Browsing Tag

Giorgio Armani

Beauty Favorites Haircare Skincare

Best Skincare and Haircare Discoveries 2016

December 30, 2016

Best Skincare and Haircare 2016

Today I’m rounding up my top picks in skincare and haircare for the year. I discovered a lot of great items for my sensitive skin – it was a challenge to narrow it down to such an edited list. I used up quite a bit over the course of the year – to do a post listing all the items I used and repurchased in the last 12 months would be quite extensive. Part of me wanted to do a favorites roundup for every category, perhaps I’ll do one in the new year, but for now here’s are my top picks:

Haircare

Face Cleanser and Toner

  • Bioderma Sensibio Tonic Lotion is a toner I discovered a few months ago, it’s gentle and perfect for sensitive skin to balance and soothe, it’s available in two sizes and I bought the full size as well – wish I had discovered it sooner! Now I don’t have to spend $90 to replenish my La Mer The Tonic because I’ve found a great alternative
  • Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser (review here) is a mud to foam cleanser, it’s the best clarifying one that helps absorb excess oil, reduce redness, and prevent breakouts, in the summer I use this daily in the evenings or post-workout, during non-hot months I use this 2-3x per week
  • Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash (reviewed here) is the cleanser I reach for the most and have repurchased the most, best gentle everyday cleanser I’ve tried that doesn’t dry out the skin but still leaves it clean, I’ve tried all of her cleansers and they are all great (yes ALL of them) but this one is the best for me for daily use (my brother loves this one as well), she just launched an EradiKate Cleanser and I rarely say this these days but this is something I absolutely feel the NEED TO TRY, it’s in my shopping cart right now

Face Mask

  • Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask (reviewed here) one of my favorite purifying masks that’s still gentle
  • Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment (reviewed here) a stronger option but draws out all excess oil and helps clear up the skin, if you have broken skin or extremely sensitive skin, I’d recommend using this as a spot treatment or patch test first

Moisturizers

Night Treatments – as someone who has extra sensitive skin, I cannot use most creams with any Vitamin C or Retinol without peeling or redness, Kate Somerville is one of the best lines for me in terms of night treatments

Extras

  • Armani Prima Day-Long Skin Perfector (reviewed here) best primer I tried this year and I’m kinda an anti-primer girl because they usually don’t do anything for my skin to extend makeup wear time
  • Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover (reviewed here) is the key product I use to keep my cuticles looking groomed and healthy, I know an updated hand and nail care post is long overdue – I’ll do a 2017 version in the new year
  • Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade (also featured here and here) one of the best nourishing treatments, it’s so good I bought a second one to keep in my purse and one to keep at  home
  • Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift (review here and here) combines hyaluronic acid and oxygen to help prevent wrinkles and give the skin a more even looking texture, this is probably the best thing I have discovered in skincare
  • Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment is the best pimple treatment, the key is to use it the minute you feel something start to surface and don’t use it on open wounds or broken skin, my husband uses this and it makes me giggle when we have matching pink spots on our faces at night because it looks so ridiculous, but it works!
  • Kiehl’s Scented Hand Cream Trio 2 of 3 shown is part of a limited-edition set exclusive to Neiman Marcus, you can find the three scents available in larger sizes individually as well or in the original unscented-version
  • Lano Lips 101 Ointment Multi-Balm in Strawberry (reviewed here) is tied with the Dior Pomade for best lip balm discovery of the year
  • Lavanila Deodorant is the only deodorant I’ve used for the past two years, I don’t sweat a lot so I can’t report on that aspect, but I love that it’s natural, keeps odor away and lasts all day long for me, I’ve tried around 4 different scents by now and all of them were great, the travel-sized ones are perfect to throw in the purse or to travel with

In the upcoming year I plan to be more diligent about testing and using eye creams. I’ve gone through a few this year but did not use them on a regular basis (mainly because I was lazy). I know with the eyes, wrinkle prevention and sun protection are key so I need to stop procrastinating and start acting now! If you have any recommendations for someone who is 35 years old (me) let me know in the comments and I will be forever grateful.

I hope you enjoyed this roundup! I feel as though I left out quite a few good discoveries but tried to keep the list to under 30 products so I wouldn’t end up regurgitating the entire year of blog posts for hair care and skin care.

What were your 2016 favorites in skincare and hair care?

Save

Save

Save

Armani Lips

Giorgio Armani Lip Magnets Part II: 503, 504, 505, 506 and 507

December 28, 2016

Armani Lip Magnet Review and Swatches

I featured six of the Armani Lip Magnets back in October of this year and many of you asked for more swatches of the colors that fall in the neutral zone. For those who haven’t tried these yet the Armani Lip Magnets are a unique weightless non-drying liquid lipstick that offer beautiful long lasting coverage. I’m more of a gloss or sheer lipstick kind of person for texture and finish. Even though liquid lipsticks last a lot longer most formulas tend to look dry, too opaque, flat or darken drastically on my lips. The Armani Lip Magnets are hands down the best in formula for a natural looking liquid lipstick that dries down to a soft matte finish without that dried-out look. Unfortunately for those who only wear light neutrals or nudes all the colors pull on the dark or deep side. Even the ones that fall in the “natural” category are all rather deep. The color in the tubes can look a little bit misleading in my opinion. Some of the shades look like they could be true neutrals but once you see them on the applicator and swatch you’ll find the colors are a bit on the deeper spectrum of color. Still there are some lovely shades to chose from. I’m not opposed to having a rosy lip or coral pop of color on the lips even though I tend to gravitate towards lighter neutrals. The formula is so good I think it’s definitely worth a try. I do hope Armani expands the color range into lighter territory – the formula is so unique and the perfect liquid lip texture/finish for the person who just doesn’t like the dried opaque feel or look of the traditional liquid lipstick. You can read my original review on formula in this post here. Quick take: it’s long-lasting, unscented, has a unique applicator for precise lining and the ability to fill in the lips, has full coverage, feels weightless and is non-drying.

Armani Lip Magnet Review and Swatches 503, 504, 505, 506 and 507 naturals

I bought five more shades to review, I searched a number of websites and it appears 506 and 507 are on backorder until January at most retailers. You may still have luck finding it at your counters.

  • 503 is described as a reddish peach, on me it’s a bright coral
  • 504 is probably the lightest and most neutral out of the current lineup, but it pulls peachy and
  • 505 is a medium-bright rose pink
  • 506 is a soft natural rose (also reviewed in the original post), depending on your lip color it may pull more pink or rose, on me it’s a slightly deeper rose
  • 507 is the perfect mauve plum for me, most mauves are either too red, too grey or too purple, this one is PERFECT!

Armani Lip Magnet Review and Swatches 503, 504, 505, 506 and 507 naturals

For skintone reference, Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation in Bisque + NARS Powder Foundation in Punjab to set worn, all lip colors swatched on bare lips, no liner or base used:

Armani Lip Magnet Swatch 503

Armani Lip Magnet Swatch 505

Armani Lip Magnet Swatch 506

Armani Lip Magnet Swatch 507

Armani Lip Magnet Review and Swatches 503, 504, 505, 506 and 507 naturals

The Lip Magnet lip swatches lined up side by side:

Armani Lip Magnet Swatches

My favorite for color is still #506 with #507 tied for my perfect plum. Formula-wise these are among the best I’ve tried in liquid lipsticks because they have a soft matte finish, they don’t dry out the lips, they have a nourishing feel but don’t have any slip, they last a remarkably long time, they don’t budge and coverage is perfect. For those who don’t like scented lip products the fact that these are unfragranced is a huge plus. If Armani expands the formula to include a few lighter shades I would be thrilled. Bottom line a winning formula.

I hope you found these swatches helpful! You can find the Armani Lip Magnets for $38 each. There are 18 colors total at the moment. Available in stores and online at Giorgio Armani Beauty, Sephora, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York.

Have you tried these yet? What did you think?

Save

Uncategorized

Giorgio Armani Lip Magnets

October 24, 2016
Armani Lip Magnet - The Beauty Look Book

Fall always seems to be a very popular season for new lip launches and Armani’s latest is the Lip Magnet ($38 each for 3.9 ml/.13 fl oz). These are long-lasting liquid lip products that have a matte finish but a slight lip gloss feel. There are eighteen colors total and I received a lovely box of six to play with. They are super pigmented, unscented, extremely long lasting and bold in color.

Armani Lip Magnet - The Beauty Look Book

Based on what I’ve seen I do think most of the shades are bold or deep, even the natural ones tend to pull a bit darker than nude or natural. The texture is very lightweight for a matte opaque finish lip product and they are not drying. Armani describes these having a “second-skin” effect with a formula that has a “gradual evaporation phenomenon” and a finish that is “four times thinner than a liquid lip color.” Lasting power is indeed excellent – they stay put and look fresh for hours after application. For someone who snacks throughout the day frequently and goes through coffee, tea and water a lot, I’m always having to reapply lip colors. These last through all kinds of eating. There’s no budging, or migrating from the lips. Some of the color will transfer to a cup or straw but for the most part the color stays true to the initial application for a long time.

Armani Lip Magnet - The Beauty Look Book

Many liquid lipsticks dry out my lips. These do not. One of the best things about the Armani Lip Magnets is the packaging. They come in short little tubes which are just so so cute. The applicator is unique compared to anything I’ve seen – they are almost like a calligraphy pen where there’s a well in the center to gather the liquid product. The ends are sponge tipped to a point for precise and smooth application.

Armani Lip Magnet - The Beauty Look Book

The colors I have to review are primarily bold and deep shades:

Armani Lip Magnet - The Beauty Look Book

300 is a bright peachy coral
302 is a classic warm red
400 is a deeper true red
500 is a fuschia pink
506 is a nude rose
601 is a vampy plum

Armani Lip Magnet - The Beauty Look Book

Each one swatched on bare lips, for color reference I’m wearing the Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer in Bisque set with NARS Powder Foundation in Punjab:

Armani Lip Magnet Lip Swatches - The Beauty Look Book

If you like bold lip colors I think you’ll find a lot to love with the Armani Lip Magnets. As a nude lip lover 506 is the lightest and most natural color I received to try out. These are currently exclusive online to Giorgio Armani Beauty and also available at Sephora but are expected to launch at all other counters in the next couple weeks so I have not been able to see if there are any other light/natural shades to pick from. 506 pulls more rose and deep on my lips compared to what I see in the tube which makes for a good fall neutral. By comparison to a few other matte-finish, liquid lipsticks or velvet-finish lip products:
  • Chanel Rouge Allure Ink is sheerer and lightweight in texture, most of the colors pull extremely bright with the exception of Amoureux (swatched here), the Armani Lip Magnets are bold but not garish and have a more classic glamourous feel which I think are easier to wear
  • YSL Vinyl Cream Lip Stain (three swatched here) are for the most part bright and bold like the Armani Lip Magnets but the YSL has more of a cream almost gel-like finish with a sheen, Armani has a more matte finish and more coverage
  • Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks (two swatched here) are also thicker with an almost flat-looking finish
  • Diorific Matte Velvet Color Lip and Cheek Fluids (reviewed here) have a slightly thicker almost cushiony feel to the lips with a more natural sheen
Armani Lip Magnet - The Beauty Look Book
On the nails Chanel Gitane
My favorite of course is 506, but I also like the look of 300. The formula and packaging are both on point. As a nude lip lover I am hoping there might be one or two more neutrals to choose from. All eighteen shades are available now online at Giorgio Armani Beauty, Sephora and for pre-order at Barneys New York. I expect they will launch at Armani counters and in other stores by early November which is just around the corner. $38 each.

Have you seen or tried these yet? If yes, which colors?

Armani Lip Magnets provided courtesy of Giorgio Armani Beauty for review.
Armani Base Makeup Skincare

Armani Beauty Prima Skincare, Crema Nuda and Him/Her Lip Care

October 6, 2016
Armani Beauty - The Beauty Look Book

I’ve been testing out some items from Armani Beauty in skincare and just purchased a newly packaged foundation from the line. After a few misses over the spring I’ve been very nervous to test anything even though I’ve used many items from their line for over a decade. I used their Crema Nera cream in the original version for quite some time and absolutely loved it (I believe it’s since been reformulated or repackaged). I have three items from the Armani Prima Skincare line that I’ve been testing for a few months now, the new travel-size Crema Nuda Supreme Glow Reviving Tinted Cream and additional thoughts on the Him/Her Lip Care.

Up first are three items from the Armani Prima Skincare line. This line was designed to keep the glow in your morning makeup look fresh and stay put all day long and the three items that first launched really do work. They smooth the skin, give it a very natural glow without the greasy feel and work well with my makeup (all brands including NARS, MAC, Make Up For Ever, Hourglass).

Armani Prima Skincare Review

I’m one who finds that my face makeup does indeed disappear or absorb into the skin and requires a little touch up mid-day. Foundation and powder usually stay put pretty well but I hate layers of product on my face so while I’ve tried and liked a lot of primers, I don’t think I’ve ever found one I absolutely love. Something is always wrong with primers I test, either it just doesn’t do anything for the foundation I wear, isn’t compatible with my skincare, causes an allergic reaction or it works but has that silicone feel that I really don’t like.

The Armani team sent three items over the summer and after a few bad skin reactions to their Maestro Glow Foundation and UV Primer I was terrified of trying these. I waited several weeks before being brave enough to test them and reminded myself that I had used a number of serums and creams from the line before and had great success with them. (I stopped repurchasing because of the high price points.) I’m glad I did. Thoughts on each.

Armani Prima Skincare Review

Glow-On Moisturizing Balm is a moisturizer that is designed to give skin a natural glow, plump and smooth the skin. It does all the things it claims and has a very unique texture. It’s hydrating but has a very lightweight texture, almost airy and dries to a semi-matte finish. There is a very slight scent to it but it’s pleasant and disappears within a few minutes. For me it has enough hydration to use in place of moisturizer. I have normal combination skin and find it is odd that it gives skin a glow yet has a matte looking effect. Kinda like how Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipsticks are luminous mattes. For me this is what I had hoped the Natasha Denona Face Glow Primer Hydrating Underbase to be (which turned out to be a bit too rich for my skintype).

If you’re more on the oily side or normal for that matter and find foundation disappears within hours the Armani Prima Day-Long Skin Perfector is the best makeup primer I have ever tried. It smooths out the skin and really does make foundation look fresh longer. I have not tested it in hot humid weather but I wish I had this a year ago during our summer trip to Europe to try. Last year there were days in Paris and Rome where I just gave up on wearing any makeup because the heat and humidity caused everything to slide off within minutes. In warm California weather the Day-Long Skin Perfector really does smooth the skin and prime it well for your base makeup. It has a lightweight texture that glides onto the skin. I use it over my moisturizers (La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream, La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion, Kate Somerville Nourish Moisturizer etc.) and it’s compatible with all of them. I have small but noticeable-to-me sized pores and this works well to smooth them out. It’s supposed to help absorb excess oil and it does help to keep the shine at bay for me.

The Lip and Eye Contour was featured earlier this week and works to smooth out lips and give them a slightly plumped effect. I have not tried it on the eyes yet. It does indeed smooth out the lip and help prime them for lip color. It does come at a very steep price tag. It’s a nice one that I like but given the price I do not know if it’s something I will repurchase once used up. It does smooth out lip lines and I suspect it will do the same for eyes. With the eye area and skincare I’ve tried a number of items (still testing quite a few). I feel like eye creams are hard to test because they take so much time to see results. If you’ve tried this on the eye area let me know what you thought.

Up next are the Him/Her Lip Care tinted shades in 2, 3 and 5. These were also featured in this week’s lip basics roundup so I won’t recap the full review. A few of you asked for lip swatches even though I felt they all looked pretty much the same and sheer on my lips. I have pigmented lips but they do seem to be darker on some days compared to others. I managed to get lip swatches on a day where my lips were on the lighter side. I swatched them heavily so you could see the color but I normally would not wear them this thick on the lips. They have a nice moisturizing balmy feel. They aren’t lightweight and you can feel them once on the lip area. If you need something weightless these will be too heavy for you. I also swatched all the colors at the counter for reference.

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Shades I bought, 2 is peachy, 3 is a lilac, 5 is a plum:

On the skin is MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation shade NC37:

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

All the options, swatched at the counter:

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least is the Crema Nuda Supreme Glow Reviving Tinted Cream which now comes in a travel sized version with a pump. When the original version came out in the large tub with a $200 price tag my jaw literally dropped and I told myself “I can’t check it out, I just can’t do it.” The most I’ve spent on a foundation before was for Cle de Peau and I did love it but never repurchased. When I saw a travel size of the Crema Nuda for $120 pop up online I was also debating the new Cle de Peau Beaute Radiant Cream Foundation which is $125. It turned out to be too pink for me (I tried O30 too pink and O40 was too dark) and at the price tag I needed an exact or pretty exact match so I passed.

Armani Beauty Crema Nuda Review - The Beauty Look Book

Before trying the Crema Nuda I did reach out to a few beauty friends asking if they tried it. One confirmed it was good but the original price was too much. I went to investigate and a quick hand swatch had me worried because I thought I’d be in between shades. #3 looked very pink and peach when blended on my hand and #4 was clearly too dark. A kind associate gave me samples to try and said to give it whirl on my skin because they blended out differently on the face because of the unique texture.

Armani Crema Nuda packaging

I had a serious OMG moment when I tried #3. It did indeed look a bit peachy-pink at first swipe but a beauty blender smoothed it out and after a minute it adjusted to a perfect match. I’ve never tried anything that made my skin look so blurred and smooth as the Crema Nuda. I do wish that it came in the same shades as the Luminous Silk because the colors in that line are perfect for my skin undertone but formula is too rich. At any rate, the Crema Nuda works for my normal combination skin even though I thought it would be too moisturizing and heavy. It looks very natural with medium coverage. I do still need to layer on a bit of concealer on spots and under eyes but it’s pretty near perfect.

I thought I had mini samples of all the shades but turns out I’m missing the darkest one #6. But for reference here are the colors I did get samples of at the counter. There is a new one #4.5 which once it sets looks darker than #4 even though they look pretty close with a fresh swatch.

Armani Crema Nuda foundation swatches

Here is how Armani Crema Nuda #3 looks on my face with a bit of Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Finish Powder #2 to set (no concealer or other foundations added to the mix). On the lips is Charlotte Tilbury Bitch Perfect K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick.

Armani Crema Nuda #3

A few comparison swatches for reference. As I’ve mentioned in a few recent posts I went to investigate what my MAC shade was because so many of you have asked. In the past years I’ve been anywhere from NC30, NC35, NC40, C3 and C4 depending on how tan I was. I stopped using the MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation because I found I was severely allergic – this was in my college days that I stopped which was over 10 years ago. I was also allergic to their Face and Body and a number of other formulas. Since then many years have gone by and I don’t know if the foundations have been reformulated but I did give the Studio Fluid Fix Foundation a try.

The girls at the store said I was an NC35 but I felt NC37 was a better match (in this formula it’s a bit lighter and less olive). I bought both so I could test and swatch them for you. As my skin gets lighter though I suspect I might be able to pull off NC30 – but I’ll have to investigate further. I still promise to have my base foundation and concealer roundup as soon as possible.

For now here are some swatch comparisons for reference, Set #1:

Set #2:

At the $120 price tag it’s still very expensive but easier for me to justify compared to $200. Plus I really like that it comes in a pump and wears well on my skin. Color options in the Crema Nuda line are limited but since it’s not a full covearage foundation I do think the shades are more forgiving. If you try it I do suggest letting the color sit on the skin as it won’t oxidize but it will adjust.

Bottom line, lots to love from the line. I’m slowly rediscovering bits – I used to be a die hard fan until they started reformulating everything and I’m still upset they discontinued some of the most amazing blush colors and the original formula. I know some will say the new one is better but I stocked up on some of the originals because in my mind those were the best on the market for a long long time.

For the skincare items, I like the Day-Long Skin Perfector the best. Even though it’s the best primer I’ve used I still don’t use it everyday simply because it’s an extra step I just am too lazy for on most days. When I do use it though it does not let me down. I highly recommend it.

Have you tried any of the Armani Prima skincare line? Or the Crema Nuda? I just saw they added more to the Prima skincare line but have yet to investigate. If you have any skincare favorites from the line let me know – it’s been years since I used their serums and creams. I suspect what I used to use no longer exists as new products have most likely taken their place.

Prima items provided courtesy of Armani for review. Other items purchased by me from Nordstrom.
Armani Base Makeup

Armani Maestro Glow Nourishing Fusion Foundation and Maestro UV Skin Defense Primer

March 3, 2016

This is the season of glow foundations and many of you have been anxiously waiting for my review on the new Armani Maestro Glow Nourishing Fusion Makeup Foundation SPF 30 ($64 for 30 ml/1 fl oz) and the Maestro UV Skin Defense Primer ($64 for 30 ml/1 fl oz). I’ve been putting these to the test for a few months now – I appreciate your patience as it has taken me a long time to post this review. I had very high hopes for both as I’ve been a fan of a few Armani foundation formulas. The description of the Glow Foundation seemed absolutely perfect described as a bi-phase foundation that gives a rich glow with a thin silky texture. It’s infused with oils and pure pigmented to nourish the skin. As soon as I saw it launched, I stopped by my local Nordstrom for a shade match, after trying a few shades I found 5.5 was the best for me. At the counter the artist also applied the Maestro UV Skin Defense Primer which has Broad Spectrum SPF 50. I explained my hesitation with white sunscreens because they almost always leave a white cast on my skin. She assured me this one did not have any residue or white cast and she was right.

The combination of both resulted in a very natural luminous glowy look. The formula of the Maestro Glow is very sheer but it evened out the skin to a soft dewy glow. Even with powder foundation set on top, it looked natural and glowy without being too greasy. Coverage-wise it’s too sheer for my personal taste, but it still evens out the skin. By the time I got home I saw tiny little red bumps surface on my face. I thought it was possible the cleanser and toner she used to remove my makeup caused it (it’s often something I react to). So I let my skin clear up for a week before I tested the new foundation and primer just to make sure.

Quick thoughts on the Maestro UV Primer – it disappears completely on the skin but makes the foundation apply better and smoother. Not just the Maestro Glow but a number of other formulas as well.  Unfortunately both the primer and foundation caused a really bad allergic reaction on my super sensitive skin. Tiny little red dots and bumps form along my cheeks and forehead. I tested both on my face for 4 days to make sure and my skin just got worse. After that I took another week break from both to let my skin heal and tried the foundation separately, hoping perhaps I was just allergic to the primer. No luck. I’m allergic to both formulas – so for these I have to give them a thumbs down which is a shame because the finish and look of both is really really good. It looks like skin but better and even though these are very hydrating and moisturizing I found the formula wasn’t too rich for my normal combination skin and the lasting power was pretty good. I haven’t tried every Armani foundation formula, but the ones I have tried didn’t cause any allergic reactions – however it’s probably been at least 4-5 years since I’ve tried one of the regular foundations and since I haven’t kept up on new launches I don’t know if the formulas of any have changed.

In case you still want to check these out  a closer look at both and swatches. For the Maestro Glow foundation since it’s bi-phase you have to shake it up to mix the oil and pigment:

Both come in a dropper style bottle:

Comparison swatches below to:

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation (review here)
Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation (review here)
NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tints (review here)
Becca Aqualuminous Foundation (review soon)

Ingredients on the boxes:

Because the formulas don’t work for my skin, I can’t give these a positive review. In testing these I tried application with a beautyblender sponge which I found was better than any foundation brush. After the last round of testing it took my skin around 2-3 weeks to heal completely and for the bumps to disappear. If you have very sensitive skin you may want to do a patch test first. I do recommend you read other reviews though because this new formula has worked on a number of other people. Depending on your specific skin type your mileage may vary. Allergic reaction aside, if my skin didn’t get bumps I still would give this a lukewarm review – I personally need coverage for foundations. I don’t need 100% full coverage but something that can be built up to medium is what I look for. The Maestro Glow is sheer – it’s not transparent, but just a tiny bit too sheer for my taste.

Have you tried either of these yet? Do you have a favorite Armani foundation formula? I purchased both of these from Nordstrom but you can also find these at all Armani retailers now. I’m undecided whether or not to return these even though Nordstrom has a good return policy. One of my friends has super dry skin and loves all the Armani formulas, I’m going to ask her if she want to give these a try.

(P.S. Gray Malin’s Prada Marfa prints are on sale today and tomorrow!) 

Uncategorized

Chinese New Year 2016 Armani Highlighting Palette and MAC Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer for the Year of the Monkey

February 8, 2016

Happy Chinese New Year! Today marks the day many of us celebrate Chinese New Year and this year’s zodiac animal is the monkey. There are some cute beauty items that have launched to celebrate this event, I have two to feature today. One being the Armani Chinese New Year Highlighting Palette ($88 for 8.5 g/0.3 oz, made in France) and the other is MAC Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer ($17 for 3g/0.1 oz, made in Canada).

Up first is the new highlighting powder from Armani. The Chinese New Year Highlighting Palette comes in a mirrored compact with a compartment for a small brush. The packaging design is similar to that of other highlighting powders and the powder foundation. It’s a very soft and subtle highlighter in a gold shade. It does have quite a complex mix of shimmers from champagne and gold. I found the finish to be on the sheer side but it is buildable. Depending on how the light hits the compact, sometimes the color will look more golden and yellow, other times the shimmers will reflect to show more of a champagne colored shimmer. It comes cased in a stunning red lacquered compact. On the top is embossed the Chinese character for good fortune. It was difficult to capture the shimmer in this one but depending on how you apply it, you will see tiny bits of micro sparkle, almost like superfine tiny bits of glitter. It’s very smooth on the skin though, there’s no texture or chunkiness to the feel.

A look at the packaging design:

Swatched with a heavy hand otherwise it would not show up on camera:

A few swatch comparisons below to:
Armani Fluid Sheer #2 (also swatched here)
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light (review)
Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder Brilliant Strobe Light (swatch)
Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder Euphoric Strobe Light (review)

I think it’s a nice collective piece to own if you celebrate Chinese New Year or if you simply love Armani highlighters. I find it special because of the packaging design and since I am Chinese, I do think it’s a fun piece to own. In terms of the color and quality, it’s a high quality powder with a finely milled texture to add a nice glow. On me I find it very subtle. I suspect some may find it too subtle or may not like the tiny gold micro sparkles. I like that it doesn’t emphasize pores and it feels very smooth on the skin. That being said, I do prefer the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Powders to this one.

Next up is something from MAC. They’ve curated a collection of some of their top-selling items (repromotes and permanent items) for the Year of the Monkey Collection – shades inspired by Chinese opera. Online and in MAC stores they have a special gold envelope (while supplies last). I ordered Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer online as it’s always been on my radar but I never caved and ordered. It’s a beautiful sheer grapefruit color. It’s bright but not too bright. You can find the color at all MAC counters and online. It’s just the envelope that is limited-edition and exclusive to MAC online/stores. This comes in the lustre lipstick formula which is sheer but buildable. Your natural lip color will show through if you only swipe it across the lips once and it has a naturally glossy finish.

Swatch comparisons to:
Buxom Bold Gel Lipstick in Coral Confession (swatched here)
YSL Glossy Stain 42 (swatched here)

I think the Armani palette is a nice item to have, but not a must. I ordered mine sight unseen as I did not see it available at any counters near me. Had I been able to test it in person I suspect there’s a good chance I still would have purchased it because of the packaging and personal meaning. MAC See Sheer is a good wearable coral that adds life to the complexion. It’s a brighter shade compared to my natural preference for nude lips but I still find it very wearable and easy to pull off for everyday.
The Armani Chinese New Year Palette retails for $88 and is limited-edition. You can find it online at Nordstrom, Giorgio Armani and Saks Fifth Avenue.

MAC Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer retails for $17. You can find it at MAC stores and online (they will send a gold envelope with any Chinese New Year collection purchase while supplies last). If you’re just interested in the lipstick, it’s widely available at all MAC counters. Online at Nordstrom, Macy’s and MAC Cosmetics.

Did you check out any of the Chinese New Year beauty items this year? Happy New Year to those who celebrate!

Roundup

Holiday Makeup Must-Haves for a Glowing Beauty Look

December 16, 2015

During the holidays the bold red lips and gold sparkles are always in for beauty, but as a neutral makeup lover, I opt for colors that make the skin glow naturally for a fresh-faced look. It’s this time of year that I start to lighten in skin tone so I like to add and layer colors to give the face a little life. Also being someone who likes to wear red clothing during the holidays – I find that neutral makeup goes best with a red dress or sweater (although brighter pinks also complement red outfits). I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share some of my favorite beauty items along with a few new discoveries.

For glowing skin I like to layer bronzer and highlighters. The Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow Duos are incredible for adding life to the face. I have both the original Filmstar Bronze and Glow and the newer Medium to Dark version and like both. Either would make beautiful luxe gifts too for any beauty lover – especially the Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set that comes with the sculpting brush.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, Bronzers and Blushes are in my top picks for a natural glowy look. The Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Radiant Bronze Light is the perfect mix of bronzer and highlighter swirled into one compact. It gives the complexion a radiant bronzed glow. I also really love the Ambient Lighting Blushes, Luminous Flush (shown below) and Incandescent Electra are my favorites. If you don’t own any yet, I highly recommend the holiday Ambient Lighting Edit Palette. It’s oh so gorgeous!!! I own 5 of the 6 shades individually and although it would make an excellent travel companion, I decided to pass this season.

Hands down the best highlighting duo launched this year is the Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Duo in Moodlight. It has a pearly opal color and a medium light tan champagne. Together they give the skin a candlelit glow that’s just so so so pretty.

Armani Fluid Sheers are always a favorite to add a glow on top of the cheek bones (I apply after foundation and powder and dab it onto the cheeks). They’re also great to mix in with foundation to add luminosity in a natural way. #2 is the classic champagne ivory shimmer and #17 is a newer one that’s the prettiest neutral pink. I have a few more shades swatched below.

For eyes, I like to keep things simple and light. I’m all about a champagne base and I’ve finally mastered the liquid liner application (success!). The best neutral quad is Tom Ford Nude Dip (brand new fresh one shown below). It is on the shimmery side but I don’t think it’s over the top. Armani Eye Tints offer a nice wash of color, there are lots of neutrals – many of which look similar but have slight variations in undertone.

Other champagne favorites include NARS Velvet Shadow Stick in Goddess (pretty much budge-proof once it sets), Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rosegold (super creamy and easy to blend, if you have oily lids it might be too emollient), Burberry Wet and Dry Glow Eyeshadow in Shell (the perfect shimmer for the lids) and if you want something more glitzy Armani Eyes to Kill in #8 is pretty awesome.
I’ve been experimenting more with different kinds of liquid eyeliners this year. I’ve found so many good ones. Tom Ford Eye Defining Liquid Pen still remains at the top of my list. Burberry’s Effortless Liquid Liner has a felt-tip stiffer tip which is also super easy to use. Both colors are super rich black shades and stay true-to color (some liners I’ve tried dry to a lighter color and look grey on my skin).

To add a bit of definition or color, just add a smudge of something deeper along the upper lash line. I am really loving the Chanel Illusion D’Ombre in Rouge Noir that is new for holiday. Charlotte Tilbury Color Color Chameleon Color Morphing Eyeshadow Pencils are super long-lasting. They are creamy enough that you can apply and smudge/blend with ease, but once it sets, it stays put with impressive lasting power.

Reds and berries and plums are always in for holiday. I love a good plum, but as one with full lips, I always feel so self conscious with reds or brights. I feel like they draw extra attention to my lips. I prefer fresh colors that make the face glow. I’ve been obsessed with the Tom Ford Lips and Boys launch this year. There are 25 new shades, I will have swatches of 12 of my picks soon (I promise!). Most of the new colors have shimmer in them, but it’s a luminous shimmer for most. From what I recall there were only a few glitzy colors in the bold range. Demsey is the perfect peachy color (it’s a darker and less frosty version compared to last year’s William). Ansel is a gorgeous bright warm pink shimmer (this fits the gap I’ve seen in the Tom Ford line for something that’s in between pale and super bright). Malik is the most intriguing cool lavender mauve with gold shimmer (not the most holiday-like color, more for spring, but layer a gloss on top and it transforms into a gorgeous mauve). If I found this 10-piece Lips and Boys Set under my Christmas Tree I think I would die of happiness.

I’ve been playing with some of the Burberry Kisses Glosses. They were reformulated along with the Kisses Lipsticks (which I think are the best scent-free lipsticks on the market). Pale Nude is my kind of color – shimmering gold nude. Coral Rose is a sheer but pretty shimmering pink. Antique Rose is a mauve with a hint of silver sparkle. They are scent-free and taste-free. Texture is glossy and smooth. Lasting power is average for a gloss, but I don’t mind reapplying after a few hours.

For holiday fragrance I’ve been loving the Chanel Allure Parfum Bottle which is a concentrated version of the perfume. It comes in a bottle with a dabber. I bought mine which is the larger size in Paris over the summer (which is still compact in size). I was thrilled to see it available in the US in the smaller size. Another layering combination I’ve been loving lately is Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede spritzed over Blackberry and Bay. These minis are in the Cologne Collection Set (5 colognes) which are perfect for putting in your clutch.

I hope you found this roundup helpful if you’re looking for ways to add a natural glow to your beauty routine this holiday. I am always trying to be braver in wearing bold reds and plums on the lips, but I like makeup that makes me feel comfortable and a better version of myself. There are a number of ways to add a bit of color but still look natural and there are tons of options to pick from at Nordstrom (it’s my favorite place to shop because they have the majority of my favorite brands). If you’re shopping for gifts online, take note of their holiday shipping deadlines here.

What’s your beauty routine for the holiday season? Do you like to add bold shades for a glamorous bright look? Or do you like to keep things neutral too? If you have any favorites or go-to’s you’ve been loving please share! I always get such great recommendations and ideas from you 🙂

This Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Rosegold also looks like the perfect glowy gloss, I’ve had my eye on it but haven’t tried it yet – if you have what did you think? Is it a must-have?

Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. All opinions my own.

powered by chloédigital