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  • Muse BeautyBuy any 2 Viseart eyeshadow palettes for $128 (plus get three Esum eyeshadow brushes), ends 8/21.
  • Neiman MarcusGet up to a $300 gift card with your select purchase of $500+ (beauty/fragrance included) with code NMAUG, ends 8/22.
  • UltaPlatinum Appreciation Day -- 10X points on select brands/products plus 5X points on everything else through this link, starts 8/21 and ends 8/21.
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To Contour or Not to Contour for Darker Skin Tones

This morning, Khadine tweeted to me a write-up she did in response to a recent Temptalia post. I thought it was an excellent post that offered clarification, insight, and helped to educate everyone regarding the particular topic. She’s graciously allowing me to share her response and thoughts.

I also asked her for some of her personal recommendations, and she said, “As for products for darker skin tones, Ben Nye has a great range of colors in foundations and powders that even very deep skin tones can benefit from. Graftobian has great options as well. In terms of specific contour colors (I prefer to use creams), Black Opal Stick Foundations like Suede Mocha and Black Walnut come to mind. Another one is Graftobian HD Glamour Creme Foundation in Sienna. Also, check out their HD Glamour Creme Palette in Neutral #3. Of course, these are only examples so they won’t work for everyone, however, readers can feel free to check out the product websites for the full range of options.”

To Contour or Not to Contour for Darker Skin Tones

Recently, there was a guest post on Temptalia on the subject of “blushing and highlighting”, where the author advised, “If you’re of a darker skintone, like NC/W 45+, skip the contour and stick only with highlight. Contour colours unfortunately rarely run too dark, and you risk the color looking muddy on the face.” Some of Temptalia’s readers took offense and voiced their complaints in the comment section below the article, as well as via Twitter.

I, on the other hand, wasn’t as negatively moved by the statement. I certainly disagree with the author on the suggestion that dark skin cannot or should not be contoured, but I actually see the logic in what she’s saying (I’ll explain further). I am in the category she’s referring to (I wear NC 50 in MAC Select SPF 15 foundation), and I contour all the time. However, I wouldn’t totally write-off everything she said!

When she says, “skip the contour and stick only with highlight,” this does make sense in the case of women with very deep skin tones (Alek Wek is the only person that comes to mind immediately). What makes contouring (and its counterpart, highlighting) effective is contrast, however you can best achieve it. If you have a deep enough complexion to be able to use your skin tone as the contour color, then that’s okay! If you’re of a dark complexion and can find appropriate contour colors, there’s no need to limit yourself. I think Victoria had the right idea but happened to be a little off in the shade range (as I said, I’m an NC 50 and contouring isn’t an issue for me).

It’s the same thing on the opposite end of the spectrum. If you are really fair (think Nicole Kidman) and it makes more sense to only contour (and use your skin tone as a highlight), then so be it!

Her claim that “Contour colours unfortunately rarely run too dark,” is not a stretch at all! There are limited options out there for contouring darker complexions. The deeper your color, the harder it is to find something even darker for contouring (I didn’t say impossible, I said harder). Sometimes you’re lucky if you even find a color to match you in the first place! You can use black pigments to deepen your foundation, but the average person would just rather be able to pick up a ready-made shade at their local cosmetics counter rather than mix multiple products to get the right match.

In summary, of course, contouring can be done on dark skin tones, but with a caveat! When executed well, the results are magnificent (ask Sam Fine)! However, some individuals of deeper complexions may benefit more from highlighting (especially if color options are limited) than they would from contouring. Similarly, some individuals of lighter complexions may benefit more from contouring than they would from highlighting.

You can check out Khadine’s original article on her blog, Cosmetic Passion. Khadine is an emerging makeup artist based in New York City who has a long-time passion for cosmetics. With her blog, she hopes to share her passion for beauty with enthusiasts like her while exchanging beauty tips!

MAC Viva Glam – Ricky Martin & Nicki Minaj for Viva Glam

MAC Viva Glam – Ricky Martin & Nicki Minaj for Viva Glam

The fearless Ricky Martin and Nicki Minaj introduce Nicki’s lipstick in a scene-stealing pink and Ricky’s colourless Lip Conditioner in a Tube that goes from day to dance floor! With every cent of the selling price supporting the MAC AIDS Fund, it doesn’t get any hotter. They’ve teamed up to raise HIV/AIDS awareness among young people around the globe. Nicki and Ricky dare you to be bold. Be beautiful. Be safe.

Lipstick ($14.50 U.S. / $17.50 CDN)

  • Viva Glam Nicki Bright yellow pink (Satin)

Lip Conditioner (Tube) ($15.00 U.S. / $18.00 CDN)

  • Lip Conditioner Clear

availability: February 15th, 2012 through February 2013 (North America), March 2012 (International), at all MAC locations and online at maccosmetics.com

See close-up photo! 

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Milani Blue Liquif’Eye Liquid Like Automatic Propel Pencil

Milani Blue Liquif'Eye Automatic Pencil
Milani Blue Liquif’Eye Automatic Pencil

Milani Blue Liquif’Eye Liquid Like Automatic Propel Pencil

Milani Blue Liquif’Eye Automatic Pencil ($7.99 for 0.01 oz.) is a medium-dark navy blue with silver and blue micro-glitter. It has decent color payoff in a single pass, but it really needs to be layered in order to achieve a rich, opaque line of color. It has a slightly drier texture, though it doesn’t overly tug at the lash line when applied. The color reminded me of tokidoki Skeletro, which is slightly darker.

I tested this on the lower lash line, and while it dries down easily and seems smudge-proof when swatched on my arm, it wasn’t quite as foolproof once applied. It wore for around six hours with minor smudging, but the fading and smudging was more than noticeable after eight hours. I didn’t and wouldn’t test this on the water line due to the micro-glitter particles. It’s not the worst performing eyeliner I’ve tried, but it’s definitely not one I’d grab when there are so many high performing eyeliners on the market. For example, Milani’s Liquif’Eye Pencil formula is excellent and wears much better.

Milani Blue Liquif’Eye Liquid Like Automatic Propel Pencil


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Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadows (Part 1)

Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadow
Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadows

Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadows (Part 1)

Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a cream-gel-mousse formula that’s designed to have a lightweight texture, yield “vivbrant, lively, buildable” color, be waterproof, and long-wearing. Just for fun, Bare Escentuals made a charitable contribution to Canine Companions for Independence when this product launched. They are also exclusive to Sephora. There are fourteen shades in total, and I will review all of them, but this post focuses on: Black Lab (shimmering black sky), Bulldog (intense royal blue), Chihuahua (bright silver), Cocker Spaniel (opalescent pink), and Collie (sparkling champagne).

I went to Buxom’s site to see if they had a more accurate description of the product’s pigmentation (at least, what it should be), and each shade actually gets a breakdown, which includes listing the type of coverage. All of the shades in the range are described as “sheer, buildable.” They’re vibrant in the pot, but the vibrancy doesn’t translate as much on the lid, so if you’ve steered clear because these look daunting in the pot, then don’t worry about it. If you’ve seen the pot and went, “Whoa!” and wanted opaque color coverage, you’ll be disappointed, as these are true-to-description: they’re sheer. They’re slightly buildable but not enough where you could get opaque color as it looks like in the pan but it varies between shades.

The formula is fun to play with, just because the consistency is unlike most products on the market. These actually launched well before Chanel Illusion d’Ombres, which have a similar texture. Stay-There Eyeshadows have a spongy quality that reminds me of memory foam; you can press it, and it will slowly spring back to form. You can jab at it with a pencil, and you’ll end up shifting it around more than anything!

I like using a really stiff, firm, and flat brush with these, but I’ve had the best luck applying these with fingertips. Once applied, they dry down to a powder finish in just the right time–not instantly but not so long that it’s creased before you’ve finished applying product to the other eye. I’ve tested several shades without primer as washes, including Black Lab, Bulldog, Chihuahua, Collie, Mutt, Pug, Saint Bernard, and Shih Tzu, and I haven’t had any issues with the shades creasing, fading, or smudging. I’ve even worn a few of them during showers to test waterproof claims, and they haven’t budged.

  • Black Lab has a semi-sheer, semi-matte black base with multi-colored shimmer; you get flecks of green, blue, violet, and silver for the most part. Chanel Mirifique looks similar in the pot, but they’re not very alike swatched. Bobbi Brown Onyx is similar. Bobbi Brown Black Sparkle is a bluer-tinted base.
  • Bulldog is a semi-sheer medium purple-tinted blue with soft micro-shimmer-sheen. Tarina Tarantino Violet Storm is more intense and slightly purpler. Inglot #336 is somewhat similar but darker and matte.
  • Chihuahua is a bright, foil-like silver with a metallic finish. This was a really opaque color, actually. MAC Electra is similar but less metallic. Inglot #448 is slightly darker.
  • Cocker Spaniel is a pale peach with a subtle iridescent finish. It’s not pink on me, but I can see some of a pearly pink in the pot, so I think this is a shade that will look pinker/peachier depending on your undertones (with my yellower undertones, it leans peach). MAC Double Feature 5 is a bit like this but more of a true peach. Make Up For Ever #940 is quite similar but has a stronger iridescent sheen.
  • Collie is a peachy gold with a frosted, metallic sheen. This was one of the more opaque colors as well. It’s not quite as orange as Dior Couture Gold or as yellow as Urban Decay Blunt.

Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadows (Part 1)


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