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NARS

Highlighters

Highlighter Edit for Spring

April 13, 2017

Highlighter Roundup | The Beauty Look Book

The glowy highlighter trend is still going strong and as a fan of all things luminous I could not be happier! By popular request I’ve put quite a few new formulas, palettes and colors to the test. There’s lots to love and the great thing about the launches these days is that there is literally something for everyone. After extensive testing I will say up front that my absolute top favorites still remain the Diorskin Nude Air Luminizers, Edward Bess All Over Seduction, Laura Mercier Face Illuminators, Tom Ford Shimmer Shots and Hourglass Luminous Light (reviews linked for each one).

For highlighters there are so many factors to consider when picking one. Skintone plays a key role in determining whether a highlighter will actually look like a highlight or more of a bronzer on you. I know for many fair skin beauty lovers many colors that look like a highlighter on me turn peachy or bronzey on lighter skin tones. On the flip side some super pale highlighters will look more true to pan on fair skins while on medium to deep skins like me, some will just look like a white frost.

Skin type and shimmer preference are also other things to consider. If you have a lot of texture or larger pores sometimes the more glowy powder shimmers will emphasize fine lines or settle into pores. If you’re oily you will probably prefer powders if you’re normal to dry creams may be better for you.

I have a lot to roundup today, but first since many of you have asked, I can finally share the details about the upcoming Sephora Beauty Insider event today. If you’re a Beauty Insider member check your mail or e-mail for the codes! We have the official dates:

  • 4/18 to 4/24 Rouge will receive 15% off
  • 4/19 to 4/24 VIB will receive 15% off
  • 4/20 to 4/23 RBI will receive 10% off

Up first is the palette I was most excited about but did not end up loving. I’m a huge fan of the Anastasia Glow Kits even though they tend to be more on the intense side of shimmer. The limited-edition ABH x Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit comes in the prettiest pink packaging with gorgeous glowy colors. There’s a mix of pink, mauve, peach, white, gold and tan – unfortunately on my medium skintone they pull a lot lighter than what you see in the pan and most of them look very similar. I knew before ordering that it would be on the extra glowy side but the shades are all too intense to wear on the face. I love them with a super light hand on the eyes but I prefer Sun Dipped by far for more variety and more wearable colors. It’s currently sold out online but check your stores to see if they still have them.

ABH Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit | The Beauty Look Book ABH Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Next is the Chanel Plisee Lumiere de Chanel Illuminating Powder. This is from the Energies Puretes Collection reviewed here. Some asked for a face swatch of the highlighter alone since the blushes were ultra pigmented. This is a champagne highlighter with sparkles that give the skin a wet-look effect. The shimmers aren’t as intense as the Camelia highlighter but they are still on the strong sparkly side.

Chanel Plisse Lumiere de Chanel | The Beauty Look Book Chanel Plisse Lumiere de Chanel swatches | The Beauty Look Book

I have it alone on the cheeks and on the eyes. Foundation worn is Becca Aqualuminous in Beige (review here), lipstick is YSL Volupte Tint-In-Balm #1 (review here), brows have the Diorshow Brow Styler Universal Brown, top by Madewell (also available here).

Chanel Plissee Lumiere de Chanel Highlighter | The Beauty Look Book

Up next are some liquid drops. Cover FX launched three new shades of the Custom Enhancer Drops and I bought two in Blossom and Rose Gold. Both of these have a softer finish compared to the first round they launched (reviewed here). I really loved the first round of shades even though they are shimmery. You can easily blend for a pretty glow. Blossom is the prettiest shade of soft pink and rose gold is a soft rosy peach gold. Both are close to my skin tone so they look very natural on me but the color still shows up. The drops are fluid and easy to blend and layer.

Marc Jacobs Beauty launched a Coconut Gel Highlighter called Dew You? and it’s a lovely light gold. The texture is a gel and you have to work quickly with this one because it dries fast. The nice thing about the texture is that it’s great for oily skin and I found it lasted longer on me than most liquid highlighters. Once it sets it pretty much does not budge. It also smells like coconuts πŸ™‚

Third are some Algenist Concentrated Luminizing Drops. A while back I received a mini duo that you can buy as a set, but you can also find them separately in the full size. I am obsessed with the way they smell – it’s not really scented but it has this makeup scent that I really like. These are probably among the most subtle and sheerest out of the drops I’ve tried. Once on the face the shimmer almost disappears into a very subtle sheen. I would say these are probably best for mixing in with your foundation for a subtle glow. Because they are so sheer I found they did not do much for me other than add a sheen. That being said these have a serum skincare element in them so I do suspect they are meant to apply all over the face under foundation for a very soft glow.

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops, Marc Jacobs Beauty Dew You, Algenist Concentrated Luminizing Drops | The Beauty Look BookCover FX Custom Enhancer Drops, Marc Jacobs Beauty Dew You, Algenist Concentrated Luminizing Drops | The Beauty Look Book

Next up is the Laura Mercier Lightstruck Prismatic Glow Palette. As a huge fan of the Face Illuminators I had high hopes for this one but after testing this I found this was completely not for me. First I’m not into the holographic makeup trend – it just doesn’t work well for my skin coloring. That being said the packaging is more prismatic than the creams, but the lighter creams are on the glittery side. Aurora and Reflect have a softer smooth texture but they’re so sheer they disappeared on my skin completely. I do like a good neutral glow sometimes but I feel like there are so many other products on the market that already do this – this just didn’t really wow me.

Laura Mercier Lightstruck Prismatic Glow Palette | The Beauty Look Book

Laura Mercier Lightstruck Prismatic Glow Palette | The Beauty Look Book

I’ve already featured the MAC Quikstick Sticks before with the Work It Out review but had shot the photos before I reviewed them. I do believe they are limited-edition so if you have your eye on any I’d recommend checking them out soon. These have a highlighter on one side and a blush/contour on the other.

MAC Quiktrik Sticks | The Beauty Look Book MAC Quiktrik Sticks | The Beauty Look Book

Perhaps my favorite launch of all the new highlighters I’ve tried are from NARS. I featured the Sheer Pop Multiples when I reviewed the Pop Goes the Easel Collection a few weeks ago. Navagio Beach is a pretty soft sheer gold (exclusive to Nordstrom), but my heart was completely won over by the Banc de Sable Highlighter Palette (exclusive to Sephora). A close up and swatches of both below. The Banc de Sable has a finely milled shimmer that glides on the skin smoothly and without any harsh frost. I wish more highlighter formulas and finishes were like this – it looks smooth and pretty on the skin and doesn’t emphasize lines or pores. Complete win for me on this one.

NARS Banc de Sable Palette Sephora Exclusive | The Beauty Look BookNARS Banc de Sable Palette v Sheer Pop Multiple Navagio Beach | The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least because I’m a lover of all things Tom Ford, I had to include the new cheek duos again in this roundup. I really love both Reflects Gilt and Paradise Lust. I’m in the process of packing for a few trips at the end of the month and will be packing both of them to bring with me. Full review here.

Tom Ford Summer Soleil Reflects Gilt and Paradise Lust | The Beauty Look Book

Tom Ford Summer Soleil Reflects Gilt, Paradise Lust and Bicoastal | The Beauty Look Book

So even though I mentioned at the top I prefer some other ones over these I do think there are a lot of new launches that are different and unique enough to justify splurging on. Picking one will depend on your preference for shimmer intensity.

  • My top picks of the new releases: Tom Ford Reflects Gilt, NARS Banc de Sable, Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Rose Gold.
  • For me misses were the ABH Nicole Guerriero and Laura Mercier Lightstruck Palette.

There are so many more that have launched recently I could not possibly test them all. If you’ve tried the Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighter let me know your thoughts.

Do you have a favorite go-to highlighter? Or have you splurged on anything recently from new launches that you have fallen in love with? Let me know what your favs are!

Press samples featured include MAC Quiktrick Sticks, Laura Mercier Lightstruck, Tom Ford Cheek Duos, Algenist Mini Reveal Drops Duo and Chanel Plissee Lumiere Highlighter.

Bronzer + Blush NARS

NARS Pop Goes the Easel – Nordstrom Exclusive

March 9, 2017

NARS Pop Goes the Easel Nordstrom Picks | The Beauty Look Book

Happy Thursday everyone! I’m back and have a review of the NARS Pop Goes the Easel collection today. This is currently a Nordstrom Exclusive collection with new shades for lips and cheeks consisting of:

  • Three new Powder Blushes ($30 each) in Misconduct, Peep Show and Threesome
  • Four new Velvet Lip Glides ($26 to $28 each) in Bait, Suck, Impossible Red and Disruptor (not sure why one shade is listed at a higher price online)
  • Three Sheer Pop Multiples ($39 each) in Motu Tane, Cote Basque and Navagio Beach

I ordered two of the lip products and all three multiples to test out. I’ll say up front I love the Sheer Pop Multiples, the Velvet Lip Glide colors are nice but not must-haves in my opinion.

Up first are the Velvet Lip Glides. I picked the lightest color options in Bait and Suck since I don’t really wear a lot of orange or reds unless they’re sheer. (By the way I’m obsessed with the new Tom Ford Lip Balms, the colors are perfect for spring to summer and I love the formula.) Bait is a bright cool-toned pink that has a bit of a streaky finish with one swipe but it can be smoothed out with a finger or brush. Suck is a medium peachy nude, it’s like if you mixed Playpen and Unlaced (both of which were reviewed here and I didn’t really like color-wise). I do like this color, but I can’t help but feel like it’s a bit on the boring side. If you want a good neutral nude, the Tom Ford Revolve Around Me, Lips and Boys Bradley or Edward Bess Pure Impulse are much better although they are lipsticks versus the velvet lip formula.

NARS Velvet Lip Glide Suck Bait | The Beauty Look Book

NARS Velvet Lip Glide Swatches Unlaced, Playpen, Stripped, Suck Bait | The Beauty Look Book

Next are the Sheer Pop Multiples which appear to be a new formula. These have a more weightless formula that isn’t quite as dewy as the regular version. These have a soft shimmer finish and considering how sheer they swatched on the hand and arms I was surprised that the color payoff on the face is really good. Navagio Beach is a sheer champagne gold, Motu Tane is a light pink with impressive pigment, Cote Basque is a coral with tiny gold flecks of shimmer. They dry to a powdery finish although they stay creamy long enough that you can easily blend on the cheeks and layer depending on how much color you want. I would say the finish can definitely be sheered out for a sheer wash of color, but you can still build to medium coverage. I like these better than the regular multiples. They layer well over foundation and powder without looking cakey or dragging your base off the face.

NARS Sheer Pop Multiple | The Beauty Look Book

NARS Sheer Pop Multiple | The Beauty Look Book

NARS Sheer Pop Multiple | The Beauty Look Book

A quick comparison of the Navagio Beach Multiple to the Banc de Sable Highlighter Palette (Sephora exclusive). The palette is to die for gorgeous and I’ll review it soon. If you’re one who want a sheerer glow of shimmer go with the multiple. If you want more pigment go with the palette. Are they different enough to justify both? I think the formulas are different enough to justify both but I’ll have to do a bit more testing with both on the face at the same time to tell you. I’ll be sure to address this when I review the palette. At the moment I’m more inclined to say I like the palette more – but that’s mainly because I like the darkest shade A LOT.

NARS Banc de Sable Palette v Sheer Pop Multiple Navagio Beach | The Beauty Look Book

I’m trying something a bit different with face looks of the products. If you prefer the up close lip swatches let me know and I’ll resume that style in future posts. In both posts I’m wearing the Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation in Bisque with Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Finish Powder #2.

Look 1 has Sheer Pop Multiple in Motu Tane and Velvet Lip Glide in Bait.

NARS Sheer Pop Multiple Motu Tane and Velvet Lip Glide Bait | The Beauty Look Book

Look 2 has Sheer Pop Multiple in Cote Basque and Navagio Beach mixed with Velvet Lip Glide in Suck.

NARS Sheer Pop Multiple in Cote Basque and Navagio Beach and Suck Lip Glide | The Beauty Look Book

Overall love the Multiples. I like the Velvet Lip Glide colors but don’t think they are must-haves. Bound is still my favorite out of the bunch, but if you found the nudes in the original launch off, I think many will find the color Suck more wearable.

NARS Pop Goes the Easel Nordstrom Picks | The Beauty Look Book

You can find the NARS Pop Goes the Easel collection exclusively at Nordstrom. Have you checked out the colors yet? If you saw the powder blushes in person let me know what you thought!

P.S. My site has been migrated to a new host! If you have any issues with viewing the posts on your desktop or mobile device please shoot me an e-mail and let me know what device you use and also what browser you use (Chrome, Safari, Firefox etc.) – thanks!

Base Makeup NARS

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer

February 17, 2017

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

NARS launched a new concealer called the Soft Matte Complete Concealer ($30 for 0.21 oz) and being the fan that I am of their bases I knew I had to try it. To date the Radiant Creamy Concealer ($30 for 0.22 oz) has been one of my favorites for under the eye and around the nose to help with redness and create a more brighter more awake look. Since I tan easily and also because I use a different shade under the eyes versus spot concealing, I rotate between three shades. I used to mix Custard and Ginger together for my best match. Then NARS added another color in between which is Macadamia with slight peachy tones. This one is perfect for me as I actually prefer something with the tiniest bit of peach for under eyes. The warmth helps brighten the eye are for me. For the Soft Matte Complete Concealer, I ordered the same three shades. The colors are pretty close between formulas for the ones I bought, not identical but pretty close.

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

The Soft Matte Complete Concealer offers full-coverage finish with a soft matte look. It’s oil free, light weight yet ultra pigmented so a little goes a long way. It feels creamy and soft to the touch, almost like it has just the slightest bit of bounce. I tried it under the eyes and on a few spots using the finger to dab and blend. Under the eyes it was like an instant eye lift with a blurring effect. It didn’t cake or darken and lasted all day (I did set with powder). For spots it didn’t cover them 100%, but I would say that it still did a really good job at covering them to about 85% of the way. For the corners around the nose it works well to reduce redness.

Color-wise these look a bit dark in the pot. Also side by side I thought they all looked the same in the container. Even when swatched on the back of my hand and arm I thought they were all going to be too dark but they actually work better than I expected on the face. I love that it blends effortlessly on the skin and even though the coverage is near full it still manages to look natural on the skin. I will say that I have normal combo skin – since it’s matte and opaque I do think if you have dry under eyes it could emphasize dry patches. In this case I would just make sure you have a good primer to hydrate the eye area (I like the Marc Jacobs Coconut Primer for dry skin days).

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer

3 shades of the matte formula swatched on the face, under eye area and along jawline, on the lips is Kat Von D Beauty Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Ludwig:

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

Custard was too light for me, but I put Macadamia on one side and Ginger on the other, both look like they’re a good match, right now I have a slight preference for Macdamia:

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

The Radiant Creamy Concealer has been a long-time go-to for me. I tend to prefer something with a tiny bit of radiance because I find it blends better on my skin type and also looks more natural. Matte often looks too opaque, too matte and therefore a bit fake on the skin. For years the Radiant Creamy Concealer was one of the few I could use under the eyes no matter what condition my skin was in regardless of season and weather. I still love it.

If I had to pick one, I would say Radiant Creamy wins because of the packaging and also because I like something a bit more creamy. I’m not the biggest fan of pots because they tend to get messy. I also really don’t like matte finishes because I find they don’t work the best with my skin – they tend to emphasize pores, imperfections and look cakey. However for a matte formula the new Soft Matte Complete Concealer is seriously impressive and I do think it’s worth owning even if you have the other formulas. I found it easy to blend, but that being said if you need something with a bit more slip to blend easier, go with (or stick with) the Radiant Creamy Concealer formula.

I didn’t swatch the Radiant Creamy one on the face as it blends out slightly sheerer so it’s a bit more forgiving color-wise. When I use any of the shades, Custard, Macadamia or Ginger, it blends to match the skin really well – it looks so natural you can barely tell there’s anything on the face. I do have side by sides of the corresponding shades in both formulas. You can see the difference in finish. Colors are pretty close but I feel the Radiant Creamy formula has slightly more yellow undertones.

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line a solid win. Macadamia is the best match for me, but if I need a bit of brightening I can mix in some of the Custard to lighten or brighten certain areas. Since I tan easily I suspect Ginger will be a match within the next few months and as I’m often in between shades I don’t mind owning multiple colors so I can mix them as I transition between colors. I don’t know how I feel about the pot style. I’ve avoided this type of packaging for years and a quick look at my concealer stash shows that they are literally all either wands or twist/click up pens. I also don’t like that NARS does that matte almost velvety finish packaging on their face products because it gets dirty so easily. If you get any bit of concealer or cream product on it, it’s pretty much stuck there forever (I’ve tried getting it off, but it’s near impossible). It’s not a deal breaker though and that’s just me being picky.

You can find both the Soft Matte Complete Concealer and Radiant Creamy Concealer at all counters now. I bought the new Soft Matte Complete Concealer from Sephora. It’s also available at NARS, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York and all other NARS counters.

Have you tried this one yet? What did you think? If not, what are your current go-to concealers?

P.S. I’m also testing out concealer formulas from Too Faced, Tarte and will compare them to Kat Von D in the next couple of weeks.

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What's In My Bag

What’s In My Celine Belt Bag Mini

January 4, 2017

What's In My Celine Belt Bag Truffle Pouch Jcrew Sunglasses Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip

Happy Wednesday everyone! I have the first what’s in my bag post of the year. Lately the purse I’ve been carrying the most frequently is the Celine Belt Bag in the mini size (review of what fits inside plus thoughts on style in this post here). I own two of the same style, just in different colors. I alternate between the Light Taupe (shown) and Black. For the spring 2017 season they added another size called the Micro which is smaller, has a longer removable strap and can be worn as a crossbody. I took a quick peek while in LA at one a couple months ago and promptly walked away so I would not be tempted – but I will say it’s really cute!

I picked up some new sunglasses from J.Crew called the Irving Sunglasses in the Smoke Olive color. I love the ones that come in lighter colors because they’re fun and different. These frames are small enough for my face size and shape so I could not resist! The store near me only carried it in two colors otherwise I would have probably bought the light clear pink ones.

I’m currently carrying multiples of the Clarity Clutch in the mini size from Truffle. I ordered the Nude and White last fall during one of their sales and like that they are small enough to throw in most of my purses. They’re just the right size and proportion to fit what a few things and keep contents edited.

As usual I have one too many lip products carried with me. I have my two favorite balms of the moment the Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade and Lanolips in Strawberry. I’ve used them repeatedly for weeks now. The weather has been on the cold side so we’ve cranked up the heater in our place which makes everything dry. Plus I’ve still been trying to get over a cold so my lips have been extra dry. These have kept my lips from peeling and cracking – I’ve been sure to apply on clean fingers instead of directly on the lips to keep them clean and free of germs.

Other staples for lips include NARS Lip Gloss in Turkish Delight which I like to layer with MAC Lip Pencil in Boldly Bare, Whirl or Dervish (neutral nude lip liners swatched and compared in this post here). The Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip Creme (c/o) in Truth or Bare and Slow Burn have been worn frequently the past week. The Chanel Gloss Volume is pretty basic but it’s one of my favorite clear lip glosses for the pretty shine it gives and cushiony feel.

For fragrance I’ve been reaching for Byredo options a lot, I’ve been loving Oud Immortel although I probably need to switch things up to something a bit lighter and more cheery to lift the mood. I’ve still been dreaming about splurging on the Unnamed Perfume. It’s one of those scents I spritzed at the counter back in August and it still haunts me even months later. However I have promised myself to save up for the Creed Virgin Island Water before I buy any other perfume. Right now I don’t think it’s quite appropriate for the current weather or season, but in a couple of months I think it will be perfect and by then it will be mine! It’s the ultimate dreamy tropical vacation kind of scent I want to wear all spring to summer.

Last but not least I can’t help carrying the Tom Ford Soleil Eye and Cheek Palette. It’s not really all that practical to carry around but I love the sturdy compact and large mirror makes reapplying lipstick so much easier compared to the tiny mirrors you get in most compacts. If you haven’t checked them out I recommend you do (review on both colors here). They are both 100% worth the splurge.

Hope your first week of the new year is going well! I’ll have some reviews on MAC Shadescents and the Louis Vuitton perfumes coming up next! They’ve been on the to-do list for weeks now – I know many of you have been waiting so thanks for your patience!

What’s in your bag right now?

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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!