Friday, March 18th, 2011

Philosophy Orange in Bloom Shower Gel
Philosophy Orange in Bloom Shower Gel

Spring Florals with Orange in Bloom

Philosophy Orange in Bloom 3-in-1 Shower Gel ($16.00 for 16 fl. oz.) is a companion to Cherry in Bloom, but it is noticeably more fruit-dominated than the latter.  Initially, it smells like a burst of orange creamsicles.  I don’t mean that in a bad way but that is exactly what it reminded me off: the sweetness of vanilla mixed with the citrus of orange.

Philosophy describes the scent as:

orange in bloom shampoo, shower gel & bubble bath showers you in the delicate, citrus essence of orange blossoms as you lather from head to toe.

It seems too heavy with orange to mimic the orange blossom scent–the florals don’t sing quite enough here.  After lathering for a few minutes, the sweetness seems to disappear and then I get hints of the underlying floral quality of the scent.

my thoughts on the formula: They lather up well and leave skin feeling clean without any tightness or dryness. If you prefer your body wash to leave behind a long-lasting scent, these won’t be for you, but if you like to enjoy the scent while you shower but don’t want it to linger heavily beyond, then these are perfect. (I belong to the latter category!) I don’t find them to lather quite as well in the hair, and they work in a pinch to clean hair, but I prefer many other shampoos over this one. It does, however, work well as a bubble bath, too–a little goes a long way.

final thoughts: If you like the scent of sweet oranges, perhaps orange creamsicles but something not quite as sweet, this might be for you. It’s less than full-blown orange food-based scent but not wholly reminiscent of orange blossoms.

where to buy: Philosophy

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Hourglass Scarlet Aura Lip Stain
Hourglass Scarlet Aura Lip Stain

Lasting Lip Stain with Hourglass

Hourglass Scarlet Aura Sheer Lip Stain ($26.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “soft plum.” The new Aura Sheer Lip Stain is a water-based lip stain that’s designed to create a sheer wash of color with a semi-matte finish. Scarlet is the darkest of the three shades launched. Over my natural lip color, it’s a deep, plummy, berry. It’s semi-opaque and has just a touch of sheen but it is mostly matte.

If you haven’t tried one before, lip stains require prep work–because they adhere to your lips, much of your natural lip is “exposed.” There is no gloss or creamy lipstick to hide behind, so any imperfections from your natural lips may show through with a lip stain. Scarlet is dark enough where it is a more forgiving lip stain, but drier lips will find this accentuates dryness, cracking, and peeling. I always exfoliate and then pat clear balm on my lips approximately 30 minutes prior to applying a lip stain. I tend to do this after my morning shower, and then I apply the stain after breakfast.

It’s loaded with color but not much else, so it isn’t going to provide long-lasting moisturization, which is why I like to prep with balm beforehand. It does take well to layering balm on top, though, so clear balm can be used to proivde moisture without disturbing the color.

I love the concept of lip stains but find it difficult to wear them, because they often apply unevenly. Hourglass applies beautifully–the color deposits well without settling into lip lines and has enough glide that it is easy to evenly distribute. It also lasts for hours and hours and does make it through drinking and eating. I get around eight hours of continuous wear–by ten, there is a little fading.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Hourglass Scarlet Aura Sheer Lip Stain Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
It's definitely one of the best lip stains I've tried since beauty blogging (about four and half years now) because it applies so evenly and easily.  It lasts for eight hours, doesn't settle into lip lines, and makes it through a meal.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Benefit Brows A-Go-Go
Benefit Brows A-Go-Go

For the Brow Enthusiast

Benefit Brows A-Go-Go ($38.00) is an all-i-one brow kit, which includes both Light and Dark Brow Zings Powders (0.04 oz. each), Brow Zings Wax (0.03 oz.), Smokin’ Liner (0.01 oz.), Eye Bright (0.03 oz.), Brow Highlighter Powder (0.04 oz.), mini tweezers, and dual-ended brush.

Benefit and brows take me back almost ten years (which makes me a little nauseous to think about, because sometimes I think I’m still 18 and when I’m clearly not). One of my first beauty experiences was begging my makeup-enthused best friend to tweeze my brows, and she always carried Benefit’s Brow Zings and their mini tweezers. I can’t tell you how I longed for a pair of my own mini tweezers–they just seemed so cool at the time. (With my hands, I can appreciate full-size tweezers for regular maintenance but minis are nice in a pinch.)

The lighter shade is a medium-dark taupe brown, while the darker brow shade is a dark brown with subtle red undertones. The wax is a cross between the two–not too dark, not too light. I found the eyeliner to be fairly black but a bit stubby so it may be difficult to hold for some. I actually liked the shimmering icy pink of the highlight powder; not quite as cool-toned as Eye Bright, which is a creamy, pale white-pink.

The dark shade works well for me, having nearly black natural brows.  I like mixing the two, though, for a softer look as well.  I would be careful using the highlighting products on deeper skin tones, because I think it may turn a little ashy, but they work well on light and medium skin tones.

The Glossover

product

Benefit Brows A-Go-Go Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
If you're someone who likes to have immaculate brows and tends to focus more time on them, the kit is useful. If you don't find yourself doing much to them, it may be too superfluous to merit buying. For something more compact, there is the traditional Brow Zings, which is a smaller-sized palette featuring a coordinating brow powder and wax (available in light, medium, and dark) along with mini tweezers but retails for $30.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Illamasqua Atomic Lipstick
Illamasqua Atomic Lipstick

Illamasqua Toxic Nature:  Atomic Lipstick

Illamasqua Atomic Lipstick (£15.50 for 0.14 oz.) is new for spring/summer and part of the brand’s Toxic Nature collection, which should show up at Sephora in April. For now, though, it is available through Illamasqua directly.  Illamasqua describes Atomic as a “fuchsia violet.”  After swatching and applying, Atomic is a deep, reddened fuchsia with violet and fuchsia sheen.  It has that satin finish but such a strong pull of iridescent sheen that it almost looks like a frost.

my thoughts on the formula: Illamasqua’s Lipstick formula feels a little dry when applied, but let it warm up on your lips, because it really isn’t the drying kind. It does hug the lips, though, which makes it a much longer wearing lipstick (six hours or more).

The Glossover

P
product

Atomic

A-
This is a shade that will wear for hours and hours.  With the semi-matte finish, it really hugs lips and stays put--I noted very few traces of lipstick on my coffee cup.  It may stain a bit, too, which will contribute to an overall appearance of longer wear.  Illamasqua's does a really nice job with the sheen level in this shade, because though it has a menagerie of near-dupes, the way it catches light makes it different enough in a spectacular way.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

3.5/5

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Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

NYX Menage a Trois HD Grinding Blush
NYX Menage a Trois HD Grinding Blush

NYX Menage a Trois HD Grinding Blush

NYX Menage a Trois HD Grinding Blush ($16.50 for 0.25 oz.) is one of eight shades of blush from NYX’s HD Studio line. According to NYX, by grinding a blush powder each use, you’ll avoid “oil trappings on powders, contamination, and cracking.” The blush formula itself is supposed to reflect light from the skin while giving pores a smaller and smoother look. Menage a Trois is a soft tangerine-peach with spun gold shimmer-sheen. It’s really a gorgeous shade and one that will work exceptionally well on warmer skin tones.

Next to the blush, you might recognize an elephant–the price tag. NYX is known as a brand with affordable options but still a wide variety and higher quality products than many other more affordable brands (overall). It’s obvious the HD Studio range is at a higher price point, but I think it might be outpricing the comfort zone of some of their customers. Their Powder Blushes are $6, Cream Bushes are $6.50, and Mosaic Powders are $8. The HD Grinding Blush is double the price of their more expensive blush. I’m not worried that NYX is going to change directions and move to mid-tier, but it’s an interesting move.

my thoughts on the formula: The texture of the HD Grinding Blushes is very smooth–definitely finely milled. The colors themselves are a lot less intimidating when applied than they look initially–I did not find that you could quite get the level of intensity as see in the shavings themselves, but you can get close. The softness of the blush powder makes it easy to apply, blend out, and difficult to overdo. On me, it wears around six hours before there is some fading (over liquid foundation, set with loose powder).

Though I haven’t personally tested Smashbox’s Halo powders, the grinding mechanism of NYX’s HD Grinding Blushes reminded me of them. I’m not sure if Smashbox has put out Halo blushes, but they do have the twist ‘n’ shave mechanism for their Perfecting Powders, Perfecting Bronzers, and Color Correcting Powder. It’s neither a pro nor con but more for your reference.

I’m not keen on the grinding packaging, actually.  It’s cool, but any excess powder left inside inevitably seems to get everywhere else.  I had twisted and ground each blush for photos and carried them to my bathroom and left little blush shavings in my wake.  When I opened the blushes, the loose shavings had collected on the outer rim, where the cap screws on, and easily escaped to the freedom of my carpet, sink, and swatching pants!  (And that is exactly why one wears swatching pants…)  The only mitigating factor is that usually you do not twist too much excess, so there is an end in sight, unlike perhaps an entire jar of loose blush.

The Glossover

P
product

Menage a Trois

B+
I’m not particularly surprised that I’m most drawn to this shade–after all, if it’s gold, peach, or coral, I’m already there. The whole grinding concept is more of a novelty for me, and the packaging could use some tweaks so that any excess shavings stay within the jar, rather than settle around the rim (outside of the recessed opening). It could wear a touch longer; most blushes last all day (eight to ten hours) on me.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Kit
Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Kit

Neiman Marcus Exclusive: Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Kit

Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Beauty Kit ($95.00) is an exclusive set available at Neiman Marcus this spring. It contains a peony and python printed zippered makeup bag, Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer, Pink Lilac Brightening Gloss, Black Mauve Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, and two miniature-sized makeup brushes (face and lip).

  • Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer is a medium-dark pink with gold micro-glitter and sheen; it is slightly cool-toned, though it seems to shift between cool and neutral depending on how the light hits it. It applies rather sheerly but can be intensified for a more obvious blush.
  • Pink Lilac Brightening Gloss is an ultra sheer gloss that really has a clear base with pink and gold shimmer. This shade is available individually.
  • Black Mauve Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner is a blackened burgundy brown. This shade is available individually.
  • Eye/Lip Brush is a miniature-sized brush with a glossy black cap that slips on and off. It’s not officially labeled, but it seems like a really narrow lip brush–not quite small enough to be a true eyeliner brush though it does seem to resemble the Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush a bit.
  • Face Brush is a fluffy, dome-shaped brush that resembles the Face Blender Brush. It seems wider and less tapered, though. It was soft against the skin.

The kit itself comes with a high price tag, but individually (though not all shades are available individually, the product type is), Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer would retail for $33, Pink Lilac Brightening Gloss retails for $22, Black Mauve Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner is available for $21, and then assume $20 worth of brushes. The innards of the kit are worth approximately $96, but you also receive the printed makeup bag, too. There is a Peony & Python printed makeup bag available alone for $40, but I don’t know how the size compares to the one from the Neiman Marcus kit.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Beauty Kit Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
It's a cute kit, and if you like every product in it, the price tag doesn't seem so difficult to pay.  If you were hoping for a value-packed deal, this isn't quite it.  The kit will complement cooler skin tones.  I wish the Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer was available individually!

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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