The Dior Skyline Collection for Fall 2016 is the first fall collection I’m reviewing this year. A lot of you have been e-mailing me and messaging me about fall beauty which has just started to arrive at counters. The most highly requested item for review has been the Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer in this collection and I will say right up front go buy it now – Dior never disappoints with highlighters and they give a very pretty glow. The Dior team has also created a special promo code for Beauty Look Book readers so if you see any items that catch your eye, scroll down to the end of this post for details.
Up first are the standouts in my opinion which include the Diorblush Light and Contour Sticks and Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer. I already reviewed and swatched the contour sticks but I will repost photos for reference. As a quick recap, the Diorblush Light and Contour sticks are natural looking contour creams that are very easy to use and that won’t give you a harsh look. They blend nicely along the cheeks and for a contour-dummy like myself, they’re impossible to overdo.
A closer look at the contour sticks:
The Diorskin Nude Air Luminzer 001 for fall is absolutely stunning. It comes with an embossed design on the surface. This is one of those shades that will look different on everyone. Fair skin-toned beauty lovers will find this almost peachy while deeper skintones will find this more pale. On my medium skintone I find it to be a champagne gold with slight peachy tones. It’s finely milled, blends in with the skin flawlessly, doesn’t emphasize pores, stays put all day and has the prettiest sheen. The highlighter comes with a tiny kabuki brush which is well made but for me on the small side so I find it best for touch ups or on-the-go rather than for regular application.
Left is swatched heavily, right is blended out. You can blend or sheer out the color more if you prefer a more diffused glow. It’s absolutely perfect!
Swatch comparisons below show that the Nude Air Glowing Gardens 002 from spring is a tiny bit lighter than the Nude Air Luminizer for Fall 2016. On my face they are almost identical, I put one on each side of my face and they looked pretty close. Photos of course cannot do the shimmers or texture justice but I hope these help show the difference. And yes, even if you already own the spring versions, I think the one for fall is still a must.
Up next are the two Skyline Eyeshadow Palettes. These also come with a stunning embossed surface. Texture is similar to that of the highlighter – they’re powders with a slightly creamy feel. Pigment is medium but buildable and the texture melds in with the skin so they don’t look powdery. If you apply them with a slightly damp brush the color can be intensified.
Capital of Light has a mix of shimmery and satiny shades including a gorgeous grey taupe, pale ivory white shimmer, satiny baby pink, shimmering tan and deep violet plum. The mix of colors creates a pretty smokey plum eye.
Parisian Sky has all shimmery shades. This one is better suited for an everyday kind of look. The colors include a shimmering tan, light sand shimmer, pale blue shimmer, silvery blue sparkle and deep chocolate shimmer. The blues give a sheer wash on the eyes and brighten the entire eye area when layered with the sand and beige colors. As one who rarely wears blue colors on the eyes, I found these surprisingly wearable.
Next up are two lip colors for the fall collection which is the Addict Hydra-Gel Core Mirror Shine Lipsticks ($35 each). There are a few repromoted colors like Incognito 316 which is a classic neutral pink that pulls cool on my skintone. There is one new limited-edition color called Sophisticated 927 which is a cool-toned plum with a silvery sheen. These have a smooth sheer to medium coverage and glossy shine. If you’re one who likes glossy finish lipsticks but want something to give visible coverage these are it. They have more coverage than the Rouge Dior Baumes but have that same glossy finish. These have a semi-thick almost gel-like feel which makes the pigment adhere well to the lips. Adding a liner of course will help extend the wear but they feel very comfortable on and fade nicely. As far as I can tell there is no detectable scent.
I applied these on the arm with a lip brush because these are the types of lip colors that don’t show up well on arm swatches straight from the tube, but do on the lips:
Below, applied straight from the tube on bare lips:
Last but not least are the Dior Vernis nail polishes in Minimal and Skyline. Both look very standard in the bottles and borderline boring. I will say at first glance I thought they looked a bit unimpressive but Dior polishes rarely disappoint. In my opinion, out of all the luxury brands that have reformulated their nail polishes over the years, the Dior revamp has been the best. Formula has always been top notch with a smooth, glossy flawless finish. They improved the brush by rounding the tips so application is really easy. Minimal is a perfect creamy beige peachy nude. Good nudes can be hard to find and this one brightens the hands without looking too pale. Skyline is a gorgeous chocolate cream, also not the most unique color but it has the perfect mix of brown and vamp to give the hands a perfectly polished look.
A lot of you have asked for nail comparisons – I’m fresh out of nail wheels so I will post comparisons in a separate post as soon as I get them in the mail. I will say right now though that Minimal is almost an exact dupe for Chanel’s discontinued Secret (the Dior is a bit brighter and has smoother/better coverage) and by comparison Chanel’s discontinued Emprise is a lot peachier and darker.
Two coats in sunlight:
Two coats of Skyline:
Bottom line gorgeous. Top three stand outs to me are the Diorskin Nude Air Luminzer 001 and Dior Vernis in Skyline and Minimal. The Addict Hydra-Gel Core Mirror Shine Lipsticks comes in close fourth for formula – right now I’m still in the summer state of mind but I think Sophisticated is perfect for fall. Quality-wise everything is excellent. Pigment on everything is rich and visible on the skin but easy to blend and layer for those who like a natural refined beauty look. If you buy just one item I would say go for the highlighter unless you already have a lot and don’t feel the need for one more in which case I would say opt for the Minimal nail polish. It’s a great everyday neutral that will give the hands a clean polished look.
Dior is offering an exclusive promo for Beauty Look Book readers. Dior.com usually offers complimentary samples with any online order but starting today through the end of the month they are giving my readers extra deluxe samples. With any $100+ purchase using code BEAUTYLB at Dior.com you will get some extra deluxe minis including a 5 ml Miss Dior Absolutely Blooming fragrance, mini Hydralife Sleeping Mask packette and mini Diorshow Maximizer 3D. Code is valid today through 8/31/2016, while supplies last (U.S. site only).
You can find the Dior Skyline Collection for fall available now online at Dior.com and at all Dior counters. All the items are limited-edition. Have you checked out the fall pieces yet? What did you think? If you haven’t, what’s on your wishlist?
Skyline Collection provided courtesy of Dior for review consideration. Many thanks to Dior for providing my readers with a special promo code!
I have mixed feelings about the contouring technique for beauty. Mainly because I’m not very good at doing it myself on my own face. I have used a bronzer like Bronze Universel de Chanel or NARS Laguna in a 3 shaped motion along the sides of my face to warm up the complexion and add depth, but for the popular contouring powders and creams – I find they are easy to overdo and while they look great in photos, in real life I think it can look very much overdone. I do own quite a few contouring powders and the most natural ones to date that I’ve tried are the Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Light Filtering Powders for flawless finish and textures that blend beautifully with the skin. I haven’t really found a cream product that I love – there are a number of compacts others rave about but cream compacts get messy so I haven’t really found anything that speaks to me. Today I have a roundup of four brands of contour sticks, several of them are multi-tasking and great for travel because they are double-sided.
I find it rare to find all items I test in a category phenomenal in the sense that I think all aspects of the product are great but this is one of those rare occasions. I tested highlight/contour sticks from Burberry, Wander Beauty, NARS and Dior and all of them are impressive to me and perfect for a natural look. If you need a contour product for dummies (like me) these are the perfect option for you because they look very natural, easy to use and blend really well. Picking one will come down to brand, texture or color preference.
Up first are the Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighting Luminous Pen in Nude Radiance 01 and Face Contour Effortless Contouring Pen for Face and Eyes in Medium 01. In terms of a highlight the Burberry Fresh Glow Pen is on the sheer and subtle side. You will see a glow on the face if you highlight the cheekbones or eyes but it gives a luminous glow versus a more visible shimmer. The fresh glow highlighting pen comes in 1 shade, if you’re similar to my skintone or lighter the effect will be more subtle, but if you’re tan to deep there will be more contrast and it will show up better on your skin. Texture is creamy but dries down quickly. It is easy to blend before it dries down so you don’t have to rush.
The Face Contour Pen comes in two colors and I picked the lighter option. It dries to a matte finish and blends easily on the skin for a very natural contour. It is on the warm side but it’s not too warm. This one is the easiest for me to use by applying a few stripes along the cheeks and then blend with either a finger or brush. This is the easiest to use along the sides of the nose because it’s slim. You can find these at Nordstrom, Sephora and Net-A-Porter.
There are two On-The-Glow Bronzer Duos from Wander Beauty. I received both items to try out, each one has the same highlighter in Candle Glow. The lighter option is Malibu which is a neutral brown and Capri is the darker/deeper option. If you go to their website you can see it on different skintones. These have a thicker creamy texture but they don’t feel greasy and look completely natural once blended. I love Malibu because it’s a lighter color and the perfect shade for my skintone for a barely there contour. Candle Glow Highlighter has the perfect mix of gold and warmth so it doesn’t look yellow on my olive skin. You can also find these at Sephora.
Next up are the NARS Sculpting Multiple Duos which are currently Sephora exclusives. I had very high hopes for these as I’m a huge fan of the multiple sticks and they did not disappoint. The texture of the highlighter multiples are stiffer than I normally see in multiples so they do not swatch well on the arms. They do swipe a 100x better on the face or eyes. I found these to be on the more subtle side which I think is due to the slightly stiffer/harder texture. The bronze/contour sides are amazing though. As a lover of lighter contour shades I love the Copacabana and Sidari Beach duo – it’s a peachy pinky color on my skintone which makes for a less traditional brown contour.
As you can see below they look to be on the sheer side. I think the highlighters are all sheerer than most multiples I’ve tried from NARS. The darker contour sides are creamy with little to no shimmer. They look streaky on the arm but blend out easily on the face.
Last but not least are the Diorblush Light and Contour Sticks which are part of the fall 2016 collection launch. They just launched at Dior.com and there are three shades each with a different color of shimmery highlighter and contour cream which has no shimmer. These are my favorite of the bunch because the round tip makes them easy to glide along the face. The flat tips of the others are still easy to apply but having the round tip is easier for me to put on the cheeks. My favorite color is 001 but 002 is probably better suited for my skintone. The browns are on the warm side which I found a bit too warm for my nose but for the rest of the face or eyes it’s perfect. Texture is very creamy but natural looking without being too dewy.
I couldn’t fit all the items on my arm so I split them between the contour side and highlighter side with a few added items to compare.
That wraps it up for thoughts and swatches on four brands of contour sticks that are easy to wear and natural looking. My personal favorites are NARS Copacabana/Sidari Beach and Diorblush Light and Contour Duo 001 – but all of the ones I tested are pretty good for that natural contour. In terms of application I put these on the face after foundation and powder. I like putting these on the cheeks in stripes along the side of the face directly from the tube and then either blend with fingers or a duo fibre brush like the MAC 159 or any synthetic brush like the ones in this post here.
Do you have any contouring favorites? If so please share in the comments what your skintone is and your favorite shades or brands. If you haven’t tried contouring and are interested in starting with natural looking products, I hope this post helps you find something new to try!
Press samples include products from Wander Beauty and Dior Beauty.
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.
Today’s post is the last feature on the Tom Ford Soleil color collection for this summer. There are three products for the face including the Soleil Contouring Compact in The Afternooner ($108), Sheer Cheek Duo in Bicoastal ($78) and Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust ($65). Two of the items are new which include the Contouring Cheek Trio and Sheer Blush Duo and one is a repromote which is the Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust. All three will provide a summery look with glow from within kind of feel. Each product has some shimmer in it without being too frosty or overly shimmery.
Soleil Contouring Compact in The Afternooner ($108) has three colors of highlighter, blush and bronzer in one large mirrored compact. The texture of the items is similar to that of the Moodlight Skin Illuminating Duo. It has a powder finish but an almost creamy feel to it. The surface is embossed with a cross-hatch pattern. Application for this is smooth and easy to build. It does not emphasize pores which is a plus. Pigment is medium but easy to sheer out or layer for more color. The colors include a warm golden ivory shimmer, a peachy coral pink satin and a warm bronze matte. Overall this pulled very warm on my skin. It’s not too warm that it turns orange but it is warmer than I expected. Lasting power is very good – I found it stayed put on the cheeks from early morning into late afternoon without fading or darkening.
Sheer Cheek Duo in Bicoastal ($78) is my favorite item in the entire Soleil Collection. This has a similar finish and texture to The Afternooner, but Bicoastal has a bit more shimmer and sheen compared to the trio, but it’s not as frosty as the NARS Dual Intensity Blushes. The colors pull neutral to cool on my skin but brighten the complexion with a soft rosy pink glow. Right now this one is a bit hard to find as it has not yet arrived at most counters yet (at least at the time of this post), but I highly recommend you put this on your list.
Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust ($65) is a repromote. If you missed out on it in previous seasons I recommend you give it a try. It is on the pricey side but one bottle will last you a long time as a little goes a long way. This is a sheer peachy illuminator that I like to use mixed in with foundation or as a subtle highlight on top of powders. It does sheer out a lot so it won’t give the skin a lot of color but it has the prettiest sheen that I find flattering on the skin. On warmer days and in the summer I find my skin gets a bit on the oily side and this is one of the few liquid illuminators I can wear that won’t get too shiny by mid-day.
Close ups of each and lots of comparisons, Soleil Contouring Compact in The Afternooner:
Comparison Set 1 shows how finely milled the shimmer in The Afternooner Trio is. By swatch comparing it to other highlighters, blushes and bronzers hopefully you can see it has a satiny sheen that isn’t overly frosty or overly matte.
Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust has a lot of dupes from other lines and brands that will give you a similar effect. The best thing I find about the Tom Ford is the texture – it’s smooth and non-greasy and has the best feel overall but in terms of color there are a lot of less expensive alternatives.
Swatches straight from the tube and then blended (same colors in each set):
Overall all three perform really well in terms of pigment and how smooth they look on the skin. If you’re looking for a less expensive alternative of The Afternooner you may want to look into the Urban Decay Naked Flushed face trios. In my previous review I’ve mentioned the colors are really good but they emphasize my pores and look chalky on my skin – however I am in the minority with my opinion. The trios work well for most people. I do believe that while the texture and finish of The Afternooner is superior to other face/cheek compacts, the colors can be easily duped so you may want to shop your stash before buying. Having all three in a single compact does make it more convenient and I like that it’s large in size so you don’t have to worry about mixing colors with a brush if you want to layer separately.
The Sheer Cheek Duo in Bicoastal isn’t really sheer like the name implies but the texture is soft and easy to blend which makes it easy to sheer out. I really love the look and finish of this one – the colors are similar to the NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Adoration but the shimmer in the Tom Ford duo is softer and less harsh. Texture of Bicoastal is softer which makes it easier to blend.
Fire Lust is a must in my makeup collection but it is on the sheer side so your mileage may vary on this depending on what kind of pigment or color you are looking for.
In summary I give these a thumbs up – they are easy to use and applying them is pretty much goof-proof. The colors are versatile and will go with a wide variety of looks and can take your beauty look from day to night for that summery natural healthy glow. My opinion is that Bicoastal is the most unique and the highlight of the collection. Had I been able to play with The Afternooner in person before purchasing I would have skipped because I already own a lot of colors similar to the items in the palette. However that being said – if you love Tom Ford beauty products I will say the colors don’t really replicate items individual items in the current Tom Ford line.
MAC just launched four new contouring trios they call All the Right Angles Contour Palettes ($40 each). Each palette has three products cased in a two-tiered mirrored square compact to contour, shape and highlight with one Cream Color Base (4.5 g/0.15 oz) on the bottom, and on the top one Sculpting Powder (2.5 g/0.08 oz) and one Shaping Powder (2.5 g/0.08 oz). All the colors in this launch appear to be available for purchase individually with the exception of one of the Cream Color Bases in the Medium Dark Palette (Naked Universe) – so you may want to keep that in mind before buying one. MAC sent me Light as a press sample which I found too pale for my medium olive skin so I ordered the other three to review – partly because these are perfectly packaged for travel and also because I’m a huge fan of the cream color bases. Many of you have asked me what makeup items I’ve used up. At this point it’s hard to remember every single thing I’ve used up and repurchased, but I have used up several cream color bases in the past (Hush, Tint, Improper Copper, Virgin Isle). I think they make great bases for powder eyeshadow or as a blush highlighter.
Onto the products in each palettes – the quality and texture of the products in the palette is the same as the individual options. For those new these products, I’ll give a mini review on each in case you haven’t tried any of the items before. Cream Color Bases retail for $22 (or $14 in Pro Palette Form). These are emollient solid cream based products that gives a soft dewy finish of color or highlight. They are extremely versatile and can be used on eyes, lips or cheeks and work well on bare skin or over powder/foundation. If you have oily skin you may find they get a bit shiny by mid-day. For my normal combination skin they last all day without fading or budging.
Sculpting Powders are available in several different formats as well. In the past they have been available separately similar to the MAC blushes. As of now they are mostly available in Pro Palette Form for $17 each or in Sculpt and Shape Duos for $22. These are semi-sheer matte powders that are darker in color designed to create natural looking shadows. I find these are best applied with a light and loose fluffy brush and also with a light hand – they go on the skin smoothly but as with any darker colored powder you want to lightly sculpt and build to create natural dimension.
Shaping Powders are lighter in color compared to the Sculpting Powders. They are are available individually in similar formats to the the Sculpting Powders with most of the Shaping Powder shades available in Pro Palette Form. The Shaping Powders have an ultra fine shimmer in them – but on my skin they have more of a satiny finish. The shimmer gives the powders depth and dimension. Finish is semi-sheer but buildable.
When it comes to contouring I’m a less is more kind of girl. I can definitely improve my technique and take more time to carefully contour the face or nose for a more polished look – but in the mornings when I’m in a rush I feel like contouring is an extra step I don’t have time for. I often do add a bit of a darker powder or bronzer as a soft contour applied in loose soft sweeping motions around the edges of my face to add depth, but I rarely take the time to do an actual contour along the cheekbones, nose or eyes. I think proper contouring takes time to blend – it’s something I’m just honestly too lazy to do on a daily basis. If you already own a number of contouring powders (ie from MAC, NARS or Kat Von D) I will say up front that you probably don’t need the new MAC All the Right Angles Contour Palettes as they will replicate what you have. I do appreciate that MAC has launched these in travel-friendly packaging and that they have created four options for different skintones. It simplifies the contour/highlight options based on your skintone to three key shades rather than having a large palette of several colors you may never use.
Onto swatches of the palettes side by side and then close ups of each option:
Cream Color Base in Luna which is a pale white pearl
Shaping Powder in Emphasize a soft white cream shimmer
Sculpting Powder in Bone Beige a soft warm-toned brown
Cream Color Base in Hush which is a champagne peach pearl
Shaping Powder in Accentuate is a peachy cream
Sculpting Powder in Sculpt is a soft brown taupe matte
Medium Dark has:
Cream Color Base in Naked Universe which is a tan gold shimmer
Shaping Powder in Lightsweep is a medium beige pearl
Sculpting Powder in Shadester is a deep medium warm brown
Cream Color Base in Improper Copper which is peachy copper shimmer
Shaping Powder in Warm Light is a medium peach
Sculpting Powder in Definitive which is a neutral deep brown
Many have asked what my MAC shade is – if you’ve read my blog over the years you know that I cannot wear MAC foundations or powder foundations because I’m allergic to their formulas. It’s been at least 5-6 years since I’ve last tried a MAC foundation and depending on what time of year it was that I was matched, I’ve been anywhere from MAC NC30, NC35, C3, C30, C35 to C40. Bottom line is I really have no idea what MAC shade I am – but I’m usually within the medium olive tone range. Right now I’m in between NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Groenland and St. Moritz or a Becca Aqua Luminous in Beige and for the MAC All the Right Angles Palettes, the best one for me is Medium. In Chanel I’m the Velvet Perfection Lumiere in 30 Beige. For Tom Ford I’m best matched to the Traceless Perfecting Foundation in 04 Bisque.
For tools, I like to apply the Cream Color Base with fingers on the eyes or cheeks – it can be a bit messy but it’s what I like best. For the Sculpt or Shaping Powders – the compact is on the small side so taking a large fluffy brush will most likely mix the colors. I’ve found the MAC 116 Blush Brush, MAC 118 Small Duo Fibre or Wayne Goss Brush 02 work best of you want to apply on the cheeks. If you want more detailed highlighting or eye contour – any eyeshadow brush works.
If you’re looking for a simplified contour palette with a shaping powder, sculpting powder and cream highlighter that’s versatile and travel-friendly, these are great. If you already own a lot of contouring products these will probably replicate many of the colors you already own. In terms of contouring powders go I think MAC is on par with the Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Duos for quality and having a natural look – the Marc Jacobs powders are softer and have a more velvetly matte finish while the MAC is harder in texture with a slight shimmer in the Shaping Powders. I feel the texture of the Marc Jacobs is more velvety and powdery and some of the light shades can almost be used as a setting powder for under eyes while the MAC has a more natural less matte look if that makes sense.
For spring Marc Jacobs Beauty released three contouring duos called the #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder ($49 each for 0.31 oz each side) along with the Shape and Contour Blush Brush No. 15 ($38). I’ve put these to the test for a few weeks now and can say that I am extremely impressed. The contouring duos are finely milled powders with a buttery soft texture that melt into the skin. They give a natural contour with medium buildable coverage. Both shades blend flawlessly into the skin without looking cakey, powdery or fake. There is enough color for the shades to be visible on the face but they are soft enough that you won’t be left with any harsh edges.
Top to bottom, Dream Filter, Mirage Filter and Hi Fi Filter
When it comes to contouring I am usually not a fan. I find most powders or creams are good for photographs but in real life I simply find it too harsh (no matter how much I blend). I prefer a soft tan powder or bronzer applied in a 3-shape motion around the edges of my face from temples to chin to create soft dimension. I have friends who are very much into the contouring right now and their biggest challenges they have with contouring include powders darken too much after a few hours or they just end up looking too harsh. If you’re not a contour pro and want something that will define and highlight, the Marc Jacobs #Instamarc duos are the solution to give a goof-proof contour that looks natural and flawless.
Each color has one highlight shade that naturally highlights in a non-shimmery way, and one contouring shade that helps add definition and dimension. Both sides melt into the skin and blend easily. The lighter colors help soften any harsh edges. There are three different colors, all three seem to be designed for the light to medium skin color spectrum:
Dream Filter is pink-toned described as a soft pink / medium bronze
Mirage Filter is cool-toned described as light gold / light bronze
Hi Fi Filter is the darkest with neutral tones described as warm peach / deep bronze
Dream Filter is a soft neutral pink. It resembles NARS Paloma Contour Blush which is more pink (the Marc Jacobs is more neutral and softer). On my skin this is the most natural. Both shades have a satiny finish. They look like mattes in the pan and on the face, but there appears to be a very slight satiny sheen which gives these dimension on the face. If you’re afraid of shimmer, no need to worry, there is no shimmer on the face. On the flip side if you don’t like mattes, these aren’t your typical matte powders. They won’t make the face look flat.
On my medium olive toned skin, Mirage Filter has the sharpest contrast since it has cool-tones. I was worried the light gold/yellow side would be too yellow, but it blends into the skin beautifully without making the skin look sallow. The darker contour side is what I think of when it comes to traditional contour, it’s a cool-toned tan with a very slight hint of grey undertone.
Hi Fi Filter is the darkest option but on the skin it’s the most neutral in tone. This one warms up the skin nicely. It’s the warmest option so if you prefer warm tones on your skin, this is a good one.
Comparisons to some other contouring products and bronzers, below you can see how large the Marc Jacobs compacts are:
Chanel Les Beiges #40 (review here) is quite a bit warmer than any of the Marc Jacobs contouring duos, this one is good to add depth and warmth all over the face
MAC Emote (discontinued) is darker and cooler toned compared to any of the Marc Jacobs duos, it’s also a full matte with no satiny sheen or texture
NARS Paloma Contour Blush (reviewed here) is a pinker darker version of Marc Jacobs Dream Filter, the texture is similar in that it’s also buttery soft and easy to blend
Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer (worn here) is a really good warm bronzer, swatches below make it look orangey by comparison, but on the skin it’s not orangey at all
In addition to the three powders, Marc Jacobs released a brush designed for contouring called The Shape Contour and Blush Brush #15. It’s ultra soft with an extremely sturdy handle. This is the first brush I’ve tried from Marc Jacobs and I thought due to the synthetic material it would be somewhat problematic to use. The bristles are extremely soft but dense and work surprisingly well to pick up quite a bit of powder. It blends product nicely on the face and is soft enough for sensitive skin so there’s no poking, tugging or harsh feeling if you blend.
These are definitely worth looking into. Do note that they swatch much better on the face than they do on the hands. On the hands swatched with fingers they can look a bit chalky. Once you apply with a brush on the face you will be surprised at how smooth they look. The above swatches show that these are on the neutral-cool side compared to some warm bronzers, so if you prefer warmer tones you may want to stick with your regular powder bronzer. Also if you can’t do satiny mattes at all these will be a skip, although I will say you should still give these a look. They don’t look flat, cakey and don’t emphasize pores.
You don’t need all three although I do like each one for different purposes. My top two picks are Dream Filter #20 and Hi Fi Filter #60. Mirage Filter is sharper on my skin because of the cool undertones, it works but I prefer something with a bit more warmth.
The #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powders retail for $49 each and The Shape Contour and Blush Brush No. 15 retails for $38. Both available now at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty.
Have you tried these yet? If you’re a contouring fan what’s your favorite contour?
The Marc Jacobs contour duos and brush were provided courtesy of Marc Jacobs Beauty for review consideration. All other items purchased by me.
Here’s a quick sneak peek at some new items from Marc Jacobs Beauty to which I have two words: nude perfection. In addition to the 20 shades of the Le Marc Lip Cremes released earlier this month, Marc Jacobs also has released a collection of items for lips and cheeks with a nude theme. The new spring items this season:
I will say right now that when they call the lip liners “longwearing” it’s no joke. They last a ridiculously long time and are ultra creamy with super rich pigment. Some of the New Nudes Sheer Lip Gels appear to be repromotes/repackaged shades of the original Lip Gels. I’ll do a swatch comparison of the original vs new of the shades I have to see how close (or how different) they are. Also shown above is the Style Eye-Con 3 in The Ingenue 102 which isn’t new but fit the nude theme so I’ve featured it above.