Top row, left to right (eye shadows): Naked, Bare, Nude, and Buff; Bottom row, left to right (lip color): Bare, Beige, Brownie, and Cocoa
Bobbi Brown Nude Lip & Eye Palette ($60.00): As pretty as this pre-made palette looks in promo images, and even in person, the eyeshadows left me unsatisfied. I enjoy a nice neutral/nude look from time to time, so I thought that this palette would make a great addition to my travel bag or for occasions where minimal makeup is necessary. There are four eyeshadows, but three of the four look virtually the same on me (I’m medium toned), even with a white-beige base (MAC Soft Ochre paint pot).
Naked and Bare are so similar and seem to differ mostly in texture, where Naked seems a little more shimmery and Bare more matte. Nude is a warmer version of Naked/Bear with more peach/rose undertones. Buff would be my favorite, because it is darker and distinguishable from the others. I also didn’t find any of these to be a great highlight color, though I suppose Nude is the one you might assume to use. When looking at pre-made palettes, I do expect that there will be several looks that I can using the palette exclusively–not having to grab additional colors. From the promotional image, it did look like there was a little more color differentiation than you get in real life.
Aside from my issues with the colors/color pay off, the textures are typical BB: smooth and soft. I didn’t bother using the brush that comes with the palette because the bristles were just too coarse against the delicate shadows–it cause them to flake more than I liked. Full-size Bobbi Brown brushes are much better than the baby versions put into palettes (which is no different than other brands’ palettes, including MAC), so in a pinch, they’re great, but if you can, take your regular brushes with you.
The lip colors were much more exciting than the shadows, because they all had good pigmentation and the color variation was there. Bare lip color makes an excellent subdued rosey shade with soft undertones of plum, while Beige is a shimmery bronze-tan that adds a nice layer of iridescence to lips. Brownie is a great sheer soft tan color that should work with most skintones. Cocoa was my least favorite, just because it doesn’t suit me well; it is a nice shade of brown with red undertones with low-level shimmer. The lip brush is cute and compact, but I never have the patience for lip brushes. I opted to use a larger, flat firm brush (meant for eyes) to apply it, just because it was faster.
Overall, it dismays me to say that I don’t feel like this palette is worth it in the end, since the shadows did not offer me a variety of potential looks to create – three look about the same, and one is dark enough to add depth to the crease/outer lid. I’ve liked previous Bobbi Brown palettes much more, especially the Metallic trios. I also thought the lip palette for the Heart’s Truth was gorgeous, but this one just falls short for me!
Clinique Superfine Liner for Brows ($12.50) is an automatic, self-sharpening precision pencil to fill in brows (pictured on the bottom). I actually found that the shade Deep Brown was quite perfect for my brow color/fill-in color. I used to use Spike/Stud brow pencil by MAC for awhile, but then I moved onto using a shadow to fill in brows because it looks more natural and last longer. With Superfine Liner for Brows, I feel that I still need to use an angled brush to make it more natural, but only a little bit. Basically, using a clean mascara wand to brush brows (which I do anyway, since mine are ridiculously unruly) does the same thing to ensure neat brows without any harsh lines. Pencils are great for getting precision down to a fine art–you can really define the brow and its shape with this product. The wearing time for Superfine Liner for Brows is incredible — lasted ten hours on me!
Clinique Brow Keeper ($14.50) in Warm Brown is a kind of brow pencil I like, because it comes with a shaping end (like a mascara wand) to keep brows in place and determine how exactly they should be groomed (pictured on top). However, unlike Superfine Liner for Brows, this only comes in two shades–Honey or Warm Brown–which means less people can use it. I found Warm Brown too warm for me, too red-brown versus black-brown (which is more my shade), and Honey is too cool-toned and ashy. I also can appreciate a self-sharpening pencil, so while I love the brush end of the Brow Keeper, I prefer the Superfine Liner for Brows instead!
Both are available at www.clinique.com, and Clinique counters/locations.
While I was in New York for Fashion Week, Megan over at Clinique made sure I had a sample of Clinique’s Almost Powder, a new foundation, that also comes with build-in SPF 15. This product utilizes new technology in pressing and processing that ends up making production take twice as long as a normal powder would. It’s even produced exclusively in Japan!
I’ve been wearing Almost Powder for the past week or so, and I have to say, I do like it. I don’t think it is going to replace my holy grail Studio Fix Fluid (liquid), mostly because I like liquid foundation and the coverage. However, there are many days where SFF is just a tad too heavy, or I’m not really needing a foundation of that nature. I find Almost Powder perfect for everyday, incredibly natural-looking skin. The powder is incredibly silky, and it feels lightweight. The compact includes a sponge, but I also tried Clinique’s powder brush ($30.00) with it. I found the sponge was better at reducing any “powdery” spots, and it was a lot faster. I’m personally not a fan of sponge technology (just seems like it is a bacterial growth zone!), so I tend to opt for the brush method. The brush was SO soft, and I liked it for initial application and buffing later with a buffer brush.
The coverage you get is lightweight to light-medium coverage. It basically gave me natural coverage, so I didn’t look cakey or really like I was wearing any foundation–which is always a plus. I would definitely need to look into concealers if I wanted to wear this on more acne-prone days, though, since it covers, but not quite enough (though not many lightweight foundations do this, so it’s not really a negative).
What sells this foundation is how soft it is and how nicely it settles into the skin. If you’re looking for a more polished look, without looking like you’re wearing makeup, this is right up your alley. This is perfect for those on-the-go, and anyone who wants to keep foundation light, minimal, but something that works and really evens out skin tone.
Availability: March 2008 at counters and www.clinique.com, but currently available for preview at QVC.
DHC Vitamin C Powder Supplement ($3.00) makes it easier than ever to get your daily recommended supply of Vitamin C (hello, vital nutrient that everybody should have)! Each packet contains 1,000 mg of Vitamin C, which is actually more than the recommended daily value. Vitamins are often something you can take in surplus, but I do want to advise readers not to go TOO overboard with the C, as too much C can cause execss build-up and lead to kidney stores (true story!). What this means is if you take one packet of DHC’s Vitamin C Powder Supplement, don’t pop a Vitamin C pill, too! One of the biggest reasons to make sure your C intake is healthy is because it helps to boost your immune system, and who wants to get sick?
DHC recently launched a Salicyclic Acid Acne Treatment System that includes a Salicylic Acne Wash ($13.00), Salicylic Acne Toner ($14.00), Salicyclic Face Milk ($19.00), and Acne Spot Therapy ($12.00). The wash is a non-drying cleansing gel that foams to gently exfoliate, while calming skin with aloe vera and green tea. I find that it’s fairly gentle, despite being an active acne-fighting product, so my eyes handle it well if any gets in them on accident. The toner works well for those who are oilier, but I found myself skipping this part of the four-step routine when I was pressed for time (that’s probably a big oops, right?) because I felt like I didn’t need it. The Face Milk is a lightweight moisturizer that is targeted to help reduce acne because of the salicyclic acid in it, but it ensures hydrated skin while doing so. Out of the system, I think one of my favorite products was the Spot Therapy, because I felt like it did help to minimize redness caused by new blemishes in a short amount of time. Many acne-fighting products tend to dry out skin, which is why I liked the DHC system, because they recognize that and make sure to infuse their products with hydrating ingredients to give skin the balance it needs while breaking down blemishes.
Flirt! Squeeze Me Super Shiny Lipgloss ($10.00) is exactly what it says–a super shiny lipgloss–without stickiness. The colors I tested were fairly sheer, so you get more like a subtle hint of color with lots of shimmery shine. If you’ve ever wanted ultra glossy lips, this is a great solution. They have a good range of colors, so it makes it easy to find a few that would work for you. Personally, I found the tube size to be a little small for the price of a non-high end brand. On the flip side, the small size makes it perfect for traveling and tossing in purses. I do wish they were more pigmented, as that’s my general preference, but I know a lot of people like sheer glosses.