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NARS Oasis Blush (2013)

NARS Oasis Highlighting Blush
NARS Oasis Blush

NARS Oasis Highlighting Blush ($29.00 for 0.16 oz.) is described as a “sparkling pink champagne.” It’s a softened, reddish-plum with a hint of golden shimmer that translates to a shimmer-sheen when applied to the skin. NARS Debbie Harry #1 is similar but has silver sparkle. theBalm Cabana Boy is slightly less red (more plum).

This blush is nicely pigmented, and you should have no trouble building up color to true-to-pan payoff or going for something softer and sheerer. There are a few bits of golden sparkle but they seem to get lost before they even hit the skin, as I couldn’t detect them on the skin. Instead, there was a faint golden sheen that was quite lovely on the skin as it did not emphasize pores.  Oasis should be flattering across skin tones, because it’s not too dark or too light, not too warm or too cool-toned.  The texture is soft, finely-milled, and very blendable on the skin.  It applies evenly and sits well on the skin, and then it wears well–a solid eight hours and only minimal fading after nine hours.

NARS Powder Blush Oasis
Oasis

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Tom Ford Frolic Lip Shine Color

Tom Ford Frolic Lip Shine Color
Tom Ford Frolic Lip Shine Color

Tom Ford Frolic Lip Shine Color ($48.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a soft coral with a subtle frost finish. Clinique Curviest Caramel is more beige and opaque. Chanel Pimpante is a touch brighter. Cle de Peau Comtesse de Cayla is slightly darker and less warm-toned. MAC Razzledazzler is a touch pinker. Guerlain Jicky is redder.

The formula has a creamy, slightly wet-like consistency (and it feels much like a creamy lip balm). It glides over lips easily–no skipping or tugging–but seems to hang on better than other tinted lip balms I’ve tried. It feels more like a lipstick with extra boost of hydration than a true tinted lip balm. I tested this particular shade over eighteen hours, which involved four re-applications. Though creamy and slick, it is lightweight and has a thinner feel once applied (give it about ten to fifteen minutes). It starts off glossy, but the glossiness disappears after an hour or so. The color remains, and it’s buildable from sheer to semi-opaque color coverage. Like the best kind of sheer, it is an even layer of sheer color that has some translucency, so the natural lip color shines through.

I was impressed by the wear, because a lot of these lipstick/lip balm hybrids have a tendency to slip away within a couple of hours, but it consistently wore for a solid four hours. But over time, these feel more like a sheer lipstick than they do traditional lip balm, so I expect that’s part of it. It was nicely hydrating, and I needed no lip balm to supplement the wear, and after wearing it all day, my lips were in tip-top shape. I think whether these are “worth it” is (which is always true to some degree) going to come down to your personal preference. Personally, I would recommend splashing out for Tom Ford’s Blush over the lipstick, if you were curious to try a single product.

At least the product amount is 0.12 oz., which is the size of most lipsticks, and sometimes with the more balm-like formulas, they give you a bit less. With a product like this, more is infinitely better, because the creamier, slicker, more balm-like consistency means it’s easy to over-apply. The Lip Colour Shines come in brown lacquered, square tubes with gold detailing, and they have a sweet, vanilla scent (not too cloying; very similar to MAC’s).

Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color Shine Frolic
Frolic
Frolic
9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
8.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
93%
Total

Illamasqua Mottle Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Mottle Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Mottle Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Mottle Nail Varnish ($16.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “speckled green.” It’s a pale, pastel green with very subtle yellow undertones with small black glitter and larger, hexagon-shaped black glitter pieces. I couldn’t even think of a dupe for the base color, let alone one with both components! I was totally stumped. A few readers have mentioned that Hard Candy has dupes for Illamasqua’s speckled polishes. I haven’t seen Hard Candy’s in person, but from promo photos, it looks like the glitter is smaller and more circular with a combination of white and black glitters (and it seems to vary depending on the base color), but both brands are using pastel base colors with glitter to give it a speckled/sprinkled effect. Deborah Lippmann’s Staccato Collection also features three pastel-hued colors with small black glitter (bottle photos suggest that Deborah Lippmann and Hard Candy’s are closer to each other).  I haven’t seen Deborah Lippmann’s in person either. You may prefer the effect or composition over the other, so pick your poison! 🙂

Mottle is incredibly pigmented in one coat, though not opaque, I still thought it worth showing and left my pinky fingernail with a single coat, so you could see how much color is deposited in one coat.  You can also see how there’s almost no streaking to speak of, which is always a relief after working with a pastel color!  The consistency of the formula wasn’t too thick or too thin, and it applied evenly and fluidly. I didn’t have any issues with it pulling, pooling, or bubbling.  It has an interesting finish that seems like a cream, but there’s a slight squishy look to it, too, that makes me think of jelly polishes.  Illamasqua’s formula is one of the longest-wearing polishes on me (as long as fourteen days with minimal tip wear and no chipping).

Illamasqua Nail Varnish Mottle
Mottle
Mottle
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
100%
Total

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Benefit Kiss Me, I’m Tipsy Longwear Powder Shadow

Benefit Kiss Me, I'm Tipsy Longwear Powder Shadow
Benefit Kiss Me, I’m Tipsy Longwear Powder Shadow

Benefit Kiss Me, I’m Tipsy Longwear Powder Shadow ($20.00 for 0.11 oz.) is described as a “spiced brown.” It’s a warm-toned, medium-dark brown with a satin finish. Benefit Dandy Brandy is more frosted but the colors are very similar. NARS Surabaya #1 is darker. Guerlani Turandot #4 is darker and more red-toned. MAC Mulch is a touch more shimmery. If you have the Most Glamorous Nudes palette, you’ll find this shade is included in it (and the palette is $30 and includes 4x 0.04 oz. eyeshadows plus 2x 0.11 oz. Creaseless Cream eyeshadows).

This shade had excellent pigmentation, and the texture was lovely–soft, smooth, and finely-milled. It blended beautifully and easily on the lid, and there was no powderiness despite it having such a soft feel. It wore just over eight hours on me (no primer) without fading or creasing but there was some faint fading after nine hours.  It’s definitely a standout shade within the range, though you may have something similar to it already.

Benefit Longwear Powder Shadow Kiss Me, I'm Tipsy
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
98%
Total

Illamasqua Fragile Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Fragile Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Fragile Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Fragile Nail Varnish ($16.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “speckled blue.” It’s a pale, airy blue cream base with small black glitter and then larger hexagon-shaped black glitter. I don’t have any specific dupes that mimic both the blue base and the accompanying black glitter pieces, but you might have a top coat that’s similar in glitter content, so I’d recommend trying it with these potential shades (that are similar to the blue base color): Zoya Blu and NARS Kutki.

The most remarkable aspect of Illamasqua’s spring polishes is really how well they apply. Sometimes, pastel creams can be streaky messes and a pain to deal with, but Illamasqua nailed the formula here. The consistency isn’t too thick or too thin, so it flowed evenly and easily across the nail, and there was minimal streaking on that first, initial coat, but a second coat evened everything out. It was opaque in two coats, and the finish is a cross between a traditional cream and a jelly–there’s a squishy-look to the nails. I usually get as long as fourteen days of wear out of Illamasqua, and it is one of the best-wearing formulas I’ve come across.

This shade is currently showing as out of stock online, though you can locate it at your local store through the online “find in store” feature. I’ve been seeing a few shades pop in and out of stock, so hopefully it’ll reappear soon.

Illamasqua Nail Varnish Fragile
Fragile
Fragile
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
100%
Total

Hourglass Luminous Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Luminous Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Luminous Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Luminous Light Ambient Lighting Powder ($45.00 for 0.35 oz.) is described as a “champagne pearl.” It’s a light peach with a white shimmer but really goes on mostly colorless on the skin. This shade is designed to “create a soft, incandescent candlelight glow.” It seemed just slightly brightening but added a fine sheen all-over the skin. When blended, I did not see any shimmer particles actually on the skin, though swatched heavily on the arm or hand will show some–but these seem to really blend and sheer out. The effect is, indeed, luminous.  I would describe it as a step above glowy or a sheen, because I think the effect is a bit more obvious as a result of the sheen of the powder overall.

The texture of Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Powders is incredibly finely-milled; so soft that there is a tendency for excess powder to kick up and around the product. I did not experience powderiness on the skin, but it was enough excess to see it disperse in the air and get all over the compact. Though, on the plus side, I think that powderiness will work well for those with oily skin types, as it will help to mattify a bit during application. Luminous Light seemed to yield a rather luminous sheen, not so over-the-top that it acts like a traditional highlighter but not quite as subtle as other finishing powders.  It may be touted as a finishing powder, but it worked well to set my makeup, too, and helped prolong the wear of my foundation by an hour or so.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Luminous Light
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
99%
Total

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