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Concealer

Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury The Supermodel Brow Lift Kit Review

March 29, 2017

Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Brow Kit | The Beauty Look Book

Charlotte Tilbury launched a new set called The Supermodel Brow Lift Kit ($124) containing 5 of her essentials for creating her flawless eyebrow look. I’ve already tried a few of the items individually in the past and I think it’s great that Charlotte Tilbury has launched some sets for those who are just starting to get into her line. This kit allows you to choose your own colors, if you were to buy everything separately it would retail at $138.50 so you do get a bit of a price break with the set. What’s inside the kit:

  1. Legendary Brows Brow Gel
  2. Brow Lift Brow Pencil
  3. The Retoucher Conceal and Treat Stick
  4. Life Changing Lashes Eyelash Curler
  5. Full Fat Glossy Lashes Mascara in Black

Up first are the Brow Lift brow pencil and Legendary Brows gel. I selected the color Supermodel for both which is a good neutral-cool medium-deep brown. I have dark black hair but it has a lot of natural streaks of red and brown so pure black is often too harsh and some browns contain red which is a no-go for me. Supermodel is a deep enough to look natural on me and doesn’t look harsh.

The Brow Lift brow pencil has beveled tip and it’s a twist up on one side with product and a brush at the other end. It has a slightly waxy feel which helps fill in sparse areas. The color and texture are really good and easy to apply.

The Legendary Brows comes in a clear shade which I’ve tried and liked. I was really interested to try the tinted version which I like a lot better. It helps add a bit more definition in a natural way and does help to keep flyaways in place.

Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Brow Kit | The Beauty Look Book

Here’s what the Supermodel brow pencil and gel look like on me, since I have odd-shaped brows I usually go light with product because one swipe too much ends up looking really harsh. Foundation shade worn is the Becca Aqualuminous Foundation in Light and Beige mixed (review here), on the lips is MAC Lustre Lipstick from the Work it Out collection Testosterone (review here). It’s barely noticeable but on the cheeks is a sheer wash of the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow duo in the lighter option (both options on the face here).

Beauty Look Book Brows Charlotte Tilbury

Brow swatch comparisons: Diorshow Brow Styler in Universal Brown is my most-used brow pencil because it’s the easiest for me to use without overdoing it, Kevyn Aucoin Precision Brown Pencil Brunette is darker, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Medium Brown has a bit more warmth, Tom Ford Brow Sculptor Espresso is my second most-used pencil because the color works for me, Glossier Boy Brow in Brown is a good one for natural brows and runs a bit lighter but still works for my dark hair, Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel in Espresso is my favorite tinted brow gel because the tiny fibers help fill in the brow naturally, By Terry Brow Mascara in Dark Brown was my first tinted brow product which I’ve repurchased many times.

If any of you want a more comprehensive brow post for natural brows let me know and I’ll put one together with thoughts on some powder formulas and tools I like. Let me know in the comments!

Brow Pencil and Brow Gel comparisons | The Beauty Look Book

Up next are the Full Fat Lashes Mascara in Glossy Black and the Life Changing Lashes curler. I’ve tried both and I think the mascara is just ok. I have super straight lashes so I need a lot of volumizing for them to show up. What I do like about the mascara is that it’s a true black, it doesn’t clump and is pretty good at not smudging. It doesn’t hold my curl and it doesn’t add much volume but everyone I’ve talked to about this in person loves this one.

Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Brow Kit | The Beauty Look Book

For the Life Changing Lashes curler I bought one a few years ago when her line launched. I no longer own it because it got so much use and wear I had to throw it away. I haven’t repurchased or looked at them since – not until this kit arrived for review. For some reason I feel like the one she has right now has been improved – it feels a bit larger in size and more hefty than the original (which I really liked). The one she has now is still very good. The curler portion seems to be larger but since I don’t have the original one I owned I can’t really compare – if you have purchased them before let me know if you think there’s a difference. It does a great job at curling without pinching. The rosegold finish is just so pretty!

Charlotte Tilbury Life Changing Lashes Curler | The Beauty Look Book

Swatches of the set, first without flash:

With flash:

Last but not least is The Retoucher Concealer. This is a twist up with brush kind of concealer. I’ve owned #3 in the past and used it up but since then have gotten around 1 to 1.5 shade lighter in color. Of course now that I’ve been in Florida for a month now I’ve gotten a bit of a tan with the outdoors so I’m in between shades. Right now #2 works well to brighten the under eye area perfectly for me. It has medium smooth coverage and gives a natural looking finish. If you need more coverage I would say this is not the best for blemishes or dark spots. I used mine up to the end and planned on repurchasing but have a lot of other formulas I’m testing so never got around to it.

Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

I swatched them all in a concealer story I did a while back but am reposting for reference:

Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Concealer Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Brow Kit Review | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line this is a great kit for easy to do brows. You can use the Retoucher under the brow bone to highlight or open up the eyes and also underneath to brighten. The soft emollient blendable texture makes for a nice natural look. I love both of the brow products for a natural easy everyday kind of look. The only item I’m not crazy about is the mascara but I’m going to try experimenting with some primers and lash bases to see if I can try to make it hold the curl better.

You can find the The Supermodel Brow Lift Kit online now at Charlotte Tilbury for $124. Have you tried any of these before? If so what did you think? If not do you have any go-to brow products?

Brow kit provided courtesy of Charlotte Tilbury for review.

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 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

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer

January 10, 2016

Make Up For Ever just launched a new product to their Ultra HD range called the Ultra HD Concealer ($27 each for 7 ml/0.23 oz). These are designed to conceal the under eye area described as “invisible, luminous and comfortable” and are made to correct and conceal dark circles while blurring fine lines and wrinkles. Make Up For Ever kindly sent over the shades for me to test out. They do not disappoint. According to Make Up For Ever these contain:
  • Lamellar structure pigments that reflect and diffuse light, erasing under eye shadows and blurring imperfections
  • An anti-dark circle complex comprised of green algae and amino acids to help conceal and correct cobined with a radiance booster comprised of an Asian berry extract that helps stimulate collagen production to brighten and smooth skin
  • A 3D elastomer gel to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines

There are 10 colors in total that are split into two color families R (peach) and Y (yellow):

Color Correct: neutralize dark circles with a peach shade:
R20: Light Skintones
R22: Light to Medium Skintones
R30: Medium Skintones
R32: Medium to Tan Skintones
R40: Tan Skintones 

Conceal: brighten and awaken undereye area:
Y21: Light Skintones
Y23: Light to Medium Skintones
Y31: Medium Skintones
Y33: Medium to Tan Skintones
Y41: Tan Skintones 

Onto my testing and thoughts. These come in a thin squeeze tube without any sponge tip applicator. They are really easy to apply on the face, you can use a brush or sponge to blend, but I like to dab two tiny dots of product under each eye straight from the tube and then blend with the fingers.

On the nails, Louboutin Miss Loubi

On colors, I’m yellow and olive in undertone and in general often have a hard time finding a good match for under eye concealers. Most are either too pink, too light, or too dark. I know many like to go one shade lighter for under the eye to brighten and counter dark circles, but often times that “1 shade lighter” is just too light. An exact match is ideal, but many tend to warm up and oxidize slightly making colors too dark for me. I’m not one who likes to mix colors. Last year I was lucky to discover quite a few new formulas and color matches. Concealer roundup from last fall in this post here (with lots of swatches from Surratt, Urban Decay, YSL, Charlotte Tilbury and more).

For the under eye area I have been using the Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher #3, Bare Minerals Bareskin Concealer in Medium Golden and Urban Decay Naked Skin in Medium Neutral. My other favorite NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger is still too light for me at the moment but I adore the formula.

The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer has made the cut to join my top picks. It’s an incredible concealer for under eyes. It’s described as invisible because once you blend it into the skin it doesn’t look like you have makeup on, but at the same time it really does conceal and cover up dark circles. My initial thoughts were that I would find a match in the Y family. Y33 is a pretty good match, but I actually like the ones with peach tones because it brightens the face and neutralizes dark circles better. I can get away with either R30 or R32. These add just the right amount of brightness under the eye without too much contrast. They do warm up but don’t oxidize as much as the ones from Urban Decay.

I don’t have under eye wrinkles yet but some full coverage foundations or cream concealers can emphasize fine lines. The Ultra HD concealer blends in with the skin for a smooth looking blurred skin look. Lasting power is quite good – it lasts all day without budging, creasing, or fading. I do set with a powder though (some favorites in this post here).

I’ve been a fan of the Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealers as well, alternating between colors 7 and 8. These are a lot thicker in texture – many find it too thick for under the eye (I found it was ok, but yes it can feel a little thick). The Ultra HD Concealer is thinner in texture but still very creamy and very concentrated. You get less than half the product with the new Ultra HD formula but a tiny bit goes a long long way.

Swatches plus two sets of comparisons:

My best matches in the Ultra HD Invisible Cover Concealer range are Y33, R30 and R32. Swatch comparisons to some other concealer shades I use (or have used when I have been lighter) and a few foundation swatches to help. As you can see below there is a lot less product with the Ultra HD Line (7 ml/0.23 fl oz) compared to the Full Cover Concealer (15 ml/0.5 fl oz). The Ultra HD is more concentrated though so a little bit goes a longer way compared to the Full Cover formula.

Two sets of swatches comparison below with prices and product sizing included for reference to save you time from having to look it all up (prices as of 1/10/2016):
The entire Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer ($27 each for 7 ml/0.23 oz) lineup compared to:

Bottom line, definitely worth checking out if you’re searching for an under eye concealer. The colors do seem to be limited but what impressed me was the fact that they included several that I think will work for super fair skintones. I know a few of my fellow beauty lovers have fair skin and find it challenging to find something light enough for their skintones. For tan to deep skin tones, you might be able to try either of the two darkest colors, but for now I suspect Charlotte Tilbury, MAC and NARS will still be the best bet for having a wider color selection available for those with deeper skintones. I feel lucky to have found 3 that work for my under eye area. I give this a huge thumbs up.

The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealers ($27 each) are available now at Sephora and Make Up For Ever. Have you checked these out yet? If yes, please share what color(s) you picked out and your foundation or concealer shades in other lines to help others who can’t swatch in person to find their match 🙂

The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealers and Foundation were provided as courtesy press samples for review. All opinions my own.

Eye Makeup Urban Decay

Best of Urban Decay Cosmetics

December 9, 2015
Urban Decay Nordstrom The Beauty Look Book

If I were stuck on a desert island and could only have one makeup palette with me, it would be any of the Urban Decay Naked Palettes. I’ve been such a huge fan of Urban Decay for years and out of all the makeup I’ve bought, tried and tested, the Naked2 and Naked3 Eyeshadow Palettes are hands down my favorites – ever. I’ve done quite a few reviews on each palette in the past but I don’t think I’ve ever rounded them all up in one post. Today I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share my favorites from the line along with swatches and thoughts on their latest launch the UD x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette.

The Naked, Naked2, Naked3 and Naked Smoky Palettes all have a mix of beautiful neutrals. Each palette offers a diverse range of colors and textures ranging from matte, shimmer, frost, glitter and satin. The texture of the shadows are amazingly smooth, rich and super easy to blend. They last all day on my lids – although some of the glitter shades will have some fallout. I would say Naked has the most diverse range of neutrals from light, medium to dark. It has a split mix of warm and cool shades. Naked2 is the most neutral option with colors that will make any taupe lover go crazy. It has 2 of my favorite colors in YDK and Suspect (also available individually). Naked3 is the rosy pink neutral option, as one who rarely wears pink eye shadow, it was a huge surprise to me at how wearable the colors in this one are. The colors are absolutely perfect. The latest Naked palette is the Naked Smoky which I adore but is hit or miss for many. It’s the darkest and most dramatic mix of neutrals – the texture of the shadows is slightly harder than the other palettes, but I find pigment to still be excellent and easy to blend.

Urban Decay Naked Palettes

Urban Decay Naked Palettes

Urban Decay Naked Palettes swatched

The best matte eyeshadow palettes on the market are the Urban Decay Naked Basics and Naked2 Basics. I passed on the Naked Basics one for the longest time because I thought the colors would be too light for my skintone. Thanks to the extra push from my readers, I bought it and have been really happy. I don’t usually like matte shadows because I find they are either too sheer or too intense. Sheer ones just don’t show up on my skin, intense ones are too powdery or creamy and make my lids look wrinkled. The ones from Urban Decay are the perfect texture to just melt into the skin but at the same time the pigment shows up really well. The colors are easy to blend with each other. I like using these alone or mixed with shimmer colors. If I had to pick one, I would say Naked2 Basics is my favorite for my medium olive-toned skin, but both are really good.
Urban Decay Naked Basics and Naked2 Basics

The 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner Pencils come in a wide range of colors. I of course prefer the neutrals (there are tons of options in this range), but there are lots of bold brights and shimmers that are really fun. I always have Bourbon on hand, I have a few actually. One is a mini from a holiday set, and I also have the full size. It’s a shimmering dark chocolate brown. Rockstar is a classic deep plum. I like that it’s deep but not so dark that it looks black. The Naked Double-Ended Pencils are nice to have for travel because you get 2 shades in one stick.

If you’ve used Urban Decay for a long time, you are probably aware of the lipstick changes over the years. The formulas have changed numerous times (they used to have their glosses in a squeeze tube, anyone remember Midnight Cowboy?). Right now three current lip formulas I like include the Ultra Nourishing Lipgloss, Revolution Hi-Color Lipgloss and Revolution Lipstick.

The Ultra Nourishing Lipglosses are cushiony shiny glosses. They are on the sheer side, so many of them end up looking very similar once on the lips with slight variations. My favorite is Naked because it has the prettiest sheen and shimmer that makes the lips look full but not too full.

The Revolution High-Color Lipgloss is a rich pigment gloss that is almost like a liquid lipstick. The two neutrals in the line are Kinky and Liar, I almost bought both but they are really similar. Liar is deeper and more pink, while Kinky is more beige and peachy.

For the lipsticks, I’ve only bought one formula. There are three formulas of lipstick. The Revolution Lipstick is the classic version which offers creamy pigmented coverage with a bit of a sheen. Lasting power is really good. There is also the Revolution Sheer Lipstick and Revolution Matte Lipstick as well which I haven’t tested on my lips, but when swatching them in store, the sheers are just that – sheer. The mattes are full coverage velvets.

For the face, the Naked Skin products have often received high ratings and raves. I have tried two items and really like them. The Naked Skin Ultra Definition Powder Foundation is a smooth powder that gives natural medium to full coverage. I use the shade Medium Light Warm. I like to use it to set liquid foundation or for mid-day touch ups on the T-zone. As a foundation it lasts pretty long and looks very natural. I like that it doesn’t cake even if you use the sponge. The Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer is a great concealer for both under eye and spot coverage. It’s full coverage without looking cakey. My match is Medium Neutral and I like how it really covers but blends well into the skin so it looks like your skin.

Swatches of all the concealer shades:

Last but not least, the latest from Urban Decay is a celebrity collaboration. They just launched the UD x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette (limited-edition). Being a fan of both, I knew had to buy it even though at first glance there were 2 shades I thought might be questionable. Here’s a quick snapshot below to show you the size/scale of the packaging compared to the other palettes. It has 15 eyeshadows in a large mirrored compact (Naked palettes have 6 to 12 shades). I love the little detailing on the mirror.

 

UD x Gwen Stefani Palette

The 15 shades are mostly neutral with 3 colors that offer a bit of pop. There is a good mix of matte, shimmer and satin with one glittery shade and two colors that are on the sparkly side. I’ve been playing with this for only a few days but initial thoughts are thumbs up.

UD x Gwen Stefani Palette

Descriptions of the colors in the UD x Gwen Stefani Palette:

  • Blondie is a shimmering pale cool-toned cream
  • Bathwater is a frosted yellow champagne
  • Skimp is a satiny soft pale cream with pink tones
  • Steady is a shimmering beige pink
  • Punk is a matte warm brown
  • Baby is a shimmering neutral mauve pink taupe
  • Anaheim is a matte fawn beige
  • Stark is a matte warm beige
  • Zone is a matte tan
  • Serious is a satiny grey brown with shimmer, goes on more matte
  • Pop is a glitter champagne sparkle
  • Harajuku is a cool-toned blue based pink shimmer
  • Danger is a sparkling bright navy
  • 1987 is a sparkling gold
  • Blackout is a matte black
Pigment on all the colors is really good. There is some fallout with a few of the shimmering sparkles like Harajuku, 1987 and Baby, but once on the lids they stay put. The only color I wasn’t thrilled with is Pop mainly because it has crazy fall out with the glittery chunks unless you pat on the lids with a finger (over cream shadow to help it stick). I thought Danger would be a mess but it actually stayed put and didn’t fall all over the face when I applied with a detail brush. I thought Harajuku would give me a pink-eye look but it’s actually a very wearable pink.

Quick eye look with six colors layered and blended. The camera flash washed out the colors but I included a snapshot of the colors lined up together I used to help show the mix:

That rounds up my favorites from Urban Decay. There are a lot of single shadows that fall in the shimmer neutral category that are staples in my weekly makeup routine but the palettes are so much more convenient to use. Many times I find palettes have a few shades that I don’t like but with the Naked ones, I like every color in every palette.

If you’re looking for a versatile palette, you can’t go wrong the Naked Palettes. My top 3 favorites are Naked2, Naked3 and Naked2 Basics – they are good for everyday, great for travel and have enough color to create a look for evening or special occasions. The colors are timeless and you can wear them any time of year.

Do you have any Urban Decay favorites? I’m curious about the Naked Skin Foundation, Loose Powder and Afterglow Blush – if you have any thoughts please let me know, I’d be interested to hear what you think.

Thanks to Nordstrom for teaming up to sponsor this post. As always, all opinions my own.

Base Makeup Roundup

Concealer Rotation – Fall Edition

October 28, 2015

Today I have a roundup of concealers I’ve been putting to the test. It’s been a year since I last did a concealer rotation. Since my summer trip to Europe back in June I’ve gotten a few shades darker than normal so my go-to favorites Clé de Peau Beauté in Almond and NARS Ginger no longer matched my skin. Several months ago one of my friends asked me about my favorite concealers which include Clé de Peau Beauté, NARS and Edward Bess. Those three brands also happen to be her favorites but she wanted to try something new and so began my hunt for something new that would perform as well if not better than my tried and true. This post has been several months in the making. It took me weeks of testing and swatching with several trips to the counter to find matches. Finding a shade can be tricky depending on what you want to conceal. Also some oxidize in color so a swatch of color that is an exact match might turn out to be too dark after it sets.

I put five new-to-me concealers to the test from Charlotte Tilbury, Bare Minerals, Urban Decay, Make Up For Ever and Chanel. In addition I’ve added a feature on the Surratt Surreal Skin Concealer (I bought this last spring but never reviewed it) and I’ve included the Clé de Peau Beauté and YSL Touche Éclat for swatches in the roundup. Most brands have more than one type of concealer formula. I looked for ones with a creamy texture that blended easily on the skin without emphasizing lines. I prefer medium to full coverage with a smooth looking finish. Ideally I would like something with 100% full coverage but finding an exact match is tricky and I often find full coverage concealers too thick.

Below from left to right:
  • Surratt Beauty Surreal Skin Concealer ($50 for 0.06 oz) in #5 is the most expensive concealer I’ve tried in the per oz sense. It comes in a twist up stick form and has sheer to medium coverage. I found 5 to be a good match but the coverage is minimal and texture is on the dry side. If you have oily skin or find that you only need a tiny bit of brightening/coverage this one is good, but I wasn’t thrilled with it. I will use it to the end though.
  • Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer ($70 for 5 g/.17 oz) in Almond is one of my all time favorite concealers. It’s extremely pricey but well worth the splurge. It covers under the eye really well, doesn’t cake, lasts all day and blends really well. The trick is to warm it up with the fingers to apply. If you apply it cold and straight from the tube, it can look thick. A little goes a long way and my tube has lasted forever without going bad (one lasted 2 years).
  • Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Conceal and Treat Stick ($35 for 3.5 ml/0.12 fl oz) in #3 is a new concealer to me. It’s one that’s been on my radar for a long time but I’m usually not a fan of click-type brushes because they seem so unsanitary to me. This is my new favorite. It conceals and brightens dark circles like magic. It blends into a creamy smooth finish. It stays put although you do need to set with powder. It works wonders on spots as well. This has a skincare element to hydrate and plump the skin. I’m in love.
  • YSL Touche Éclat Radiant Touch Concealer ($42 for 0.1 oz) in 5.5 is a classic I’ve been using on and off. I found it worked under the eyes to brighten and conceal but in a very natural minimal way. Coverage is sheer to medium. If you don’t have a lot you need to cover under the eyes and need just a tad of brightening this is good. For me as I get older I find I need and prefer more coverage (I’m 34 right now). For spot coverage this doesn’t do much.
  • Bare Minerals bareSkin Concealer ($20 for 6 ml/0.20 fl oz) in Medium-Golden and Tan were both pleasant surprises. I say they surprised me because the color range look liked it skipped my match. Medium-Golden is my current match for under eyes. It covers smoothly and has a thinner texture making it feel truly weightless. Under the eyes it makes the skin look smooth. There’s no caking or emphasizing of lines. It is on the creamy side so if you have super oily skin it might be too dewy for you. It has a slight glow without looking too glowy that makes the face look younger with brightness. It held up well in the high 80 degree heat for me (I set it with Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder).
  • Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer ($28 for 5 ml/0.16 fl oz) in Medium Neutral and Med-Dark Warm is something that is raved about by so many. I was matched in store to Med-Dark Warm. It’s one that is a perfect match on my skin but darkens after 5 minutes. In store I tried both the Medium Neutral and Med-Dark Warm, one on each side. The artist who matched me said she thought the darker one was better. I’m actually in between shades for under eyes. I prefer the lighter option for the eye area and the darker one for spot cover. Texture is thin but creamy. It lasts all day without caking, creasing, fading or drying out. I would say the color selection is pretty limited and the colors do oxidize. If you can test this in store – see how it wears throughout the day before picking a color.
  • Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer ($32 for 15 ml/0.5 fl oz) in 7 and 8 are two shades I picked up from Sephora. I also tested these, one on each side. The artist said she thought 8 was better. The product does darken slightly, but not as much as the Urban Decay. I bought 8 originally and asked my husband what he thought. He thought it looked like an exact match but I felt it made my face look sallow and tired (for under eyes). I ordered 7 which I found to be better for under the eyes and which will be a good match for other areas as I lose my tan. 8 works perfectly for spot coverage. If you want something that covers spots really well and looks seamless by blending into the skin this one is really quite amazing.
  • Chanel Correcteur Perfection Concealer ($42 for 7.5 g/0.26 oz) in 30 Beige is something I gave a try recently. Chanel concealers seem to have gone through several reformulations over the years. I’ve never really been a huge fan but it’s mainly because I’m always matched to colors that are way too pale for what I should be wearing. I know everyone has their own take on how to match concealer, but I really don’t like having my under eye area 2-3 shades lighter than the rest of my face. In this case I’m again, in between shades. I bought 30 although I really should have passed on this one. The consistency and coverage is really good. Right now 30 is just the slightest bit too dark for under eyes but 20 is definitely too light.

Swatched side by side:

I spent hours researching concealer shades and swatches before going to the counter. Even if a makeup artist offers to match me, I still like to test multiple shades to see how they compare. Half the time I’m mis-matched and researching swatches ahead of time helps me know what to look for. I was able to swatch most of the shades side by side for reference. The only line I skipped was Make Up For Ever because the 3 stores I went to each were missing testers of multiple shades.

Surratt Beauty concealers come in a small twist up tube, there are currently eight shades, each color has a number as the name:

Cle de Peau Beaute comes in a twist-up tube, there are currently 6 shades:

Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher comes in a brush wand style, you twist the base to click up product (similar to Stila Lip Glazes), there are 10 shades available:

YSL Touche Eclat (unit was missing 1.5) comes with a brush tip that dispenses product when you push the base, there are 10 shades available at Sephora. Some other retailers also have shade #6. The colors swatched side by side seem odd because they don’t appear to go from lightest to darkest. Even after doing a lot of research, making sense of the options, colors and undertones can still be confusing. I took a photo of the display and double checked each pen to make sure they were in the correct slot before swatching in numerical order:

Bare Mienrals bareSkin Concealer comes in a wand with a sponge tip applicator, there are six colors currently available:

Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer comes with a sponge tip applicator in a tube, there are eight shades available, I like that they have neutral and warm options in some of the shades:

Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer comes in a squeeze tube, the formula is really concentrated so a little goes a long way, unfortunately none of the stores I visited had testers of all the colors so I wasn’t able to swatch all the shades. There are 12 shades available, but they some skip numbers, it goes from 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18 to 20.
Chanel Correcteur Perfection comes in a long tube with a sponge tip applicator. This one wins for the prettiest packaging, there are six shades available:

In terms of applying concealer, these days I like to use the fingers to pat and blend. If you prefer tools, three tools I really like are the Sephora Hakuhodo Concealer Brush, Chanel #10 and beautyblender micro.mini (previous reviews linked for reference).

In testing a number of different brands of concealer I have indeed found a few new favorites. To sum up my thoughts:
  • My top two favorites for under eye are the Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher and Bare Minerals bareSkin concealers, they brighten the face, cover dark circles really well and both last all day on me
  • Best spot cover product is the Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer
  • Urban Decay Naked Skin wins for best multi-purpose concealer, but shades darken/oxidize and color selection is pretty limited
  • Surratt Beauty was the most disappointing for me, mainly because it didn’t have the coverage I was looking for and texture is on the dry side
  • Chanel would win if the color selection was more diverse (I’m in between shades, and based on my swatches I suspect many of you will fall in between shades or outside of the range completely)
If I had to recommend you check out only one, the Charlotte Tilbury wins for new ones that I’ve tested, but my heart still belongs to Cle de Peau Beaute. The NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is still a formula that I really like for under the eye and spot treatment, but after looking at all the colors I found the next shades up from Ginger to be either too pink or too dark. (Café Makeup has an amazing post with swatches of all the NARS concealer shades swatched here.)

In case you’re new to any of these brands, I’ve listed some of the retailers where you can find the following brands:

What’s your go-to concealer right now? As always I would love to hear about your favorites or what you’ve been testing right now. Do you use the same for under eye and spots? Or do you have different colors/brands you use?

The Bare Minerals concealers were provided as press samples for review consideration.
All others purchased by me.