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Base Makeup MAC

MAC Next to Nothing Face Colour and Pressed Powder

April 30, 2017

MAC Next to Nothing Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

MAC recently launched a new line of base products for a natural look with new formulas of foundation, powder and two brushes in their Next to Nothing collection. The items are designed for a natural skin-like effect to give a radiant look to the face. I’ve found that over the years MAC base and powder formulas have been hit or miss for me. I have super sensitive skin and tried their Studio Fix Powder Foundation when I was in high school and it caused severe allergic reactions on my skin. To this day I approach their powders and foundations with caution only doing a patch test first. I can safely use their primers, skincare and some foundations without any issues and was thrilled to find that the Next to Nothing line works well for my super sensitive skin.

In the collection we have:

Next to Nothing Face Colour comes in 9 shades from Light to Dark Deep, my shade is either Medium or Medium Plus. This is a super sheer tinted cream foundation that allows the skin to breathe. It’s sheer but has enough pigment to even out the skin slightly. This is what I wanted the Make Up For Ever Waterblend Foundation to be (which broke me out and felt too sticky for my skin, I suspect I had an allergic reaction to the fragrance). The effect of the MAC Next to Nothing is similar to that of the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (which I’ve re-discovered and love) but the MAC is less dewy and not as moisturizing. If you need coverage this will probably not be the foundation for you, although you can definitely use this as a good base and then take a higher coverage foundation and layer on top for a more lightweight feel. There’s no detectable scent, it comes in a glass bottle with a pump, it’s easy to blend, it’s lightweight and lasts all day. Shades do run on the pinkish side but since the formula is sheer I was lucky that they worked on my yellow olive skin.

MAC Next to Nothing Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book MAC Next to Nothing Face Colour Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

The #141 Synthetic Face Fan Brush is an odd shaped brush designed for the foundation. It performs well and gives the face a streak-free foundation application. It’s soft without being pokey but I’m still very much a sponge person when it comes to foundation application. That being said it’s a very good brush, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you try it.

Next to Nothing Powder/Pressed comes in 9 color options. I received 3 as press samples but none of them were a match so I ordered two more sight unseen in Medium Plus and Medium Dark since I’ve been getting darker since moving to Florida. My Mineralize Skinfinish Natural shade is Medium Plus and in the Next to Nothing Powder I can wear either Medium Plus or Medium Dark. Right now I’m in between shades. This is a finely milled powder that has a lightweight finish. It is very soft to the touch with an almost creamy feel. On the skin it has a more natural looking finish compared to the Mineralize Skinfinish Powder. Next to Nothing also feels just like the name implies next to nothing. There is a very tiny bit of fine pearl in the powder so it blurs the skin. For me I feel like the shades swatch a little bit on the lighter side, they look lighter in my swatches compared to what I see in the pan, but they will adjust slightly on the skin as it warms up. They do not oxidize in color on me though. I really love this powder.

MAC Next to Nothing Powder Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book MAC Next to Nothing Powder Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Compared to some of my other favorites Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Powder #2, Armani Powder Foundation #4, and MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Plus. If you asked me to pick one favorite, I would not be able to. I would say the sheerest is MAC Next to Nothing, Armani Luminous Silk Powder Foundation is what I use to set with a brush, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural feels a bit thicker compared to other powders due to the mineral finish. The Charlotte Tilbury has the fullest coverage for me.

Pressed Powder Charlotte Tilbury, Armani, MAC | The Beauty Look Book

#140 Synthetic Full Fan Brush is THE best thing in this collection and probably the best powder brush I’ve ever tried. I’m a huge fan of flatter powder brushes because I find they are easier to dust my entire face compared to a round brush. Flat brushes can be tricky for me though – some are too dense or too floppy. This one has the perfect density, shape, size and feel. I’m going to need to order a couple more – I like to have multiples for powders on hand for blending and application.

Overall as a sensitive skin person I’m thrilled to find that both the powder and foundation worked for me and did not cause any allergic reactions. I’m typically a medium to full coverage kind of girl for base products but my skin has improved over the years so I can get away with less coverage these days. Also with the heat in Florida I feel the need to find lighter weight products that will allow my skin to breathe. It’s only the start of spring and I know it will get warmer in the upcoming months. This will be one I use frequently even if I will still need to layer.

Have you tried these yet? If you’re a natural or sheer base kind of beauty lover, what other brands/formulas do you love? You can find the MAC Next to Nothing Collection available now. Online at MAC, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and soon at Ulta Beauty.

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MAC products provided as press samples for review. Two MAC powders purchased by me.

Base Makeup NARS

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer

February 17, 2017

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

NARS launched a new concealer called the Soft Matte Complete Concealer ($30 for 0.21 oz) and being the fan that I am of their bases I knew I had to try it. To date the Radiant Creamy Concealer ($30 for 0.22 oz) has been one of my favorites for under the eye and around the nose to help with redness and create a more brighter more awake look. Since I tan easily and also because I use a different shade under the eyes versus spot concealing, I rotate between three shades. I used to mix Custard and Ginger together for my best match. Then NARS added another color in between which is Macadamia with slight peachy tones. This one is perfect for me as I actually prefer something with the tiniest bit of peach for under eyes. The warmth helps brighten the eye are for me. For the Soft Matte Complete Concealer, I ordered the same three shades. The colors are pretty close between formulas for the ones I bought, not identical but pretty close.

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

The Soft Matte Complete Concealer offers full-coverage finish with a soft matte look. It’s oil free, light weight yet ultra pigmented so a little goes a long way. It feels creamy and soft to the touch, almost like it has just the slightest bit of bounce. I tried it under the eyes and on a few spots using the finger to dab and blend. Under the eyes it was like an instant eye lift with a blurring effect. It didn’t cake or darken and lasted all day (I did set with powder). For spots it didn’t cover them 100%, but I would say that it still did a really good job at covering them to about 85% of the way. For the corners around the nose it works well to reduce redness.

Color-wise these look a bit dark in the pot. Also side by side I thought they all looked the same in the container. Even when swatched on the back of my hand and arm I thought they were all going to be too dark but they actually work better than I expected on the face. I love that it blends effortlessly on the skin and even though the coverage is near full it still manages to look natural on the skin. I will say that I have normal combo skin – since it’s matte and opaque I do think if you have dry under eyes it could emphasize dry patches. In this case I would just make sure you have a good primer to hydrate the eye area (I like the Marc Jacobs Coconut Primer for dry skin days).

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer

3 shades of the matte formula swatched on the face, under eye area and along jawline, on the lips is Kat Von D Beauty Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Ludwig:

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

Custard was too light for me, but I put Macadamia on one side and Ginger on the other, both look like they’re a good match, right now I have a slight preference for Macdamia:

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

The Radiant Creamy Concealer has been a long-time go-to for me. I tend to prefer something with a tiny bit of radiance because I find it blends better on my skin type and also looks more natural. Matte often looks too opaque, too matte and therefore a bit fake on the skin. For years the Radiant Creamy Concealer was one of the few I could use under the eyes no matter what condition my skin was in regardless of season and weather. I still love it.

If I had to pick one, I would say Radiant Creamy wins because of the packaging and also because I like something a bit more creamy. I’m not the biggest fan of pots because they tend to get messy. I also really don’t like matte finishes because I find they don’t work the best with my skin – they tend to emphasize pores, imperfections and look cakey. However for a matte formula the new Soft Matte Complete Concealer is seriously impressive and I do think it’s worth owning even if you have the other formulas. I found it easy to blend, but that being said if you need something with a bit more slip to blend easier, go with (or stick with) the Radiant Creamy Concealer formula.

I didn’t swatch the Radiant Creamy one on the face as it blends out slightly sheerer so it’s a bit more forgiving color-wise. When I use any of the shades, Custard, Macadamia or Ginger, it blends to match the skin really well – it looks so natural you can barely tell there’s anything on the face. I do have side by sides of the corresponding shades in both formulas. You can see the difference in finish. Colors are pretty close but I feel the Radiant Creamy formula has slightly more yellow undertones.

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line a solid win. Macadamia is the best match for me, but if I need a bit of brightening I can mix in some of the Custard to lighten or brighten certain areas. Since I tan easily I suspect Ginger will be a match within the next few months and as I’m often in between shades I don’t mind owning multiple colors so I can mix them as I transition between colors. I don’t know how I feel about the pot style. I’ve avoided this type of packaging for years and a quick look at my concealer stash shows that they are literally all either wands or twist/click up pens. I also don’t like that NARS does that matte almost velvety finish packaging on their face products because it gets dirty so easily. If you get any bit of concealer or cream product on it, it’s pretty much stuck there forever (I’ve tried getting it off, but it’s near impossible). It’s not a deal breaker though and that’s just me being picky.

You can find both the Soft Matte Complete Concealer and Radiant Creamy Concealer at all counters now. I bought the new Soft Matte Complete Concealer from Sephora. It’s also available at NARS, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York and all other NARS counters.

Have you tried this one yet? What did you think? If not, what are your current go-to concealers?

P.S. I’m also testing out concealer formulas from Too Faced, Tarte and will compare them to Kat Von D in the next couple of weeks.

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Base Makeup

Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation

February 2, 2017

Armani Power Fabric Foundation Review | The Beauty Look Book

Giorgio Armani Beauty launched a new full coverage foundation this month called Power Fabric ($64 for 30 ml/1.0 fl oz). It comes in 20 shades, contains SPF25 and is designed to offer full matte coverage with a velvety texture. Some of you may remember my experience with Maestro Glow so with the new Power Fabric I was a bit nervous to put this on my face. I have extremely sensitive skin that is prone to irritation with certain ingredients, in particular scented face products. I have had good experiences with other Armani formulas over the years including Lasting Silk, Maestro, Crema Nuda and a few other formulas. Luminous Silk always looked amazing on my skin but I often found it too rich for my normal/combo skin type but it didn’t irritate me. Given the fact that most of the Armani formulas I’ve tried worked well with my skin, I decided to try the new Power Fabric with an open mind and am glad to report that after a full week of testing I have no break outs, no irritation and no signs of tiny little bumps occured. For any foundation that I am allergic to, bump and redness surface pretty quickly, usually within 1 day.

Armani Power Fabric Foundation | The Beauty Look Book

I received samples of the Power Fabric which was a nice unexpected surprise, but all four colors were too light. Shade 4 was 90% close but just a tad too light. I went to my local counter to investigate and left with Shade 5 and 6. They had no testers so I took a guess based on what the bottles looked like even though the packaging has frosted glass. My perfect color is a mix of Shade 4 and 6, Shade 5 isn’t really in between as you might expect but rather a more pink version of Shade 4.

Application is really easy. I can apply smoothly with fingers, a sponge or a brush. I’ve been using the Hourglass Vanish Foundation Brush to buff it into the skin and it blends to a streak-free finish with hardly any effort. Coverage is full and matte without looking flat or powdery. Something many of you may not know is that I have quite a lot of freckles. I’ve found it amusing to see faux freckle tutorials and videos surface these days because I’ve always tried to cover up my freckles. I did a lot of swimming and outdoor sports in my high school days and even though it was many many years ago, I was exposed to a lot of sun. Even with sunscreen I got a lot of freckles and sun spots. The foundation covers up any uneven areas and does a pretty good job at covering darker spots. I don’t need concealer with this foundation although if you have dark under eye circles you will probably still need a dab underneath the eyes.

I love the packaging style – I think all foundations that aren’t in squeeze tubes should come with pumps. Swatches of the shades I have. 2, 3, 3.5 and 4 were sent for review. 5 and 6 purchased by me.

Armani Power Fabric Foundation Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Before and after application. For reference all photos are taken in natural light indoors. I do use a flash on the camera sometimes. Below on the left is my bare skin. Foundation colors shown worn include the Armani Power Fabric Shades 4 and 6 mixed together – I pump out 1 pump of each color on the back of my hand, mix with a brush and apply to the face. A little goes a long way – but you can build coverage easily without it looking cakey. Foundation brush shown is the Hourglass Vanish Foundation Brush. Last photo on the right is just with foundation applied – no concealer or powder was used to set or finish.

Armani Power Fabric Foundation 4 and 6 mixed | The Beauty Look Book

Comparison swatches:

  • Becca Aqua Luminous Foundation in Light and Beige – I used to be Beige but am lighter now so use the Light shade (Beige reviewed in this post here), this formula is a lot sheerer with a natural dewy finish
  • MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundations in NC25, NC30, NC35 and NC37 – so many of you asked me what my MAC shade was I tried to find a match, since I tan easily my skin tone can be all over the place, NC25 is just the slightest bit too light but is the closest color for me right now, NC30 is really olive on my skin, NC35 is too dark right now and NC37 is best for me when I’m just the slightest bit darker, coverage with this formula is more opaque and thicker in feel/finish compared to the Armani

Armani Power Fabric Foundation Comparisons | The Beauty Look Book

Comparison swatches set 2:

Armani Power Fabric Foundation Comparisons | The Beauty Look Book

Based on comments from some readers – many of you suspected that I had an allergic reaction to the Maestro Glow because of the high alcohol content. I took a look at the ingredients of the Power Fabric which also contains alcohol but it’s a bit lower on the list so perhaps the lower dose is why I can wear this one without any irritation.

Ingredients of the Armani Power Fabric Foundation:

Armani Power Fabric Foundation Ingredients | The Beauty Look Book

Armani Power Fabric Foundation | The Beauty Look Book

I’m in between shades and would have preferred to find an exact match with 1 color, but I really like the way it performed. A note on the shades – when you apply it does look a bit lighter than what you see because of the SPF. Let it sit for a minute and it will adjust but not so much that it oxidizes. Finding a shade can be tricky though. It’s been years since I’ve used Armani foundations so I don’t know what shade I am in others like Luminous Silk etc. I’m in between colors but right now I’m unfortunately in between colors for most brands of foundations. I’ve been out of the sun for a while now and have completely lost my tan – no tan lines anywhere now so I’m probably at the lightest I will get. The relatively cold weather (cold for Southern California) and rain has forced me to spend more time indoors compared to what I am used to. I suspect that will change once the weather warms up though.

If you have sensitive skin like me and are more savvy at understanding ingredients – I hope the box helps. If you have tried this would love to hear your thoughts. I really like it and love how much coverage it gives the skin without looking cakey. It truly lasts all day with minimal touch ups needed – I usually need a little dab of powder on the nose mid-day. Formula-wise I give it a solid thumbs up.

You can find the Armani Power Fabric Foundation at counters now. Available online at Giorgio Armani, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Sephora and all other Armani retailers.

Power Fabric shades 2, 3, 3.5 and 4 provided as press samples. Shades 5 and 6 purchased by me.

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Base Makeup Dior

The Perfect Base with Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation

November 30, 2016

Diorskin Air Flash

I’ve been a long-time fan of the Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation and am excited to team up with Dior Beauty to re-visit it this month. With the holiday season in full swing finding base makeup that covers the face entirely, photographs well with a flash, lasts a long time and still looks natural can be a challenge. I have normal to combination skin and even when I set my base with a good powder I usually find I need a quick touch up at least 2 times a day. I like a base that has visible coverage but sometimes fuller coverage foundations can feel thick or look flat. Formulas have improved across brands over the years with better lasting power, lighter textures and unique glowy finishes, but the Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation is hands down among the best of bases that hits all the marks on what I want: long lasting, photographs well with flash, covers the face entirely but looks natural.

Diorskin Air Flash

The Airflash comes in an aerosol spray can and dispenses an ultra fine even layer of foundation in a mist. It gives the skin an airbrushed finish. Simply shake it for a few seconds, hold about 6 inches from the face and spray from the top down in a zig-zag motion. There can be a bit of a learning curve to figure out exactly how far to hold it from your face when you spray it – I sometimes wear a band around my hairline to keep the hair back and out of the way. After spraying I’ve blend a bit with a sponge or a brush. You can also add more on areas by spraying the product directly on the brush and patting on the face. Any tool will work but I just discovered the Backstage Buffing Brush #18 and it has the perfect density and angled shape to blend out foundation to a flawless streak-free smooth finish. For color matching, in the past I’ve been a match to the shade 300 Medium Beige, but right now I’m a better match to 201 Linen.

Diorskin Air FlashDiorskin Air Flash

Below is a closer look at the spray foundation with the Backstage Buffing Brush #18. It’s the perfect size for smoothing across the face. So many foundation buffing brushes are on the smaller side, this one has a larger head which makes it easier to swipe in larger motions.

Diorskin Airflash and Buffing Brush 18

Swatches below with the Airflash Spray Foundation in 201 (color I’m wearing in photos) and 300. Over the past few months I’ve also been using the Capture Totale Dreamskin Cushion and mix 020 and 030 – I initially thought it was a foundation but was told by a few reps that it’s actually part of their skincare line and can be used as a primer or just a regular tint. It’s swatched heavily below but the cushion is significantly lighter in coverage and very sheer. Let me know if you want a dedicated review on the cushions.

Diorskin Airflash vs Dreamskin Cushion Swatches

Below on the left is me wearing just the Airflash Foundation in 201 and a bit of the Dior Lip Glow in Lilac to prep the lips, photographed without flash. For me the Airflash has enough coverage to cover dark under eye circles most of the time. There are some days where I do need extra coverage so I’ll layer on something under the eyes or around the nose. Below you can see that with just the foundation everything looks like it’s covered. Everything as in my acne scars on the chin and freckles and sunspots on my cheeks aren’t visible.

On the right side is the base with some color added. This photograph is taken with a flash to show that the foundation doesn’t give a white glare or cast that you see with some other foundations. This makes it a great one to wear for holiday gatherings, dinners or parties. You won’t have to worry about getting holiday photos with your face looking garishly white in contrast to your neck or body.

Diorskin Airflash 201 Linen

Makeup worn is with a light hand and everything blended, products shown below as well. What I’m wearing:

Dior Beauty Holiday Glow Natural Beauty Look

Right now Dior.com has a special online promo where you can get a mini kabuki brush with any Airflash foundation purchase. The packaging is always exquisite – if you’re looking for a place that will wrap and package everything perfectly, Dior has it all covered.

Dior Holiday Packaging and Airflash GWP

Diorskin Air Flash

Bottom line I think the Diorskin Airflash is a classic. In the past few weeks I tried it without any setting powder – we’ve been having dry weather and air here (even with the rain) so my skin hasn’t been as oily as normal. I almost always set with a powder but the Airflash lasted an impressive amount of time without it. It’s one I’ll be wearing all holiday long because it performs well and truly holds up all day long. It gets extra points from me for covering my skin entirely while still looking natural.

Have you tried the Diorskin Airflash? What color do you use? If not what’s your go-to base for holiday photographs or gatherings? You can find the Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation for $62 at Dior.com.

This post was sponsored by Dior. As always all opinions my own.

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Base Makeup Laura Mercier

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder and Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter

October 31, 2016
Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder and Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter

Laura Mercier added two new items to her Candleglow Collection with a Sheer Perfecting Powder ($38 for 9 g / 0.3 oz) and Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter ($32 for 2.2 ml/ 0.07 fl oz). I received some press samples but also ordered one of the powders sight unseen online as I was unsure of what color I would be. The color options are on the small side with six powders and seven concealer shades but I will say up front the range is pretty wide – if you have medium to deep skin tone I think there’s a good chance there will be a match for you.

I reviewed her Candleglow Foundation earlier this year back in February and still find it to be a very good for giving medium natural-looking coverage with a dewy but not too dewy finish. I still am in between shades and have to mix colors (I mix Dusk and Golden, although there is a possibility there is a better match – I just haven’t had a chance to reinvestigate). The Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powders have a soft finish which makes the colors more forgiving if you don’t have a 100% exact match.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder - The Beauty Look Book

I can use either #1 or #2 to set my foundation and I am beyond obsessed
with both. The color difference is noticeable on my face if I apply one
on each side to set. Dusted and applied to the whole face both give the
face a gorgeous flawless finish that is matte and radiant at the same
time. There are shimmer particles to the powders which are apparent with
a heavy swatch. On the face it gives a subtle glow much like the
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders in Dim Light or Diffused Light. I
think the colors for the Laura Mercier Candleglow powders work better
for my skintone compared to the Hourglass ones in terms of setting
powders.

Lasting power is very good and it stays put well. After a few hours I don’t look like a greaseball. It has a forgiving finish like the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour powders. #3 is too dark to set for all over the face but I can use it as a soft wearable contour to warm up the complexion.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder - The Beauty Look Book

Swatched with a heavy hand to show the color which makes the shimmer glow more apparent. On the face when dusted with any powder brush the shimmer is softer for a very natural glow:

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder - The Beauty Look Book

Some comparisons for packaging and also color:

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder vs Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders - The Beauty Look Book

To date the Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Finish Powder in #2 is my holy grail setting pressed powder because it really does give the skin a flawless finish, doesn’t darken and doesn’t make the face look flat. Now that I’ve tried the Laura Mercier it is now tied as my second favorite pressed setting powder. Swatches next to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders in Dim Light and Diffused Light. I added the Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder in Bronze #2 to compare below.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder vs Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders - The Beauty Look Book

Up next are the Candleglow Concealer and Highlighters. These come in a click-type of pen applicator with a puffy sponge tip. My best match is #2 which is an exact match for my under eye area. For this one, the coverage is medium in coverage under eyes and the applicator is very soft to the touch. It has a hydrating glowy feel but isn’t heavy. I have mixed feelings about this one – for my undereye area it just doesn’t offer enough coverage. Texture wise it’s good. There are few concealers I can wear under my eye area because most look super patchy or emphasize fine lines and end up making my skin look dry and aged. The Candleglow works well to covers dark circles and brightens and the fact that it has a dewy finish makes it so it feels nice and blends well and does not look dry. I just need more visible coverage so this one is not for me right now.

To use as a highlighter on the face works better for me, however given the packaging design I think layering it on the face, especially if you layer over foundation will get the applicator dirty fast. I suspect it might be easy to clean off with a bit of cleansing water and cotton pad.
If you’re one who finds you only need a little bit of extra coverage this is a nice one to check out. If you need more noticeable coverage, I’d say opt for the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealers or NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers instead.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer Highlighter - The Beauty Look Book

Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer Highlighter - The Beauty Look Book

Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer Highlighter - The Beauty Look Book

Swatch comparisons below to MAC Prolongwear Concealer in NC35, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard, Macadamia, Ginger, Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher #3 (which is too dark for me now) and Natasha Denona Eye Light #2.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer Highlighter vs NARS MAC Natasha Denona - The Beauty Look Book

Overall I’m 100% in love with the new Candleglow Sheer Setting Powders. I love the finish, the subtle barely there glow, the lasting power and color selection. They have the perfect glowy finish that won’t give you that frosted look and I really like that they are sheer and natural but not invisible. The Concealers are ok – I think finding the right concealer depends on so many factors such as skin type, coverage preference and skin tone. For me they aren’t my favorite. I don’t think they are bad, I just prefer more coverage when it comes to concealers. (Ingredients are listed on each page on Sephora.)

You can find both the Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder and Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter at Laura Mercier counters now. Online at Laura Mercier, Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Setting Powders and Candleglow Concealers provided for review consideration. Powder #3 purchased by me.

Base Makeup Eye Makeup

Natasha Denona Star Palette, Eye Light Highlighting Concealer, Eye Shadow Base and Mascarade Mascara Launches

October 28, 2016
Natasha Denona Star Palette - The Beauty Look Book

Natasha Denona’s Star Palette ($169) launches today at Sephora and Beautylish and it’s a stunning beauty with 18 eyeshadows. The shadows are cased in a magnetic flat palette similar to the Eyeshadow 28 Palette (Green Brown reviewed and swatched here). The overall color theme of the Star Palette is warm, bold and glitzy. She’s launched some other basics for eyes over the past few months and today I have a roundup to share with you today.

Natasha Denona Star Palette - The Beauty Look Book

In today’s review includes:

Up first is the Star Palette which is just breathtaking at first glance. I’ll say up front it probably will most likely not be for everyone just
based on the color options, especially if you’re on the conservative
side for makeup. I rarely ever wear glitter shadow (except for ones by
Tom Ford and Charlotte Tilbury) as it’s not something I feel comfortable
wearing. I also don’t wear reds or wine colors on my eyes. Still this palette has a mix of colors and textures that is mesmerizing. In general I really like Natasha Denona’s mattes and shimmers – they are really great in quality, smooth in texture and have the prettiest finishes. Her glitters come in a mix of really fine shimmer/glitter and then chunky. Out of all the colors in this palette I would say there are 2 glitters I won’t wear and 2 of the reds that I don’t think I would wear on my eyes.

The left side of the palette has:

  • Spectrum is an antique gold sparkle with tiny micro glitters
  • Earth is a dark chocolate matte brown
  • Bellatrix is a metallic peachy champagne
  • Flesh is a matte warm peach flesh
  • Orion is a duo-chrome blue brown shimmer
  • Gemma is a soft satiny brown plum gold
  • Atria is a sparkling copper orangey shade with tiny micro sparkles
  • Titania is a matte warm brown
  • Cosmo is a sparkling brassy gold

Natasha Denona Star Palette - The Beauty Look Book

Natasha Denona Star Palette - The Beauty Look Book

For the right side of the palette:

  • Diadem is a matte dusty grey-mauve
  • Vega is a matte pink peach rose
  • Galaxia is a sparkling glitter icy white with a chunky finish
  • Phoenix is a bright red satin shimmer
  • Supernova is a silver taupe shimmer
  • Electra is a red magenta satin
  • Polaris is a glitzy pale gold
  • Atik is a matte brown sand color
  • Rhea is a gorgeous peach red copper with shimmer

Natasha Denona Star Palette - The Beauty Look Book

Natasha Denona Star Palette Swatches

The colors are all very soft in texture. The glitters and crystal shimmer colors are a bit chunky and prone to have more fallout when you apply so it’s best to use with a damp brush or over a super creamy base in a patting motion rather than brushing. Quality-wise her shadows are excellent. When it comes to palettes if there are 2-3 shades I don’t think I will use I try to restrain myself from purchasing so in this case if I had applied my rule I would have probably skipped it (this was kindly gifted by Natasha).

Next are here Eye Light Highlighting Concealer and Eye Shadow Base. I’ll say up front I give both a thumbs up.

Natasha Denona Eye Light and Eye Shadow Base

Natasha Denona Eye Light and Eye Shadow Base

For the Eye Light there are four shades, my best match is Shade #2. These come in a twist up click pen applicator with a brush. #1 for some reason was a dud for me as there was a lot of separation that happened inside the tube and the product came out very watery. The other three shades had no issues. These have what Natasha calls “spherical powders” inside which means they don’t need to be set with powder after application. I always set concealer and foundation with powder, but the formula really is one that sets well and doesn’t need power. Swatch comparisons for reference to NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Concealer (review here) and MAC Pro Long Wear Concealer in NC35.
I use these under the eye and they cover my moderately dark circles really well and brighten the area. It goes on smooth, there’s no creasing and they blend to a flawless finish. Many look dry under my eyes (the NARS, MAC and MUFE are among the few I can wear) and the Natasha Denona one joins the club of Beauty Look Book approved undereye concealers. It doesn’t darken which is a huge plus for me in terms of color matching.

Natasha Denona Eye Light Concealer, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, MUFE Ultra HD, MAC Prolongwear Concealer

Next are the eye bases which are creamy and dry to a soft smooth finish. I feel as though I’m one of the few who does not have oily lids – I usually need a base with some kind of emollient texture and to date the Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base has been my favorite. Others like ones from NARS, Urban Decay, Too Faced, etc. dry out my lids and make my skin look wrinkled.

The Natasha Denona Eye Shadow Base is perfect for evening out the lids and has a creamy feel to help powder shadows adhere better, not just with her brand but also other powder shadows. I find it tied in terms of quality and finish with the Edward Bess one.

Natasha Denona Eye Shadow Base vs Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Shadow Base

Last but not least are the Eye Lash Curler and Blackest Black Mascara. I found both to be just ok, but not great. For some reason the Eye Lash Curler just would not curl my lashes, although the shape and size worked well for my eye shape. No pinching and my fingers fit inside the loops just fine. I just found the curling pad didn’t help create a curl like the MAC Eye Lash Curler or Chanel Eye Lash Curler (my two favorites).

The Mascara has an odd shape brush, almost pear-shaped and I had a difficult time getting my lashes coated with the brush. It did add depth and dimension. There was no smudging which many readers know is rare for me with most mascaras. I just need lots of volume and this was lacking in that department for me. For reference two that work for me right now are the Stila Huge Lash and Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara.

Natasha Denona Star Palette, Eye Lights, Eye Shadow Base

I think the Star Palette has some amazing colors but palettes can be hard to love if you don’t love all the colors. There are only 4 out of the 18 I don’t see myself wearing on a regular basis and perhaps I’ll experiment more with the glitzy ones in the upcoming weeks. The Eye Light Concealer and Eye Base are both excellent – I hope the swatches help if you’re ordering sight unseen.

You can find select Natasha Denona products now at Sephora and Beautylish. Do note that the Sephora Rouge 20% off sale starts soon and will run from 11/4 to 11/7 so if you have this on your wishlist you may want to wait until the sale to buy this.

Many thanks to Natasha for sending a lovely package of items for me to try out.

Base Makeup Highlighters Tom Ford Beauty

Tom Ford Beauty Face Collection: Waterproof Foundation/Concealer, Shimmer Shots and Fiber Brow Gel

October 20, 2016
The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Face Collection Foundation and Shimmer Shots

Tom Ford has added more items to their face product lineup and as usual everything is on point. Items have been introduced “to perfect, highlight and define the faceโ€™s natural features for a balanced and flawless finish.” There have been quite a few new foundation launches this season and the one from Tom Ford is one that I was most anxious to try out. The collection includes the following new launches:

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Face Collection Foundation and Shimmer Shots

Up first are the Fiber Brow Gels. I received two to try out in Espresso and Chestnut. It has tiny fibers to help fill in the brows and as a low-maintenance brow girl I find it perfect. It fills in brows, grooms and tints them all in one product. Espresso is my best match although I usually go lighter. At the counter the reps said Espresso is my shade. I did try Chestnut since the Tom Ford Beauty team was kind enough to send one, it can work for me since my hair color has a natural reddish undertone. My brows however do not have any red so sometimes reddish powders or pencils colors can look off. Since this coats the hairs I find it gives it a natural tint and looks good.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel Chestnut Espresso

I haven’t tried too many other tinted brow gels, but by comparison the Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel is larger in packaging and brush size which makes it easier to use compared to the Glossier Boy Brow. I know many of you love the Boy Brow. I think it’s good especially for the price, but the size makes it hard for me to hold sometimes even though I have very small hands and fingers. The Tom Ford brush is slightly larger and has a more angled shape which makes application a lot easier. Compared to By Terry’s Brow Mascara I find the fibers in the Tom Ford to have more substance. I would say it has a chunkier texture/consistency which sounds odd and almost unappealing, but it fills in brows more while the By Terry grooms and tints but doesn’t fill in the brows like the Tom Ford one does.

I give the Fiber Brow Gel a thumbs up. I have bought and used the Tom Ford Brow Sculptor which is an excellent product. I prefer skinny fine-tipped brow pencils so this one hasn’t been used as much as my Diorshow Brow Styler Pencil.

Next are the Shimmer Shots which I think are genius. Sometimes names are everything and whoever named the product and colors for this launch deserves a bonus because they are both just perfect. I’ve loved every highlighter I’ve tried from Tom Ford and the Shimmer Shots are gorgeous additions to their line. Spin Spin Sugar is a champagne color with a slight gold sheen and Lust for Life is coppery bronze. Both blend in beautifully for a natural glow where you apply. I’ve tried it under foundation, on top of powder/foundation to highlight, and on the eyes.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Shimmer Shots

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Shimmer Shots swatched

By comparison to a few other Tom Ford highlighters, the Skin Illuminating Powder Duo in Moodlight (reviewed here) is more frosty in finish. Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust (reviewed here) is more peachy and also sheerer in finish with a more dewy finish.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Moodlight, Shimmer Shots and Fire Lust

More comparisons because so many of you have asked. I think the Tom Ford Shimmer Shots are must-haves, even though I have a lot of liquid highlighters. They have the perfect amount of shimmer and the finish is visible but natural. 

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Shimmer Shot comparisons

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop (review here)
NARS Illuminator in 413 BLKR (review here)
Estee Edit Beam Team Bronze (review here)
Soleil Tan de Chanel in Sunkissed
Estee Edit Flash Illuminator in Sun Light and Night Light (review here)
Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Candlelight (review here)

Last but not least is the Waterproof Foundation/Concealer. When I heard
this was launching my first concern that it might be too thick. I’ve had
good experiences with Tom Ford foundations in the past. I am usually either Bisque or Natural but at the counter I found the next shade up Sable to be a good match for me (although the girls at the counter disagreed and said it would be too olive for my skin). Note the numbers for the names have changed and I was told this happened across all formulas. The shades with the corresponding names are still the same, so if you usually wear Natural, you’re still Natural – just the number underneath has changed. I bought Sable at the counter because I found it more olive. Samples of Bisque and Natural arrived as those are my usual colors.

Formula wise this is one of the best full coverage cream foundations I’ve tried. As one who is olive/golden/yellow I appreciate that Tom Ford consistently launches colors that are not pink in undertone. Formula is highly concentrated and opaque but doesn’t look fake or flat like many full coverage foundations can. It has a slight matte finish but manages to look fresh and radiant at the same time. When I use this I find that I do not need concealer under the eyes. Lasting power is excellent and stays put all day. No irritation from this, no oxidizing, no budging. I do think that you need to prep the skin properly though – if you have dry skin with any dry patches or flakes any full coverage foundation can emphasize dry areas. I make sure I have a well moisturized base, but a tiny spot on my forehead, one on each cheek and one dab on my chin, then use a damp beauty blender to work the foundation into the skin.

There’s no detectable scent and it photographs well with a flash.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer Review

The colors I have now are Bisque 5.5 (which used to be 4), Natural 6.0 (which used to be 5) and Sable 6.5 (which used to be 6). Swatches below straight from the tube and then blended.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer Bisque Natural Sable
The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer Bisque Natural Sable

Both Bisque and Sable work for me. Natural is warmer and too dark for my skin right now. They do adjust slightly and warm up to the skin once on but they don’t oxidize too much. I asked my husband what he thought about Bisque and Sable. I had one on each side and he couldn’t tell the difference from the front. I turned my head to each side and he said that Bisque was a better match.

Below are swatch comparisons to the Traceless Foundation Stick in Bisque and Natural along with the Traceless Perfecting Foundation formulas I have. For those who aren’t familiar with Tom Ford Foundations wondering about the colors, Natural in the stick is lighter than Bisque stick (as mentioned in this post too).

By comparison, the Traceless Perfecting Foundation is lighter in texture but can feel heavier on the face. Some have commented it looks flat on the skin – I often mix in a bit of shimmer luminizer in it. Coverage is full but not as full as the Waterproof formula.

The Stick Foundation is full coverage and one I cannot wear all over the face because of how opaque and thick it is so I often use it to layer on top of other foundations if I need more coverage. The Waterproof formula offers more natural looking coverage.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Foundation Swatches

Swatch comparisons to the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tints in Groenland and St. Moritz (I mix the shades) and also the MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundations in NC25, NC30, NC35 and NC37 (my best matches are NC25 or NC37). I’m forever in between shades.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Foundation Swatches vs NARS and MAC

Some thoughts on other foundation formulas by comparison that I have tried:

  • Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil-Free Photo Foundation (reviewed here) is one I used to have but no longer own. Formula wise the Laura Mercier was more opaque and slightly thicker in finish. I find in her line I am often in between shades and the dry down of this one darkened a bit and had a tendency to look flat if I used too much.
  • Cle de Peau Radiant Cream Foundation was one I tested at the counter. I went to the store fully intending to purchase this but sometimes a bad store experience can ruin the fun. Rant aside, I tried both O30 (too pink) and O40 (too dark) on my face and as I could not find a good match I decided to pass. Formula-wise it’s excellent but at the $100+ price tag I need an exact match in order to buy.
  • Cle de Peau Silk Cream Foundation is one I used to use in O30 and was told it’s been discontinued. This was one of the best formulas I’ve ever tried but the texture was more moisturizing and is slightly heavier than the Tom Ford. The formula while not hydrating, gave me a more dewy finish.
  • La Mer Soft Fluid Foundation is also a new formula that I had high hopes for. I acquired a small sample at the counter and found my best shade to be Beige. This one is more fluid and lighter in coverage. It also has the Miracle Broth skincare element included. I absolutely love this formula but Beige pulls slightly pink on my skin so since I cannot find a yellow/golden enough match this will be a pass for me unless I get a lot lighter this winter and can find another color.
  • Armani Crema Nuda is one I don’t think I can really compare because the finish and concept is completely different in the sense that it’s sheerer and more like a BB/CC cream rather than a foundation/concealer like the Tom Ford one is.
  • If you try the Tom Ford and find it too thick or heavy I would suggest you maybe try the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD instead which offers sheerer coverage by comparison but still medium to full coverage.
Bottom line lots to love with these new launches. I highly recommend the foundation if you’re in the market for a good full-coverage but natural looking foundation. Many can look flat if you use all over the face but this one does not. If you own a lot of highlighters you may find the Shimmer Shots similar to what you already own. I think both are winners and the shimmer is very pretty but not overly frosty.

By now you can find the Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation/Concealer, Shimmer Shots and Fiber Brow Gel at all Tom Ford Beauty counters. Online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Tom Ford.

Have you tried these yet? What did you think?

Press samples of The Face Collection Waterproof Foundation in Bisque + Natural, Shimmer Shots and Fiber Brow Gel provided courtesy of Tom Ford.