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Giorgio Armani #523 Flash Lip lacquer

Giorgio Armani #523 Flash Lip lacquer
Giorgio Armani #523 Flash Lip lacquer

Giorgio Armani #523 Flash Lip lacquer ($29.00 for 0.22 fl. oz.) is a vivid, pink-red with cool, blue undertones finished with an incredibly shiny, glossy sheen. Burberry Pink Sweet Pea (LE, $27.00) is pinker, shimmery. NARS Mexican Rose (P, $24.00) is more muted. NARS Norma (P, $26.00) is redder. MAC Impassioned (LE, $15.00) is similar. See comparison swatches.

It had semi-opaque color coverage–there was a light translucency that let the natural lip color come through slightly. The consistency is less like a traditional gloss, as it has a very gel-like feel that is cushy and plush, lightly tacky. It’s very comfortable to wear, and it’s actually somewhat hydrating while worn. This particular shade lasted six hours on me, which is definitely longer than the average gloss wears for on me. That juicy glossiness that makes lips look plumper lasts for hours and hours, too. The formula is scent- and taste-free.

Giorgio Armani Flash Lip Lacquer #523
#523
#523
9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
9
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
97%
Total

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Chanel Ambigue (124) & Equivoque (126) Rouge Allure Lipsticks

Chanel Ambigue (124) Rouge Allure Lipstick
Chanel Ambigue (124) Rouge Allure Lipstick

Chanel Ambigue (124) Rouge Allure Lipstick ($34.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a soft, muted plum with subtly warm-toned, brown undertones. It has a soft, frosted finish that is somewhere between satin and frost. The color coverage was mostly opaque, though the color did not entirely cover my lip freckle. Ambigue lasted well for four hours, and it was neither hydrating nor drying on me (though it should have been hydrating). Urban Decay Strip (P, $22.00) is rosier. Revlon Pink Truffle (P, $7.49) is pinker. MAC Viva Glam VI (P, $15.00) is similar–more frosted. MAC One of a Kind (LE, $15.00) is similar. Giorgio Armani #526 (P, $32.00) is darker. Benefit I Think I Love You (P, $18.00) is darker and more frosted. See comparison swatches.

Equivoque (126) Rouge Allure Lipstick ($34.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a muted, medium pink with soft, warm undertones and lightly frosted finish. It had semi-sheer color coverage; for a Rouge Allure, it seemed rather under-pigmented. It wore for three hours, and it was a little drying on me. Givenchy Rose d’Exception (206) (LE, $36.00) is lighter. Urban Decay Fiend (P, $22.00) is pinker. Urban Decay Rush (P, $22.00) is also pinker. Revlon Pink Truffle (P, $7.49) is darker. NARS Tolede (P, $26.00) is warmer. Make Up For Ever #4 (P, $19.00) is also warmer, darker. See comparison swatches.

With the newer shades of Rouge Allures, which are designed to have a more luminous (read: frosted) finish, I noticed they do not look as smooth on the lips as other Rouge Allure shades I’ve worn.  I don’t think the thinner consistency of the Rouge Allure formula works as well with the frost finish, because it doesn’t apply as smoothly.

Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour Ambigue (124)
8.5
Product
9
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
8.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
87%
Total
Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour Equivoque (126)
7
Product
7
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
7.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
77%
Total

L’Oreal She’s So Matte & The True Gold Nail Lacquers

L'Oreal She's So Matte Nail Lacquer
L’Oreal She’s So Matte Nail Lacquer

L’Oreal She’s So Matte Nail Lacquer ($5.99 for 0.39 fl. oz.) is a matte black. It was opaque in two coats, and it applied so-so. Each coat dried very quickly, almost as it was being applied, so it was somewhat challenging to apply. The consistency was a bit on the thicker side. I had noticeable chipping after a day, unfortunately. If you like the matte look, I highly recommend trying a top coat (L’Oreal The Matte Velvet is one) over a black cream, as it is much more durable. Most black creams would work in place of this if a matte top coat is applied over it!

L’Oreal The True Gold Lacquer ($5.99 for 0.39 fl. oz.) is small, gold glitter particles suspended in a clear base. One coat had really great density–it felt like just enough glitter to stand out; not so much that the base coat was eliminated, but it wasn’t sparse and didn’t need any tugging or pulling to get it into place. It applied evenly and easily — really easy to use. I layered one coat over She’s So Matte, and then two coats on its own on the thumbnail. Cult Nails Walk of Shame (P, $12.00) has larger gold glitter as well as holographic shimmer/glitter. China Glaze I Herd That (LE, $8.00) is finer and also contains coppery/orange glitter. See comparison swatches.

L'Oreal Colour Riche Nail Lacquer She's So Matte
5
Product
10
Pigmentation
7.5
Texture
1
Longevity
3.5
Application
60%
Total
L'Oreal The Magic Top Coats The True Gold
9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
93%
Total

See more photos & swatches!

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Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette ($58.00 for 0.35 oz.) contains three shades of the brand’s Ambient Lighting Powders. The three shades include Dim Light and Radiant Light, both which are part of the permanent range, and a new (and limited edition) shade called Incandescent Light. Each shade is 0.116 oz. in size, compared to the full-sized compact which contains 0.35 oz. At a $45 price point for individual shades, the palette is a nice way to try the new powders and have multiple shades to choose from.  You do also get a 0.16 oz. vial of Veil Mineral Primer (worth about $8), which I’ve reviewed here. It’s not a value-packed palette in terms of price-per-ounce (total value of the palette is $53, including the primer), but getting a variety of shades of a product that is quite pricey individually may be worth it–it will take awhile to get through these pans even at this size.

Dim Light is described as a “neutral peach beige powder.” It’s a pale, light beige with neutral to warm undertones and a very subtle satin shimmer/sheen. The color is barely visible against my skin tone when layered heavily (to show color), and it blends out seamlessly without making me look any darker or lighter. I applied this all over my face like a setting/finishing powder with Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Brush. I couldn’t think of anything I have that’s quite like this and in this shade. The closest product that I’m familiar with is Guerlain’s Meteorites Voyage Powders, which are more translucent and sheerer. According to Hourglass, the main purpose of Dim Light is to blur imperfections–which it does admirably.

Incandescent Light is described as a “pearlescent powder.” It’s a pale, light beige with neutral undertones and a soft ivory shimmer. It’s a bit different from the other Ambient Light powders, because it is a lot more shimmery, and Hourglass is positioning it to “highlight cheekbones and [brighten] the complexion with a celestial glow.” It works well for illuminating the skin where it is applied, and the shimmer doesn’t emphasize pores or make the skin appear oily. Urban Decay Naked (P, $29.00) is more sparkly. Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight (P, $44.00) is similar but a smidgen warmer. NARS Debbie Harry Highlighter (LE, $29.00) is lighter. See comparison swatches.

Radiant Light is described as a “golden beige powder.” I reviewed it here when it was originally released. The purpose of Radiant Light is to had subtle warmth; very pale complexions will see this work more obviously on their skin tone than medium or deeper complexions. You can see some comparison swatches</> against Chanel Lucky Stripes, which is much more golden and darker (more of a bronzer on the skin) and NARS Miss Liberty, which is a bit more sparkly.

The Ambient Lighting Powders breathe life back into the skin after you’ve applied foundations and setting powders–especially if you have more mattifying base products on. They’re not full-on highlighters, but they’re not exactly setting powders (by Hourglass’ definition, they are finishing powders). If you have very oily skin, you may still need your usual setting powder, but for my normal-to-dry skin, the Ambient Lighting Powders work as a setting and finishing powder in one for me. I get extended wear out of my base products, but the powders also smooths the skin’s appearance, minimizes pores and imperfections, and gives the skin a natural luminosity (not shiny, not shimmery). It is that something extra that someone won’t see and go, “Oh, nice lipstick!” but “Did you do something different with your skin?” When people start asking you about your skincare routine, that’s when you know a product is really delivering on its promises! I’m not alone–there are 47 reader reviews with an overall rating of 4.5. The only negative I have to say about the products is that the texture is very, very soft, so depending on the brush you use, excess powder can be kicked up (and wasted).

If you were one of several readers wondering about my skin in my last NARS’ post, this palette is responsible as I wore Dim Light all over my face with Incandescent Light done the bridge of my nose and along the tops of my cheekbones as a highlighter.

Hourglass Face Palette Ambient Lighting (Holiday 2013)
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
99%
Total
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Also In This Review

Sephora Snakeskin Dress (17) & Sun Tan (08) Contour Eye Pencils

Sephora Snakeskin Dress (17) Contour Eye Pencil
Sephora Snakeskin Dress (17) Contour Eye Pencil

Sephora Snakeskin Dress (17) Contour Eye Pencil ($9.00 for 0.04 oz.) is described as a “khaki.” It’s an olive green with a golden shimmer and pearly finish. It had so-so color payoff in a single pass, and it was buildable to semi-opaque color. It wore well for eight and a half hours on my lash line (which is good wear but is short of the 12-hour wear promised). Laura Mercier Sage (P, $24.00) is matte. Urban Decay Stash (P, $19.00) is browner. MAC Forever Green (P, $16.00) is very similar. bareMinerals 10AM (LE, $15.00) is browner, darker. See comparison swatches.

Sun Tan (08) Contour Eye Pencil ($9.00 for 0.04 oz.) is described as a “copper.” It is a muted, copper bronze with flecks of gold shimmer and a metallic finish. It had good color payoff in a single pass, and it layered well to fully opaque color. This shade lasted for almost ten hours on my lash line, which is longer than most eyeliners but not the 12-hours advertised. Urban Decay Scorch (P, $19.00) is slightly darker. MAC Going for Gold (LE, $16.00) is yellower. MAC Handforged (P, $16.00) is similar. See comparison swatches.

I really like Sephora’s eyeliners for their consistency and color payoff, even if they don’t wear the full 12-hours promised, because they are some of the longer-wearing eyeliners I have, period.

Sephora Contour Eye Pencil Snakeskin Dress (17)
8.5
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
9
Texture
7
Longevity
4.5
Application
83%
Total
Sephora Contour Eye Pencil Sun Tan (08)
Sun Tan (08)
Sun Tan (08)
9
Product
9
Pigmentation
10
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
93%
Total

Givenchy Violine Precieux (312) Le Rouge Sensuously Matte Lipstick

Givenchy Violine Precieux (312) Le Rouge Sensuously Matte Lipstick
Givenchy Violine Precieux (312) Le Rouge Sensuously Matte Lipstick

Givenchy Violine Precieux (312) Le Rouge Sensuously Matte Lipstick ($36.00 for 0.12 oz.) is described as a “berry rose.” It’s a cool-toned, slightly muted, berry with hints of rosy pink. It has a satin-matte finish. Revlon Plum Velour (P, $7.99) is cooler-toned, brighter. Bobbi Brown Berry (LE, $25.00) is brighter. Chanel Esprit (88) (LE, $34.00) is a bit redder. Guerlain Rose Bengale (P, $35.00) is more frosted.See comparison swatches.

It had rich, opaque color coverage and was nearly opaque in a single pass. The consistency is creamy, lightweight, and glides right on without pulling or tugging at the lips. The way it sits on the lips is particularly flattering; it looks very smooth and even, which ultimately makes my lips look about 15% nicer than they really are. It wore well for five and a half hours, and it was lightly hydrating during that time. The formula is rose-scented, and it seemed a bit stronger in this shade than some of the other shades (or the regular Le Rouge range). I really love the feel of the lipstick, though, and even as someone who doesn’t like floral-scented lip products, it’s a shade I’ve reached for twice on date night (which is a big deal!).

Givenchy Le Rouge Intense Color Sensuously Matte Lipstick Violine Precieux (312)
9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
9.5
Longevity
5
Application
98%
Total

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