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  • HautelookUp to 59% off MAC Cosmetics, includes eyeshadows, palettes, blushes, eyeliners, lipsticks, and more, ends 8/20.
  • Muse BeautyBuy any 2 Viseart eyeshadow palettes for $128 (plus get three Esum eyeshadow brushes), ends 8/21.
  • Sephora4X points for Rouges (early access 8/11), 3X points for VIBs, and 2X points for BIs on all purchases, starts 8/11 and ends 8/19.

5 Pretty in Pink and Red Lipglosses for Valentine’s Day

5 Pretty in Pink and Red Lipglosses for Valentine’s Day

In case you’re not into lipsticks, or maybe you like to mix, here are five of my favorites that would make for a perfect lip for Valentine’s Day!

  1. MAC Driven by Love — ruby red with ruby shimmer
  2. Chanel Trimphal — pinky-red with lighter pink and red shimmer
  3. Illamasqua Indulge — bright, yellow-toned pink
  4. Milani Photo Flash — glittery, glitzy pink-red
  5. Hourglass Siren — metallic orange-red

What’s your favorite gloss for Valentine’s Day?

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Complexion SOS: Skin Brightening Solutions

By Angela, Cosmetic Chemist

One of the leading brains behind beauty, Angela is an industry-renowned Cosmetic Chemist with over 11 years training and experience in developing cosmetics and toiletries. Having been immersed in the wondrous beauty world from an early age, she was instantly captivated by the rituals, the artistry and the allure. This initial intrigue soon developed into an unequivocal beauty obsession partly fuelled by teenage skin dilemmas but also stemming from a deep seated creativity and desire for self expression. This was quickly followed by a behind the scenes role in new product development where she formulated make up and skin care for an array of global brands.

Still not content with the industry offerings, especially those for women of colour, she still indulges herself with customised formulations to suit her specific beauty needs! Despite her wealth of scientific knowledge Angela takes what she calls a “feelosophical” approach to the industry. So whilst analysing ingredients and technologies, addressing safety fears and generally aiming to reveal the truth she never loses sight of the one essential thing about beauty and that is appreciating how it simply makes you feel! Check out her blog Beauty Feelosophy!

NARS Orgasm Illuminator

Complexion SOS: Skin Brightening Solutions

As the days grow shorter, the nights grow longer, and the  sun becomes but a distant memory, the skin can start to look a little lackluster.  For many of us around the globe, especially women of colour, maintaining a bright complexion, combating hyperpigmentation, and maintaining an even skin tone is a problem all year round!

There are many lightening, brightening and illuminating products out there, but here are just a few of my top solutions for getting through the dull winter months:

Exfoliate but don’t over do it!

One of the easiest and quickest ways to rejuvenate the skin is to remove some of the outermost skin cells that make up the surface of the skin. This also helps to clear hyperpigmentation and speed up the turnover of new skin cells being produced.

Skin takes up to 24 days to create new surface cells, which are, by this time dead and rich in keratin, then about three days for these skin cells to naturally shed. An at home microdermabrasion once a week like Kiehl’s Epidermal Retexturising Microdermabrasion ($41.00) will help to achieve instant radiance (I get compliments on my skin every time I use it!). The scrub uses fine particles of alumina as the main exfoliant along with diatomaceous earth, combined in a creamy emollient base to prevent it feeling too harsh or drying out the skin.

However as easy and amazing as it is, it is still important to remember that those dead skin cells are still there for a reason:  to protect your skin from the elements! Don’t over do it and always make sure you moisturize and use sunscreen after you exfoliate, especially if you suffer from dry skin or sensitive skin!

Vitamin C boost!

Vitamin C is an effective ingredient for brightening the skin and reducing hyperpigmentation. However, it quickly breaks down when used in certain formulations, therefore adding the pure powder yourself will ensure you get the real benefits.

Many people rave about Philosophy’s Turbo Booster C Powder ($35.00) which is (nearly) pure ascorbic acid, which is the stabilized powder form of Vitamin C.  A cheaper way to get your fix is from your local health food store where you will also find Ascorbic Acid powder ($6.95). Dissolve a small amount every day in water, add a bit of glycerine if you can find it in your local chemist as otherwise it can be a bit tingly, then apply directly to the face or with your moisturiser or serum. Be on the look out for 100% ascorbic acid without fillers though!  It is a great antioxidant that helps to protect the skin but that is whole other post in itself!

Fake it with illuminators and highlighters!

Adding a touch of pearl to your bare skin, mixed with foundation, or on key areas of the face to capture the light is a quick-fix way to bring your complexion to life.

For an all-over radiance, NARS Orgasm Illuminator ($30.00) is the type of product that’s great to use even in the day time. I use it mixed in my foundation and on a dull, sleep-deprived day, this is my saving grace. The great thing about this is that it works on all skin types. Products like MAC Strobe Cream or Benefit That Gal or Girl Meets Pearl are great on fair skins but on darker skin barely make a difference.

To enhance contours, an old favorite of mine is Benefit Moon Beam ($26.00)! In the beginning, I wasn’t sure the color, looking at the bottle, would work well for darker skin, but it does and it is a true classic–again great on all skin tones! Other highly recommended products are NARS Copacabana, but this is only really good for the night and has to be used very carefully on dark skin tones to avoid looking like a ghost!

Glow from within!

No discussion on complexion would be complete without a mention about diet and lifestyle so three important ingredients are vitamins (especially B, C and E), water, and sleep!

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC) The Garden Collection for Spring/Summer 2012

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC) The Garden Collection for Spring/Summer 2012

Introducing The Garden, OCC’s S/S 2012 Colour Collection. Spring has sprung at OCC and hidden among the lilacs and pansies is a different shade of floral. Inspired by psychotropic and poisonous plants, this collection turns traditional spring pastels upside down, injecting them with hallucinatory notes of nearly-neon vibrancy. Mixed in are more subtle neutral lip shades, meant to be paired with a dizzying flash of color on the eyes, in this garden of earthly (and unearthly) delights.

Lip Tar ($13.50)

  • Chlorophyll True, denseteal
  • Belladonna Ultra, ultra violet
  • Digitalis Pink-tinged lavender
  • Ophelia Pure petal pink
  • Kava Kava True peach neutral
  • Pennyroyal Roasted peach-brown

availability: March 2012

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Since we’ve been together FOREVER, I’ll wear Chanel Dragon Rouge Allure Laque on lips with a neutral eye, maybe slightly smoked out with an antique gold, and gold or bronze eyeliner with a natural cheek color (think Korres Natural). He can wait to kiss me until I’ve removed all my makeup 🙂

— Christine

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3 Indian Lip Products for Soft, Lush Lips on Valentine’s Day

By Mehak Sagar, 24, India, Global Contributor

Mehak is 24-years old and a number-crunching economist from India. When she’s not analyzing data, she’s analyzing beauty, which is where her real passion lies. She loves blush and the color peach, and together, the two give her unparalleled happiness (hence her blog, Peaches and Blush). Aside from beauty, she loves food, shoes, traveling, dancing, and painting. She has an unhealthy obsession with chocolate cookies, lip balms, her three-year-old niece, and planning her upcoming wedding. Mehak lives with a joint family, which means 13 people in a single house, but she says it just means there is more makeup to go around!

Lakme Lip Love Conditioner

3 Indian Lip Products for Soft, Lush Lips on Valentine’s Day

Let’s face it:  most men hate oodles of lipstick, or at least my man does. So with Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s essential to stock up on subtle lip products that work well for date nights! Here are three Indian lip products for soft, lush lips on Valentine’s Day.

Lakme Lip Love Lip Conditioners (Rs 225 or $4.50): These lip conditioners were made for Valentine’s Day! They come in adorable heart-shaped pots and give a juicy,wet look to the lips. While they won’t heal extremely chapped lips, they ensure your pout is drenched in subtle color and stays hydrated for those Valentine Day Date Nights. My favorites of the Lakme Lip love Conditioners are Flirt, a bright fuchsia pink, and Charmer, a bright coral orange. They also come in two other colors: Hottie and Siren. I recommend you stock up on all four of these! If you want an overload of the cheesiness factor, then also take a look at Lakme’s Lip Love Lipstick which come inscribed with word love on them.

Boutique Bio Berry Plumping Lip Balm (Rs 99 or $2.00) | The Biotique Bio Berry plumping lip balm claims to be a ‘medicinal product’ but one look at the pretty watermelon inside of it, and medicinal is the last word you would think of. It is mostly sheer, giving a light watermelon tint to the lips and keeps lips hydrated and soft throughout the day. While I am not a big fan of the slightly cough syrup like smell, it does give a fuller pout to the lips and makes sure your lips stay hydrated throughout the day!

Colorbar Coral Crush Lip Pot (Rs 495 or $10.00) | The Colorbar Lip Pots are kind of like liquid lipsticks. Similar to NYX Lip Lacquer Pots but much more pigmented, they last an immensely long time, give mostly opaque coverage, and have a cushioned feel on the lips. Coral Crush is an earthy terracotta orange, which looks great on warm skin tones and is a must for me. They come in a range of other colors like Cherry Pop, which is a deep red, and Pink Velvet, which is a plummy pink .

See more photos & swatches! 

Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee

Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee
Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee

Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee

Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee ($40.00 for 0.17 oz.) is described as “high polish for your skin.” It’s a liquid, powder, and gel formula all-in-one. Estee Lauder says it “smooths on as an all-over soft sheen” and “builds for luminous pearl highlighting.” I wouldn’t describe it as an all-over powder or really so much a highlighting product–maybe a highlighting bronzer. The product is very, very intense. The pigmentation is insane; one tap of the brush, and it’s more than enough color to add a bronzed look to my cheeks. To achieve mere highlighting, I found that a fan brush and a very, very light hand (think of just a tap) was the only way to get just a faint sheen. If you use a regular blush or highlighting brush, and you use your typical method, you’ll probably find there’s too much for just a highlighted sheen.

This is a product that would be really lovely on deeper, golden-toned skin. It’s a rich coppery bronze with red undertones and a molten gold shimmer and sheen. theBalm Betty Lou-Manizer is browner, less orange and red. Urban Decay Gilded is a little lighter, more orange and less red-toned, but compares to the softer swatch of Topaz Chameleon.  If you want to bring out the metallic sheen, you can use the powder with a wet or damp brush.

I feel like this product is too pigmented if its aim is to be an all-over highlight.  Even on darker skin tones, I can’t imagine using this all over.  It’s very metallic and frosty, so it does emphasize the texture of the skin slightly.  The brush that Estee Lauder includes applies this more heavily if you aren’t careful (light hand, tapping away excess).  As a bronzer, it should work on warmer skin tones.  There are strong copper and orange tones, so I’m not sure if this would work as well on cooler complexions.  Estee Lauder just doesn’t call this product out as a bronzer, when it just feels and looks so much like one.

It can be used as a highlighter, but the application is more difficult and takes some practice.  It looks very dirty on my skin tone as a bronzer, but with a fan brush, a light hand, and a buffing brush, it can yield a softer, more manageable golden sheen.  The texture is soft but has this dry feel; it’s a different texture compared to most powders, but it is similar to Estee Lauder’s recent formulas like this.  When I wore this as a bronzer, it lasted for seven hours before beginning to fade.  I wish it would blend out more easily, because it’s just too easy to over-apply, so a more blendable texture would make for a more forgiving application.

I had a tough time trying to figure out exactly what Estee Lauder was going for here and whether this product should have been sheerer or if the pigmentation was on point.  I decided that since Estee Lauder said it was buildable (and it is) and didn’t mention it being sheer, the product would receive full marks for pigmentation.  Because achieving the highlighting the brand describes is more difficult, this was reflected in the application score.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee Blush Topaz Chameleon

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