Saturday, June 9th, 2012


The Best of Bobbi Brown

Whether you’re new to the brand, or you used them long ago, this post is designed to be an at-a-glance summary of the best Bobbi Brown formulas and shades.  Bobbi Brown is a brand that does emphasize and focus on more “natural” beauty, so you’ll find plenty of basic shades of beiges, browns, and the like within the range. You won’t find an extensive range of bright and neon hues, but you will find some. A lot of the brighter colors get launched seasonally in limited edition collections, so if you like a formula, you might see a vibrant neon pink during the spring or summer.

Eyes

When it comes to gel eyeliners, Bobbi’s Gel Eyeliner ($24.00) is a cult favorite, and for good reason–it comes in a variety of shades, applies easily and fluidly, and lasts all day long. You have the classic black, Black Ink, along with fun colors like Ivy Shimmer Ink (deep emerald green) and Violet Ink (violet purple).

Her Metallic Eyeshadows ($21.00) are really plush; soft, smooth, and lots of color payoff with a frosted, metallic fiinsh. Shades like Forest, Burnt Sugar, and Cognac are lovely on warmer skin tones, while Mint, Midnight, and Velvet Plum are flattering on cooler complexions. For neutral eyeshadows with matte finishes, her regular Eyeshadow ($21.00) line is worth considering–pay attention to Bone, Caviar, Espresso, Hot Stone, Wheat, and Taupe.

From time to time, Bobbi Brown also releases eyeshadow and face palettes–some are amazing, others are so-so–but they’re usually worth at least a glance or two if you’re near a counter. My favorite Bobbi Brown mascara is Everything Mascara ($24.00), which results in really great everyday, natural-looking lashes.

Cheeks

If you love high shimmer, nearly metallic-finishes in your blushes and highlighters, you’ll find Shimmer Bricks ($39.00) right up your alley. Shades like Nectar can be used as blushers on light to dark skin tones as well as providing highlight. Each compact has five strips of color, which can be used individually or altogether.

If you’re into cream blushes, you might like Pot Rouge for Lips & Cheeks ($24.00), which is a multi-tasking color product that gives both cheeks and lips a soft tint of color. It comes in an assortment of shades (ten at the writing of this post). Calypso Coral is great for a pop of coral during the summer, while Chocolate Cherry is excellent for a bolder, darker cheek color. Raspberry flatters lots of skin tones, even deeper ones, as it has just the right level of intensity.

Lips

Rich Lip Color SPF 12 ($23.00) is pigmented, lightweight, and moisturizing, and it’s probably my favorite lipstick formula by the brand, though the regular Lip Color ($23.00) is rather good and her Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15 ($23.00) is great for a glossier (but still a lipstick) option.

High Shimmer Lipgloss ($23.00) may be my most favorite Bobbi Brown product, period, though don’t hold me to it, because it’s so hard to choose! They’re rich in sparkle and shimmer and look utterly dazzling on the lips (especially in the sunlight). Some shades are sheer with lots of sparkle, others are more pigmented with plenty of shimmer. My favorite shades are Canary, Electric Violet, Midnight Violet, Naked Plum, Pink Sequin, and Plum Gold.

Base

If you suffer from really dry skin and find most foundations emphasize dryness, EXTRA Tinted Moisturizing Balm is fantastic–it gives coverage and lots and lots of ongoing, all-day moisture. I wouldn’t recommend it for oilier skin types, because it would be too heavy. I haven’t tried her range of foundations very much–not enough to make recommendations–but check reader comments for possible options.

Skincare

I have normal-to-dry skin, so I do review and speak from that perspective for the most part, but of course, sometimes a product that isn’t hydrating enough for me but otherwise has a good texture may be a good fit for someone with oilier skin. I have tried and quite liked Hydrating Face Cream (thick but never heavy, nicely hydrating), Hydrating Gel Cream (quick-absorbing, lightweight, moisturizing), EXTRA Repair Moisturizing Balm SPF 25 (creamy, hydrating, slightly heavy), and Hydrating Rich Cream Cleanser (creamy, removes makeup and dirt well, never drying).

Tools

Every Bobbi Brown brush I’ve used, I’ve been happy with, but I haven’t used the full range. I love the soft, dense feel of her Blush Brush ($50.00) and full, dense feel of her Bronzer Brush ($50.00), which really seems like a buffer brush with a longer handle.

What are your recommendations for someone looking to try Bobbi Brown products?

Friday, July 15th, 2011






Best of Illamasqua

These are the best products I’ve tried from Illamasqua–I haven’t tried every single product type they have, but from what I have tried, I think these are standout products. When you click on the link, you’ll be taken to the tag for the product type, and any relevant reviews for actual shades will show up! :)

  • NAIL VARNISH ($14) is an excellent formula that applies evenly, smoothly, and is typically opaque in two coats (though one is often nearly opaque). They have an impressive shade range with a few scandalous names and lots of creams. Some of my favorite shades have been: Bacterium (for its oddness), Baptiste (for its depth), Phallic (for its depth), Radium (for its brightness), Scarab (for its depth), and Viridian (for its color).
  • INTENSE LIPGLOSS ($20) is a product I fell in love with soon after trying it! There is a large shade range outside of the U.S., while the shades selected for distribution at Sephora is more limited, they’re still lovely shades (just more wearable overall!). Some of my favorites are Frenzy (intense pink), Hermetic (holiday red gone vamp), Move (plummy-pink), and Succubus (rich red).
  • PURE PIGMENT ($24) are loose powders that are multi-purpose–they can be used on eyes, cheeks, and where-have-you.  It’s a very finely milled powder that works wet or dry, and I’ve found that Illamasqua makes some rather nuanced shades.  Some of my favorites are Alluvium, Chasm, and Ore.
  • BLUSH ($24) offers a good range of colors–from typical shades to more vibrant ones. They have buildable color, are blendable, and wear well. Some of my favorites have been Excite (orange-coral), Hussy (pinky-coral), and Lover (apricot).

I like their lipstick line-up, but they’re mostly matte (or matte base colors with shimmer), and they can be harder to apply than the average lipstick because of the drier texture. I know several readers have had some issues with the lipstick breaking at the base, too, which I have discovered in a few of my tubes recently. Their Precision Ink Liquid Eyeliners are lovely, but since the formula of those is now a common theme we have seen in five or more brands, I don’t think it’s a best of worthy product. I haven’t tried their cream blushes, but I will be testing them out soon!

What are your favorite Illamasqua products?