Sunday, December 12th, 2010

NARS Sheer Glow
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

Light Coverage, Soft Glow with NARS

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation ($42.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is touted as a “satin-finish foundation with sheer and buildable coverage.” It is also supposed to have “skincare benefits” when used regularly to “improve skin brightness, radiance and texture.” It is recommended for normal to dry skin types.

It is a light coverage foundation which can be built to light-medium coverage–definitely no more coverage than medium coverage at most. I wouldn’t describe it as sheer really; and if you have near perfect skin but are looking for a sheer all-over foundation option, I would keep looking. You could consider using it where and as needed, too, but for flawless or almost flawless skin, I recommend a tinted moisturizer over this, because I think this would be overkill.

I get about four to six hours of really great wear with this formula, but it does start to wane by the eighth hour. I think a little blot powder or pressed powder at lunch time helps to keep it working all day–I just wouldn’t describe it as a long-wearing foundation. Like most foundations, though, if you have drier skin, it may last longer than you. I’m normal-to-dry, and it’s at the eight hour point that I notice I look a lil’ oily and less even overall (a sign foundation is fading, disappearing, etc.). Oilier skin types are better off trying Sheer Matte, though, because the wear doesn’t last all day long, even on normal skin, and there is still an inherent dewiness from the finish that may accentuate oily skin in a not-so-flawless kind of way.

The consistency is thick without being goopy but not so thin that it applies too sheerly. I always apply it by using a concealer brush and dotting my face with the foundation, and then I take a foundation brush (MAC 109) spritzed with water to blend out the foundation to cover my entire face. The formula doesn’t dry down right away, so you have a lot of time to blend it in, and it seems a touch tacky after a few minutes, but it finishes its dry down after five minutes or so and completely settles by ten.

I was worried this was going to be too dewy for my liking. I prefer a matte or semi-matte finish in my foundations, and I was actually going to try Sheer Matte, but NARS sent over Sheer Glow–but the funny part is I didn’t even realize it was Sheer Glow until several uses later when I looked at the bottom of the jar for the shade name! It is a semi-satin, semi-matte kind of finish. There is a soft glow that emanates from the finish but it is subtle and natural. I didn’t feel like I looked shiny or oily at all after applying it, which can sometimes be the case with satin or natural finish foundations.

Overall, I really liked this foundation, and it’s something I reach for often enough. It photographs well (no SPF), and it evens out the skin quite beautifully. There is enough coverage for my skin concerns (some acne, slight unevenness in tone), and it blends really well. I’ve never had it look cakey or too much, and it does not feel heavy on the skin. I wish it wore longer, though, because that would make this a slam dunk foundation. I also would prefer if it came with a pump rather than as a $5 extra you can purchase. As a high-end, $42 foundation, I would expect an included pump.

If you need help finding your shade, I recommend The Foundation Matrix, which is actually how I found mine (Punjab)!

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I would recommend this for very dry to normal skin types who need light to light-medium coverage. If you tend to need medium or heavy coverage, I don’t think you would get enough coverage out of this foundation. Similarly, I think it has too much coverage if you are really looking for something ultra sheer.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Estee Lauder Radiant Peach Blush
Estee Lauder Radiant Peach Blush

Quick Reviews: Estee Lauder Radiant Peach Blush

Estee Lauder Radiant Peach Blush ($26.00 for 0.25 oz.) is a golden shimmered coral with the same soft, silky texture Estee Lauder’s powder blushes are known for. It’s a beautiful blush and highlighter combo–the way the golden shimmer plays with the coral really makes it unnecessary to use a highlighter on top. For me, this is the kind of shade I can never get enough of; it doesn’t matter if there are dupes, I always have to have every iteration! Estee Lauder’s shimmer is a shimmer-sheen with nice pigmentation, too, which makes it a nice variation.

I have done a comparison of many peachy-corals here. This is Estee Lauder’s version of the cult-favorite NARS Orgasm. It is also similar to MAC Springsheen. You can also check out a whopping six pages worth of dupes for NARS Orgasm over at The Dupe List.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Another good choice for your coral blush needs!

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Becca Tuberose Lip & Cheek Creme
Becca Tuberose Lip & Cheek Creme

Quick Reviews: Becca Tuberose Lip & Cheek Creme

Becca Tuberose Lip & Cheek Creme ($29.00 for 0.10 oz.) is an elegant shade of subdued coral with a flush of pink. It has a creamy, smooth consistency and blends effortlessly on cheeks. It’s not too sheer or too intense, but it will certainly deliver a lovely layer of color with little work. The formula is excellent because of the natural finish (no shimmer, no real sheen, just color) and the all-day wear (at least eight hours). This works well as an easy, everyday kind of blusher that wears well and flatters both warm and cooler skin tones.

As much as I liked it on cheeks, it didn’t do much for me on lips–too drying, a little sheer, and overall, not a product I’d use again on my lips. It works so much better as a cream blush that I don’t see any reason to waste it on lips when there are far better lip products in my stash. I also wish that there was more product for the price tag (or the reverse would work, too!).  Please take heed that this product as a blush is easily 29/30, but it’s supposed to be dual-purpose and I think it falls short of being a worthwhile lip product.

It reminded me of NARS Cactus Flower Cream Blush, but it is less intense and contains no gold shimmer. It is also pinker and more coral than the nude MAC Ladyblush Blushcreme.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It is a universally flattering cream blush that not only looks beautiful on the skin and blends easily but it wears impeccably throughout the day–not an easy task at all for a cream blush!

AVAILABILITY: Becca

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Friday, December 10th, 2010

Chanel Energizing Multi-Protection Cream SPF 15
Chanel Energizing Multi-Protection Cream SPF 15

Chanl Beaute Initiale — Is it love?

Chanel Energizing Multi-Protection Cream SPF 15 ($75.00 for 0.1.7 oz.) is a quick-absorbing moisturizer with a cream consistency but the feeling and behavior of a lotion. It is designed to be used daily to “keep early signs of age and fatigue at bay.”

I wanted to try this particular moisturizer, because I really enjoyed Chanel’s Ultra Correction Lift Day Cream SPF 15 ($150.00 for 1.7 oz.). Chanel has several different product families available in skincare, and Beaute Initiale seems to be their “entry-level” range. It also seemed like it would be a good fit for my skin and aging concerns (more about preventation than reversal at this time). Hydramax + Active seems like another alternative for getting your foot in Chanel’s skincare.

My Skin: I’m 24 years-old with some fine lines around my eyes, slight but noticeable lip lines when I smile. My skin type is normal-to-dry in the fall/winter and mostly normal in the spring/summer. I am acne-prone and suffer from minor breakouts that seem to be more hormone or stress related than anything else.

There were so many things I loved about this cream, but it just doesn’t work with my skin type (normal-to-dry). I need more moisture, and I found my skin felt parched after a couple of hours after using this. I think those with oily skin  (but I would still recommend the Fluid for very oily skin types) could definitely consider this as an option for a daytime moisturizer. The cream dries down very quickly, within a few minutes, which is something I always keep an eye on when it comes to creams. Nobody wants to wait thirty minutes for their moisturizer to absorb!

It also spreads very evenly and well without leaving any streaks of white–it feels and looks like a cream, but the way it evens out so quickly makes it seem more like a gel. It dries down to a semi-matte, smooth finish. It is scented, but I found it pleasant–a fresh floral that didn’t feel heavy. I loved using it and wearing it for two to three hours, but for my skin, I need something heavier.

I’m not entirely sure why this isn’t sufficient, because I don’t have particularly dry skin, and there is a Fluid version (which I imagine is lighter and designed for oilier skin types). It is listed as a cream, so it should be heavier and more suitable for drier skin types, but it does not seem to be hydrating enough for my normal-to-dry skin, let alone dry skin.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I recommend trying a sample of this for normal-to-oily and oily skin types. If you are oily or very oily, you may consider using the Fluid version, which comes in a pump and may be lighter (but I haven’t tried it myself).

AVAILABILITY: Nordtsrom

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Friday, December 10th, 2010

Estee Lauder Radiant Berry Blush
Estee Lauder Radiant Berry Blush

Thinking of Sugar Plums This Winter

Estee Lauder Radiant Berry Blush ($26.00 for 0.25 oz.) is a softened rose-plum with a subtle satin sheen. The texture of Estee Lauder’s powder blushes is incredibly finely milled, soft like silk, and smooth. These are buildable blushes that deliver sheerer color initially but can be layered for a more intense cheek look. I find these are very foolproof blushes; you can never go overboard, and they look very glowy, not shimmery or frosty.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I love this on both cool and warm skin–it is also absolutely gorgeous on really pale skin, because it can give a nice level of contrast.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Milani Bing Cherry Lipstick
Milani Bing Cherry Lipstick

Try Out a Subdued Red!

Milani Bing Cherry Lipstick ($4.99 for 0.13 oz.) is a subdued cherry red–it’s like a sheer cherry red but it’s actually opaque on lips. There’s still the brightness of a cherry red, but I think this is a much tamer way to wear one if full-on cherry red is too much for you. It seems like it has a pinkness to it, but when worn, it seems a little more of a coral-red. It’s definitely an interesting color, though. I’m curious to hear what others who own think!

Milani’s Color Perfect Lipstick is a creamy, moisturizing formula with opaque color coverage. It does have a rather a synthetic/waxy scent, though, which may be too much for those with sensitive sniffers. I typically get three to four hours of wear on average with this formula.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Consider Bing Cherry if you’ve always wanted to wear red but never wanted to go for a full blown in-your-face kind of red.

AVAILABILITY: Milani

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