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Anastasia Beverly Hills

Lips Sephora

Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Nude Lip + Beauty Insider Birthday Minis

June 21, 2017

Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Nude Lip Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

I’m a sucker for minis so when I saw the Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Nude Lip Set ($28, limited-edition) it didn’t take me long to buy one. It sold out online but just restocked so if you haven’t seen it yet I hope these swatches will either help you decide to splurge or save $$$. I also got their Beauty Insider Birthday Gift and redeemed my points for a Tarte mini so I thought I’d round them all up in one post here.

The Sephora Favorites sets have a lot of great options to sample products in mini sizes. I have my eye on the Ultimate Travel Bag because it looks like it has a little bit of everything. I bought and reviewed their spring version back in January. The one for summer is just as fun. Quick note first – the current set still comes with the black stuffing, but I swapped it out for some white stuffing I had from a different set simply because it was easier to see the product.

Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Nude Lip Review | The Beauty Look Book

How cute are the minis?! (On the nails is Essie Spin the Bottle)

Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Nude Lip Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Inside the Give Me Some Nude Lip Set you get 6 lip products, all are minis except for the Urban Decay lip which is full-sized:

  • Tarte Lingerie Lippie Matte Tint in Revealed is a mocha brown shade. I love the formula, pigment, texture and finish – I just found the color too dark for my personal preference. It’s a smooth finish chubby stick with a semi velvety finish. It says matte but it’s not flat looking and feels super lush on the lips. I will definitely try to check out other shades in this formula.
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Kristen is one of my favorite opaque glosses, I already own it in the full size. It’s a neutral pinky brown color and perfect for any occasion. I love the rich opaque pigment and high shine. The color is just perfect.
  • Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi Shine Lip Lacquer in Sugar Sugar is a light nude champagne color. For me this one is best when worn over another lipstick or liner. Alone it has a sharper contrast to my natural lip tone making it look like I have a dark rim around the lips when I wear this because my lip shows through. The glosses in line have a lush cushiony feel without the tacky sticky finish.
  • Too Faced Lip Injection Glossy in Spice Girl is probably the most painful lip product I’ve ever tried. Tingles scare me because I’ve tried a few in the past where my lips literally flare up from an allergic reaction. This one started to sting within 10 seconds in such a sharp burning manner. I couldn’t wear it long enough to test because it hurt so much. I had it on probably 5 minutes just swatching and photographing it. The color and finish is really pretty but I just couldn’t tolerate the tingle.
  • NARS Velvet Lip Glide in Bound is another one I own in the full size. I definitely should have read the labels on the box to see if I already owned most of these, but the minis got me. This one is a perfect soft mauve color. It has the word “velvet” in it but on me these still have a slight sheen to them.
  • Urban Decay Vice Waterproof Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick is a full size metallic rose color. I’ve tried this one before and it was a total fail for me. The color dried on the lips in a way that make them look dried out and shriveled. In the past when I tested this one it dried out my lips so bad they peeled for several days after. They do last a long time as in they don’t budge all day long so if you don’t have sensitive lips this formula might be worth a try. Based on my one experience with this color though I’m passing on all the rest.

Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Nude Lip Review | The Beauty Look Book

Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Nude Lip swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Nude Lip lip swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Next are some Beauty Insider Perks. This year you have a couple options for the Beauty Insider Birthday Perk. You can pick between skincare from Caudalie and makeup from Tarte. I opted for the Tarte options but in reality I should have gone with the skincare as they would have been perfect to travel with. The Tarte set comes with the Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Paaarty (1.5 g/0.05 oz) and a Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Birthday Suit (1 ml/0.034 fl oz). Both are really pretty neutrals, the blush is a matte pink brown and the lip paint is a creamy nude pink that doesn’t wash me out. I also picked up a mini Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint in Rose (1 ml/0.034 fl oz) as a 100 point perk. I actually already own this one in the full size but couldn’t resist the mini. It’s a warm rose peachy color on me. I’m not the biggest fan of matte lips or matte liquid lipsticks but the colors from Tarte are pretty good and I can add a bit of balm or gloss on top.

Sephora Tarte Tarteist Lip Paint Birthday Suit and Rose | The Beauty Look Book

Sephora Tarte Birthday Gift 2017 | The Beauty Look Book

Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Nude Lip Review | The Beauty Look Book

In summary I like Tarte Birthday Suit enough to consider buying the full size. It’s a good neutral nude color that works for my skin tone and doesn’t wash me out. For the Give Me Some Nude Lips set turns out I like the colors I already own the best (NARS Bound, Marc Jacobs Sugar Sugar and Anastasia Kristen). The others were nice to try and even though I didn’t like the colors or formula so much at $28 it was worth it for me to try. That being said $28 could still have gone towards a full size gloss or lipstick that I really wanted – but I never use the lip testers in store on my lips because of all the germs so sometimes it’s hard to guess what a color will look like. I’ll swatch lip products on my hand and then hold it up to my face to see if I can kinda tell what it will look like, but I’m one who cringes when I see others using store testers on their lips.

Bottom line not a total win, but not a total fail either. You can find the Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Nude Lip set at Sephora. It’s limited-edition and they’ve launched a few variations over the past few seasons.

Have you picked up any Sephora Favorites sets lately? If so which sets did you try and what did you think?

 

 

Highlighters

Highlighter Edit for Spring

April 13, 2017

Highlighter Roundup | The Beauty Look Book

The glowy highlighter trend is still going strong and as a fan of all things luminous I could not be happier! By popular request I’ve put quite a few new formulas, palettes and colors to the test. There’s lots to love and the great thing about the launches these days is that there is literally something for everyone. After extensive testing I will say up front that my absolute top favorites still remain the Diorskin Nude Air Luminizers, Edward Bess All Over Seduction, Laura Mercier Face Illuminators, Tom Ford Shimmer Shots and Hourglass Luminous Light (reviews linked for each one).

For highlighters there are so many factors to consider when picking one. Skintone plays a key role in determining whether a highlighter will actually look like a highlight or more of a bronzer on you. I know for many fair skin beauty lovers many colors that look like a highlighter on me turn peachy or bronzey on lighter skin tones. On the flip side some super pale highlighters will look more true to pan on fair skins while on medium to deep skins like me, some will just look like a white frost.

Skin type and shimmer preference are also other things to consider. If you have a lot of texture or larger pores sometimes the more glowy powder shimmers will emphasize fine lines or settle into pores. If you’re oily you will probably prefer powders if you’re normal to dry creams may be better for you.

I have a lot to roundup today, but first since many of you have asked, I can finally share the details about the upcoming Sephora Beauty Insider event today. If you’re a Beauty Insider member check your mail or e-mail for the codes! We have the official dates:

  • 4/18 to 4/24 Rouge will receive 15% off
  • 4/19 to 4/24 VIB will receive 15% off
  • 4/20 to 4/23 RBI will receive 10% off

Up first is the palette I was most excited about but did not end up loving. I’m a huge fan of the Anastasia Glow Kits even though they tend to be more on the intense side of shimmer. The limited-edition ABH x Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit comes in the prettiest pink packaging with gorgeous glowy colors. There’s a mix of pink, mauve, peach, white, gold and tan – unfortunately on my medium skintone they pull a lot lighter than what you see in the pan and most of them look very similar. I knew before ordering that it would be on the extra glowy side but the shades are all too intense to wear on the face. I love them with a super light hand on the eyes but I prefer Sun Dipped by far for more variety and more wearable colors. It’s currently sold out online but check your stores to see if they still have them.

ABH Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit | The Beauty Look Book ABH Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Next is the Chanel Plisee Lumiere de Chanel Illuminating Powder. This is from the Energies Puretes Collection reviewed here. Some asked for a face swatch of the highlighter alone since the blushes were ultra pigmented. This is a champagne highlighter with sparkles that give the skin a wet-look effect. The shimmers aren’t as intense as the Camelia highlighter but they are still on the strong sparkly side.

Chanel Plisse Lumiere de Chanel | The Beauty Look Book Chanel Plisse Lumiere de Chanel swatches | The Beauty Look Book

I have it alone on the cheeks and on the eyes. Foundation worn is Becca Aqualuminous in Beige (review here), lipstick is YSL Volupte Tint-In-Balm #1 (review here), brows have the Diorshow Brow Styler Universal Brown, top by Madewell (also available here).

Chanel Plissee Lumiere de Chanel Highlighter | The Beauty Look Book

Up next are some liquid drops. Cover FX launched three new shades of the Custom Enhancer Drops and I bought two in Blossom and Rose Gold. Both of these have a softer finish compared to the first round they launched (reviewed here). I really loved the first round of shades even though they are shimmery. You can easily blend for a pretty glow. Blossom is the prettiest shade of soft pink and rose gold is a soft rosy peach gold. Both are close to my skin tone so they look very natural on me but the color still shows up. The drops are fluid and easy to blend and layer.

Marc Jacobs Beauty launched a Coconut Gel Highlighter called Dew You? and it’s a lovely light gold. The texture is a gel and you have to work quickly with this one because it dries fast. The nice thing about the texture is that it’s great for oily skin and I found it lasted longer on me than most liquid highlighters. Once it sets it pretty much does not budge. It also smells like coconuts πŸ™‚

Third are some Algenist Concentrated Luminizing Drops. A while back I received a mini duo that you can buy as a set, but you can also find them separately in the full size. I am obsessed with the way they smell – it’s not really scented but it has this makeup scent that I really like. These are probably among the most subtle and sheerest out of the drops I’ve tried. Once on the face the shimmer almost disappears into a very subtle sheen. I would say these are probably best for mixing in with your foundation for a subtle glow. Because they are so sheer I found they did not do much for me other than add a sheen. That being said these have a serum skincare element in them so I do suspect they are meant to apply all over the face under foundation for a very soft glow.

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops, Marc Jacobs Beauty Dew You, Algenist Concentrated Luminizing Drops | The Beauty Look BookCover FX Custom Enhancer Drops, Marc Jacobs Beauty Dew You, Algenist Concentrated Luminizing Drops | The Beauty Look Book

Next up is the Laura Mercier Lightstruck Prismatic Glow Palette. As a huge fan of the Face Illuminators I had high hopes for this one but after testing this I found this was completely not for me. First I’m not into the holographic makeup trend – it just doesn’t work well for my skin coloring. That being said the packaging is more prismatic than the creams, but the lighter creams are on the glittery side. Aurora and Reflect have a softer smooth texture but they’re so sheer they disappeared on my skin completely. I do like a good neutral glow sometimes but I feel like there are so many other products on the market that already do this – this just didn’t really wow me.

Laura Mercier Lightstruck Prismatic Glow Palette | The Beauty Look Book

Laura Mercier Lightstruck Prismatic Glow Palette | The Beauty Look Book

I’ve already featured the MAC Quikstick Sticks before with the Work It Out review but had shot the photos before I reviewed them. I do believe they are limited-edition so if you have your eye on any I’d recommend checking them out soon. These have a highlighter on one side and a blush/contour on the other.

MAC Quiktrik Sticks | The Beauty Look Book MAC Quiktrik Sticks | The Beauty Look Book

Perhaps my favorite launch of all the new highlighters I’ve tried are from NARS. I featured the Sheer Pop Multiples when I reviewed the Pop Goes the Easel Collection a few weeks ago. Navagio Beach is a pretty soft sheer gold (exclusive to Nordstrom), but my heart was completely won over by the Banc de Sable Highlighter Palette (exclusive to Sephora, now available online at NARS). A close up and swatches of both below. The Banc de Sable has a finely milled shimmer that glides on the skin smoothly and without any harsh frost. I wish more highlighter formulas and finishes were like this – it looks smooth and pretty on the skin and doesn’t emphasize lines or pores. Complete win for me on this one.

NARS Banc de Sable Palette Sephora Exclusive | The Beauty Look BookNARS Banc de Sable Palette v Sheer Pop Multiple Navagio Beach | The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least because I’m a lover of all things Tom Ford, I had to include the new cheek duos again in this roundup. I really love both Reflects Gilt and Paradise Lust. I’m in the process of packing for a few trips at the end of the month and will be packing both of them to bring with me. Full review here.

Tom Ford Summer Soleil Reflects Gilt and Paradise Lust | The Beauty Look Book

Tom Ford Summer Soleil Reflects Gilt, Paradise Lust and Bicoastal | The Beauty Look Book

So even though I mentioned at the top I prefer some other ones over these I do think there are a lot of new launches that are different and unique enough to justify splurging on. Picking one will depend on your preference for shimmer intensity.

  • My top picks of the new releases: Tom Ford Reflects Gilt, NARS Banc de Sable, Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Rose Gold.
  • For me misses were the ABH Nicole Guerriero and Laura Mercier Lightstruck Palette.

There are so many more that have launched recently I could not possibly test them all. If you’ve tried the Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighter let me know your thoughts.

Do you have a favorite go-to highlighter? Or have you splurged on anything recently from new launches that you have fallen in love with? Let me know what your favs are!

Press samples featured include MAC Quiktrick Sticks, Laura Mercier Lightstruck, Tom Ford Cheek Duos, Algenist Mini Reveal Drops Duo and Chanel Plissee Lumiere Highlighter.

Beauty Beauty Favorites Roundup

Best Beauty Discoveries 2016

December 29, 2016

Best makeup discoveries in 2016 Tom Ford Chanel Anastasia NARS MAC

I can hardly believe another year has flown by! Thank you to each and every one of you who followed me along on my beauty journey this past year. Today I have a round up of my 2016 favorites in makeup (skincare to follow in a separate post). As a long-time nail polish junkie I was surprised to find this past year was pretty light on the nail polish features and reviews – I remember in past years going through tons of nail wheels and bottles of polish remover. Perhaps by now I simply have collected all the possible colors? 2016’s focus seemed to be all about lips and highlighters for me. As always I’d love to hear what your favorite makeup discoveries were for the year! I picked out items that were new in 2016 (they’re listed in alphabetical order by brand):

Lips

Face and Cheeks

Eyes

Nails

  • Chanel Le Vernis in Organdi (review here) was my most-worn color this year
  • Louboutin had the best colors and formulas for me this year, I loved Miss Mars and the Hawaii Kawai Trio minis were so fun to shoot, there were three Red Nail Extensions that I was able to play with back in May to swatch for you, months later I ended up buying Jazzy Doll and Edgypopi

What were your makeup favorites this past year? They can be new launches, rediscoveries or new-to-you products! I love reading about your favorites so please feel free to share in the comments below. Several of you have asked that I bring back the monthly roundups on a regular basis, some have asked for a hits and misses roundup as well. I’ll be starting a monthly review series in the new year!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Base Makeup Eye Makeup

Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario and Stick Foundation

October 13, 2016
Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario and Stick Foundation

 

My love for Anastasia Beverly Hills continues with two new launches in the Master Palette by Mario ($45 for .7g/0.2 oz x 12 shadows) and Stick Foundation in Warm Natural and Golden ($25 for 9 g/0.32 oz). I bought all three from Sephora – the palette is something I ordered sight unseen. For the foundation I spent some time in store swatching colors but they did not have all the testers or colors for sale. Luckily they had the colors that matched my skintone range so I was able to find something that matched. For a line that I feel is very much on the trendy side I’ve been fortunate to find some really great products that are still suitable for my conservative makeup taste. Pigment and formulas are versatile, rich in pigmented and shimmer, but still easy to blend out for a less sharp look. As much as I love new makeup trends I will not bake my face, strobe heavily, use the heavy contour method or have my highlighter “on fleek” as the young ones say these days. So for my fellow conservative makeup lovers – I think you might be able to find some really good products that are easy to wear even if you feel like you’re not the trendy type.

 

Up first is the Master Palette by Mario. This is the first eyeshadow palette I’ve bought from Anastasia Beverly Hills. After a few years of accumulating several palettes in my early days of makeup exploration I found many sat unused in my makeup drawers if I did not love all the colors. So I made myself a self-imposed rule that if there were 2-3 shades I did not like I told myself “don’t buy it.” I did try to stick with it and for quite a few years I was able to resist a lot of palettes. In recent years palettes have been more tempting and my resolve weakened. In this case there were 2 shades I didn’t really like which included the olive and navy teal – but seeing swatches online made me decide to cave and I’m glad I did.

 

The Beauty Look Book - Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario review

 

This is one of the more trendy palettes I own. The shimmer is noticeable and on the scale of shimmer intensity I would say it’s pretty high but I can still wear all the colors. The pigment is medium but buildable to full coverage. There are a few matte shades which also have excellent coverage. The shades are easy to blend and layer. Texture is soft so there is some fallout when applying on the eyes but I have yet to find a powder shadow that doesn’t have some level of fall out. Once on the eyes the colors stay put – no smudging, fading or creeping. I like that they apply well with or without a base (at least for me).

Colors include:

  • Hollywood is a pale shimmery gold
  • NYC is a warm coppery bronze shimmer
    Kim is a warm tan shimmer with orange tones
  • Muse is a reddish pink shimmer
  • Marina is a shimmering champagne mauve
  • Claudia is a deep greyed navy shimmer
  • Lula is a matte cool brown
  • Isabel is a matte burnt orange
  • Violeta is a warm deep brown
  • 5th Ave is a shimmering pale frosted gold
  • Bronx is a shimmering olive
  • Paris is a shimmering bronze
In terms of how to wear this palette I often get overwhelmed with this many options – but I really like this one. I’ve tried every single color in combinations of 3-4 shades and every time the look is just really pretty. Unfortunately I don’t have any eye looks for you as I’m still trying to figure out how to photograph warm shades on the eyes.The brush is easy to use and the shape is good for blending and lid application – quality isn’t the best as I feel it’s not as soft as I’m used to, but it’s functional and works.

 

The Beauty Look Book - Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario review

 

A few more close ups:

 

The Beauty Look Book - Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario review

 

The Beauty Look Book - Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario Swatches

 

The Beauty Look Book - Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario Swatches
Next up are the Stick Foundations. These offer medium-full to full coverage. Picking a color was a bit tricky in store as there is a wide range and they aren’t displayed in sequential order. There are handy face photos with models to help narrow down your shade. My exact match is Warm Natural but with full coverage foundations often times an exact match can make the face look a bit flat. I picked up Golden as well which matches my tanned body so I use two shades and blend.

 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation in Warm Natural and Golden - The Beauty Look Book

 

I would say the finish pulls more on the matte side and for me – I don’t like matte finish foundations because I find they emphasize fine lines and crevices. Especially around the mouth where lines form when you smile – full coverage mattes tend to creep into those lines and age my face. The one from Anastasia Beverly Hills does not emphasize lines but if you have dry skin or skin that tends to pull dry you will probably find it too drying for all over the face. I think it still can be used for extra coverage if you like to layer foundations. To date my favorite foundation stick is still the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation (review soon but you can see it in action on my face in this post here).

 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation in Warm Natural and Golden swatched

 

Foundation Stick Swatches Lancome, Make Up For Ever, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Hourglass, Tom Ford
Shown above:
To find your match if you’re looking online or want to know where to start I recommend visiting their Stick Foundation Pinterest Page where they have lots of swatches, face charts and more. Here are a few that helped me. Based on these my best guess was Natural, Warm Natural and Golden and I think it was pretty accurate:

 

 

One last look:

 

The Beauty Look Book - Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario and Stick Foundation
Bottom line winners in my book and even though some of you have pointed out the line is overpriced as items are made in China, I still find quality and performance to be quite good. I’ve found them priced reasonably although many of you may be correct in your assessment that they are priced higher than they should be considering where the product is made. I still find what I’ve tried to be solid performers. Update: I took a closer look at the eyeshadow palette, shadows are made in USA and brush is made in PRC. Foundation sticks say made in PRC.

 

For other reviews you can always click the tag/label at the bottom of each post to find other features. I’ll link the ones I’ve done below for reference.

 

 

I bought the Master Palette by Mario and Stick Foundation at Sephora. You can also find the line at Ulta Beauty, Macy’s and Anastasia Beverly Hills.

 

Have you tried these yet? What did you think?
Monthly Favorites Roundup

August Beauty and Skincare Favorites

September 1, 2016
1   /   2   /   3   /   4   /   5   /   6   /   7    /
8   /   9   /   10   /  11  /  12  /  13  /  14   /  15

Quite a few of you have asked that I bring back my monthly favorites roundups so I have one for you today. Many of you like the rotation and roundup kind of posts, I still have the nail/hand care, foundation, hair styling and skincare ones in the work. For those who can’t wait I’ll say that my top three favorite foundations still remain the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint (still Groenland + St. Moritz mixed), Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation (I use 125/Y315, all shades also available online in this value set now) and the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation (my best match is 123/Y365).

Onto my favorites for this month which was difficult for me to narrow down. I’m still enjoying these Molton Brown mini hand washes and these lip treatments. In addition these liquid lips are really very good. I have managed to narrow down a list of my top favorites for this past month though even though a lot of loves have gone unmentioned:
  1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadows have been in heavy rotation because of their silky smooth texture, rich pigment, blendable finish and easy to wear shades. You can pick and choose your own colors to create quads, the one shown above has Sateen, Chiffon, Warm Taupe and Chocolate. To date I’ve accumulated quite a few you can see swatched here and here.
  2. Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara is something I discovered in a set from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I love this because it thickens, volumizes and holds the curl. It also looks super dark on the lashes. I will repurchase this.
  3. Dior Vernis in Minimal (c/o) is my current perfect pale polished nude. Review + swatch here.
  4. Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder (c/o) is relatively new to me but it is hands down the most naturally luminous highlighter I’ve tried this year (out of the new ones launched this year). I think it’s a must, swatches here.
  5. Anastasia Glow Kit in Sundipped is one of the prettiest palettes I think I’ve seen in a while. If you don’t mind a good shimmer this is a great one for eyes and cheeks. I like mixing and swirling colors before applying to the eyes. Review + swatches here.
  6. MAC Eyelash Curler is something I picked up recently and was pleasantly surprised. My go-to Chanel lash curlers have seen better days after years of use and I don’t think they’re carried in the US anymore. The one from MAC comes in close second for my eye shape.
  7. Tom Ford Ultra Rich Lip Color in Revolve Around Me (c/o) best nude for me right now (actually since April of this year). You can see it swatched on my lips in this post here.
  8. Edward Bess Deep Shine Lip Gloss in French Lace is a pretty soft pink. All of his lip glosses reviewed in this post here.
  9. Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips in Kidman’s Kiss (shown) and Super Cindy are both pretty close neutral peachy colors, I think the entire Hot Lips Lipsticks have been a knock out success, especially for those who like matte lips (she has the best matte lipstick formula in my opinion). The entire launch reviewed and swatched here.
  10. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk and Iconic Nude are my most reached for liners. Pillow Talk is a deeper pinky color while Iconic Nude is a brown nude. Both swatched here.
  11. Bumble and Bumble Surf Shampoo wins for best shampoo to clean the hair well with a squeaky clean feel but won’t dry out the hair. It has a mild but fresh beachy kind of scent. Leaves the hair feeling soft and fluffy (but not frizzy). Even my husband likes it. September beauty events are just around the corner. I recommend putting this on your shopping list. I will repurchase this.
  12. Bumble and Bumble Surf Conditioner also is a winner. I rarely am in love with both shampoo and conditioners of the same formula/brand and typically have to mix and match. This combo is pure love. More in this review here.
  13. Tatcha Pore Perfecting Water Gel (c/o) is something I received earlier in the spring. It took me a long time to get into testing this because frankly I don’t like face gels. They’re often sticky or tacky and just don’t absorb well into my skin. This one does indeed have a gel like consistency but if you massage it into the skin it melds in nicely and doesn’t leave a film like other brands. I’ve been alternating this with Kate Somerville Nourish, both of which are lightweight for warmer weather. Neither will get greasy but have enough for my normal-combination skin. They wear very well under foundation too. The Pore Perfecting Water Gel is also available in a mini travel size. I love the packaging, the pump and the way it feels on the skin. Huge thumbs up. It also helps to smooth out pores.
  14. Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask remains my tried and true clarifying mask that is gentle, even when my skin has flare ups. It sucks up excess dirt and oil. I have finally lost count of how many tubes I’ve bought and used up.
  15. Kate Somerville RetAsphereβ„’ Micro Peel (c/o) is a leave-on treatment for night that helps with skin uneveness and really works to improve texture. It’s very gentle but I use it once a week. It’s a micro-peel that infuses skin with retinol with 10% glycolic acid and lactose to help resurface skin. Out of all the skincare lines I’ve tried, I feel that Kate Somerville has truly been one of the game changers for my skin as I transitioned from my 20’s to 30’s. During that transition I went through a lot of stress and my skin suffered a lot with texture issues and repeated break outs. While I’ve worked to manage the stress, finding the right skincare has played a major role in improving texture. I’ve tried so many lines and out of all the ones I have tried, Kate Somerville all around has worked the best for me. I don’t use a night treatment every night because I sometimes just want to let the skin breathe. The RetAsphereβ„’ 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream is one of the best most gentle yet effective night treatments I alternate with the Micro-Peel. The Micro-Peel makes the favorites list though because just using this once a week has improved my skin texture tremendously.
What are you loving right now? Do you have any favorites from the past month? As always I love reading about what you’ve tried, love and recommend. Even if something you tried hasn’t worked for you, I still love reading about those experiences as well. Are there any colors or collections you’ve been smitten with as we transition to fall beauty?
Press samples featured indicated with a “c/o”. As always all opinions my own.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Eye Makeup Sephora

Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadow Singles – More Shades Reviewed + Swatched

August 4, 2016

I’ve been adding more Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadows to my collection. Ever since the full color line launched at Sephora and Ulta I’ve been exploring the brand more and have been really pleased with everything I’ve tried so far. As a lover of natural makeup looks I am happy to report that although the makeup from Anastasia Beverly Hills can indeed create dramatic looks, there are a lot of options for natural beauty lovers and that even though the textures are very pigmented – shimmers can be blended for a more diffused natural look. I reviewed three quads I made a few months ago. The Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadows come in single pan format so you can pick and choose what colors you want. There is a magnetized 4 pan palette that is available for purchase or you can put these in your own compacts as well. Individual shadows are priced at $12 each or if you buy four at a time plus the compact they’re priced at $40.

Some of you spotted some new quads in my travel bags here, here and here and have asked for swatches. I have sixteen more shades to share swatches. Based on the reviews I’ve read online some are a miss, most seem to be hits. There are quite a few shades that are online only – it took me a long time to research shades, swatches and other reviews to decide which ones to order. I feel lucky that all with the exception of one shade are all hits.
I found that the palettes were great for travel. I brought 3 quads with me but really could have gotten away with just one. I normally bring the Urban Decay Naked Palettes (all the eye palettes swatched in this post here) with me but decided to change it up on my last trip.

Four quads I put together – I don’t keep the shades in the same palettes all the time, but for the most part they stay in these combinations. The colors are really versatile, well pigmented, easy to blend and layer, have minimal fallout after application, stay put – what more could I ask for? I find they work well with or without a base. I feel like a broken record when I say this, but my two go-to bases are either the Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base or Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rose Gold (both swatched in this post here).

Top left quad: Lace, Victorian, Pose, Truffle Glitter
Top right quad: Gleam, Birkin, Intense Gaze, Topaz
Bottom left quad: Touch of Lilac, Belize, Macaroon, Brownie
Bottom right quad: Amber, Glisten, Comfort, Dark Chocolate Shimmer

A closer look at my picks. There are several different finishes which include glitter, matte, metallic, satin and shimmer. I think the quality is great across all formulas based on what I’ve tried. Sephora separates the formulas by finish – although I find some of the shimmers to be more glittery/sparkly. The swatches below will help you see the degree of shimmer in each shade.
Descriptions as I see them:
  • Lace is the only one I found slightly disappointing, it’s a sheer ivory champagne, it’s a good blending shade, but pigment was on the sheer side
  • Victorian is an light antique patina olive shimmer
  • Touch of Lilac is a soft light shimmer with a hint of lilac
  • Belize is a medium warm peachy brown skin-toned shimmer
  • Pose is a deep purple shimmer
  • Truffle Glitter is a highly metallic sparkle brown with gold flecks
  • Macaroon is a sparkly metallic lavendar purple
  • Brownie is a sparkling gold-flecked brown
  • Amber is a pretty shimmering warm gold amber
  • Glisten is a peachy bronze shimmer
  • Gleam is a metallic champagne peach
  • Birkin is a matte warm brown
  • Comfort is a warm shimmering auburn
  • Dark Chocolate Shimmer is a dark matte black with gold flecks
  • Intense Gaze is a shimmery pink red
  • Topaz is a warm golden tan shimmer

A closer look:

Swatches:

Another thumbs up from me. I still have not tried any of the Anastasia pre-made palettes although a number of you have urged me to. There are a lot of items coming out for fall though and since I already have a lot to play with from her line shadow-wise, I think I’m set for a while. I have to set aside my budget for other items to test and feature so I probably will not be reviewing the palettes she has out now. Plus I splurged on her new Sweets Glow Kit (which I definitely did not need). Out of all the ones she has launched, Sundipped Glow Kit (reviewed here) is hands down my favorite just in case you were wondering.

I’m sure there are a number of dupes for the shadows I picked out in other lines but I’m overall really pleased with the pigment, level of shimmer and ease of blendability with all except for Lace which turned out to be too sheer for what I wanted. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, I just didn’t like it as much as the others. I found other colors to be more special. If you do order these I do recommend ordering 4 at a time + the compact for the $40 price (versus buying them in one-offs at the $12 price per shadow).

You can find the Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadows at Sephora, Ulta Beauty, Macy’s and Anastasia Beverly Hills. Have you tried these yet? Which are your favorite colors?

Lips Roundup

Favorite Luxury Lipstick Formulas

July 29, 2016

 

It’s National Lipstick Day today so I’m rounding up some of my favorite luxury lipstick formulas. I think everyone has their favorites – many of you want to know what I think the best ones are and as always, I have to say it depends! It depends on color preference, formula, finish, coverage and packaging. I gravitate towards neutrals and nudes, often times I have duplicates of the same color – but there are so many nuances in undertone, shimmer, finish I think often times they are different enough to justify owning. I’ve split mine into formula categories.

 

Best Full Coverage

Best Matte

  • Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution (Very Victoria and Sexy Sienna shown) hands down best matte because it’s a luminous matte that also has a hydrating formula that won’t dry out the lips, swatches here and here

Favorite Classic Formulas

  • Edward Bess Ultra Slick Lip Color (Pure Impulse shown) my all time favorite in the top 3 lipstick formula, I will have a dedicated post swatching and reviewing all of his lipsticks soon, they are fig scented, creamy and just perfect in terms of pigment and coverage
  • Tom Ford Lip Colors (Guilty Pleasure shown) always a favorite, this is also in my top 3 for the ultimate luxury splurge, formulas have either a cream or shimmer finish, coverage is smooth with medium to full coverage, swatches here
  • Tom Ford Lips and Boys (Austin shown) perfect clutch-sized lip colors, multiple colors and shades reviewed and swatched here
  • Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G (Penelope Pink shown) review and swatches here and here
  • Chanel Rouge Coco (Marie shown) is a classic, they have a wide range of colors from neutral, pink, plum, reds and browns, eight shades reviewed + swatched here
  • MAC Lipstick (not shown but Sunblessed a Nordstrom exclusive featured in intro and final images) this has to be added to my favorites list because even though the formula makes my lips dry and peel a bit by day 2, I just can’t resist the classic and edgy colors, they wear really well all day long and I wear them frequently, I just have to add lip balm to my lips like crazy at night

Most Hydrating

  • Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo (Recit and Message shown) is the most hydrating and comfortable lipstick formula I’ve tried, I love the slim click up wand and the best thing about this one is it’s not just a one-way click (you can click it back down too), all the colors reviewed here

Best Sheer and Glossy Formulas

  • Louboutin Sheer Voile (Rose du Desert) is the most expensive lipstick on the market and comes with a hefty price tag, I will say that I don’t know that I think any lipstick is worth $90, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t buy one (or several), the Sheer Voile has a gorgeous glossy finish, it’s sheer but gives the lips a visible tint, review on these soon
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Shine (Boy shown) is what I think of as the epitome of classic beauty, Rouge Coco Shines have been a favorite for years, if you want a natural tint of effortless color, these are the way to go
  • YSL Rouge Volupte Shine (Shade 47 shown) are another favorite, they are similar to Rouge Coco Shines but the YSL is a bit more emollient and comes with a fruity mango scent (swatches of the latest Rouge Volupte Shine Oil in Stick eight shades here)

Best Liquid Lipstick Formulas

  • Too Faced Melted Chocolate are my favorites for liquid lipstick because these also have a chocolate scent! They come with a sponge tip applicator. Swatches of all the chocolate shades in this post here.
  • Anastasia Liquid Lipstick (Crush shown) come with a love-hate feeling from me. I love these because the color really does last all day long but I am not a fan of matte finish lipsticks. This one can be fixed by adding a bit of balm or clear gloss on top and then I have a lipstick that will last from morning to night and through snacks/lunch.
  • Chanel Rouge Double Intensite (shades shown Darling Pink, Bright Rose and Light Rose) is another one that will literally last all day on my lips. It’s a two step application process, first color, let dry, then top with the clear gloss on the other end. Bright Rose swatched here. Darling Pink is the best baby pink I’ve ever tried (I don’t think I’ve reviewed it) and Light Rose is a gorgeous pinky rose color too.
  • NARS Lip Cover (Get Dirty shown) is a liquid lipstick with a glossy finish. I have two shades in Get Dirty and Overheated. I believe these are limited-edition from summer, I hope NARS considers adding this formula to the permanent line because the formula is really really good. Both shades swatched on lips here.

 

 

That wraps up my lipstick favorites in honor of National Lipstick Day! What are your favorite lipstick formulas or colors?