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Hourglass

Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass Ambient Diffused Light Palette

July 14, 2017

Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive Hourglass Ambient Diffused Light Palette | The Beauty Look Book

For the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale the Beauty Exclusive for Hourglass this year is the Ambient Diffused Light Palette ($62 for .34 oz/9.7 g, made in Italy). I’ve been a fan of the Ambient Lighting line since it launched in 2013 and to date I haven’t missed any of the limited-edition palettes except for one of them. They’re great for travel and if you’re new to the line it’s a nice more affordable way to try multiple colors rather than buying individual ones separately. The Ambient Diffused Light Palette has existing shades:

  • Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light – light pale yellow with fine shimmer
  • Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat – poppy with the Diffused Light Powder swirled in to the color (full review here)
  • Ambient Lighting Bronze in Diffused Bronze Light – soft warm bronze swirled with the Diffused Light Powder (full review here)

Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive Hourglass Ambient Diffused Light Palette | The Beauty Look Book

These performed true to Hourglass style – they’re soft and luminous without any harsh frost. In terms of a highlighter or hybrid kind of product these give the prettiest soft glow to the complexion to mimic the way light hits the face naturally. Pigment is medium but can be sheered out or layered for more impact. On me they are easy to apply and never look frosty. If you’re like me you most likely already have all the colors individually – I usually still get the palettes anyways because they are super convenient for travel or to carry around for touch ups. I rarely calculate the prize per oz of palettes vs individual items but for those curious, individually the Powder is $46 for .35 oz ($182.35/oz), the Blush is $38 for .15 oz ($253.33/oz) and Bronzer is $50 for .39 oz ($128.21), Palette is $62 for .34 oz ($182.35/oz).

In this palette for some reason when I saw it in store, Diffused Heat looked pink rather than poppy in color. I compared them when I got home and the difference is slight but still noticeable. The individual Diffused Heat is clearly more red while the palette version is a bit more pink. On the face however the difference is slight. Comparisons below. I threw in Luminous Flush as well for comparison. Since these are hand swirled no two powders will look the same.

Hourglass Ambient Diffused Light Palette swatches vs individuals | The Beauty Look Book

Palette swatched next to the individual colors. You can see the Diffused Heat in the palette is a bit more pink than the Diffused Heat in the individual version. Let me know if you see the same in yours (I checked about 4-5 compacts in store and they all looked consistently the same).

Hourglass Ambient Diffused Light Palette swatches vs individuals | The Beauty Look Book

Left photo is just with a base, right photo is with the palette. For those curious on what I used to prep:

On the right, I’m wearing all three shades from the Ambient Diffused Light Palette on the cheeks.

Hourglass Ambient Diffused Heat Palette Look

Since so many of you ask what brushes I recommend, really any blush brush will do. My favorites coming soon in an updated post. For now here are some of my smaller-sized favorites. Left to right is the Wayne Goss #02 (mine is from The Collection Set, Charlotte Tilbury Powder and Sculpt, Wayne Goss Air Brush, Chanel Blush Brush, Wayne Goss #14 (from The Face Set) and Hourglass Brush #2. Picking one will depend on what kind of pigment/coverage you like. The Hourglass brush is a good all around blush and powder brush. Loose fluffy ones like the Wayne Goss #14 will give a more sheer wash.

Favorite Cheek Brushes | The Beauty Look Book

One last look, it also comes with a tiny sample pack of their Mineral Veil Primer (not shown):

Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive Hourglass Ambient Diffused Light Palette | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line pretty and very wearable. Perfect for travel or if you’re just getting into Hourglass. If you’re like me and have been collecting for years this is a pretty redundant option. If you already own these, unless you travel a lot or want something for on the go that’s easy to touch up, you might want to explore other options. For me it was worth purchasing even though I already have the colors.

You can find the Ambient Diffused Heat Palette exclusively at Nordstrom for the Anniversary Sale. Don’t forget to check out the Gift With Purchase page – there’s a gift with $75+ beauty purchase going on from multiple brands, you do need to enter a code (site has different options). Is this one on your wishlist?

Press samples featured include the Dior skincare and Wayne Goss brushes. All others purchased by me.

Base Makeup

Summer Foundation and Base Edit

July 7, 2017

Best Summer Foundations for Warm Weather | The Beauty Look Book

By popular request I have a roundup of foundations and bases I’ve been testing since I’ve moved to Florida where the weather is warm, sunny and humidity levels are very noticeable. By comparison, San Diego is very dry although to me it always felt moderate and what I considered normal. We live in the Tampa Bay area and so far the humidity isn’t quite as bad as I had expected. I’m saying this because in December we drove to Key West which is extremely wet and humid feeling – so humid the air feels like you’re walking around in a sauna. Also a few years ago we took almost a month to travel throughout Europe through Italy and the Mediterranean in late June. It was so scorching hot and humid during out travels I completely gave up wearing makeup on most of the days after trying and failing. That being said, yes Florida is humid and hot and finding a makeup base that stays put, doesn’t budge and that won’t slide off has been a challenge.

To date I haven’t found any makeup base or combination of products can truly 100% last or stand up to serious humidity especially if I sweat. I’m the type of person who doesn’t break a sweat easily but since moving to Florida I start sweating if I’m outside for 5 minutes and there’s no wind or breeze. I’m rounding up what I’ve tested by formula and coverage and note what I’ve found wears the best. Even though it’s humid here the reality is that both Andrew and I are rarely outside for long consecutive hours unless we’re at the beach or a park doing touristy things. Also even on those occasions we can take a break from the heat while in the car with the AC or take a stop at a coffee shop or restaurant.

Up first are the more natural looking foundations with sheer to medium coverage. The most requested reviews I get are for BB Creams and CC creams and I am sad to say that those are products I really do not like. Most feel thick on my skin or look pink in undertone. As one with really yellow/olive skin I can’t do bases that have pink so unfortunately I will probably not review any. Also a quick note on shades – many of you have commented over the years that you’re the same shade as me. Since moving to Tampa I’ve tanned quite a bit – it’s something I can’t avoid. I also lose my tan quickly so my color changes on a weekly basis. Because of this annoying fact I have to mix colors a lot – more than I ever have.

Shown below from left to right:

  • MAC Next to Nothing Face Color is the sheerest base I’ll do. It really has a super natural tint but adheres well to the skin. I fluctuate between Medium and Medium Plus. The shades run on the pink side but since the formula is so sheer it’s really forgiving. Review and swatches of all shades here.
  • Bobbi Brown Nude Finish Tinted Moisturizer with SPF15 is more like a natural foundation. It’s sheer like a tinted moisturizer but gives better coverage than most that I’ve tried. It does contain Octinoxate 7.5% and Titanium Dioxide 3% so if those cause problems for your skin you may want to skip. I had no issues with this formula for my skin. If I were still in San Diego I would probably use this more regularly – since it has a mild moisturizing quality it can get a little bit dewy. I bought mine at Nordstrom but Bobbi Brown Online has more shades available.
  • NARS Charlotte Gainsbourg Hydrating Glow Tint is one that really surprised me. It’s hydrating but not too rich or heavy. It makes the skin glow naturallyΒ  Review and swatches of all shades here. It was limited-edition so may be hard to track down.
  • NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint with SPF 30 is one you’ll see me wearing a lot in beauty looks or lip swatches. This one has Octinoxate 7.5% and Octisalate 3% – it’s one that doesn’t irritate my skin and has a natural looking finish that isn’t too matte, just naturally velvety. I wear St. Moritz now but on my lighter wear Groenland or mix the two.
  • Diorskin Forever Foundation SPF 35 is one of the best foundation bases I’ve ever tried. The only downside is finding a match can be a bit tricky. I tested 30 and 31 first – in store I had one on each side and they both matched perfectly. When I got home and tested again I found they sometimes darkened about a 1/2 shade. 31 is more yellow while 30 is more pink so I kept 31. I went back to find the next shade down which is 21 (even though there are a lot of shades in between). 21 is the most yellow. If you’re normally my skintone go with either 21 or 25. I use both 21 and 31 mixed together to get my perfect match. For me it’s 100% worth it because this looks naturally flawless on the skin and gives me exactly the coverage I want. It also stays put the best for me. It has 3% Octinoxate and 1.75% Titanium Dioxide.

Sheer to Medium Foundations | The Beauty Look Book

Sheer to Medium Foundations | The Beauty Look Book

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Next up medium to full coverage foundations which is what I usually prefer. Most people, friends and family included don’t realize that I’m almost always wearing a full coverage foundation until they see me with bare skin and see all my freckles. I was active in outdoor sports while in high school and even though that was YEARS ago I still got a lot of freckles and sun spots from being outside a lot. I have tried a number of whitening/brightening treatments over the years which has helped with acne scars and dark spots but I still have a lot of freckles.

Shown left to right:

  • Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation and Concealer is hands down my most-worn foundation base. It offers medium to full buildable coverage and I love everything about it. For me Tom Ford Beauty has the best foundation shades to match my skin tone. It blends easily and covers my skin exactly how I like it without getting cakey. It lasts an impressive amount of time without sliding, creasing or budging. Review + swatches here.
  • Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation is the newest one I’ve tried. I got an early sneak peek at some of the shades and given my challenge finding a match in the Candleglow version I was skeptical about this one. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good a formula is for a base – if there’s no decent match, it’s going to be a no-go. I was lucky to find my match to either Buff or Dusk. Right now Dusk is the better match because it’s more olive. On a few occasions I have found I need to mix in a bit of Macadamia to lighten it just a slight amount. I am extremely impressed with this formula. You do need to blend quickly as it dries and sets in a short amount of time. Once it sets it gives a flawless finish that looks matte but not flat. This is one of the few true matte finishes I’ve tried that I like the look of. I’ve found it pretty budge-proof – this is one I wore this on the 4th of July. I applied a fresh face of makeup in the early evening before we headed downtown to scope out some firework locations. I had this on from 4:00 pm until around midnight. That evening the air wasn’t too and we were thrilled that it actually stopped raining by the time we found parking and walked a mile to downtown. After looking around the Channelside area we decided downtown was not for us so we walked back to our car and drove to Hyde Park Village for dinner. After we then walked another mile to Bayshore Boulevard to watch the fireworks. All this rambling is to explain how this formula held up. The humidity was probably the highest I’ve felt here to date – this one held up remarkably well although I did get very glowy looking, it did not slide off or budge.
  • Giorgio Armani Power Fabric is another long-lasting full coverage foundation that works well in this heat. Before I had to mix 4 and 6. Right now I’m probably 6.5 which is more golden, but I can make 6 work. If you can find a shade match this an exceptionally good one for lasting power.
  • Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick is one of my top picks for foundation sticks in this humidity. While in San Diego in my winter skintone I wore Warm Ivory. I’ve since moved up to Nude but only use this on areas I need extra coverage. It does warm up/darken a little. Right now I could probably use the next shade up but since I don’t use this all over my face I haven’t bought it yet.

Medium to Full Coverage Foundations | The Beauty Look Book

Medium to Full Coverage Foundation Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

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Next are cushions. I’ve always been interested in cushions but testers usually look pretty gross and also finding the right shade can be a challenge. Korean brands tend to run pink (at least the ones I’ve tried) but I’ve had luck with a few in the past. The best thing about the cushions is that they usually come with a refill pack so you’re getting 1 plus a backup. Right now there are 3 cushions I really like:

  • Dior Capture Totale Dreamskin Cushion is one I featured in my sunscreen story. It has SPF 50 and isn’t really a foundation but actually a skincare product. I can use this alone or as a base for other foundations. I think the swatches can be a bit misleading because you have to put this on your skin to see how it matches. 30 looks way too dark for me but because it’s sheer it blends in seamlessly with my skin.
  • Saturday Skin All Algow Sunscreen Perfecting Cushion Compact with SPF 50 is probably the best cushion I’ve tried. I ordered two shades online sight unseen. 05 Honey is my match as this darkens just a tiny bit on my skin. Color selection is pretty limited – so far I’ve only been able to find 4 total, 3 are available at Nordstrom and all 4 are available at Urban Outfitters. It offers medium to full coverage but pulls more towards the full size. It gives the skin a very natural looking glow without being too dewy. It also stays put and doesn’t budge. Active Ingredients are Octocrylene 2%, Octyle Methoxycinnamate 7%, Octyle Saliclate 4.8%, Titanium Dioxide 9%, Zinc Oxide 2%.
  • Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion has full coverage with limited shades. I bought the Brightening Version while in New York in 25 and 33 and after testing them at home was so disappointed to find they are simply too pink for my skin. I ordered the Perfecting Cushion in 25 to try instead which has fuller coverage and a better match. This darkens about one full shade on my skin. The formula is a bit on the heavy side for my preference but still holds up well in warm weather. I don’t hate this but don’t love it – I suspect it’s due to the fact that I don’t have a 100% shade match but I can make Shade 25 Deep Beige work for me.

Cushions Dior Dreamskin Cushion, Saturday Skin All Alglow Cushion, Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion | The Beauty Look Book

Cushions Dior Dreamskin Cushion, Saturday Skin All Alglow Cushion, Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

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Next are a few miscellaneous items I love for powders, concealers and a couple tools. I own a lot of loose powders but in general prefer pressed ones because they’re not as messy and easier for touch ups.

Best Pressed Powders, Concealers and Tools | The Beauty Look Book

For pressed powders:

  • Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder has one of the longest product names I think I’ve ever seen but it’s seriously THE best pressed powder I’ve tried. I saw this applied in action on my BFF at a Charlotte Tilbury event. Her foundation/base had completely worn off already and she told the artist she didn’t really want to try the foundation. The artist applied #1 on her skin and it was literally transformed into a smooth flawless canvas in front of my eyes. My shade is #2 and although I think she could add more options this one has been my go-to for at least a couple years now.
  • Armani Luminous Silk Compact Dual-Use Powder is another great setting powder. This one has more color options compared to the Charlotte Tilbury. It offers medium natural coverage and comes with a dual-sided sponge so you can either apply it for sheer or more full coverage. I use a powder brush to set my liquid foundation with this one for the most part. The sponge is something I use for touch ups. Even though I’ve darkened quite a bit I’ve still found Shade #4 to work perfectly for me.
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Plus is one of the few mineral powders I actually like. I tried so many when mineral powders were in – so many just looked too heavy on the skin, even after buffing it in. This one offers medium coverage and I use a brush to set my foundation. It gives an airbrushed finish but it’s not completely weightless in feel. It is a very natural looking product though and holds up well with the heat/humidity.

For concealers, I really don’t find myself using concealer a lot anymore. I simply don’t need it with good coverage foundations but my 3 most-used ones:

Concealer Swatches Cle de Peau Beaute, MUFE, NARS | The Beauty Look Book

Tools, an updated brush tool series coming up soon on the blog, but for now my two must-haves:

  • beautyblender is the best foundation application tool I’ve used. I’ve tried a number of the different colors and while technically they should all perform the same, I don’t find they do. The best ones for me are the original beautyblender (bright pink), bubble and nude. Review from a few years ago in this post here.
  • MAC Brush 140 S Synthetic Full Fan Brush is probably the best powder brush I own. It launched with the MAC Next to Nothing collection and has the perfect density and softness to pick up powder and apply it in a sweeping motion all over the face.

I wasn’t able to face swatch and photograph all the foundations, but here’s a look at two and also what my bare face looks like. With the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Foundation in Dusk I’m just wearing the foundation (no powder to set). It was taken with a low flash and I didn’t get any white cast or flashback. Lipstick is MAC Faux.

Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation and Concealer photographs the best in my experience. This was also taken with a flash and I’m facing a sliding glass door so some natural light is on my face. Lipstick worn here is Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk (you can also see it on me when I was a shade lighter here).

Foundation Face Swatches Tom Ford and Laura Mercier | The Beauty Look Book

I hope this roundup was helpful for you! A few notes on other formulas I tested, previous favorites and why I don’t use them as much now:

  • The Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer worked better for me when I was in San Diego. Right now it’s really too dewy for my skin type. It’s still a great product for sheer coverage.
  • The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD is still an amazing line for the liquid and stick foundation. I used my shades up the first month I arrived here (this was back in March). Since I’ve gotten darker I haven’t had a chance to investigate other shades to find what my current match is.
  • The Becca Aqua Luminous Foundation is too luminous for me right now. Earlier in the spring or even when I was here in December it worked perfectly. Right now it’s a no-go just because I have normal/combo skin.
  • I will be testing the new Diorskin Forever and Chanel Les Beiges cushions. Will keep you posted. I have tried the Lancome Cushion but it’s really heavy in coverage – too heavy for me.
  • MAC Studio Fix Fluid is one of the most full coverage foundations I’ve tried, I do like the formula but it’s a bit too opaque for me on its own. I can wear it and find it has impressive lasting power in this heat but I need to mix it with a Strobe Cream or something along those lines to sheer it out for my coverage preference.

Some final thoughts and favorites:

  • Best foundation for me is anything from Tom Ford, but right now my favorite formula is definitely the Waterproof Foundation/Concealer. I used to use Bisque. Now I alternate between Natural (more neutral) and Sable (more olive/yellow).
  • Longest lasting matte base is the new Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion. If you have normal to dry skin definitely make sure your skin is well moisturized or add a hydrating primer. Reason for this is it’s medium to full coverage and matte formulas can emphasize lines. For me this one went on flawlessly without a primer but my skin is a bit more combination with the heat/humidity.
  • My most-used concealer is from NARS.
  • Best sheer/natural looking foundation is the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint.
  • Best new discoveries this year for me are the Diorskin Forever Foundation and Saturday Skin All Aglow Cushion.
  • I really can’t pick 1 favorite powder (sorry!) – it’s tie between the Charlotte Tilbury and Armani. If you want a flawless truly airbrushed look go with the Charlotte Tilbury. However shades areΒ  limited as there are only 3 so the next best option is Armani. The Armani has sheerer coverage with a brush.
  • For other touch ups and this heat I swear by the Tatcha Japanese Blotting Papers. While my in-laws were visiting we went to Orlando. All of us were sweating with the heat, humidity and thunder showers. I kinda forced them to use these – even my husband didn’t want to use it, he looked at the little square and said “there’s no way that’s going to help.” I gave them 2 each and assured them it really would help and after they tried it I was really happy to find that they did feel a lot better after using them.

Finding a good base in truly humid weather is going to be a challenge and results will definitely vary depending where you are located. Even within the Tampa Bay area humidity levels vary depending on how close I am to the coast. We live in one of the canal areas and while we aren’t directly on the bay we can see if from our house. Temperatures just a few miles inland in certain areas fluctuate and since the weather changes by the hour here so there are some times and places where it’s so hot literally nothing will truly stay put.

For those who are looking for a new base to try I hope this gave you some good ideas. If you have any you swear by let me know in the comments!

Press samples featured include the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion, MAC Next to Nothing, Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer, MAC Brush 140S Brush. All others purchased by me.

Bronzer + Blush Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush and Bronzer – New Shade Extensions

April 19, 2017

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush and Ambient Lighting Bronzer | The Beauty Look Book

Hourglass fans rejoice because they’ve added new products to their Ambient Lighting Collection with their Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush ($38 each for .15 oz/4.2 g) and two new shades of Ambient Lighting Bronzer ($50 each for .39 oz/11 g). Sephora.com has an early exclusive on these right now, they’re expected to launch in stores on May 5th. As a long-time fan of the Hourglass highlighters I’m thrilled to be able to review the new shades and swatch them for you.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush and Ambient Lighting Bronzer | The Beauty Look Book

Up first, a look at the blushes. For those new to the Ambient Strobe Lighting Blushes these are the most glowy blushes in the Hourglass line. I find that on my medium toned skin the colors appear borderline more like highlighters than blush. The shimmer is finely milled but on the glowy side. While I don’t see any frost in them, I will note that if you don’t like shimmer, you may want to opt for the Ambient Lighting Blushes instead. They have more color and less glow.

What I love about these is that they are glowy without being too frosty. They apply smoothly on the face and don’t emphasize pores. I do find they warm up a little bit about 30 seconds after application, however they don’t oxidize in color.

  • Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush comes in 4 colors:
    • Incandescent Electra is described as a cool peach blended with Incandescent Strobe Light
    • Brilliant Nude is described as a deep amber blush with Brilliant Strobe Light
    • Euphoric Fusion is described as a lilac blush blended with Euphoric Strobe Light
    • Iridescent Flash is described as a vivid magenta with Iridescent Strobe Light
    • Note that three of the four Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders were in the limited-edition holiday palette and Incandescent Electra has been released as an individual color for quite some time
    • For reference you can see the review/swatches of the Strobe Lighting Powders here

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush | The Beauty Look BookHourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush | The Beauty Look Book

Face swatches of all four on medium-olive skin. On the face I’m wearing the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick in Nude. Lip colors worn with each blush listed below:

  • Hourglass Incandescent Electra with YSL Volupte Tint in Balm #7 (swatched here)
  • Hourglass Brilliant Nude with GIRL Lip Stylo in Believer (review here) + YSL Volupte Tint in Balm #7
  • Hourglass Euphoric Fusion with GIRL Lip Stylo in Activist (review here)
  • Hourglass Iridescent Flash with GIRL Lip Stylo in Creator + Achiever mixed (review here)

Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush in Incandescent Electra, Brilliant Nude, Euphoric Fusion, Iridescent Flash | The Beauty Look Book

Up next are the bronzers. The original two bronzers Luminous Bronze Light and Radiant Bronze Light looked almost identical on me. The variation for me was slight but I do suspect colors will vary depending on how much highlighter versus bronzer you have mixed into yours. The powders are hand made which means each one is unique and different. I really loved Luminous Light and I still do. On me for some reason Diffused Light pulls warm even though it looks cool-toned in the pan. I love Nude Bronze Light because it appears slightly more matte than the other two. That being said they all look similar on me. The difference is in the undertone. These bronzers also warm up a little after application but they don’t darken or oxidize. A little goes a long way and they are super easy to apply/blend.

  • Ambient Lighting Bronzers are now available in 4 shades:
    • Luminous Bronze Light is a medium toned bronzer with Luminous Light highlighter mixed in (reviewed here)
    • Radiant Bronze Light is slightly deeper and warmer with Radiant Light highlighter mixed with a beige base (reviewed here)
    • Nude Bronze Light is a new shade with a neutral nude bronze and a soft matte nude powder
    • Diffused Bronze Light has a mix of cool brown bronze and a pale yellow powder

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer | The Beauty Look BookHourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer | The Beauty Look Book

These were swatched with a heavy hand on the face to try and show the difference in undertone. On the lips is GIRL Lip Stylo in Idealist for all the face swatches below. To me they all look very similar. Nude Bronze Light seems to be the darkest on my complexion. Brush shown below is the Hourglass Brush #2. I have a couple of their brushes and need to explore more of them. They are synthetic and PETA friendly. They’re among the softest smoothest brushes I’ve tried. I think they’re under-rated.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer | The Beauty Look Book

If you missed out on the holiday palette you can find the shades individually now. I swatched my palette next to the individual ones and the colors, pigment and texture are the same. I still stand by original review and feel like the Ambient Strobe Lighting Blushes have more of a highlighter feel on me, but I still love them. For the bronzers variations will most likely be more apparent on you if you have lighter or deeper skintone. I’m right in the middle where all four have a very similar effect. My favorite is Luminous Bronze Light.

Bottom line beautiful powders, gorgeous packaging, seamless application. I love a good glow and these have a perfect mix of shimmer and color to look natural but still noticeably glowy.

You can find the Hourglass the blush and bronzer additions now at Sephora.com and Hourglass. Also available online at Nordstrom. They are expected to arrive in stores in May. Have you tried these yet? Or did you buy the palette over the holiday? What did you think?

Don’t forget if you’re shopping at Sephora to take advantage of the Beauty Insider Event! Dates and discounts as follows below. Also my recommendations in this post here.

  • 4/18 to 4/24 VIB Rouge will receive 15% off, use code ROUGESPRING
  • 4/19 to 4/24 VIBs will receive 15% off, use code VIBSPRING
  • 4/20 to 4/23 BIs will receive 10% off, use code BISPRING

Many thanks to Hourglass for sending the Ambient Lighting Bronzer and Strobe Lighting Blushes for review.

Monthly Favorites

Monthly Beauty and Skincare Hits and Misses

January 31, 2017

January Hits and Misses for Beauty | The Beauty Look Book

I cannot believe the first month of 2017 has come and gone – I feel like the last few weeks have been a blur! I hope each of you have had a great start to the new year. In the beauty world I feel like things have been all about lips and highlighters. It appears the liquid lipstick trend is here to stay for quite some time. I still have my battle of the liquid lipstick post coming soon – with new launches almost weekly it seems like there’s more to test and try out. I’ve put a cut-off for testing though – I have two more detailed reviews to post before the official roundup. Today I have a roundup of the best and worst in beauty testing for January even though many of these have been put to the test for more than a month. Sometimes with products you know by the second or third use that a particular item just won’t work. Other items take a bit more testing to decide. By popular request here is my first Hits and Misses post of the year. We’ll start off with the hits.

January Favorites – Makeup

Monthly Beauty Favorites - MAC, Dior, Chanel, Marc Jacobs | The Beauty Look Book

This month’s favorite items and discoveries include:

  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Plus is something I finally tried and can’t believe it took me so long, it gives the skin a nice soft diffused look, it removes shine without looking heavy or overly matte and the best thing about this one is the color selection which I think is pretty good (shown on the skin here and also worn here)
  • Diorskin Nude Air Glow Powder in 002 Freshlight (shown on the face here) has been my go-to soft bronzer shade for the past few months, it has the perfect amount of warmth and has a sheer but buildable finish that works for my winter skintone color right now
  • Chanel Joues Contraste in Elegance (review here) is my perfect everyday beige blush, it goes with everything and adds life to the face without looking too dark or orange
  • Chantecaille Faux Cils Longest Lash Mascara is one that took me years to try because I tried a mini and thought it literally was the worst thing ever. Based on raves of a few friends who swore it was THE best thing in mascara I decided to order one and was blown away. They assured me the full size was better than the minis and they were right. I don’t know that I’ll repurchase this because even I have limits when it comes to expensive items. At a whopping $72 I don’t know that I can say it’s worth it but this mascara is really good. It lengthens, volumizes, holds curl, doesn’t smudge and doesn’t look crunchy. It’s supposed to have lash-growth ingredients but I haven’t used it long enough to see results.
  • Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo (c/o, swatches here) are great in terms of formula, color payoff and color selection
  • Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur (c/o, all shades swatched here) are my favorite lip launch of the year so far, I love a good glossy lip and these have a feel and look like the Rouge Coco Shines but with a lot more pigment
  • Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip Creme in Truth or Bare (c/o, all shades reviewed here) is my favorite rose pink liquid lipstick
  • Dior Addict Lip Glow is something that is almost always in my purse these days (review of all shades here), my most-worn shade is either Lilac or Coral, the new Berry color (c/o) is a really pretty one too
  • Tom Ford Lips and Boys in Douglas (c/o, review here) is my go-to these days for a soft cool-toned pink shimmer

January Favorites – Skincare

Monthly Skincare Favorites | The Beauty Look Book

Skincare favorites include a mix of old and new:

  • I’ve found myself reaching a lot for the Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate and the Midnight Recovery Concentrate for evenings, both feel just so amazing on the skin giving it just the right amount of hydration, it’s brightened the skin and makes it feel healthier and smoother, if you don’t want to splurge on the full sizes you may want to consider the Day to Night Set which has miniatures of six items at a value price, alternatively if you visit you local Kiehl’s store they usually have samples so ask if they have these available (making a purchase will usually make it easier to get a couple samples)
  • Bioderma Sensibio was mentioned in my 2016 favorites, I use this as a toner and it’s just perfect for my sensitive skin, it leaves the skin feeling refreshed and clean, it has helped calm and comfort the skin, especially since I’m prone to flare ups or sensitivity, I have both the 250 and 100 ml versions (one I took with me on travel), can’t rave about this enough
  • Chanel La Solution 10 de Chanel (c/o) is another good gentle moisturizer for sensitive skin, I’ve been reaching for this a lot, it hydrates without feeling greasy and gives relief for dry skin without being heavy, I will definitely repurchase once this is used up
  • Tatcha The Essence (c/o) is something I got a mini of with an order (I had a promo code) and fell in love with it immediately, I discussed essence a few posts back and many of you gave me some really good feedback on what to try! I’m currently testing three, this one from Tatcha and the SK-II Genoptics Aura Essence and Genoptics Spot Essence (c/o). It’s going to take me several weeks to see which one is truly the best, but I noticed results immediately from the Tatcha Essence. It softens the skin without feeling heavy or leaving a film on the skin like some other essence or serums do. It’s watery but not too runny so it’s easy to apply. It does make my moisturizer absorb into the skin better. As one who doesn’t like things that feel heavy on the skin I absolutely love this one.
  • Kate Somerville EradiKate Daily Cleanser is something I ordered the day it launched online at Sephora. By the time this post is going live I’ve already used up one full tube 85% of the way and the one shown is a backup. I don’t have acne but I do experience breakouts and earlier this month I started breaking out around the chin and cheeks from a combination of getting really sick and experiencing a high level of stress. Using this helped clear up the skin without drying it out. It has sulfur which targets acne and blemishes. Based on the formula I don’t think it’s going to be for everyone, but I’ve tried every single one of Kate Somerville’s cleansers and her line is the one I keep replenishing for cleansers. I can use this daily without it drying out my skin and love it. That being said I still love her Gentle Daily Wash for times when I don’t have skin issues.

January Misses

January Beauty Misses | The Beauty Look Book

Four items that did not work for me include:

  • Burberry Liquid Lip Velvet (review here) did not work for me because the color selection just wasn’t flattering for my olive skin tone, even the neutrals did not work. Shades were either too light or too dark, colors lacked life and washed out my complexion. Formula-wise they were ok, but none of the colors worked for me leading me to call these a miss.
  • Make Up For Ever Water Blend Foundation is something I bought months ago back in early fall. I had high hopes as it looked amazing on a few of my fellow blogger friends. I mixed two shades in Y315 and Y405 to get a good match although the product is so sheer an exact color match isn’t really necessary. This was a miss for me because it caused my skin to become irritated which I suspect is from the fragrance. Tiny bumps surfaced all over my cheeks and since I test a lot of skincare and foundations, this took months of testing to make sure this was the culprit and not something else. Formula also felt sticky because of the gel-like texture. Coverage was not enough for me. This was a huge let-down since I consider the Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick and Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation to be in my top picks for foundation.
  • Glamglow PLUMPRAGEOUS Nudes got me based on their social media marketing. As a nude lip lover I just couldn’t resist and ordered 4 online sight unseen. The colors looked SO perfect! These come with a plastic spatula applicator which I found did not apply product evenly or easily. Second these are THE most painful lip plumping products I’ve ever tested – they burned my lips and if a tiny bit touched my tongue, a spicy tingle sensation went shooting to the back of my mouth. I tested two on separate occasions and the most I could tolerate was 45 minutes on the lips before I had to wipe it off and give the lips a thorough cleanse. I returned 3 of the 4. The one shown is going to a friend who is curious about this and doesn’t mind a tingle.
  • Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara was an impulse buy. The packaging has written on it a few statements like 1,944% more volume, 97% saw intense volume and length, 94% said this mascara stays put all day. There is an asterisk that says based on consumer study results. I did not research how many people tested this or were part of it, but at $23 it seemed worth a try. I know some mascaras take a few pumps or uses to get going so I gave this one 6 tries on 6 separate occasions. It does add volume and length and the color is a rich deep black. However the clumps were seriously horrible with this one. Layering was an absolute no for me. It made my lashes look super spidery and when I tried to separate or comb them out the mascara just looked even more clumpy and made the lashes stick together. It’s also extremely difficult to remove.

That’s wraps it up for January’s beauty hits and misses! I’d love to hear about yours as well – so please feel free to share them in the comments. If you have any feedback about the items I tried let me know.

P.S. A number of you have sent me e-mails saying you weren’t getting the email newsletters anymore. I’ve re-added the subscribe feature on the sidebar at the top of the page (if you’re on a desktop computer). Let me know if you have any issues – if you enter your email address you’ll be sent a verification link and should be good to go!

Press samples indicated with c/o.

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Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass Cosmetics GIRL Lip Stylo

January 20, 2017

Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo | The Beauty Look Book

Hourglass Cosmetics just launched 20 twist-up lipsticks called the GIRL Lip Stylo ($32 each for 0.09 oz/2.5 g) to celebrate and recognize the good in others and ourselves. Each lipstick shade has a special name that evokes empowerment and positivity. These come with medium to medium-full coverage, a very soft shea butter vanilla scent, moisturizing comfortable feel and that is still lightweight. The finish has a soft natural looking sheen.

The color range is just perfect. Every single one of the 20 shades are very wearable. As a neutral lip lover I was beyond thrilled to find natural colors that go beyond the basic beige, pink nude or peach. There are roses, plums, mauves and a variety of nudes with different undertones. After testing these colors I really feel that Hourglass took the time to test these on real women to make sure that they have the right undertones to be flattering and wearable.

Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo | The Beauty Look Book

Many of you have asked for a comparison to the Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo and also the Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleurs. The original nude twist up pencil crayons from Hourglass by comparison are thicker and tug a little at the lips, they are also more opaque with a very limited color range (I could really only wear the 2 darkest options). The Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleurs have a creamier feel with a more emollient texture. They glide on the lips and have more of a shine. I also find that the Chanel crayons have more pigment and coverage.

Coverage-wise the GIRL Lip Stylos swatch sheer-medium on the arms and hands. On the lips the color adheres a lot better for more noticeable coverage. A few of the plums have a slightly transparent almost jelly finish on my lips. They have a satiny nourishing feel. On my lips I tested a few of the naturals for extended wear testing – they lasted a long time without sliding or budging. The colors will transfer if you eat or drink though.

I swatched and photographed these in batches according to how they were displayed in the press box I received from Hourglass. Colors and descriptions detailed below. For the most part they all act and swatch like creams. I couldn’t detect any shimmer in these. Even though they are cream finishes they don’t look flat on the lips.

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Set 1 includes:

  • Believer is a light beige nude cream
  • Creator is a soft pink
  • Explorer is a bright peachy shade
  • Seeker is a cool medium rose pink
  • Peacemaker is a medium beige

Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo Believer, Creator, Explorer, Seeker and Peacemaker | The Beauty Look Book

Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo Believer, Creator, Explorer, Seeker and Peacemaker | The Beauty Look Book

As always these are swatched on bare lips, no liner or primer underneath. For skintone reference I’m wearing NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Groenland with MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Plus (which I just discovered and am OBSESSED with!).

Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo Believer, Creator, Explorer, Seeker and Peacemaker | The Beauty Look Book

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Set 2 below includes:

  • Achiever is a neutral-cool mauve brown
  • Influencer is a meidum beige brown rose
  • Dreamer is a soft warm baby pink
  • Idealist warm peachy beige
  • Futurist beige pink nude

Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo Achiever, Influencer, Dreamer, Idealist, Futurist | The Beauty Look Book Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo Achiever, Influencer, Dreamer, Idealist, Futurist | The Beauty Look Book

Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo Achiever, Influencer, Dreamer, Idealist, Futurist | The Beauty Look Book

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Set 3 below includes:

  • Activist is a medium rose
  • Inventor pinky rose
  • Lover bright orange red
  • Innovator is a bold bright red
  • Visionary slightly deeper but bright red

Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo Activist, Inventor, Lover, Innovator, Visionary | The Beauty Look Book Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo swatches Activist, Inventor, Lover, Innovator, Visionary | The Beauty Look Book

Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo Lip Swatches Activist, Inventor, Lover, Innovator, Visionary | The Beauty Look Book

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Set 4 below includes:

  • Icon is a classic red
  • Leader is a bright fuchsia pink
  • Liberator is a gorgeous mauve plum
  • Protector is a pretty violet purple, but goes on my lips a bit patchy
  • Warrior is a deep vamp, also went on a bit patchy

Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo Icon, Leader, Liberator, Protector, Warrior | The Beauty Look Book

Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo Icon, Leader, Liberator, Protector, Warrior | The Beauty Look Book

Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo Icon, Leader, Liberator, Protector, Warrior | The Beauty Look Book

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A quick look at the color options will show a lot of neutrals that look similar and also a lot of reds. As a neutral lip lover I’m beyond obsessed with the color selection and I know there are at least a handful of you who will echo my thoughts that they are similar but still different. Same applies for the reds, but since I don’t wear reds a lot I can understand that some will find a lot of repetition among color groups. The best thing about this to me is that each color has a slight variation or undertone which I think is great. Many of us gravitate towards warm or cool, brown undertones or peachy undertones, light versus medium versus deep. I really believe there is something for everyone in this color range and even though I normally wear neutrals, even the brights like Lover and Leader are wearable and did not leave me feeling like a clown.

Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo Review | The Beauty Look Book

My top 5 picks: Seeker, Influencer, Activist, Liberator, Dreamer.
You can upload your own version at Hourglass’s website for fun!

I know many of you want to know whether I prefer these or the Chanel crayons that were just launched and I simply cannot pick a favorite. I do think the Hourglass pencils will last longer on the lips and a comparison of the packaging makes them look larger in size so overall they will probably last longer. If you prefer a glossy lip the Chanel is the way to go. Also for the deeper colors Chanel offers more coverage and pigment. If you like neutrals I suspect you will find more options to choose from the Hourglass range.

Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line I love these. I’m a gloss or shiny lipstick girl at heart and these GIRL Lip Stylos offer a nice sheen but with more pigment and coverage than a sheer glossy lipstick. Even with all the swatching and wiping I did over the past few days, my lips did not dry out or peel at all. I think everyone should own at least 2 πŸ™‚ They are that good. If I had one thing I wished were different, it would be that I wish there was some kind of color indicator on the outside so I could tell the difference between colors without having to look at the label or open up the cap. Still it’s not a deal breaker as most of the other beauty brands do the same thing with their lipsticks and compacts.

You can find the Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylos at Sephora, Nordstrom and Hourglass Cosmetics.

Many thanks to Hourglass for sending these gorgeous GIRL Lip Stylos for review.

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Beauty Roundup

Best Beauty Discoveries 2016

December 29, 2016

Best makeup discoveries in 2016 Tom Ford Chanel Anastasia NARS MAC

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

Lips

Face and Cheeks

Eyes

Nails

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

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

Highlighters Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush Palette

December 9, 2016

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Blush Palette reviewed from the Sabrina of The Beauty Look Book

For holiday Hourglass Cosmetics launched a new limited-edition palette called the Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush Palette ($62 for 3 x 0.09 oz/ 2.55 g). It launched as a Sephora VIB Rouge Exclusive on Cyber Monday and I ordered it as soon as it popped up online. This palette combines the illuminating particles from the Strobe Lighting Powders mixed with Blush Pigments for a radiant glow. Those familiar with Hourglass powders from the Ambient Lighting Line already know the powders are hand made with a special mixing technique which makes every powder different and unique. The colors in each palette will all similar to each other based on the formula but there will be slight variations in depth of color depending on how much highlighter your palette has versus blush pigment.

I’ve acquired almost all of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palettes (all except for holiday 2015) and a number of individual colors. The latest Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush Palette is the most glowy out of all the palettes and powders I’ve tested, even more so than the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders (reviewed here).

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush Palette reviewed from The Beauty Look Book Blog

Texture and pigment in this palette is ultra smooth and glowy without being frosty. There are three colors, Incandescent Electra is supposed to be the same as the one available individually, but the ones I have from the original 2014 blush palette and one I have in individual form are different from this season’s palette. The Incandescent Electra in my Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush Palette is significantly more glowy but the color is the same if that makes sense. Descriptions per Hourglass’s website:

  • INCANDESCENT ELECTRA: A cool peach blush blended with Incandescent Strobe Light for a celestial glow.
  • BRILLIANT NUDE (NEW): A deep amber blush blended with Brilliant Strobe Light for a lustrous glow.
  • EUPHORIC FUSION (NEW): A soft lilac blush blended with Euphoric Strobe Light for a resplendent glow.

On my medium complexion, the colors in the palette I purchased are all more like highlighters on my skin versus blushes. Yours may vary depending on the swirl you have and also differ if you have different skintone. Close up and swatches:

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush Palette reviewed from The Beauty Look Book BlogHourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush Palette reviewed from The Beauty Look Book Blog

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush Palette reviewed from The Beauty Look Book Blog

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush Palette reviewed from The Beauty Look Book Blog

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush Palette reviewed from The Beauty Look Book Blog

Comparisons to the other two palettes I have:

Top – the Ambient Lighting Blush Palette (review from 2014)
Middle – the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2016 exclusive (review here)
Bottom – Holiday 2016 Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush Palette

Hourglass Palette Comparisons from The Beauty Look Book Blog

Comparison swatches:

Hourglass Palette Comparisons from The Beauty Look Book Blog

Overall a lovely addition to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting line. Even though I already own Incandescent Electra the one in this palette has more glow and shimmer compared to previous versions that I own. It is on the glowy side so the colors are more highlighter than blush on my skin. I wasn’t able to swatch comparisons to the other holiday launch Ambient Lighting Edit Palette in Surreal Light (review here) before I left for my trip however I will say that between the two I prefer the larger one for the colors. Both palettes are different enough to justify both if you don’t mind having a lot of blush or highlighter.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush Palette reviewed from The Beauty Look Book BlogBottom line I love it and the glimmer in each of the powders is perfect for adding a bit of a nice holiday glow on the eyes or cheeks. They layer well with other blushes (both powders and creams), meld nicely with the skin and don’t emphasize my pores like some highlighters can do if they have lots of shimmer. Whether or not you’ll like this will most likely depend on your skintone. On fair to light skins the colors will most likely show up more. On my medium olive toned skin the color shows up o arm swatches but once on my face, Brilliant Nude and Euphoric Fusion are more highlighter-like and almost nude in the sense that they give a glow rather than a tint like blush. My MAC shade right now is about an NC30 in the MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation (swatched here with other foundation shades). Note that since I tan easily I fluctuate in color by a few shades on a regular basis depending on how much sun I’ve been exposed to. How this palette shows up your skin will also depend on how much pigment your palette has swirled in compared to strobe powders.

You can find the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush Palette now online exclusively at Sephora. I ordered mine online. At this time I’m not sure if will launch at other retailers.