out in some places (like my t-zone).

The Glossover

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TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer Review, Photos, Swatches

B
Though it notes this as a product that gives long lasting moisture, I felt it performed just below average. I like it, though, overall, because of how blendable and smooth it is to apply. It feels lightweight and provides enough coverage to even out subtle imperfections in skin tone but looks perfectly natural.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters ($23.00 for 0.12 fl. oz.) are a new and permanent product that will release in-stores on April 7th. There are three shades: Bright Forecast (mid-tone peachy coral), Light Boost (soft yellow cream), and Radiant Rose (light shell pink). They come in a twist-up, pen-type applicator. These highlighters are designed to provide a “sheer wash of color to highlight, brighten, and perfect.”

  • Bright Forecast is a soft peach with subtle orange tones. The peachy tones of this shade are good for brightening and lightening dark under eye circles without creating a green cast (that yellow-based correctors can cause). I found this one did the best to minimize my dark under eye circles while still looking natural.
  • Light Boost is a pale beiged yellow. Yellow is good for lightening darkness. This would work well as a subtle cheek or brow highlighter on those with yellow undertones.
  • Radiant Rose is a soft, pale pastel pink. Pink helps to brighten the skin tone. It can also be used to brighten the under eye area, like Benefit’s Eye Bright. This shade felt more opaque than the other two, and when I used it underneath my eye (without concealer on top), it was a little pale on me. I loved it more as an eyeshadow base and brow highlighter.

The Prep + Prime Highlighters come in a click-type brush pen that takes several initial twists to release the product, but after that, you should only need a couple clicks to dispense the product. Over time, I’ve become less of a fan of brush-type products, just because I hate the way the brush feels and looks as you use it and the product seems to just sit in there. I’d much rather use a separate brush that you can wash without fear of getting water back into the product. I did find that while it can be easily applied onto the skin with the applicator, blending and application went better using a fluffy brush like the 217 for small areas (or fingers).

I applied each shade over my cheeks and under eye area, because I really wanted the effect to stand out. I felt like when I just did the under eye, it was difficult to really see what was going on. I wouldn’t normally use these as I did for the swatch photos, but I figured what good are photos if you can’t spot the difference? These have a subtle effect, and if you layer concealer over them, the effect is even harder to pick up–not necessarily in a bad way (like, ooh, so subtle it’s not worth it), but it’s a subtle, natural effect that works well and looks lovely. More like, “Oh, you look pretty today, did you cut your hair?” kind of way.

These wore really well for me, and I even used Radian Rose as an eyeshadow base.  It looked really beautiful as a brow highlighter and lid brightener by itself, but it also held up as an eyeshadow base, too.  I didn’t notice any fading and certainly no creasing or settling into fine lines over eight hours of wear.

There are numerous brands with highlighter pens, including:

  • Dior (Sun Beam may be comparable to Bright Forecast; Roseglow to Radiant Rose)
  • Fresh (nothing seems comparable in color–these are skintone shades)
  • Fusion Beauty (nothing seems comparable in color–these are skintone shades)
  • Givenchy (Moon Light seems most comparable to Radiant Rose)
  • Guerlain (nothing seems comparable in color–these are skintone shades)
  • Sephora (#01 seems like Radiant Rose, #02 seems like Light Boost; #06 seems like Bright Forecast)
  • YSL (Light Peach seems comparable to Bright Forecast, Luminous Ivory to Light Boost, and Luminous Radiance to Radiant Rose)

These can help correct and brighten but they won’t necessarily conceal on their own. Bright Forecast can help a good deal with under eye circles, but it’s not opaque, so for some, it may be enough on its own. They’re definitely comparable to cult-favorite YSL Touche Eclat. Sephora also seems to offer a very comparable color range in their variation on the highlighter pen, and at $12 a pop, it might be worth trying (overall Sephora ratings show it to be good, though I have not tried it myself, so I cannot weigh in).

MAC is roughly half the price of the higher-end highlighter pens, and they seem to provide double the product (I saw many listed at 0.05 oz., a couple closer to 0.10 oz.), so the product seems to be priced in line with quantity and MAC’s price range.

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
These are easy to use, difficult to mess up or go overboard with, and work well to brighten, lighten, and add radiance for brows, eyes, or cheeks (depending on your skin tone!).

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Saturday, March 26th, 2011


Urban Decay Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer

Urban Decay Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer

For summer, it looks like Urban Decay listened to consumer feedback and repackaged their Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer! They initially launched it last year (and I reviewed it in full here), and I hated the packaging. It came with a pump dispenser, which inevitably dispensed far too much product, and the packaging itself seemed a bit cheap–the label appeared faded. This is such an upgrade!

From last year’s review:

  • Halo is the lightest and I think is neutral enough to work on both cool and warm toned skin, but it may not be light enough for our ultra pale friends. I think if you fit into MAC’s NC/NW15-20 range, this would be the best fit for you.
  • Bodyguard is the next lightest, described by Urban Decay as “medium light,” and it’s the shade I use. I’m NC25 in MAC, and I find Body Guard to be a decent match, if a little light. Ideally, I’d probably mix a bit of Bodyguard and Bulletproof together, but since the pump is such an issue, it’s not really possible.
  • Bulletproof is a medium shade, but it’s actually a big step from Bodyguard. It didn’t work for me as NC25, so I’d imagine it’s more around those at the NC/NW30-40 level.
  • Forcefield is described as medium dark, and it’s not too much darker than Bulletproof. It’s noticeably darker, but it doesn’t seem as big of a leap as from Bodyguard to Bulletproof. I would say this would suit shades around the NC/NW40-45 level.

For a full review for the formula and see how it wears, head on over here. I’m still waiting for official details from Urban Decay regarding availability, launch dates, and pricing, but I imagine it should be around $32 (which is what it is now).  From what I could tell, the formula felt the same, but again, I’m waiting to hear more :)

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Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Lancome Coral Crush Eyeshadow Palette
Lancome Coral Crush Eyeshadow Palette

Lancome Coral Crush Eyeshadow Palette

Lancome Coral Crush Eyeshadow Palette ($48.00 for 0.141 oz.) is warm, neutral palette with only a hint of coral but mostly variations on brown.

The all-over base shade is a soft pinked champagne beige with soft gold micro-shimmer. Next, the lid shade is a soft coral-orange with faint gold micro-shimmer–this is the only coral shade of the five but love how it doesn’t lean too orange. The crease shade is a red-based, warm medium-dark chocolate brown with very subtle bronze micro-shimmer. Though I can’t imagine anyone highlighting their brow with it, the highlighter shade is a smoky brown taupe with gray tones and a metallic finish. The liner shade is a dark, smoldering brown with bronze flecks of shimmer that works well wet or dry; when used wet, the color is richer and the shade has more of a metallic finish.

my thoughts on the formula: The texture of Lancome’s eyeshadows are very smooth–soft, silky–and all of these shades were excellent in terms of pigmentation. The rich colors, blendable texture, and mix of textures gave this palette a cohesive feel.

I’m disappointed in the quantity provided in the palette, though. Lancome’s Color Design Quads come in at 0.16 oz. and their Color Design Eyeshadow singles at 0.0458 oz., which works out to be $263/oz. and $371/oz. respectively. This palette is $340/oz., which makes it more expensive ($48 vs. $42) with less product (0.141 oz. vs. 0.16 oz) than the Color Design Quads.

The Glossover

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Lancome Coral Crush Eyeshadow Palette Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
This is the best of the new Lancome palettes from the ones I’ve tried so far. Not a dud in the bunch!

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

4/5

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Friday, March 18th, 2011

NYX HD Studio Foundation
NYX HD Studio Foundation

NYX HD Studio Foundation

NYX HD Studio Foundation ($15.00 for 1.26 oz.) is described by the brand as a foundation that reflects light to give skin a smoother appearance and reduce the appearance of pores. It also includes “tri-peptides infused to promote collagen generation, reduce wrinkles, and rejuvenate skin.” I’ve only used tihs foundation for a week, so I’m not going to even touch that last part.

The HD Studio Foundation delivers light-medium to almost medium coverage. The consistency is thin overall, but not runny or watery, so it spreads and blends out easily but applies more sheerly. It is a buildable product, so for those who want heavier coverage (up to medium), simply apply more or apply more to the areas where you need it. The foundation dries down quickly and has a velvet matte finish–not ultra matte but not too dewy. I did about twenty lip swatches with this foundation on, and it photographed quite nicely, which is ultimately one of the major marketing points for it.

I’m NC25/NC30 in MAC, 140 in Make Up For Ever, #02/03 in Guerlain, and I found #04 Sand Beige to be a fairly good match. It did have a strong yellow tone, though, so I would only recommend this shade match for those with medium skin tones with warm (yellow) under tones.

I used one pump for my entire face, and for me, my primary concern is evening out my skin–I have some blotchiness in my cheeks and my forehead is a little darker than the rest of my face (always fun to deal with!). At the time of review, I did not have much in the way of major active acne or post-acne marks.

It compares well with Make Up For Ever’s HD Foundation, but NYX’s coverage seems slightly less buildable and ends up being sheerer overlal. There’s a subtle but noticeable chemical-like scent when I used NYX’s but it seemed to dissipate after being applied. NYX’s shade range is inferior to Make Up For Ever’s (8 vs. 25), and it seems like the lightest and darker complexions will have trouble finding a match within the existing range.

I was surprised at how well it wore–it wears nicely for six to eight hours before sheering out (for me, that means on my forehead, which is where I get a little oily by the end of the day). I get a little longer with Make Up For Ever–eight to ten hours–but NYX’s HD Studio Foundation hangs out respectably even past its initial wear period and doesn’t disappear at lightning speed.

The Glossover

nyxHd

NYX HD Studio Foundation Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
It's one of the better budget-friendly foundations I've tried.  I can definitely see myself reaching for it when I'm taking a lot of photos, because it applies easily, has a photo-friendly finish, and works well.  Unlike other products in NYX's HD Studio line, this one fits the price range of the line.  It's cheaper than the HD Grinding Powder by $10!

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Guerlain Teint Rose Meteorites Illuminating & Mattifying Pressed Powder
Guerlain Teint Rose Meteorites Illuminating & Mattifying Pressed Powder

Guerlain Meteorites Illuminating & Mattifying Pressed Powder

Guerlain Teint Rose Meteorites Illuminating & Mattifying Pressed Powder ($56.00 for 0.23 oz.) is designed to provide a fine, lightweight all-over powder that helps to minimize imperfections and enhance the natural glow of the complexion. It also sets and mattifies the skin, which makes it one multi-tasking powder.

Upon trying it, I was a bit bothered by the lightness of the compact–it feels like plastic, and from Guerlain, it’s not what I’d expect. It sounds like plastic when I knock on it, which could account for the lack of weight. On the flip side, because it is not metal or metal-esque, it still has that gunmetal look without the accompanying fingerprints. I’m torn: I love the heft of a good luxe compact, but I love that this stays fingerprint-free. The Meteorites Illuminating Pressed Powders actually come in rather different packaging, which also felt plastic, so perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised. The ones prior are shimmering and less flesh-toned as they are enhancing (think highlighters). Those go for $65 a pop but come with 0.35 oz. of product.

I tend to get a touch oily around the t-zone after six to eight hours of wearing full makeup, but I was pleased to see that a sheer layer of Rose Teint did wonders and kept me shine-free for twelve hours. It also illuminates in a very soft, refined way; it’s there but so slight that it really does seem like your skin is naturally radiant and aglow. It has a beautifully silky texture that’s so finely milled that it looks more like a pearly finish than anything else.

The sample I received was in Teint Rose, which is actually the lightest shade and ever-so-slightly pink-tinged (but really, it’s so slight, I could hardly tell), while Teint Beige and Teint Dore are darker, though from what I’ve seen, not by much. On me, it seemed virtually colorless and worked well even though it looks rather pale and light. (I think I may pick up Teint Beige, though, to see what that does for me, as I like this one quite a bit.)

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: It imparts a natural glow that’s impossible to overdo. It’s soft, demure, and perfect for use all over the face or as a subtle highlighter. This acts much like a setting powder and provides very little coverage, as it applies sheer.

WHERE TO BUY: Nordstrom

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