Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Video Review: Benefit for Brows

With Benefit’s announcement of free brow service on your birthday, they also included a few of their cult favorite brow products, which I swatch and talk about in this video–a bit of first impressions with some review, since I have used a few products mentioned in the video previously!  I posted reviews for both Brows A-Go-Go and High Brow this past week, and since the pencil isn’t my shade, I’m not reviewing it at this time.

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Urban Decay Good Karma Face Brushes
Urban Decay Good Karma Face Brushes

Urban Decay Good Karma Face Brushes

Urban Decay Good Karma Brushes ($32.00 to $39.00) are eco- and vegan-friendly brushes, which have bristles made out of recycled PET bottles and gunmetal handles made out of recycled aluminum.

  • Finishing Brush ($39.00) is a long, flared, flat-edged brush. It looks like a stippling brush, but the bristles were the same length. I felt like this brush was a little too long; it’s very dense, which is nice, but the length makes it a little too springy and floppy.
  • Blush Brush ($32.00) is an oval-shaped, angled brush. It is a bit too wide to be used easily for contouring, but it works well for blush. It is dense and soft.
  • Powder Brush ($36.00) flares outwards with a very subtly dome shaped edge. It has enough fluffiness to work well with powder but enough density that the product doesn’t get trapped within the bristles.  Though it works well as an all-over powder brush, it is quite large, so I did find it took some practice to maneuver around nooks and crannies (like the area around the nose).

Even though the outer packaging is made out of recycled egg cartons, I’m just not sure why it is necessary to have such oversized packaging for a brush few are going to actually keep in it.  Aside from that, I have no complaints regarding the actual packaging of the brushes.  The gunmetal handles look sleek, have a nice weight to them (not too heavy, not too light), and the shininess doesn’t take to fingerprints well.

final thoughts: The brushes themselves are all very soft and not at all scratchy, but I do find the length of both the Finishing and Powder Brushes to be on the long side, which makes me feel like I have less control over the tool.  I didn’t notice any difference applying finishing powder with the actual Finishing Brush over the Powder Brush, though — even though the former is supposed to be better at that particular task.

where to buy: Beauty.com

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Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Illamasqua Flare Lipstick
Illamasqua Flare Lipstick

Illamasqua Toxic Nature:  Flare Lipstick

Illamasqua Flare Lipstick (£15.50 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “bright orange,” and it 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.   It’s a vibrant, medium-dark orange–it’s almost neon but more like traffic cone orange.

And yes, that is a broken lipstick.  It arrived that way, with the entire bullet dislodged and stuck to the cap, and I used absolutely no finesse to maneuver out it would appear!  I haven’t had this issue with my other Illamasqua lipsticks, so I’m considering it a one-time deal and not a product defect.

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

Flare

B+
It's a nice bright orange with a near matte finish, and it has a tendency to pull the yellowness out in my natural skin tone.  I think this is an orange best suited for warmer complexions.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Benefit High Brow
Benefit High Brow

Benefit High Brow ($20.00 for 0.10 oz.) is designed to “lift” and enhance brows by brightening with a “soft, matte linen-pink” shade. Benefit recommends applying it beneath your brow, just following the arch, and blend.

Inevitably, one wonders what is the difference between Benefit’s Eye Bright and High Brow, as they’re both pink pencils designed to help brighten eyes — well, Benefit wrote a blog post explaining the differences. To summarize, High Brow is a neutral pink while Eye Bright is a cool-toned pink; the cooler tones in Eye Bright as designed to combat dark circles. Benefit warns that using High Brow on undereye circles may look too light, while using Eye Bright to define brows may look too pink.

It’s absolutely true that Eye Bright is a cooler-toned, more blue-based pink, and it also has a bit of micro-shimmer–very subtle but still there. I think those who are naturally cool-toned, one could get away with using both. For those with warmer undertones, the difference is likely more noticeable.

I like High Brow for more minimal looks; not necessarily five-minute looks but when one wants to have that natural look. The creaminess of the product makes it easy to blend, and it dries down quickly and holds up fairly well alone (about six hours). I applied it in the photos below so you can see how it looks, and I deliberately went heavy-handed, because I wanted it to show up in photos–the effect can be subtler if one desires.

The Glossover

product

Benefit High Brow Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
I like High Brow, and I think it may be a must-have for some but for others a totally unnecessary addition to their stash. It depends on what features are most important to you, because some love really defined brows and others will wear eye makeup nearly everyday so a powder highlight will generally be enough to define the brow area.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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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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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