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Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Part 3 — The Cheeks & Face

Each award is broken down into a best high-end winner and budget-friendly winner. For each award, the winning brand/product gets a brief description of why, and where appropriate, a link to any in-depth review. These awards are given out by me based on my personal experience with the products. Readers’ Choice Awards are completely separate :)

What were your favorites?  Would love to hear them — tell me in the comments!

Part 3 focuses on my favorite products to use on the cheeks and face — from blush to foundation to primer. These were not restricted to new products in 2009; any brand, any product, from any time can win.

Best Cheek/Face Highlighter (High-end): Dior DiorSkin Shimmer

Dior DiorSkin Shimmer ($43.00) are beautiful highlighters that just add a subtle sheen to skin that’s glow-y and natural. It’s not glitter, it’s not even quite shimmer — it’s so smooth and refined. I love these over blush or even alone for a very natural, soft look. They’re like instant wake-ups for the face — I have every single shade to date (which, lucky for my bank account, isn’t too many), but I love Amber Diamond and Rose Diamond the most. You can read my full review here or see one of my favorites, Amber Diamond, in action here.

Best Cheek/Face Highlighter (Budget): Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips ($7.00) are fun, affordable shimmery strips of colors that help add sheen and shimmer to your cheek bones. I like that there are a lot of different versions to choose from, though I am partial to Healthy Glow myself.

Best Everyday Blush (High-end): Benefit Sugarbomb

Benefit Cosmetics Sugarbomb ($28.00) is one of my newest finds and now my best friend. It has the lovely texture and subtle shimmer of my favorite Dior DiorSkin Shimmers but with more color punch (Skin Shimmers are designed to be highlighters, so they’re not supposed to have a ton of color, FYI!). Sugarbomb is that great mix of peach, pink, and GLOW! This is a product I could easily wear everyday (and I wear it so often!). You can see me wearing it in these looks or read my full review here.

Best Everyday Blush (Budget): Milani Luminous Blush

Milani Luminous Blush ($3.49) is a pretty peachy-pink with light shimmer. If you haven’t already heard, Luminous has been a long-time affordable version of the famous NARS Orgasm Blush. It’s not so peach that it’s overly warm, but it’s not so pink that it gets too cool. Love that it works on both warm and cool skin tones.

Best Cream Blush (High-end): MAC Blushcreme

MAC Blushcreme ($18.50) is one of my favorite products to use in the summer, because it layers really well under powder (blush or just setting powder). Blushcremes are creamy, soft, and look very natural on the skin, because it’s almost as if they just melt into the skin. I love, love Posey and Liliscent.

Best Cream Blush (Budget): Revlon Cream Blush

Revlon Cream Blush ($10.00) are easy-to-use creamy, smooth blushes that add just a subtle hint of color to cheeks. The end result is very natural, yet you’ll notice you have more color on your cheeks. The compact is kind of cute, with a little pop-out mirror for on-the-go application. (Personally, I use a stippling brush with creamy blushes, so it’s not actually so practical for me!) One piece of advice, though, what you see in the pan is not quite what you get — so don’t let the color in the pan intimidate you!

Best Powder Blush (High-end): Guerlain Blush 4 Eclat

Guerlain ‘Blush 4 Eclats’ Sculpting Blush ($49.00) is a four-colored blush available in six different variations. They’re ridiculously smooth, soft powder blushes that look natural and have just a subtle sheen that translates to a natural glow kind of look.

Best Powder Blush (Budget): CoverGirl Cheekers Blush

CoverGirl Cheekers Blush ($4.50) are single-shade powder blushes that come in a variety of shades ranging from pink to peach to plum. Colors go subtly and have a tendency to be soft shades rather than deep and intense, lending themselves to a very natural look.

There’s more — best in bronzers, primers, concealers, powders, foundations, and tinted moisturizers… Continue reading →

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Temptalia Asks You

What concealers have you tried that have worked? What are your favorites?

Temptalia's Answer.

I like YSL’s Touche Eclat, but it goes bad so quickly! I’m testing out Benefit’s new one right now, so far so good. I also like Eve Pearl’s Salmon Concealer, but it can sometimes be a little *too* creamy.

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Part 2 — The Eyes

Each award is broken down into a best high-end winner and budget-friendly winner. For each award, the winning brand/product gets a brief description of why, and where appropriate, a link to any in-depth review. These awards are given out by me based on my personal experience with the products. Readers’ Choice Awards are completely separate :)

I would LOVE to hear what you think about my picks — any of these your favorites, too?  The very opposite of your favorite?  Tell me in the comments!

Part 2 focuses on my favorite products to use on the eyes — from eyeshadow to eyeliner to mascara. These were not restricted to new products in 2009; any brand, any product, from any time can win.

Best Pencil Eyeliner (High-end): Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil ($17.00) are soft, smooth, and come in a variety of colors. They’re vibrant with rich pigmentation, and they glide on so smoothly. I love how long-wearing they are on my lower lash line. The color range and the softness of the pencil itself really make this one a huge winner in my book. You can read my full review here.

Best Pencil Eyeliner (Budget): L’Oreal HiP Chrome Eyeliner

L’Oreal HiP Color Chrome Eyeliner ($10.00) are some of the richest eyeliners I’ve tried. Black Shock is easily one of the deepest blacks I’ve come across in a pencil form. I love the metallic finish of these, and I find them to be very much like Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners. I do hope to see more of these from L’Oreal HiP in the upcoming year. You can read my full review here.

Best Gel Eyeliner (High-end): MAC Fluidline

MAC Fluidline ($15.00) is an excellent gel eyeliner that is easy to work with, doesn’t budge or smudge throughout the day, and has a decent color selection. (They used to have more, and MAC used to regularly release limited edition shades, but it’s been a minute since that’s happened.) I just find Fluidline to be the best of both worlds — smooth and creamy without being too wet nor too dry that it creates drag.

Best Gel Eyeliner (Budget): Sonia Kashuk Gel Eyeliner

Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defining Long-wear Gel Eyeliner ($8.99) are a great budget-friendly alternative for grabbing yourself a gel eyeliner. They’re creamy, long-lasting, and easy to use. The only downside is that there are only three shades available (a vibrant blue, cocoa brown, and black). You can read my full review here.

Best Liquid Eyeliner (High-end): MAC Penultimate

MAC Penultimate Eye Liner ($16.50) is an easy-use liquid liner in a felt-tip pen delivery system. The pointed felt tip edge really helps to make it easier to use, stabilize, and get a rich, even line across the upper lash line. You can read my full review here and see me use it in a look here.

Best Liquid Eyeliner (Budget): Wet ‘n’ Wild MegaLiner Liquid Liner

Wet ‘n’ Wild MegaLiner Liquid Eyeliner ($2.99) are easily some of the better liquid liners on the market, but they’re also ridiculously affordable. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at liquid liner, I totally recommend grabbing a few MegaLiners to play with. The Turquoise shade has always been one of my favorites!

Check out the Best & Worst Mascaras, Best Eyeshadows, False Eyelashes, Bases, and Palettes! Continue reading →

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Dior DiorShow Extase Mascara

Dior DiorShow Extase Mascara ($28.00) is the latest variation on the famous Dior DiorShow Mascara. It seems like it’s exclusively available at Sephora for the time being, and Sephora describes the new mascara as:

DiorShow Extase provides built-in treatment benefits and high-impact lashes in a single stroke! The spherical-shaped Black Pearl Pigments create a 3D volume effect and the exclusive Metamorphosis Powders expand in size by up to 50% after application. Also, SR38 Patented Ceramid brings additional care, reconstructing damaged lashes and promoting stronger and fuller lashes. The Extase mascara features a “Tiered Brush” that is inspired by the “tiered” couture dresses created by the House of Dior. The brush is designed for performance and contains an Exclusive Duo of Fibers: The Black Elastomer Fibers brush out and define the lashes for panoramic fringe and the Gold Nylon Fibers hold and deposit formula, generously coating each lash for outstanding volume.

Whenever I review a mascara, I look to see what exactly the mascara is claiming to do, because I find that like some anti-aging products, mascara is a product type that is often more marketing than results.   Extase is designed to volumize and thicken lashes while defining them.

Extase delivers length best — it’s exceptionally good at providing you with instantly longer lashes, even with just one light coat of the mascara. That’s really the part that I noticed first. It adds some volume, but I wouldn’t label this a volumizing mascara. My lashes really looked longer, but not so feathery (as my lashes tend to look with a more volumizing mascara). As far as thickening goes, it thickens well for a such a multi-tasking mascara. I think what stands out about this mascara is the lengthening aspect of it; everything else is decent, but it’s hard to separate the volume, thickness, etc. from the dramatic increase in length. The color of the mascara is definitely a deep black; I’d say Chanel Exceptionnel and MAC Plushlash are slightly richer, but they’re all in the same ballpark. I don’t have any issues with the pigmentation–it’s black enough for me.

It does a good job of defining lashes, but to a point, because the mascara will clump up on you if you’re not careful. The brush often has excess mascara on it, so removing excess certainly helps, and you can get a good two or three coats of mascara with very minimal clumping. I always recommend using a mascara comb regardless of the mascara you’re using, just because it helps separate and define lashes. I wouldn’t say this is perfectly clump-free, but I’d say it’s a relatively clump-free mascara. If you like to get multiple coats on, just follow my aforementioned tips for a better application.

I’ve been wearing Extase for over a week now, so you can see it used in a variety of looks here in addition to the comparison photos included in the review.  The original DiorShow gave me good length, some thickening and volumizing, and looked good overall, but it flaked and smudged on me within an hour, so it was a no-go. I am so pleased to report that Extase doesn’t flake, budge, or smudge at all, even with twelve hours of wear. It also holds a curl like nobody’s business!

The brush has a sort of “swirled” look to it, and even though they mentioned black and gold fibers, it all looked black to me, so it was difficult to assess that particular aspect of it. The brush didn’t seem too large, though it felt a little long. It takes an application or two to find the right method for application, but it didn’t require much thought or effort to get good results.

OVERALL, I did enjoy the way Dior DiorShow Extase made my lashes look. It’s particularly lovely for lengthening lashes, even the stubbier ones I have on the outer lash line, and does a decent job everywhere else to make it one of the better multi-tasking mascaras I’ve tried. I’d say it’s very comparable to Chanel Exceptionnel but clumps less (but doesn’t thicken as well).  Extase is also priced higher than Dior’s other mascaras at $28, so it’s not the most affordable mascara you’ll come across.  Just for reference, DiorShow is $24 and DiorShow Iconic is $27.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you like DiorShow and want more length, you may enjoy Extase.

Availability: Sephora

See more photos and comparisons… Continue reading →

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

If you were using Make Up For Ever #93 Eyeshadow?, what look would you create with it?

What shadows would you use? What would you use on cheeks? Anything added to the lips? Create a look using whatever you want, as long as you include today’s look book product!

Did you come up with a look you’d like to share featuring today’s product? You can link to your images, embed your images using HTML, or you can submit your images via e-mail to share them with readers to help give them inspiration on how to use the product!

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Part 1

I’m so happy (and relieved!) to be able to announce my picks for best brands and products of 2009. Because it is much easier to coordinate with just one person (myself!) than it is with thousands, I do have more categories than the Readers’ Choice Awards does. (Can you just imagine having to nominate products for 40+ categories? Exactly!) I also breakdown each award into best high-end winner and budget-friendly winner. For each award, the winning brand/product gets a brief description of why, and where appropriate, a link to any in-depth review.

Part 1 focuses on some of the biggest awards I give out each year — they’re the best of the best, creme de la creme — these products are some of the absolute best released in 2009.

Best Brand of the Year (High-end): Guerlain

Guerlain won me over this year with their beautiful limited edition collections along with their permanent range. I always find “Best Brand” to be an extremely difficult category to choose a winner for, but I felt like taking my experience with the brand throughout the year was the best way to go about figuring it out. Between the ultra luxe and lovely Rouge Gs to their silky soft blushes to the cult-favorite Meteorites, Guerlain just impressed me. Many of my latest and greatest holy grail products are by Guerlain (Gems Rouge G lipstick and Parure Gold Foundation, just to name two). You can read all of our Guerlain coverage here.

Best Brand of the Year (Budget): Maybelline

Maybelline showed me why they’re a worthwhile, budget-friendly brand this year. They’re incredibly reliable, and I just don’t run into too many products within the line that are just devastating. They make one of my favorite drugstore mascaras (Full ‘n Soft), as well as an excellent line of affordable lipstick and lipgloss (Color Sensational). You can read all of our Maybelline coverage here.

Find out who won Best New Product, Most Surprisingly Amazing Product, Most Disappointing Product, Best Seasonal Collections, and the Best and Worst of MAC! Continue reading →