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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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). 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.

Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide: Sephora Favorites Sets and Birchbox Discovery Kits

November 3, 2016
Holiday Gift Guide - Birchbox Kits and Sephora Favorites Sets

I have my first holiday gift guide of the year today featuring some great discovery gift sets. Birchbox and Sephora each have their own curated box sets with hand-picked items. They’re often grouped and boxed by themes such as dry shampoos, berry lips, nude lips, sunscreen, skincare etc. They’ve basically taken their best sellers and packed them into sampler boxes with minis at a value price. I love these for myself because it allows me to try a lot of items without having to buy the individual full sizes I’m unsure about. Each store has their own exclusive selection which makes them unique.

There are tons of boxes and kits to choose from. Many are pretty affordable and tons at the $25 price point. This year I shopped sets early as I know there’s a good chance the value sets of them will sell out early. My friends this year are all about hair styling and highlighters. It seems like every single female friend I have doesn’t have time to wash and dry their hair on a daily basis. The good thing this year is that there are TONS of dry shampoo sets and holiday styling sets for all hair types. Highlighters are also as popular among my friends as they are on Instagram lol. Sets are great because even though I think I can find the perfect highlighter or dry shampoo for my close friends we all have different tastes and preferences.

Up first are some of the Birchbox Kits. Birchbox is known for their monthly subscription boxes and for the longest time I thought that was all that they offered. Not true. The Birchbox Collection has an entire shop of discovery kits, limited-edition box sets, and much more. If you visit their store you’ll see their products grouped by product type and then brand. An entire wall will be dedicated to suncare and they’ll split it by types of sunscreens. Their value sets are really cute and well put together. You can also buy individual full-sized items as well.

Up first is The Dry Shampoo Starter Kit for $32 ($74 value) you get an amika (Fort)Tress Shower Cap, amika Perk Up Dry-Shampoo, R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo (one of my favorites), Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo, Living proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk.

To date the R+Co had been my favorite but has been replaced with the Oribe Dry Shampoo that just launched a couple months ago. Neither leave my hair looking dusty or matte and there is no white residue. One of my friends swears by the Living Proof one which I tried. It left my hair looking too matte. As this set is a gift I won’t be reviewing the other items but thought you would like a peek at this one.

Birchbox The Dry Shampoo Starter Kit - The Beauty Look Book
If Dry Shampoo isn’t your thing, not to worry. They have a Thin to Thick Styling Kit ($20), Coily and Curly Hair Kit ($18), The Wavy & Curly Hair Kit ($18). Numerous brands have their own sets as well.
Next is the one I’m just beyond obsessed with. In my What’s In My Bag post I mentioned this Birchbox + Oribe Styling Kit. It has five minis of Oribe – cute beyond words!! I ordered two of these, one for me, one for a friend. I suspect I will be ordering a few more as you just can’t go wrong with Oribe. It’s priced at $35, each bottle is tiny but if you’ve never tried Oribe before this is a great way to try out the line without having to buy individual bottles which are around $20 each for the minis.

Birchbox Oribe Styling Kit - The Beauty Look Book

One kit I received as a press sample was the Complete SPF Kit. When I visited the Birchbox Soho Store over the summer I was just blown away by the presentation and display of the store. If you’re in NYC definitely make a stop there. The bottom floor is for men’s grooming and skincare so bring your boyfriend, husband, brother or male friends with you. They can build their own Birchbox too!

This one is priced at $18 – you get mini sample sizes of Supergoop! Advanced SPF 37 Anti-Aging Eye Cream, MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50, Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day SPF 30 UV Sun Fluid, Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50, COOLA Face SPF 30 Unscented, COOLA Daydream SPF 30 Mineral Makeup Primer. I have yet to try all of these but I’ve tried both the Coola ones and find them suitable for my sensitive skin.
Birchbox Complete SPF Kit - The Beauty Look Book

Next are the Sephora Favorites. I think one could seriously get carried away with the sets because they have SO MANY good things in them! One of the complaints my friends have about makeup is that the size of some things are just too big and it take them forever to use something up. Minis are popular among friends who like to rotate items frequently because you can use them up faster.

Up first is the Sephora Favorites Scouted by Sephora set which is $24 for five minis. This one features 5 up-and-coming brands at Sephora. I received this one as a gift and haven’t had a chance to try the items yet, but have been really curious about Milk Makeup so I’m eager to try the mascara. It has a Bรฉsame Cosmetics Red Matchbook, GrandeLIPS Hydrating Plumper, Makeup Eraser Mini in Pink, MILK MAKEUP Ubame Mascara, Wander Beauty Lip and Cheek Mini in Pink City.

Sephora Favorites Scouted By Sephora - The Beauty Look Book

Next is the Sephora Favorites Glow for It. This one sold out online but I spotted it in store and picked up two. It’s since been restocked online and I can see why it’s been a popular one. For $30 you get minis of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid in Moonstone, Benefit Watt’s Up, Cover FX Custom Infusion Drops in C+ Lemongrass – Radiance, Hourglass Ambientยฎ Strobe Lighting Powder in Incandescent Strobe Light, MILK MAKEUP Sunshine Oil and a full size Lancรดme Glow Subtil Silky Crรจme Highlighter in Glowing Lights 06. The Lancome blush itself is $30 so the set is a steal.

I already have 3 of the items in the full size (Hourglass Strobe Powders swatched here) but almost want one for myself.
Sephora Favorites Glow For It - The Beauty Look Book

Another one is the Sephora Favorites Hair Rescue Masks on the Go ($25). This one is listed as being an $85 value. It has quite a lot of product to sample – to date I’ve tried three of the items from Ouai, Phyto and Christophe Robin and all three are great. This one has Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Balm-to-Oil Pre-Shampoo Masque, Phyto Phytokรฉratine Extrรชme Exceptional Mask, Gloss Moderne High-Gloss Masque, Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil
, Living Proof Perfect Hair Dayยฎ Night Cap Overnight Perfector, Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!โ„ข Deep Conditioning Mask, Ouai Treatment Masque, VERB Hydrating Mask, and two packet sets of Rita Hazan Weekly Remedy Treatment For Deep Hydration & Superior Shine Treatment Step 1 & 2. 

I wish I had this set last year when I was traveling for a month. It would have been perfect as it has packets small enough to pack in a carry on. One of my friends is obsessed with masks – skincare and haircare. She is going to freak out when she gets this one.
Sephora Favorites Hair Rescue Mask Set - The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least is the Sephora Favorites Ready, Set, Style! This one was a bit pricier at $29 but the sizes of each spray was pretty impressive. You get five sprays for hair refreshers, volumizers and texturizers. It includes Bumble and Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish, Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo, IGK Down and Out Dirty Spray, Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray, Living Proof Flex Shaping Hairspray.

Sephora Favorites Ready Set Style Hair Set - The Beauty Look Book

I’m also a sucker for hair care minis like my friends. Three sets that caught my eye for me were the Ouai Style Edit Set ($25), Bumble and Bumble Big Beachy Hair Surf ($31), and the Sephora Favorites Style, Treat & Repeat! Custom Hair Essentials On the Go ($25) – you can mix/match to pick 5 of 15 of their bestselling hair treatments. As my bathroom is overflowing with hair care products I’ll have to try to resist these and use up what I have. I won’t complain if one of them shows up in my Christmas stocking though ๐Ÿ™‚

That wraps up my first holiday gift guide. I hope these give you a better idea of what the sets look like compared to stock photos although I do think that both Birchbox and Sephora do a really good job at giving us accurate stock images on their websites.

The Sephora VIB Rouge 20% off sale starts tomorrow November 4th and runs through November 7th. If you’re shopping online use code 20ROUGE. I received an early code from a Sephora employee so was able to shop the sale early. I’ll have my Sephora shopping recommendations roundup up later this afternoon for those who are trying to research early.

For now I hope this sets post give you some ideas for affordable gift options. The ones I featured are all very reasonable in price ranging from $18 to $35 which won’t break the bank if you buy multiples. They’re great for holiday gifts or to treat yourself. I’m seriously tempted to keep a few of these for myself – I may order one or two more once the Sephora sale starts.
The Birchbox Complete SPF Kit and Scouted By Sephora Set gifted as press samples. Remainder featured purchased by me.
Cover FX Highlighters

Cover FX The Perfect Light Highlighting Powders

October 7, 2016
Cover FX The Perfect Light Highlighting Powder

Cover FX has brought us yet more ways to glow with The Perfect Light Highlighting Powders ($34 each for 8 g /0.28 oz, made in Canada). There are three shades available in Moonlight, Sunlight and Candlelight with are talc-free highlighters that come in a mirrored compact. The colors do have the same undertone and effect as the Custom Enhancer Drops by the same name but the powder version is a lot softer in overall effect when worn alone. Currently available at Sephora and Cover FX.

Cover FX The Perfect Light Highlighting Powder

On my medium olive skintone:

  • Moonlight is the lightest and offers the most highlight/shimmer because it contrasts with my olive medium skintone color
  • Sunlight
    looks really close in the compact to Moonlight, but on my skin it’s a
    medium champagne with a hint of gold and for me looks the most natural
  • Candlelight is a soft bronze copper glow on my skin and for me this one is the most shimmery

Cover FX The Perfect Light Highlighting Powder swatches

Cover FX The Perfect Light Highlighting Powder Review

Cover FX The Perfect Light Highlighting Powder swatches

To show the depth and pigment of the shimmer, I pulled the corresponding Custom Enhancer Drops (all previously reviewed here). To quote Cover FX, in order to “take your glow to the max” they recommend starting with the Illuminating Primer to give your skin that soft lit-from-within glow to create a smooth canvas for your foundation. Follow with the Custom Enhancer Drops to create a buildable highlight for a strobe effect or blended out glow. Add depth by layering the Perfect Light Highlighting Powder on top.

For those conservative with the shimmer you may find layering a bit too intense. I tried with all the colors on the face and eyes. I can layer Sunlight or Candlelight together and not feel like a golden statue. Moonlight is a bit too pale for my skintone which causes a more sharp highlight/shimmer.
Cover FX The Perfect Light Highlighting Powder and Custom Enhancer Drops

Moonlight:

Sunlight:

Candlelight: 

Note this one was applied with a heavy hand but you can sheer and blend it out for a softer look:

A quick beauty look below with all three shades worn. If you follow @coverfx on social or look at the tags other beauty lovers use for looks you will be able to see some seriously intense glow and glam strobe effects. I wanted to create a softer look that I would feel comfortable wearing everyday and also to show you that these powder can be blended for a more conservative look. If you like more shimmer you can definitely layer more or apply over a cream highlighter to pull more pigment.

Foundation worn is MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC37.

On the eyes is Cover FX Sunlight Custom Enhancer Drop blended all over the lid with Sunlight Powder blended on top of the eyes for an all over wash. A tiny bit of Cover FX Candlelight Powder along eyes as well but in the photo I don’t think you can tell.

On the cheeks is Tom Ford Gold Dust Bronzer applied like a blush with Cover FX The Perfect Light Highlighter Powder in Candlelight on top blended. Cover FX Moonlight Powder is applied to highlight.

On the lips is MAC Huggable Lipstick in Bare Hug.

Top by Splendid.

Texture wise these are smooth and soft. The pigment is excellent and easy to blend without emphasizing pores or skin imperfections – however with most highlighters, the color and finish will depend on your skintype. I really like all three and find them easy to wear on cheeks or eyes. As one who owns dozens of other highlighter powders I will say that I think you can probably find similar colors if you want to shop your stash. That being said these powders from Cover FX perform well. I like that there’s no irritation on my sensitive skin, they don’t emphasize pores and the shimmer is truly easy to control whether you want a soft highlight or more pigmented strobe effect. I find Candlelight to be a very wearable warm bronze which is hard for me since many bronzey shades can pull orange on my skin and the one from Cover FX does not.

The Cover FX team has been kind enough to offer Beauty Look Book readers a chance for a giveaway! Three winners will be selected to win:
  • 1 Full Size Illuminating Primer
  • 1 Full Size Bottle of Custom Infusion Drops – Radiance
  • 1 Perfect Light Highlighting Powder of choice (either sunlight, moonlight, candlelight)

Giveaway details:

  • Open to US and Canada residents
  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Enter via the widget below
  • Entries will be collected for 3 days (ends 10/10/2016 at 11:45 AM PST)
  • 3 distinct winners will be selected via the widget and contacted by me
  • Prizes will be shipped directly from Cover FX

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you tried the Cover FX highlighters yet? I’m still really loving the liquid drops and can’t believe how quickly they keep selling out but I hope they will restock again soon.
You can find the Perfect Light Highlighting Powders now at at Sephora and Cover FX.
Cover FX powders and giveaway items provided courtesy of the Cover FX team.

Cover FX Highlighters

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops

August 25, 2016

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops ($42 each for 15 ml/0.5 fl oz, made in Italy) are super pigmented liquid highlighter and bronzer drops that you can use in a wide range of ways. They have been extremely popular and sold out for months – it appears they sold out almost instantly, the Cover FX team sent me samples back in July and by the time my package arrived, all the colors except the bronzers were sold out. They just restocked them on coverfx.com and according to their Instagram plan to restock them as of Friday morning 8/26 are back online Sephora.com today. I’ve spotted the bronzer shades in store at a few Sephora stores near me but all the shimmery colors have been sold out for ages. In case you have had these on your radar I wanted to give you a heads up to check Sephora.com this afternoon so you don’t miss out. I know everyone’s preference for shimmer with highlighters is different but I will say right now that my quick take is these live up to the hype and are among the best I’ve tried. I think you need at least one in your life.

There are four highlighters and two bronzers (Sunset and Sunkissed featured in my summer bronzer edit). If you’ve seen these featured online Instagram, blogs or YouTube channels you may have been a bit concerned that the highlighters have that super high-frost overly dramatic shimmer effect. I love a good shimmer but if you’re a conservative makeup like me you find that some shimmers are really just too much for everyday wear. They look good on camera or for inspirational makeup looks but for normal everyday regular life I’m not sure how many of us really wear that much shimmer.

The Cover FX Enhancer Drops are extremely pigmented and can give a very intense highlight but what I love about them is that you easily sheer it out for a soft luminous glow. They are very fluid which makes a tiny bit easy to blend. I like these on the eyes, dabbed on cheekbones and especially mixed in with foundation. Mixing these in with foundation doesn’t change the foundation formula too much which is nice. Sometimes I like my foundation formulas just the way they are I just want to add a bit of shimmer or glow. Since the formula is liquid and lightweight it won’t add any emollient texture like Armani Fluid Sheers, Estee Edit Flash Illuminators or Estee Edit Beam Team.

They come with a dropper. I’m usually not a fan of droppers for makeup because it just gets messy, but they are easy to use and dispense just the right amount of product.

I tried each color mixed in with my foundations (including the bronzers). Two drops is all I needed to add a glow. My two favorite shades are in the middle which include Moonlight and Sunlight – they matched my skintone the closest so the colors didn’t change the color of my foundation too much. The others were too light or dark to mix in with foundation for all over the face, so those were best used as a highlight on eyes or cheeks or to bronze the cheeks.

Onto the colors, they come packaged in a sturdy glass vial. The colors of the packaging mimic the actual color which is nice so you can see at a glance what color you’re grabbing:

Colors left to right:

  • Celestial is a pale pearly white
  • Moonlight is a champagne silver
  • Sunlight is a warmer champagne with gold tones
  • Candlelight is a shimmering bronze
  • Sunkissed is a non-shimmer neutral light bronze
  • Sunset is a non-shimmer medium brown

Because the shimmer is very intense, almost foiled-like when you swatch, these will look different in every swatch photo you see depending on how the light hits the product. Here they are swatched a few different ways:

Blended:

Heavy in sunlight:

Bottom line definitely worth checking out. My top three are Moonlight, Sunlight and Sunkissed. I like that they are easy to mix in with foundation or apply on top of your makeup. I really like them on the eyes for an all over wash that’s easy and effortless. Sunkissed is a great color to add some life to the face – for medium-skinned girls, think of it as a very natural contour to add some color to your face without having that contour look. If you’re one who loves shimmer you will really like these. There’s no detectable scent, they dry to a satiny finish, last all day long, great for normal to oily skin and are easy to sheer out. If you’re super conservative with shimmers and need something a lot softer or with a dewy finish I’d recommend you opt for the Estee Edit Flash Illuminators, Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow or Tom Ford Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust for a more subtle glow.

Update: As of Friday 8/26 these are back online at Sephora! Some still available online at Cover FX. Have you tried these? What did you think? Have you tried the Custom Infusion Drops or Custom Cover Drops – they seem to be really popular as well but I’m always nervous about testing new things on my face – if you’ve tested them let me know what you thought! I’ve tried a couple Cover FX foundations before and they were too heavy for my skin, but given the success I’ve had with the liquid highlighters, perhaps the drop foundation will be better?

Custom Enhancer Drops provided courtesy of Cover FX for review consideration.
Bronzer + Blush Roundup

Summer Bronzer Edit

July 16, 2016

By popular request, I’ve rounded up some new bronzers I’ve tried this summer along with tried and true favorites. Bronzers are probably one of most favorite makeup products – there’s just something about a glowing tan that I love. Living in Southern California we have warm sunny weather almost year round. I do use sun protection for the face and body, but living here there’s just no avoiding the sun – but I love it.

I’ve pulled an extensive list of bronzers and split them by type. It’s by no means a comprehensive list of all the bronzers on the market, nor is it a list of all the bronzers I have tried or own (that would be a post a mile long). I have picked out the ones I thought were either new and interesting, tried and true or new found loves. A quick note before I go into the details – I have medium olive toned skin with normal/combination skin. I prefer warmer bronzers as cool-toned bronzers often look ashy or grey on my complexion. Foundation shades most reached for include the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation in 6 + 7 mixed, NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Groenland and St. Moritz mixed. I love bronzers of all types whether it’s liquid, powder, shimmer or matte.

Finding the right shade or formula for you will depend skin undertone (pink or yellow), skin tone (fair, light, medium, tan or deep), skin type (oily, dry, combo, etc.) and also things such as shimmer or formula preference.

Up first are some matte bronzing powders. Several of you have asked for recommendations on more affordable options. Two lines I’ve tried I think are excellent are the Colour Pop and Benefit.

Shown above:
  • Urban Decay Beached Bronzer in Bronzed (reviewed here) is a deep warm matte bronze, I think this is best suited for deeper skintones, on me it’s a bit dark, but good for days I want a more dramatic look.
  • Colour Pop Super Shock Cheek Bronzer in Skinnydip is a soft light neutral matte bronze that looks like a skintone color for me, for those with fair skins who find most options too dark, this might be a good option to look at.
  • Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzing Powder (c/o) is a classic that is neutral so it will work with a wide range of skin undertones, it’s one of the best more affordable matte bronzers I’ve tried.
  • Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer Tantric (c/o, on the face here) is another well-loved one by me, it’s huge! The color and pigment is semi sheer but buildable, so if you’re looking for one that is impossible to overdo, this is a good one.
  • Tom Ford Bronzing Powder in Terra and Bronze Age (c/o review and both shown on the face here), Terra is one of the few wearable cool-toned bronzers I can wear, Bronze Age is one of the darkest bronzers I own, it’s a deep warm golden color, if you need something deeper try the Chanel Les Beiges Summer Duo reviewed here.

Next up are more luminous glowy bronzers ranging from a soft shimmer to high shimmer.

Shown above:

  • Colour Pop Super Shock Cheek Bronzer in Poolside (medium-deep bronze) and Paradise Cove (cool-toned neutral) both have a soft luminous finish. They have a unique formula that I thought would be powders but are more of a bouncy gel cream. The price is affordable but the amount of product you get pretty small at 4.2g. Still I think these are fun and easy to build.
  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Radiant Bronze Light (reviewed here) is a soft luminous highlighter + bronzer in one. More details on the review linked above. It’s almost identical on my skin to the lighter version Luminous Bronze Light which happens to be the shade in the Nordstrom Hourglass Luminous Light Palette.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow in Medium- Dark (review + look here) is a gorgeous bronze and orange shimmer duo. It’s more dramatic on me, but still wearable. For tan to deeper skintones I think you will love this one. More details in the review linked above.
  • Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder in Sunlight is one of the latest additions to the celestial powder line, it’s not really a bronzer, but on my skintone it is. It’s a medium to deep golden shimmer that gives my skin a golden sunkissed look. (It’s also coming soon in the Celestial Skin Liquid formula, available for pre-order.)
  • Edward Bess Black Sea Golden Hour Mousse Bronzer is something I bought while in New York. It’s the most beautiful warm golden coppery shimmer I’ve ever seen. It’s a mousse formula that is super lightweight and easy to blend. I swatched it with a heavy hand below but once you blend it on the skin it becomes a more soft glowy gold that gives the face a beautiful golden glow. I highly recommend it.

Liquid bronzers up next. I have used and liked the Armani Liquid Summer Bronzers but didn’t love it enough to repurchase (even though they added more shades). A few more affordable options below.

Shown above:

  • Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops (c/o) come in 4 highlighter shades and 2 bronzers. I’ll have a post on the entire collection soon, but for now a quick peek at the bronzers in Sunset and Sunkissed. Both are neutral to cool toned. Sunset offers a deeper bronzed look. If I look in the bottle there is a sheen but on the face it looks more creamy. Sunkissed is my skin but better. These have been swatched heavily but blend out nicely and are very easy to layer and blend.
  • Benefit Dew the Hoola (c/o) looks super orangey in the swatch, but let me assure you, it is not orangey on the face. It is on the warm and peachy side but I think that’s what makes it work. It’s sheer but buildable and dries to a semi-matte finish. I’ve worn it alone or with a tiny bit of powder blush layered on top.
  • NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer is another new one that looks super warm and almost orangey in the swatch but often times with any kind of cheek product what you swatch on the hand/arm looks very different on the face. I love this one because it’s fluid and blends into a very soft finish on the cheeks. It leaves a soft sheen without looking greasy. I almost hate posting these swatches because I think they will deter many of you from trying it, but I really urge you to try if you have a NARS counter near you. It’s one of the most natural looking bronzers I’ve tried that is visible but looks like your skin, just better and with a bit more life.

Last but not least, the three I consider classic staples:
  • Edward Bess Ultra Luminous Bronzer in Daydream is my holy grail of all bronzers. It’s soft and luminous just like the name implies, it’s impossible to overdo, not too shimmery and warms up the skin beautifully.
  • NARS Laguna Tiare (limited-edition Tiare version shown) is a classic with a scented twist for summer. It’s the same as the classic Laguna but has a summery tiare scent added in a special limited-edition packaging. The original was one of the first high end bronzers I splurged on and it lasted for what seemed like forever. It’s a classic soft luminous medium bronze that doubles as a soft contour powder. In the event you don’t want something scented or want this in a palette form, there are a few Nordstrom Sets you may want to check out including the Cult Survival Kit or the Nordstrom’s Best Cheek Palette.
  • Tom Ford Bronzing Powder in Gold Dust is another classic, it was quite the splurge when I first bought it because they only had the large size which is over $90. They’ve since launched smaller versions for the past couple of years which are still pricey but more affordable and nice to travel with.

For those who were asking for a summer bronzer roundup, I hope you found this helpful! I focused mainly on stand alone bronzers rather than ones in palettes. If you have any favorites please share them in the comments along with your skintone, maybe 1 foundation shade you use for reader reference.

Press samples featured indicated with c/o.

Hauls Sephora

Sephora VIB Rouge Sale Beauty Haul

November 13, 2015

The Sephora VIB Holiday 20% off sale starts today for VIB Members in store (with your e-mail code or coupon mailer) and online with code VIB20. I am a VIB Rouge member and tested the code today to see if it would work (because several e-mailed me asking me to test it) but it doesn’t. I have a roundup of what I bought last week when the code worked for VIB Rouge Members along with some quick swatches of the color/makeup items. I shopped in store – there were a few things in my online cart that were online exclusives but I didn’t check out before the sale ended – no biggie since I splurged on a lot of other goodies. Here’s the damage below.

For my husband, I picked up the Dior Sauvage Eau De Toilette Spray in the 2 oz bottle. He prefers smaller bottles because they take up less counter space. I had the 3 piece gift set on my list for him, but it’s an online exclusive and he’s picky about after shave lotions. I decided to stay with what was safe. I also picked up the Tom Ford Costa Azzurra Eau de Parfum for him. It’s a fresh scent but still has enough masculine notes to wear year round. Sephora has the exclusive on the small 1 oz size so I thought I’d try it. I should have just bought the regular 1.7 oz size but my curiosity got the best of me with the tiny bottle.

For makeup, I picked up the following:

  • Burberry First Kiss Fresh Gloss Lip Balm in Coral Glow which is a stunning coral balm, it hydrates, feels good on the lips, and gives a healthy tint of color with a stunning glow
  • Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipsticks in Melted Nude and Melted Chihuahua have been on my list for ages, I can’t believe it took me so long to buy these, Melted Nude might just be my new holy grail nude lip color, Chihuahua is what I wanted Kat Von D Lolita to be on me
  • Cover FX Illuminator in Sunlight has had so many raves, I had to try it, I’ve worn it 2x so far, I’m undecided about it, it’s like but not pure love, for the price it’s good
  • Sephora Colorful Contour Powder in Fiji and Highlighter in Secretive can’t be beat at the $15 price tag (for each), I was hoping Secretive would be a dupe for Chanel Coups de Minuit, but the Sephora color is a lot sheerer in finish, Fiji is a nice warm subtle contour
  • Cover FX Illuminating Primer is another highly raved about primer, I have high hopes for it, currently testing, will report soon
  • Bite Beauty Mix and Mingle Duos in Cafรฉ/Pepper (for me) and Latte/Cortado (as a gift) of course I could not resist these cute lip duos, Cafรฉ is the best light pink ever, I wish it was available in the full size lipstick

Below swatches alongside a few other shades:
Burberry First Kiss Fresh Gloss Lip Balm in Coral Glow, Sweet Plum, Rose Blush (swatched here)
Too Faced Melted Lipsticks in Nude and Chihuahua
Kat Von D Beauty Lolita Lip Duo (swatched here)

Chanel Coups de Minuit (swatches here)
Sephora Colorful Highlighter and Contour Powder

For hair, skin, body I picked up a few items to restock and a couple new items:

If you shopped the sale last week or are planning to shop the VIB Sale this weekend, let me know what’s on your list or what you picked up. Would love to hear about your hauls ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’re shopping in store, you can show the card or e-mail you received for the VIB Code or Coupon. If you’re shopping online at Sephora.com use code VIB20 (good for VIB members only), you should be able to use it multiple times online from today until November 16th.

Happy shopping!