Every once in a while I’ll try a product and wonder what took me so long to try it. Kevyn Aucoin eyeshadows fall into that category (along with some of the blushes reviewed here). For the longest time I’ve avoided many items from the Kevyn Aucoin beauty line simply because of the price points. So many of his products have been widely raved about, and rightly so due to their good quality and solid performance. Kevyn Aucoin recently launched a set exclusive to Space NK called The Making Eyes Kit ($125, a $160 value if you purchase items separately). This kit includes:
The Essential Eye Shadow Set Palette #2 (0.04 oz)
The Precision Brow Pencil Brunette (0.03 oz)
The Expert Mascara Black (0.4 oz)
The Eyelash Curler
The Eye Pencil Primatif Basic Black (0.04 oz)
Space NK kindly sent the set for me to try and part of me was really excited to try things I’ve always been curious about. The other part of me wondered if this would live up to the hype as the items look incredibly basic. I love beauty basics and classics but sometimes there are products that just simply seem a bit too basic to justify the splurge when less expensive options will work just as well. I was really impressed with the Eye Shadow Palette, Brow Pencil and Eye Pencil. More thoughts on each item below.
Quick look at the box. The set comes cased in a large black box with a mirror. I like that everything has it’s own individually molded compartment so if you have this shipped to you, items stay in place. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the box at the moment. I suppose I could use it for travel by taking out the insert. The larger mirror is nice to have when you’re on the go. However the box is made of cardboard so I don’t know how well it will hold up traveling.
First a look at the items swatched:
For me the winner of this set is The Essential Eye Shadow Set Palette #2 which has a mix of cool tones. The set comes with a little instruction card on how to apply the colors but I took one look and decided to apply them my own way. I have no crease in the lids so most of the time I need to apply shadows differently from most other women anyways in a gradient. Since I have no fold or crease I don’t usually do the outer corner or v-shape blending.
Colors in this palette include a shimmering soft but pigmented black, lavender purple shimmer, beige satin, white frost, bone satin. All of the colors have some degree of shimmer but it is very soft on the skin. If you’re a no-shimmer kind of person for eyeshadows I think this will still work for you as the finish is VERY very soft.
The pigment is medium but buildable. Texture is very soft and looks natural on the eyes. As one who does not really like cool tones (especially white frosts) because they often look sharp or contrast with my olive skin I was surprised to find this one worked really well with my skintone for a cool-toned smoky eye with a hint of purple. The black looks like it could be chalky if you swatch it on the hand or arm. With a brush it’s intense and very pigmented but not too sharp. It’s a very good one to apply along the lash line and easy to blend and smoke out. Below shows all the items in the kit applied including the mascara, liner and brow pencil.
Next are The Precision Brow Pencil Brunette and The Eye Pencil Primatif Basic Black. The Precision Brow Pencil is very easy to use and Brunette is a good neutral to cool toned brown that works for my dark hair. For me I like that there is no red undertone which I find some brow pencils have, yet there’s not too much grey which can sometimes cause my brows to look ashy. I like that if you twist product up you can also twist it back down.
The Eye Pencil in Basic Black is one of the deepest black pencils I’ve tried. It has a smooth and super creamy texture. In terms of lasting power it stayed put on my eyes all day without any smudging or budging. I used it along upper lashes and waterline. That being said, I will usually also see how it holds up on the arm. When I test liners, let it sit for about 30 minutes on the arm, then take my finger and swipe it across the arm swatch to see how much it smudges. On the arm it smudged while some other liners set and don’t budge. That being said I tried this on a few different days and on my eyes it lasted all day without any budging so for me it’s a winner.
Last but not least are The Expert Mascara Black and The Eyelash Curler. Both of these have been raved about by many people. To date I have only tried the mascara in mini forms that usually come with the Space NK gwps and had not really been that impressed. The full size does perform better but my heart still belongs to the Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara and Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascaras for volume, curl-holding and lasting power. The one from Kevyn Aucoin is a deep black, doesn’t clump or smudge. It does a good job at coating each lash but for me it simply does not hold the curl and doesn’t give me the volume the other two do. Do note that I have incredibly skimpy straight lashes so I need a miracle mascara to make it look like I have any.
The eyelash curler works well too. I was relieved to find there was no pinching (for me the Shiseido one everyone raves about just doesn’t work for me at all). It has a very lightweight feel which makes it easy to use but I prefer something with a bit more weight to it. That being said it performs well and I am happy to own it.
Bottom line a solid set of good eye basics. I am already plotting another eyeshadow palette purchase because this one is just so good. If you have any recommendations for the palettes or duos let me know! You can find all the items in this set individually if you prefer to pick and choose items on your own. However the Kevyn Aucoin The Making Eyes Kit as a set is a Space NK exclusive.
Have you tried any of these yet? What did you think?
The Making Eyes Kit was provided courtesy of Space NK for review.
By popular request, I’ve rounded up some new bronzers I’ve tried this summer along with tried and true favorites. Bronzers are probably one of most favorite makeup products – there’s just something about a glowing tan that I love. Living in Southern California we have warm sunny weather almost year round. I do use sun protection for the face and body, but living here there’s just no avoiding the sun – but I love it.
I’ve pulled an extensive list of bronzers and split them by type. It’s by no means a comprehensive list of all the bronzers on the market, nor is it a list of all the bronzers I have tried or own (that would be a post a mile long). I have picked out the ones I thought were either new and interesting, tried and true or new found loves. A quick note before I go into the details – I have medium olive toned skin with normal/combination skin. I prefer warmer bronzers as cool-toned bronzers often look ashy or grey on my complexion. Foundation shades most reached for include the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation in 6 + 7 mixed, NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Groenland and St. Moritz mixed. I love bronzers of all types whether it’s liquid, powder, shimmer or matte.
Finding the right shade or formula for you will depend skin undertone (pink or yellow), skin tone (fair, light, medium, tan or deep), skin type (oily, dry, combo, etc.) and also things such as shimmer or formula preference.
Up first are some matte bronzing powders. Several of you have asked for recommendations on more affordable options. Two lines I’ve tried I think are excellent are the Colour Pop and Benefit.
Urban Decay Beached Bronzer in Bronzed (reviewed here) is a deep warm matte bronze, I think this is best suited for deeper skintones, on me it’s a bit dark, but good for days I want a more dramatic look.
Colour Pop Super Shock Cheek Bronzer in Skinnydip is a soft light neutral matte bronze that looks like a skintone color for me, for those with fair skins who find most options too dark, this might be a good option to look at.
Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzing Powder (c/o) is a classic that is neutral so it will work with a wide range of skin undertones, it’s one of the best more affordable matte bronzers I’ve tried.
Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer Tantric (c/o, on the face here) is another well-loved one by me, it’s huge! The color and pigment is semi sheer but buildable, so if you’re looking for one that is impossible to overdo, this is a good one.
Next up are more luminous glowy bronzers ranging from a soft shimmer to high shimmer.
Colour Pop Super Shock Cheek Bronzer in Poolside (medium-deep bronze) and Paradise Cove (cool-toned neutral) both have a soft luminous finish. They have a unique formula that I thought would be powders but are more of a bouncy gel cream. The price is affordable but the amount of product you get pretty small at 4.2g. Still I think these are fun and easy to build.
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow in Medium- Dark (review + look here) is a gorgeous bronze and orange shimmer duo. It’s more dramatic on me, but still wearable. For tan to deeper skintones I think you will love this one. More details in the review linked above.
Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder in Sunlight is one of the latest additions to the celestial powder line, it’s not really a bronzer, but on my skintone it is. It’s a medium to deep golden shimmer that gives my skin a golden sunkissed look. (It’s also coming soon in the Celestial Skin Liquid formula, available for pre-order.)
Edward Bess Black Sea Golden Hour Mousse Bronzer is something I bought while in New York. It’s the most beautiful warm golden coppery shimmer I’ve ever seen. It’s a mousse formula that is super lightweight and easy to blend. I swatched it with a heavy hand below but once you blend it on the skin it becomes a more soft glowy gold that gives the face a beautiful golden glow. I highly recommend it.
Liquid bronzers up next. I have used and liked the Armani Liquid Summer Bronzers but didn’t love it enough to repurchase (even though they added more shades). A few more affordable options below.
Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops (c/o) come in 4 highlighter shades and 2 bronzers. I’ll have a post on the entire collection soon, but for now a quick peek at the bronzers in Sunset and Sunkissed. Both are neutral to cool toned. Sunset offers a deeper bronzed look. If I look in the bottle there is a sheen but on the face it looks more creamy. Sunkissed is my skin but better. These have been swatched heavily but blend out nicely and are very easy to layer and blend.
Benefit Dew the Hoola (c/o) looks super orangey in the swatch, but let me assure you, it is not orangey on the face. It is on the warm and peachy side but I think that’s what makes it work. It’s sheer but buildable and dries to a semi-matte finish. I’ve worn it alone or with a tiny bit of powder blush layered on top.
NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer is another new one that looks super warm and almost orangey in the swatch but often times with any kind of cheek product what you swatch on the hand/arm looks very different on the face. I love this one because it’s fluid and blends into a very soft finish on the cheeks. It leaves a soft sheen without looking greasy. I almost hate posting these swatches because I think they will deter many of you from trying it, but I really urge you to try if you have a NARS counter near you. It’s one of the most natural looking bronzers I’ve tried that is visible but looks like your skin, just better and with a bit more life.
Last but not least, the three I consider classic staples:
Edward Bess Ultra Luminous Bronzer in Daydream is my holy grail of all bronzers. It’s soft and luminous just like the name implies, it’s impossible to overdo, not too shimmery and warms up the skin beautifully.
NARS Laguna Tiare (limited-edition Tiare version shown) is a classic with a scented twist for summer. It’s the same as the classic Laguna but has a summery tiare scent added in a special limited-edition packaging. The original was one of the first high end bronzers I splurged on and it lasted for what seemed like forever. It’s a classic soft luminous medium bronze that doubles as a soft contour powder. In the event you don’t want something scented or want this in a palette form, there are a few Nordstrom Sets you may want to check out including the Cult Survival Kit or the Nordstrom’s Best Cheek Palette.
Tom Ford Bronzing Powder in Gold Dust is another classic, it was quite the splurge when I first bought it because they only had the large size which is over $90. They’ve since launched smaller versions for the past couple of years which are still pricey but more affordable and nice to travel with.
For those who were asking for a summer bronzer roundup, I hope you found this helpful! I focused mainly on stand alone bronzers rather than ones in palettes. If you have any favorites please share them in the comments along with your skintone, maybe 1 foundation shade you use for reader reference.
Last week I stopped by a few of my favorite beauty shops in NYC. Living in Southern California I am lucky to have access to most brands but often times don’t have a free standing boutique near me for some stores to get the full experience. I was beyond thrilled to stop by Space NK’s newest New York Boutique on 31 Prince Street in Nolita. This was my first time inside a free standing store and it is a beauty lover’s dream come true. Between Space NK and Birchbox Soho – you literally have all your beauty and grooming (for men) needs covered. Both stock a wide variety of mid to high end beauty brands and from the looks of it, they have everything one could need and in travel sizes too. As I was oohing and aaahing at all the shelves in Space NK, by I thought to myself I should have skipped the stress of trying to hoard minis and pack all my liquids into a quart size bag (since I travel carry-on style) and made this store my first stop in once I arrived in the city.
The store is located on the corner of Prince and Mott – it’s one of the most charming beauty spaces I’ve been inside. There’s a lot stocked in the store covering skincare, hair care, cosmetics and more – at the same time it’s very spacious with a wide open feeling that gives it a luxurious feel. Walking inside is pretty amazing – I could not help but wish that I had a space like this in my home. Displays are organized by brand and product type. Skincare is split into different walls for the natural brands, more techy brands etc. I had just missed a Dr. Lancer appearance and book signing which happened at the store a few days prior. There are decicated areas for Lancer Skincare.
Close up of Oribe heaven, full size wall and then stocked travel size minis:
Overall a must-stop if you visit New York City. There are quite a few Space NK stores located through the city, I was glad I stopped by this one as it’s in a cute neighborhood and Diptyque is just around the corner. It has a similar vibe and feel to the dedicated Space NK sections you may see inside a Bloomingdale’s (which I also love) but being able to visit a separate store is really a must if you can.
Many thanks to Space NK for allowing me to take photos inside their beautiful store. Next time I’m in New York I won’t be packing a lot of items, I know now that I can simply stop by here and purchase what I need as they carry my favorite brands.
Have you been inside a Space NK store before? I know they are all over the US but this is my first time visiting a dedicated store. Hope you enjoyed this peek into their space! Snippets on their social too @spacenkusa – something I live vicariously through since I don’t have a store near me. It’s nice to see snapshots of their stores around the country and new launch sneak peeks.
P.S. There’s a summer sale going on right now, some items are marked up to 50% off 🙂
I’ve been slowly getting more into items from the Kevyn Aucoin beauty line. I’ve been a huge fan of the Celestial Powder in Starlight and the Lip Gloss in Starlight (reviewed here and here). The Pure Powder Glow Blushes are something that have been on my radar for ages and I was really excited to finally play with a few of the shades. As mentioned in a few previous posts I had high hopes for the Sculpting Powder in Medium as it’s one of the most raved about contouring/sculpting powders in the beauty market. It did not work for my skintone but there have been two color additions to the formula in Light and Deep. Light works perfectly for my medium-olive toned skin.
I have a quick look at six shades from Kevyn Aucoin in the Sculpting Powder, Pure Powder Glow + Celestial Powder. If you’re shopping online for any of these, don’t forget to take advantage of the special promo code Space NK US created for Beauty Look Book readers. Use code BEAUTYLB16 at checkout to save $20 off online orders of $100 or more (through May 1st). All the details in this post here.
The Celestial Powders ($44 each) are finely milled ultra smooth highlighters. Candlelight is one of those products that has reached cult-status and is extremely popular. I think I’m one of the few people who find it turns white on my face – it looks amazing in the pan, swatched on the arm or applied on the eyes. On my cheeks it almost looks chalky but note that I am in the minority with this one. My preference is for Starlight which is a soft champagne pink. I find Starlight to be more shimmery than Candlelight, but it’s not too shimmery. The pink/peach undertones make it much softer on my olive skin. If you prefer liquids, they have these colors in the Celestial Liquid formula, both swatched in this post here.
The Sculpting Powders ($44 each) are matte shaping/sculpting/contour powders. Medium was the first shade launched and for many years it was the only option. It’s a soft cool-toned matte that didn’t work on my skin because it was too cool-toned and slightly too dark creating a muddy look on me. Light and Deep are the newest additions. I tried out Light which in the swatch above is similar in undertone but the slight variation and lightness of color works so much better on my skintone. It creates a more natural looking shadow on areas I want to add depth whether it’s the eyes, nose or cheeks. If you need contouring powders with warmth I would recommend skipping any in the Kevyn Aucoin line as they are all very cool-toned.
The Pure Powder Glow ($37 each) is a powder blush. The formula is very soft in texture which makes it easy to apply, blend and build. There are shimmers and mattes, both formulas look incredibly natural and meld with the skin beautifully so it doesn’t look powdery. I’ve been so impressed with the three that I’ve tried. Ariana is the perfect neutral coral that adds natural warmth. Shadore is a powder pink that brightens the face. Natural is a really great neutral pinky-brown that won’t look muddy or darken on the skin. They look very simple in the pan and if you swatch them with your fingers I have to admit they look pretty standard – you can probably find dupes in other lines like MAC, Bobbi Brown or even Urban Decay, so color-wise I wouldn’t say that I find them unique. That being said the formula works really well and doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin. (I found that some blushes like Bobbi Brown cause tiny little bumps to form on my cheeks.) If you’re looking for a good everyday kind of color that’s easy to use and requires little thinking on how to coordinate, you can’t go wrong with any of the ones swatched above.
There are quite a few options on the market for all three types of powders. I think the ones from Kevyn Aucoin are great everyday shades that are very wearable for the conservative makeup-wearer who wants no-fuss kind of makeup. They apply on the skin smoothly, don’t oxidize on the face and they last all day without budging. A few thoughts on other ones I’ve tested and how they compare to other brands/formulas.
If you want similar colors to the ones featured but want them at a cheaper price, MAC Pink Swoon will give you a similar look to Shadore, MAC Prism will give you a similar look to Natura (but without the shimmer), Ariana is quite unique compared to what I have, MAC Peaches is the closest one I have but the MAC is slightly brighter.
I hope you found this review helpful if you were wondering about the Kevyn Aucoin face powders. They do come with a fairly steep price tag but the quality is on point and I think they are products anyone will get regular use out of. Have you tried any blushes, highlighters or contour powders from Kevyn Aucoin yet? If so which ones? If you have recommendations for anything else in the line please share in the comments!
Ariana, Natura, Shadore and Light provided courtesy of Space NK for the Explore Promotion. Starlight, Candlelight and Medium purchased by me.
A couple weekends ago I stopped by the Kevyn Aucoin booth at The Makeup Show LA and picked up the new Lip Glosses ($30 each for 5.04 ml) in Candlelight and Starlight along with the Celestial Skin Liquid Lighting ($52 for 30 ml) in Starlight. I already own the Celestial Liquid in Candlelight which I really like and was curious about the pink version. I did a review on the Celestial Powders a little over a year ago in this post here but I thought I’d feature all the Candlelight and Starlight products for the Celestial Skin Liquid, Celestial Powder and Lip Gloss in a single post to swatch them side by side in case you were wondering how the colors looked in different formulas.
Candlelight is the champagne-gold option while Starlight is the pink-tinged color. In my initial review about the powders, I mentioned that color of the Candlelight Celestial Powder was a slight miss for my skintone. I still stand by that opinion because the color is a bit too pale and too cool toned for what I like on the face. It’s still a very well made product and high quality (I like it as eyeshadow, just not on my cheeks). I personally prefer the color of the Celestial Skin Liquid which is deeper and more golden. It gives the skin a very soft luminous glow – those who are afraid of too much shimmer on the face should check out the Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Liquid because it gives the skin a very natural glow without the frost or shine. You can use it mixed in with foundation to add a nice luminosity or on top of cheekbones as a natural highlight. The Candlelight Lip Gloss is a gorgeous sparkling gold in the tube but it’s pretty much clear on the lips. It’s pretty when layered on top of lipsticks but I would have loved to see more pigment in the base.
For Starlight, I loved the Starlight Celestial Powder and still do. It’s a beautiful seashell pink shimmer that I find difficult to find in highlighters from other brands. It works well on cheeks as a highlight or the eyes as an all over wash. The pigment is very good and shimmer visible but not frosty. The Starlight Celestial Liquid is almost identical in color but has a more subtle finish compared to the powder. If I had to pick one, I would pick the powder mainly because it shows up more on my skin, but both are very good. The Starlight Lip Gloss is stunning. I’ve swatched both on the lips (scroll down) and it was hard to capture the depth of the shimmer but if you are in search of a soft seashell pink shimmer gloss that shows up the Starlight Lip Gloss is perfect.
I won’t repost the images of the Celestial Powders since I already reviewed them here and swatched them above, but here are close ups and swatches of the Celestial Liquids and Lip Gloss in Starlight and Candlelight.
The glosses look identical in the lip swatch photos – the shimmer was difficult to capture, but Starlight shows up more on the lips closer to the arm swatch above. Both have a semi-thick texture but it’s not tacky. They are scented with a fruity scent but it’s pleasant and fades after a few minutes. Lasting power is like the average gloss – they will stay on the lips a while without fading or budging as long as you don’t touch the lips. They will transfer if you drink anything like cups of tea or coffee (or any other kind of drinks).
In terms of cream or liquid highlighters, the Edward Bess All Over Seduction highlighters are still hands down my favorites for adding a nice visible but natural glow to the face. I think the Celestial Skin Liquids from Kevyn Aucoin perform well – they are great for mixing in with foundation or adding a luminous glow to the cheeks in a very natural way. Lasting power is pretty good for a liquid (I find they last longer than Armani Fluid sheers). I know they have reached cult status for many, I think they are very good but for me I can’t personally say I find them must-haves. I will use mine up to the end but I don’t know that I will repurchase due to the high price tag combined with the fact that I prefer powder highlighters. Starlight Celestial Powder is still one of my favorites for pink highlighters. For the lip glosses, I would say that the Starlight gets a thumbs up from me. Candlelight is nice to have but not a must because of the sheerness – although there are times when I want a sheer sparkly gloss to add shine instead of color so in those cases this one fits the bill.