Chinese New Year 2016 Armani Highlighting Palette and MAC Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer for the Year of the Monkey

February 8, 2016

Happy Chinese New Year! Today marks the day many of us celebrate Chinese New Year and this year’s zodiac animal is the monkey. There are some cute beauty items that have launched to celebrate this event, I have two to feature today. One being the Armani Chinese New Year Highlighting Palette ($88 for 8.5 g/0.3 oz, made in France) and the other is MAC Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer ($17 for 3g/0.1 oz, made in Canada).

Up first is the new highlighting powder from Armani. The Chinese New Year Highlighting Palette comes in a mirrored compact with a compartment for a small brush. The packaging design is similar to that of other highlighting powders and the powder foundation. It’s a very soft and subtle highlighter in a gold shade. It does have quite a complex mix of shimmers from champagne and gold. I found the finish to be on the sheer side but it is buildable. Depending on how the light hits the compact, sometimes the color will look more golden and yellow, other times the shimmers will reflect to show more of a champagne colored shimmer. It comes cased in a stunning red lacquered compact. On the top is embossed the Chinese character for good fortune. It was difficult to capture the shimmer in this one but depending on how you apply it, you will see tiny bits of micro sparkle, almost like superfine tiny bits of glitter. It’s very smooth on the skin though, there’s no texture or chunkiness to the feel.

A look at the packaging design:

Swatched with a heavy hand otherwise it would not show up on camera:

A few swatch comparisons below to:
Armani Fluid Sheer #2 (also swatched here)
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light (review)
Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder Brilliant Strobe Light (swatch)
Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder Euphoric Strobe Light (review)

I think it’s a nice collective piece to own if you celebrate Chinese New Year or if you simply love Armani highlighters. I find it special because of the packaging design and since I am Chinese, I do think it’s a fun piece to own. In terms of the color and quality, it’s a high quality powder with a finely milled texture to add a nice glow. On me I find it very subtle. I suspect some may find it too subtle or may not like the tiny gold micro sparkles. I like that it doesn’t emphasize pores and it feels very smooth on the skin. That being said, I do prefer the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Powders to this one.

Next up is something from MAC. They’ve curated a collection of some of their top-selling items (repromotes and permanent items) for the Year of the Monkey Collection – shades inspired by Chinese opera. Online and in MAC stores they have a special gold envelope (while supplies last). I ordered Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer online as it’s always been on my radar but I never caved and ordered. It’s a beautiful sheer grapefruit color. It’s bright but not too bright. You can find the color at all MAC counters and online. It’s just the envelope that is limited-edition and exclusive to MAC online/stores. This comes in the lustre lipstick formula which is sheer but buildable. Your natural lip color will show through if you only swipe it across the lips once and it has a naturally glossy finish.

Swatch comparisons to:
Buxom Bold Gel Lipstick in Coral Confession (swatched here)
YSL Glossy Stain 42 (swatched here)

I think the Armani palette is a nice item to have, but not a must. I ordered mine sight unseen as I did not see it available at any counters near me. Had I been able to test it in person I suspect there’s a good chance I still would have purchased it because of the packaging and personal meaning. MAC See Sheer is a good wearable coral that adds life to the complexion. It’s a brighter shade compared to my natural preference for nude lips but I still find it very wearable and easy to pull off for everyday.
The Armani Chinese New Year Palette retails for $88 and is limited-edition. You can find it online at Nordstrom, Giorgio Armani and Saks Fifth Avenue.

MAC Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer retails for $17. You can find it at MAC stores and online (they will send a gold envelope with any Chinese New Year collection purchase while supplies last). If you’re just interested in the lipstick, it’s widely available at all MAC counters. Online at Nordstrom, Macy’s and MAC Cosmetics.

Did you check out any of the Chinese New Year beauty items this year? Happy New Year to those who celebrate!

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  • Rachel Polansky February 8, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    The highlighter packaging and design are so cute, but it doesn't seem special enough to warrant the high price tag.


    • Sabrina February 10, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      Yes, it's oh so expensive and I don't know why 🙁

  • Lori Jenkins February 8, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    That lipstick is such a pretty color on you!

    • Sabrina February 10, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      Thanks Lori! Don't know why it took me so long to check it out.

  • szkiełko February 8, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    See Sheer looks gorgeous on you! 🙂

    • Sabrina February 10, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      Thank you!

  • Karoline Sæbø February 8, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Nice products! I especially like the Mac lipstick. Looks very wearable!

    • Sabrina February 10, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      It is! Surprising since it's a brighter color.

  • Christina February 8, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Great post! Now I have to stop by MAC for that lipstick, since I am on the hunt for a dupe for the long discontinued Bobbi Brown lip shine in Claret. Does anyone remember this color? It was such a wearable red, was sheer and very lip-colored. It was more on the warm side so from what I can remember it was like a dark coral. This may not be a dupe but it looks really natural and similarly wearable. Thanks for the info!

    • Sabrina February 10, 2016 at 11:12 pm

      I recall Claret but cannot remember what it looked like. Have you checked out the Clarins instant light lip perfectors? Maybe the red one might be similar, although I think it's possible it's a brighter one the Bobbi Brown.

  • Anonymous February 8, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    I absolutely love the colour of See Sheer (I have a similar complexion to you, and as you said, it's bright but still very wearable), but the lustre formula doesn't work well for me. Any other similar colours you can think of?

    • Sabrina February 10, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      I did comparison swatches above to what I thought could be close. At the moment I can't think of anything else that has the same glossy finish/texture. You might want to check out the YSL Volupte Shine Lipsticks though – I think there are some new shades at Sephora.com or YSLbeauty.com. You might have luck finding something similar there.

  • transientbeaute.com February 8, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Love the products on this post. That powder is gorgeous and so subtle, and the lippie, how come I have never picked it up before?!

    • Sabrina February 10, 2016 at 11:14 pm

      LOL – it's because there are a million other MAC lipsticks haha.

  • Linda Tran February 8, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    Definitely want the Highlighter but I'm not sure if I want to spend that much, haha.


    • Sabrina February 10, 2016 at 11:14 pm

      It's definitely pricey – I think the Hourglass ones are good alternatives for a similar glow/look.

  • Clever Girl Reviews February 9, 2016 at 1:25 am

    I like the Armani but it's too expensive for what it is.

  • Judy February 9, 2016 at 2:21 am

    The highlighting palette seems a pretty one. Love the pigmentation and love the packaging as well.

  • Celine February 9, 2016 at 6:51 am

    That lipstick is bang on for you!

  • Rachel Kromdijk February 9, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    lovely products, looking good!

    • Sabrina February 10, 2016 at 11:14 pm

      Thanks Rachel and Celine!

  • Anonymous February 20, 2016 at 3:11 am

    Do you think Armani Belladonna highlighter is prettier?