Tom Ford launched two new Skin Illuminating Duos ($85 each for .42 oz/12 g) this year in Flicker and Incandescent. The original one Moodlight is probably one of the prettiest candlelight champagne glow highlighters I’ve ever tried and to this day remains a staple. Flicker is the deeper version and easier to find. Incandescent is a little harder to find right now (it sold out on a number of sites quickly) but you can still find it at Sephora and Bloomingdale’s. The two new colors have the same textured pattern, shimmery finish and powder formula to the original for a multi-dimensional glow.
From top clockwise: Moodlight, Flicker and Incandescent
For my medium golden skin I find Moodlight is still the best as a skin illuminating duo. It’s the most flattering, isn’t too warm or cool, has the perfect amount of shimmer and glow. It’s smooth, lasts all day, doesn’t emphasize pores and looks good on a wide range of skin tones. I’ve hit pan on this before. I bought a fresh one to shoot for this post.
Swatch comparisons can be found in previous posts here and here.
Flicker has a yellow gold shimmer and deep dark bronze tone with olive undertones. For me this is better for the eyes. On my complexion the colors do not work well on the face, even with soft layering or mixing. The deeper color pulls a little green on my skin and is too deep to wear even as a soft contour. Because it contrasts so sharply with my skin I found the darker color didn’t really apply smoothly with regular highlighting strokes. It required a lot of extra blending to smooth out. On the eyes it applied just fine though.
Incandescent did not disappoint and was worth the extra effort to track down. It looks darker in the pan than I anticipated from online stock photos but swatches light and glowy. There’s a champagne shimmer that’s almost identical to the top shade in Moodlight on my skin (they don’t look the same in the pan though). Incandescent’s top shade pulls a little warmer and more golden. If you’re lighter than me in skin tone the difference will be more noticeable. The bottom shade is a frosty rose, similar to NARS Maldives.
Overall I still like Moodlight the best but I think Incandescent is really lovely too. Flicker isn’t a win for me but it’s mainly because the colors don’t work so well for my complexion, it’s a little too deep for me to wear even with blending. The gold is a little too yellow for my liking. For a contour gold/bronze palette I prefer the Natasha Denona Tan Bronze and Glow Palette or the Chanel Duo Bronze Et Lumiere Compact I reviewed earlier – both are easier for me to wear and more flattering for my medium skin tone.
NARS launched another Orgasm Collection this year with new additions to the line. I have swatches of everything plus a few makeup looks to share today! The collection is available at Sephora and NARS Cosmetics:
Endless Orgasm Palette ($49) six satiny creams that have varying degrees of shimmer for an ultra dewy look, can be used on eyes, lips and cheeks
Orgasm Blush 2019
This year’s Orgasm Blush is similar to last year’s version in the sense that it has a slightly deeper rosy sheen than the regular compact. It also looks a little more glowy on the face but isn’t overly frosty. For me this kind of rose warm gold color is really easy to wear to add warmth and glow to the face. I’ve swatched 3 different powder Orgasm blushes and to me they’re all slightly different in color and shimmer. When viewed at arm’s length they may look pretty much the same. If you can’t do the NARS blush texture (some of you have told me you’re allergic) you might want to check out Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic in Ecstasy which is similar but slightly warmer (also softer in texture and not as shimmery).
There’s a new product called the Orgasm Liquid Highlighter. It’s a warm rose gold shimmer in the bottle but on my face applies more neutral – the sparkles show up more making it a little more neutral. The shape of the bottle is similar to the Orgasm Liquid Blush, but the highlighter comes with a dropper and is quite sheer. It has a thin texture that is very fluid. One drop applied with fingers will give you a very pretty shimmery soft glow. I really love this on the face for that barely there glow. Some of you will find it too sheer in which case I’d recommend you try a few other colors I’ve swatched below including the NARS Highlighting Powder, CoverFX Custom Drops or Hourglass Vanish Flash Highlighter. Colors aren’t quite the same but I found the closest ones I could.
Extra glow with the Liquid Highlighter and Orgasm 2019 blush layered together. For a more wearable look with less intense glow all you need to do is take a clean powder brush and buff/blend out the color. Also wearing the:
Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in 6.5
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Powder in 2
Anastasia Brow Wiz in Caramel
Endless Orgasm Palette on eyes
Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Zero
Orgasm Oil-Infused Lip Tint
Top from J.Crew (actually a beach coverup)
Oil-Infused Lip Tint
My favorite item in the collection is the Orgasm Oil-Infused Lip Tint. This applies clear on the lips but adjusts to a really pretty pink within 2-3 minutes. I have it shown on the arm after a few minutes and also applied on the lips. There’s no scent or taste. It has a very slight gold shimmer but isn’t frosty. It transforms into such a pretty flushed pink on my lips. I love that it is super hydrating without feeling like it’s going to slide off the lips.
Endless Orgasm Palette
Finally I have a look at the Endless Orgasm Palette. There are six cream shimmers that are sheer and emollient giving a very dewy finish. To the touch these creams feel very slippery. I have such mixed feelings about this palette. It looks so so pretty on the skin if you apply it with the right touch. I tested it on both the face and eyes alone and then layered with powder products. Alone it feels so emollient I don’t think it would last on my skin more than an hour without getting super dewy and sweaty looking. The products give a wet skin effect with how creamy they are. As soon as I swatched it I knew I would have to add powder to set and tone down the glow. I can improve the look when layered with any kind of powder blush or eyeshadow. The powder helps set the product and makes it grab onto the skin better. Indoors the product with powder layering lasted for a good 4-5 hours without budging but this makes it higher maintenance than I prefer.
I think it’s workable and beautiful as a soft dewy finishing highlight for either the eyes or cheeks. But it’s going to be either a strong hit or very strong miss for most of you. If you’re one who adores dewy products like the RMS Living Luminizer or the Chanel Baume Essentiel Stick I think you’ll really enjoy this palette. As much as I love the colors I don’t think it will be an easy one to wear outdoors for me especially in the Florida heat.
Colors include a shimmering pearl, shimmery rose mauve, shimmery pink, frosted pale pink, frosted copper and rosy gold shimmer.
Wearing the entire 2019 collection on the face, eyes and cheeks. Same breakdown for base, liner etc. as listed in the above makeup look photo.
Overall really pretty, but formulas aren’t going to be for everyone. The liquid highlighter and palette will especially tricky for those with oily skin. The liquid highlighter has a nice dry down but it does have a glowy finish which I think will emphasize oily skin’s glow. The palette is so creamy and if you can’t do that extra dewy look this will be too glowy for you.
I really like this year’s Orgasm Blush although if you have previous launches it’s not a must-have. The Lip Oil is my favorite item in the whole collection. It gives a more flushed look compared to the Afterglow Balm for me (which I still love).
You can find the NARS Orgasm 2019 collection out now. Available at Sephora and NARS Cosmetics. Quick note I took a look online and a lot of items are sold out on Sephora’s website but if I click the store locator option and type in my zip code there’s still a lot of stock in stores near me. I’m hoping they restock online soon for those who don’t have a store near them!
Have you checked this collection out yet? What did you think? By popular request I will be reviewing the Charlotte Tilbury collection to test and compare. I’m ordering the products as soon as they hit the Sephora website!
Natasha Denona launched a new glow palette called Bloom Blush and Glow ($55 for 13.7 g/0.48 oz, available at Sephora and Beautylish). I ordered this a few weeks ago and think it’s one of the prettiest cheek palettes I’ve seen. It comes in a medium sized compact with four cheek colors. I love the smaller compact size and find the pans are still large enough that I can dip a regular blush brush in the compact easily. (On the nails is Chanel Le Vernis in Jaspe.)
There are two creams and two powders:
Glow Cream Base is a sheer peachy champagne shimmer, this is a nice glow product, not too sparkly or frosty
Cream Blush is a super pigmented cranberry flush, a little goes a long way but it’s easy to blend
Glow Extreme is a extreme glow shimmery peachy champagne highlighter, it has large shimmer particles and is very glowy
Duo Glow is a duo chrome peach gold shimmer powder highlighter
All four layer nicely together for the ultimate glow. If you’re conservative on the shimmer you may find Glow Extreme too glowy and sparkly for you. I think it makes for a really nice eyeshadow too. Application is smooth and easy to blend. Pigment is perfect. You can sheer out for a lighter wash or layer for more intense coverage. Lasting power is very good although we’ve had a cold week so I haven’t tested this in full humidity.
Close ups and swatches below.
There’s a nice plastic lid inside to cover the two creams and protect them from the powder kick up of the other two shades. I really appreciate little details like this!
Makeup look wearing all four shades. The top left photo is just the glow cream blush base, other three have the other cheek colors layered on top (press samples have a *):
Overall glowy and beautiful. Compared to other Natasha Denona coral/peachy shades her Duo Glow in Alba is lighter and more golden compared to this palette’s blush. Her Diamond and Blush Palette in Darya is more coral/cool toned while this palette has more warmer tones and more glow/shimmer. I do think The Bloom Blush and Glow is different enough to justify owning if you have the others, although if you’re super conservative on shimmers and glows this will probably be too glowy for you.
You can find the Natasha Denona Bloom Blush and Glow Palette out now. Available at Sephora and Beautylish.
I bought mine and then also received a press sample so I’m going to give away my extra to one reader. To enter for a chance to win, use the widget below. Open internationally but you must be 18 years or older to qualify. Giveaway is going to run through Monday March 11 at 11:59 PM EST. ONE winner will be selected within 72 hours of giveaway end and contacted by me via e-mail. Not sponsored or affiliated. Note the first two options are mandatory. Other entry options will get you extra entries.
Becca just launched a cute BFFs Collection called Made With Love by Khloe and Malika. This collection was created in collaboration with Khloe Kardashian and her BFF Malika Haqq. There are new highlighting palettes, a new lipstick formula and mini X and O shaped highlighter. I think the concept is super cute with two sets of color options. I’m a huge fan of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors and their Be a Light Palettes. I had high hopes for this launch. In the collection we have:
Up first is a look at the Glow Letters Highlighter. This is a shimmery bronze and champagne mix of X and O shaped pressed highlighter shapes. I love the color and finish – it gives a beautiful glow without being overly frosty. The golden color is SO so pretty. I just hate the cardboard box packaging and presentation. I think this would have been better if it had been a pressed powder like their Shimmering Skin Perfectors. I give the product itself a solid A+ rating so I can overlook the box it comes in. I think I am just being really picky with this one.
Swatches also next to the two palettes side by side.
The colors are really pretty but I had a hard time getting into the palette. Becca launched a Bronze, Blush and Glow Palette with highlighting palette similar in concept to the Be a Light finish and shape. The Khloe Palette has:
Soft Focus Highlighter in Glow Up which is a shimmery champagne vanilla
Radiant Blush in Fierce a shimmery pale peach
Radiant Blush in Fabulosity which is a more coral peach shimmer
Satin Matte Bronzer in Koko Bronze which is a very soft sheer tan matte bronzer
The palette to me feels like three highlighters + one bronzer. On my skin tone I felt the colors looked too frosty when I wore 3 or all 4 of the colors layered. If I blended a lot or used with a super light hand I could wear this. It’s not a bad palette. I think the quality is excellent. Finish of the powders is smooth and super pigmented. I just couldn’t wear them all together easily like I could the Becca x Chrissy Palette which I still really love.
There are two lipsticks are new formulas which are ultra pigmented creams. They’re scented with a sweet almost coconut like scent and vanilla cream. At first swipe I felt they were super thick. The formula is smooth and long lasting though. As long as you don’t swipe on too much it’s not too thick. Cupid’s Kiss is toasted almond nude, Hot Tamale is a hot bright red.
The Made with Love by Malika Bronze Blush and Glow Palette has the same products, I find the palette to be equally glowy but the deeper colors make it easier for me to pull off. Pigment is ultra rich and smooth and easy to blend/layer. Colors include:
Soft Focus Highlighter in Dusted is a peachy pink champagne
Radiant Blush in Yes Girl! is a warm bright coral shimmer
Radiant Blush in Make Me Blush is a shimmering pink rose
Satin Matte Bronzer in Bestie Bronze is a medium deep warm bronze satin matte
True to Becca’s style this palette is still very glowy. Finish is lightweight in feeling so it’s not heavy but it’s still very pigmented. Lipsticks have a similar vibe to Khloe’s while the Malika colors have a different undertone. Yours Truly is a warmer peachy nude. Brave is a classic true red that is neutral-cool.
Same beauty breakdown as above but with the Malika collection colors. Left is Yours Truly for the lips. Right is Brave for the lips. For skin tone reference I’m in between a MAC NC30 and NC35 right now.
Overall thoughts is that this is a beautiful collection and all the items are well made with great color payoff, lasting power, pigment and textures. I think the palettes are well priced and true to Becca’s classic signature glow style. I still love highlighters and will probably look forward to any new ones but at this point I’m finding it challenging to get SUPER excited about them. I have too many, there have been too many launches, most of it has started to look all the same. The only thing I didn’t like was the Glow Letters packaging.
The Khloe palette was a little too glowy for my skin tone right now. To clarify, it’s too glowy to wear ALL the colors in one look. If I mix in a matte blush or just use the bronzer with one other shade it’s very wearable and pretty. I find it interesting that the Malika palette has the same glow finish but with the deeper colors I find them a lot more wearable.
Lipsticks are ok. I think they’re nice but a little thick. I understand they’re super opaque with rich color payoff so it makes sense they’re really creamy. I’m going to check my Sephora to see if there are other colors out yet in store and will let you know if I pick any more up. Price seem a little steep to me, but the product is also nicely sized and has super intense pigment.
I have an Urban Decay Naked Cherry Collection review + swatches for you today! This is a collection I did not expect to work for me based on the color scheme. I rarely wear reds or pinks on the eyes (Naked Heat was too warm for me) so I was pleasantly surprised to find the colors are actually easy to wear for my neutral-makeup loving self. I’ve been the biggest fan of the original Naked, Naked 2 and Naked 3 eyeshadow palettes. Anytime anyone asks what palette I’d recommend to start out their makeup collection it’s one of those (sad that the original one was discontinued though!). In the Naked Cherry launch we have:
The star in the collection is the Naked Cherry Eyeshadow Palette. Urban Decay makes some of the best eyeshadow formulas for their mattes and shimmers. They’re buttery smooth, have excellent pigment, are easy to build and layer. They also stay put, even the glitters. Naked Cherry pulls more pink and plum with cranberry tones rather than cherry colors to my eye, but I’m all for that because a true cherry red would probably not work on my complexion.
A lot of you have asked whether I prefer the Naked Cherry palette or the Charlotte Tilbury Stars in Your Eyes. It’s a tough call because while there are similar tones, I find them very different. The Charlotte Tilbury has more shimmer and glow with lighter warmer gold tones. It has more of a glam feel because of the shimmers. The Naked Cherry has a more monochrome feel with pink, plum and cherry colors. It also has more variety in the deeper colors for plum/pinks. Right now if I had to pick one it would be the Charlotte Tilbury one simply because I like the gold and champagne colors. I do think the Urban Decay one is more unique compared to what I already own.
Naked Cherry 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Love Drug and Black Market are smooth eyeliners. The 24/7 Glide-On is among the smoothest pencils I’ve tried and they never tug or dry out. They haven’t always been smudge proof on me and don’t last 24/7 like a liquid liner but they do stay put without sliding around for several hours on my eyes. I usually top/set with a deep powder shadow as a liner to help it stay longer. Your mileage may vary depending on how oily your lids are.
Love Drug is a shimmery plum, Black Market is a satiny black with a sheen. I’ve swatched a few other pencils I still have next to the new ones:
The Naked Cherry Highlight and Blush Palette was very different from what I expected. Colors swatch with medium pigment on the arms, but on the face it is sheer. Also there’s almost a secret shimmer in one of the colors you can’t see in the pan. Once swatched the colors are a soft champagne with a hint of pink, sheer light cherry pink (goes on a lot more natural than I anticipated) and a duo chrome pink flash shimmer. The good news is that this is a palette I think is impossible to overdo. It applies smoothly, doesn’t emphasize pores or fine lines, colors blend naturally on the skin. But if you need pigment and color this might be too natural for you.
Vice Lipsticks in Juicy, Devilish and Cherry are new to the launch with special-edition cherry packaging. They’re not scented (thank goodness, because I don’t like cherry smells). I’ve tried a few Vice Lipsticks before and find the formula hit or miss depending on color. Some were really dry and patchy on my lips, but others are smooth, creamy and comfortable. All three in the Naked Cherry line are excellent. Juicy is a unique sheer shimmery iridescent peach with copper and bronze micro shimmers. It’s sparkly but not gritty on my lips. Devilish is a bright berry pink with micro shimmers. Cherry is the perfect deep cherry cream. Coverage is sheer-medium for the shimmers, full for the cream. Application is smooth and there’s a slight sheen to the finish. Lasting power is very good. They’re creamy and semi-thick so they adhere to the lips but they don’t feel heavy.
Naked Cherry All Nighter Scented Makeup Setting Spray is something I was so reluctant to try simply because I don’t like cherries. I did try it though and it’s actually a lot more pleasant than I expected. It smells like a sheer sweet cherry, almost like a toned down candy cherry. It performs just as well as the regular All Nighter Spray to set makeup and keep it in place for hours. I still don’t know how I feel about scented face sprays that smell like fruit. I’m all about ones that smell like rose or lavender, but the only one I truly love that is food scented is the MAC Fix+ in Coconut because I love anything coconut.
Natural look wearing Juicy Lipstick, the lighter shades of the Eyeshadow Palette and the Highlight Blush Cheek Palette. Same base + brows as what’s listed in the photo above.
Overall a really cute collection! I think the eyeliners are definitely dupeable, so if you have black or plum in your stash you can probably recreate the look with something similar. Love Drug does pull a little more cherry in color and Black Market is more of a muted black rather than a classic deep version. I feel like the Highlight and Cheek Palette is going to be hit or miss for many of you. If you’re lighter than me it will show up. I’m right at the skin tone where it gives a barely there glow. If you’re darker I suspect it will be too sheer/light for your complexion. The eyeshadow palette was an unexpected YES for me. I’m still a peach/gold/bronze kind of gal for eyeshadows but it’s nice to branch out here and there with colors you normally wouldn’t wear. Considering I rarely wear reds or pinks I find myself being braver with color and love trying new combinations.
You can find the Naked Cherry Collection out now. I’m really surprised to find that several items have sold out here and there. You may have to do a little shopping around to find all the colors you want.
Hourglass launched a new palette called the Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked Palette ($80 for 0.04 oz/1.4 g x6, made in Italy) for holiday 2018. I ordered this from Sephora and as with most of their 6-pan palettes it’s limited-edition but this year’s version has all new shades! This is the first of a few items the brand is launching for holiday. More teasers on their Instagram @hourglasscosmetics for another palette launching in a couple of days.
The Unlocked Ambient Lighting Palette has two finishing powders, one bronzer, two blushes and a metallic strobe powder. Quality is excellent with a medium coverage finish that’s very natural. The overall look and feel of the colors ended up being darker than I anticipated. On my skin they apply a little deeper than what I see in the palette but it worked well. The colors also applied with a more diffused glow rather than the high shimmer sheen. Since these are luminous with light reflective particles, the palette is going to look different depending on how the natural light catches it. Lasting power is excellent as well. They stay put on the skin without emphasizing pores or fine lines.
A closer look at the palette in a few different lighting options, swatches and all the shades applied on the face below.
First color descriptions of the shades you get in this year’s holiday palette:
Soft Light is a sheer light ivory beige finishing powder with a subtle sheen
Filtered Light is a tan beige finishing powder, almost a soft contour for me
Golden Bronze Light is a warm golden bronze shimmer
Nude Glow is a shimmery nude peach
Mood Flush is a satiny rose pink, looks cooler-toned in the pan, but on my skin applied more neutral-warm
Champagne Strobe Light is a high shimmer champagne
Close up of the palette indoors natural light:
Versus with a flash:
On the face it gives a very natural glow. There’s no harsh frost or glare even with a flash, also wearing:
Size comparison of the different Hourglass compacts.
A lot of you have asked what brushes I recommend using with this palette. The pans are on the small side so there’s a high chance you’re going to be mixing colors with your brush. A few smaller ones I use and recommend shown below.
Top to bottom:
MAC 168 SH (mine is an older short discontinued version, full size here brush head is the same size)
Overall well made with beautiful colors. I think the quality is excellent. It has a very natural look to it but the colors are buildable if you layer. Given all the highlighters that are out there on the market at this point many launches are looking the same to me. These colors are new to Hourglass and I think a couple are unique while others are not. I would love to see them expand their Ambient Lighting finishing powder range to include full sizes of Soft Light and Filtered Light and perhaps shades in between and darker. I love the satiny almost matte powders and right now there’s not a color that works to match my skin although I used to use Dim Light as a setting powder when I was lighter in skin tone.
I do love the look and vibe of Nude Glow Blush because I love a good peachy shimmer. Mood Flush is nice but for some reason doesn’t quite apply the same in the pan on my face (it goes on warmer). I’m the equivalent of MAC NC35 and I think if I were up to 3 shades darker in skintone this would still show up on me, but the overall look is still very medium-natural.
I think it’s a good buy. I’m really happy with it and love that it has new colors. I’m also ok with having similar options because these palettes are so convenient for travel or to create a look with a single compact. I don’t know that I’d call it entirely unique and I’m also ok with that. At this point given all the highlighters I own and have tested I don’t know that I’d call it a must-have, but I do really like it. It’s pricey but well made.
You can find the Hourglass Unlocked Ambient Lighting Edit Palette out now at Sephora and Hourglass. It’s limited-edition for Holiday 2018.
This month Laura Mercier launched a new Face Illuminator called Inspiration ($44 for 6 g/ 0.20 oz). This shade was created to support the Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund she founded back in 2012 to raise awareness and fund research to help diagnose and treat women with ovarian cancer. Each September she donates 100% of the proceeds from the specially curated product towards the fund.
Inspiration Face Illuminator is a pretty mauve tinged rose gold shimmer. It’s multi-faceted so it will look different in every photo you see depending on how the light catches it. In indoor light it appears softer and more diffused, in direct sunlight or with a flash the deeper mauve rose tones will shine through. On the skin it’s also multi-dimensional. Some angles will show a warmer finish, others will be reflect more of the lighter pink tones. It’s a really beautiful color and I think it will suit a wide range of skin tones. If you’re lighter than me it might almost be blush-like rather than highlighter material. Regardless of your skintone her Face Illuminators create a beautiful radiant glow that stay put and meld well with the skin.
Finish is smooth and luminous with a buildable coverage. You can use her Fan Powder Brush or really any powder / blush brush to apply. The denser the brush the more intense the color and shimmer will be. It’s something you can use anywhere – eyes, cheeks, temples, nose, forehead or shoulders. The quality with this is the same as her other Face Illuminators which are among my favorite. They stay put for hours without fallout or budging.
A look at how the color shifts when in direct sunlight:
Below are some comparisons to other pink highlighters including Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder in Afternoon Glow, Sunrise Glow, Tawny Glow, NARS Highlighting Powder in Maldives and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Strobe Blush in Euphoric Fusion. I feel like the ones from Bobbi Brown are a lot more shimmery in finish because of the pale sparkle. NARS Maldives almost looks like a pale pink next to it. Hourglass Euphoric Fusion is a deeper blush version with a hint of shimmer mixed throughout.
Look featuring Inspiration wearing the following (press samples indicated with a *):