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Marc Jacobs Beauty

Beauty Lips Roundup

My Favorite Neutral Pink and Nude Lip Liner Pencils

October 7, 2015

 

I’m a neutral nude lipstick lover but I since I have pigmented lips I can’t always pull off nudes. Many tend to either look super pale and chalky like concealer or are too dark on me – I know everyone has a different definition of nude when it comes to makeup, but to me a true nude is a your lips but better kind of color that is light and close to your natural skintone. I adore shades like MAC Cherish, Blankety, Creme Cup etc but they are almost impossible for me to wear alone without looking like I’ve swiped concealer all over my lips. Lip pencils often make it possible for me to wear lighter nude colors with blending or by creating a good softly lined base. If you’ve tried ordering lip pencils online like me then you know how hard it is to tell what the color looks like based on online swatches. I thought I’d roundup 20+ of my favorite neutral lip pencils alongside cult classics (some of which do not work for me even though they are wildly popular). As you’ll see below many times you can’t tell what the color will really look like until you swatch it. Also like nude neutral lipsticks, lip pencils have a wide variety of different undertones: warm, cool, pink, beige, peach, plum and brown.

 

Above photo: Diptyque Room Spray in Baies, Chêne candle recycled (boutique exclusive), stacked Blushes from Chanel and Hourglass 

 

 

A bit of background on what I look for in lip liners. I like ones that are soft and glide over the lips. I’m usually not a line and fill kind of girl when it comes to lip liners. I prefer to wear them around the outer edge and blend it slightly inwards to the center of lips to create an outlined base and then fill with a gloss or lipstick. Since many pencils are super pigmented and super saturated in color to help extend the wear of lipstick, I find lining and filling the entire lip leaves the lips looking really dry and emphasizes lines. This of course can be fixed with a good lip balm, lip primer or gloss.
I have 28 lip pencils to share swatches of, I’ll link previous lip swatches if I have them. I was debating whether or not to swatch all on my lips – but nudes tend to look so different on me compared to everyone else. I think the swatches on the arms will help show the differences.

 

 

 

  1. Le Metier de Beaute Dualistic Lip Pencil in Nudite is a medium pinky brown creamy lip pencil, this one glides on the lips easily and is very pigmented, it has a smooth texture
  2. H&M Lip Liner in Au Naturel is included in the roundup because it’s a new one and the perfect neutral nude color and at $5.99 I couldn’t resist ordering it, on bare lips it’s a disaster for me, you definitely need to prep the lips with a bit of lip balm or primer, this is borderline too pale, but it works
  3. MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Cultured is new to me, it’s a long-wear mauvey nude pink
  4. MAC Lip Pencil in Subculture is my perfect nude pink, it has reached holy grail status for me, I’ve gone through 4 of them in my life, it’s the best light pink nude that is still wearable
  5. MAC Lip Pencil in Oak is a classic light flesh nude, it’s a classic for me because it has no orange undertone in it but doesn’t make me look dead, unfortunately I think it might be on the discontinue list – the only place I could find it was on Bloomingdale’s so I ordered 3 backups
  6. MAC Lip Pencil in Stripdown is another good true flesh nude, it’s brown in undertone and slightly warmer than Oak, it’s a good one but I know many find it too brown/grey
  7. MAC Lip Pencil in Boldly Bare comes second to my favorite Subculture, it’s what I wanted Spice to always be, Boldly Bare is the perfect pinky warm medium nude that works wonders with pale lip colors and glosses
  8. MAC Lip Pencil in Spice is a cult classic that was so popular when I was in high school, every cool girl owned it, on me it was always so brown and pulled orangey on my lips even though it swatches more neutral, I still use and wear it to tweak lip colors, it’s just not my favorite
  9. MAC Lip Pencil in Dervish isn’t really a nude, it’s more of a neutral medium rosy pink, but it falls into the neutral category for me, it’s a classic staple I think everyone should try
  10. MAC Lip Pencil in Whirl is another really good nude, it pulls more mauvey nude rose which I adore, the cool tones prevents it from looking orange or brown on my lips, it has enough depth to really define the lips perfectly
  11. MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Double-Time is a neutral medium warm brown-pink-nude, this lasts all day without budging
  12. MAC Lip Pencil in Soar is a medium to dark pink, it’s a bit darker and deeper on me than the traditional neutral, if you have deeper skin or deeper lips, this will probably pull more neutral on you than it does on me
  13. MAC Lip Pencil in Hover is another deeper neutral, it’s one of the deepest neutrals I own
  14. MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Staunchly Stylish almost matches Subculture but it’s slightly deeper and has a more pigmented finish
  15. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Re-Size and Re-Shape Lip Liner in Iconic Nude is my perfect true nude in the sense that it’s a flesh-toned beige nude, this is a classic pigmented pencil that I think might be a universally flattering color
  16. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Re-Size and Re-Shape Lip Liner in Pillow Talk is a classic rosy pink neutral, this one goes well with a lot of the Charlotte Tilbury Lipsticks like Bitch Perfect, Confession, Penelope Pink etc.
  17. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Re-Size and Re-Shape Lip Liner in Pink Venus is a warm peachy pink, the color warms up the lips and adds life to the face
  18. Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Natural is a classic light neutral pink nude beige, if you’re looking for the perfect beige pink nude, this is it, compared to other formulas Chanel can tug on the lips a little, but they aren’t drying
  19. Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Beige Satin is one of the lightest colors I own, it’s borderline too pale for me, but I like mixing it with beige and nude lipsticks
  20. Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Beige Innocent is another pale pearly lip pencil from Chanel, it’s almost identical to Beige Satin but slightly lighter
  21. Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Nude is a cult classic that has been used on me for every single Chanel makeover I’ve had, it’s always seemed to be darker than what I envisioned a nude to be, but it’s almost magical – artists have used this with every lip color imaginable from red, pink, coral, beige, peach – this somehow transforms and defines lip colors in the most amazing way
  22. Laura Mercier Lip Pencil in Naked is light baby pink neutral, it looks super light on me, but when I blend it out, it evens out the lip tone
  23. Laura Mercier Lip Pencil in Chestnut is another cult classic that is super popular, it’s always recommended for the lipsticks I look at when shopping at the counter, it’s a mauvey warm neutral
  24. Marc Jacobs Beauty (P)Outliner Lip Pencil in Honey(bun) is a super pigmented creamy twist up lip pencil, all three shades of the (P)Outliner are reviewed here, Honey(bun) is a neutral bright peachy color
  25. Marc Jacobs Beauty (P)Outliner Lip Pencil in Prim(rose) is a rosey pink brown neutral
  26. Marc Jacobs Beauty (P)Outliner Lip Pencil in Nude(ist) is a beige brown nude
  27. Edward Bess Defining Lip Liner in Natural is in my top picks for lip pencil formula, it comes in a sleek twist up tube and mine have never dried out, I’ve gone through several pencils, it’s a great go-with-everything kind of neutral, texture is smooth and doesn’t tug the lips
  28. Nudestix Lip & Cheek Pencil in Soul is one of the few chubby pencils I really really like. I own a number of chubby sticks from different brands but always find them a pain to sharpen (they always get so messy). Nudestix has a wide number of great nudes, Soul is my perfect warm peach nude (swatched on lips here)
One more view of all the pencils:

 

 

From the * clockwise, Le Metier de Beaute Nudite, H&M Au Naturel, MAC Cultured, MAC Subculture, MAC Oak, MAC Stripdown, MAC Boldly Bare, MAC Spice, MAC Dervish, MAC Whirl, MAC Double-Time, MAC Soar, MAC Hover, MAC Staunchly Stylish, Nudestix Soul, Edward Bess Natural, Marc Jacobs Beauty Nudite, Marc Jacobs Beauty Primrose, Marc Jacobs Beauty Honeybun, Laura Mercier Chestnut, Laura Mercier Naked, Chanel Nude, Chanel Beige Innocent, Chanel Beige Satin, Chanel Natural, Charlotte Tilbury Pink Venus, Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk, Charlotte Tilbury Iconic Nude

 

 

Truffle Small Clarity Clutch in new Nude
I hope you found this roundup of neutral lip pencils helpful! I think the swatches show how different many of them are even though they look really similar just based on the pencils themselves. If I were pressed to rank my top picks, my absolute favorites/staples are:

 

MAC Subculture
MAC Whirl
Edward Bess Natural
MAC Oak
Chanel Nude
Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk
Do you have a favorite neutral lip pencil? I’d love to hear about what your holy grail neutrals are!
Press samples featured include Marc Jacobs (P)Outliners x3, Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer in Moonglow, Nudestix Soul, Buxom True Nude Lip Foundation, Truffle Clarity Clutch
Base Makeup Beauty Tools

Next Level Foundation Makeup Brushes

September 21, 2015

My friends and I often chat about beauty and since I’m a beauty blogger that tests quite a few things, I’m often asked “what do you think is the best _________?” Foundation brushes were the topic of discussion last month. My top three favorite tools are the Beautyblender Sponges (the pink one, the white and black ones are not as good even though they’re supposed to be the same), Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush and the Tom Ford Foundation Brush. As soon as I said “Tom Ford” ooohs and aaahhs followed by the question, “ok, but how much do they cost?” At $72 each, neither of my friends were willing to splurge. They asked what made the brushes so good and I told them they were the only brushes I’ve tried that applies foundation streak-free and it requires no extra work to blend into the skin. Even though I had tried quite a few, I was tasked with a project to find a cheaper alternative that performed just as well. Suggested brands included Marc Jacobs Beauty, Urban Decay, Chanel and MAC. I have already tried and tested the Chanel #6 and MAC #190, both of which are good, but still give me streaks, luckily both brands have new ones out so I was able to test those. Given the fact that I am super picky about brushes that leave any kind of streaks, I was skeptical I would find anything as good as Tom Ford.

The seven brushes I tested include:

For quick reference, here are the brush tips/tops shown for size reference and shape, same order as what’s shown above:
Foundations I tested the foundation brushes with: Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick (review), NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation (review here), Marc Jacobs Genius Gel (review), Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation (review + swatches), Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation (review)

I went into my local Sephora store to look at the Marc Jacobs Beauty brushes. I have had a really good experience using the Shape and Contour Brush for pressed powders, contouring powders and also foundation. It’s super dense though so it’s better suited for contouring. One of the makeup artists at Sephora recommended the Sephora Pro Full Coverage Airbrush #53 for flawless coverage. She said it’s the best brush she’s ever used – the shape allows you to get in the corners of the nose and blend easily and the wide flat shape allows for full coverage with just a few strokes. There’s also the Mini Size #53.5 and Large Size #53XL for the body/decollete. I liked the look and price of the mini, but the regular size comes with a flip open cap that comes in super handy for storage/travel. It keeps the bristles in tact without coming in contact with other tools so it won’t get kinked or smashed.
In the interest of wanting to see which one was better, I bought both. The artist was right. The regular size #53 is indeed better. It’s larger and fluffier and allows for easier application with a few strokes on the face. The mini is still good but the size requires more brushing back and forth to cover the entire face. I was worried the regular size would be too large or that it would soak up a lot of product, but it actually is the perfect size and doesn’t absorb too much foundation. These are made with Naturon fibers that are made from a synthetic PBT, it feature waves and pointed tips to emulate natural fibers.

I’m truly impressed with how good my foundation looked with these. These give flawless coverage that is completely streak free. I liked these best with liquid foundation (versus stick/creams). Huge huge thumbs up.

Side views of the Mini #53.5 versus Regular #53:

The Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush is something I’ve actually had sitting in my drawer for a while. It was gifted to me earlier this year. I’ve tried some other Urban Decay brushes before including the ones that come in the Naked Palettes. I’m usually not a huge fan of synthetic brushes although I’m slowly trying more and finding some really good ones these days. I put this one to the test. It has an ultra soft feel with a rounded tip. Urban Decay describes this as a vegan brush. The description of this one: “The brush’s handle is made of recycled aluminum, and its synthetic, cruelty-free brush hairs are more hygienic than real hair (but never get that stinky wet-hair smell).” I found it ultra soft and also does an amazing job at blending foundation flawlessly. For the price it’s a really good option, but I can’t call it a favorite for two reasons. The first is there was a bit of shedding before I washed it. The first washing resulted in a tiny bit more shedding but after that it was done. The second hesitation I have in giving this a glowing review is the brush head is a bit small. It’s not bad – it’s still easy to use, but after testing other brushes, I find others easier and better to get full coverage with less strokes and less blending. Still – if you’re looking for something relatively inexpensive and that will blend liquids without any streaks, this is a good option. It blends foundation sticks on the face really nicely too and is super gentle on the skin.

Two of the Marc Jacobs Beauty foundation brushes have been on my wishlist for a long time, but since I was already 100% happy with the Tom Ford Brushes, I decided to pass, but in the end caved to test them. If you’re like me you probably wonder if glowing reviews are often due to hype. In the case of Marc Jacobs Beauty brushes – the hype is real.

The newest brush The Face III Buffing Foundation Brush is on the expensive side but it’s worth every penny. It’s an ultra plush brush with a super dense head and rounded domed tip. It’s dense but still very soft so it allows for easy blending and buffing in a circular motion. It works well with sheer and full coverage foundation. The material helps the foundation meld into the skin in the most amazing way – you get flawless coverage and is 100% streak free and it applies foundation evenly on the skin.

The Face II Sculpting Foundation brush isn’t a new one but it’s new for me. It has a beveled/angled tip that is perfect for sculpting the face. It’s good for all over foundation – the angled tip glides along the sides of your face, temples and cheeks smoothly. Since the tip is slightly angled, it’s skinny along the top and allows for perfect blending along the sides and corners of the nose. It’s perfect for cream bronzer.

Between the two, I can’t pick a favorite – they are both really phenomenal. They both blend liquids and creams flawlessly. I tried them both with liquid and cream foundations. The Buffing Brush is better to blend out stick/solid cream foundations on the face. The Sculpting is also versatile for liquid products and blending out cream bronzers or contouring products.

Side views at different angles to show the tapered shape of the Sculpting Brush:

Last but not least include two of the newest slanted flat top brushes from MAC and Chanel. The MAC Slanted Flat Top Brush #196 was really hard for me to locate – it was sold out almost everywhere I looked but I did find one counter that had one left. I was told that it’s not limited-edition and will be permanent in stores but I’m not 100% sure. This was my ideal pick because it has a large brush head which I prefer for foundation – it allows for less blending. Unfortunately it did leave some streaks – it was easy to blend out but didn’t give a streak-free finish like the others I tested. That being said this brush was designed for the MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation which reminds me of the Armani Maestro Fusion Foundation – both of which are very fluid and thin in texture. I prefer thicker more traditional foundations that are still liquid but not super thin. Perhaps it works better on thin texture foundations.

Chanel just launched a 2-in-1 Fluid and Powder Foundation Brush #8. I’ve tested this for about a week now and think it’s amazing. It’s still on the pricey side but relative to Tom Ford, it’s pretty reasonable. This one glides on the skin perfectly and gives streak-free application. It has a smaller tip compared to the other brushes which means I had to dab and blend 3x as much to cover my entire face. It does seem to soak up a tiny bit more product compared to the other tools but I’m willing to deal with it since the application is so good. I haven’t tested it with powders but for liquids I’m impressed.

Below you can see the MAC has shorter bristles while the Chanel has longer ones:

Side view, you can see the difference in size. I prefer the size of the MAC, but the performance of the Chanel is better.

I’m really impressed with a number of these brushes I tested. I wonder what took me so long to try out the Sephora Pro Full Coverage Airbrush #53 brush (it’s better than the mini version). It’s amazing and at $38 the price is right. Marc Jacobs Beauty of course never ceases to impress me. Both the Face II Sculpting and Face III Buffing Brushes are more expensive and quite a splurge – but they are really well made with sturdy handles and they have a well constructed design. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with either and I don’t think owning both is redundant.

I personally wasn’t a huge fan of the Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush or MAC Slanted Flat Top Brush #196. Both are good brushes for the price. The Urban Decay is a bit too small for my taste although it’s super soft and blends liquids beautifully. The MAC leaves visible streaks and although they are minimal and easy to blend out, I’d rather have something that gives me a flawless finish to save time. The short tip also makes it a bit hard to wash out – the liquids get up into the middle and it took extra work to get completely clean.

The new Chanel #8 Foundation Brush gives a flawless finish and I would say it’s definitely superior to the original #6 Foundation Brush. I don’t gravitate towards small angled brushes because I think they are better suited for detail application. For foundation I want something that will apply product in larger sweeping motions. The #8 is very good though – if you’re in the market for an angled brush this is a good one to look at that won’t break the bank.

In summary, I have found brushes that perform just as well as my beloved Tom Ford brushes at a cheaper price. My top two picks include the Sephora Pro Full Coverage Airbrush #53 (found exclusively at Sephora) and the Marc Jacobs Face III Buffing Brush (found at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty).

I hope you found this roundup helpful! Do you have a favorite foundation brush?

Base Makeup

Current Base Testing Rotation

August 18, 2015

I have a love-hate relationship with foundation these days. The summer sun is impossible to avoid here in Southern California and I’ve gotten a bit of color even with sunscreen. On our three weeks trip to Europe we spent a lot of time outdoors and on beaches – I got 2-3 shades darker. I’ve been trying to stay indoors more since I’ve been home so my tan is fading and I’m in that in-between stage of foundation colors. Some I have to mix to get the right match. These days I’ve been loving sheerer coverage formulas that are more forgiving. They have enough coverage to even the skintone but are sheer enough that you don’t need a 100% exact match.

Another tricky thing about foundation is color matching at the counter. In the past several trips I’ve made to the beauty counters and asked about foundation, the reps have looked at my skin and asked, “do you want to be darker or lighter?” Foundation is supposed to be a close match and I understand it can’t always be exact, but I can’t count the times I’ve been mis-matched at the counter. My solution is to ask to try 2-3 shades on the jawline, side by side and decide for myself. Or just go to Sephora where I know I can shop on my own and swatch at my own leisure.

I have a roundup of some new formulas I’ve been trying out along with a few tried-and-true. Some formulas I’ve found the next shade up is too big of a jump for me to purchase. Here are swatches of all the colors shown above. More detail below by coverage type.

Sheer Coverage

Sheer coverage foundations are something I haven’t been able to wear for a long time, but my skin has cleared up over the past 6 months thanks to skin resurfacing treatments like the Hourglass Equilibrium Biomimetic Night Serum and regular use of clarifying masks from Aesop, Caudalie and Glamglow.
  • I recently received a sample of the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint ($26 for 1 fl oz) in Medium. There is a skin chart online to help determine what color will be your match. I wasn’t sure what to expect – this looks like the kind of product that looks so sheer it might designed for those with near-perfect skin. I’ve tested this for the past month and am really pleased with it. It is truly a skin tint. It’s very sheer so it’s forgiving but it gives the skin that natural healthy glow. It evens out the skin and brightens. I do need to set with powder or powder foundation but it’s really good. It’s lightweight and lasts all day without getting greasy. No breakouts or reaction to the formula either.
  • Armani Luninessence CC Color Control Bright Moisturizer ($52 for 1 fl oz) has been raved about by so many. I know Armani foundations are really well-loved, I like a couple of the formulas but find the color selection very limited in the ones I like (Luminous Silk has the most options and it’s one I cannot wear more than 1 hour without getting greasy-looking). When this product launched I was in between shades. Since I got a bit darker I thought it was the perfect time to try Shade 5. It’s pink-based but very sheer so it adjusts to my skin without looking too pink. I do wish it was a tad bit more olive, or that they released yellow versions of this formula. It gives the skin a natural glow with sheer coverage. It’s on the hydrating side so I think it’s better suited for normal to dry skin. If it had a wider color selection I’d give this a rating of 8.5 out of 10 stars.
  • By Terry Cellularose Moisturizing CC Cream ($86 for 1.41 fl oz) is extremely expensive but in terms of formula for CC creams, it’s the best I’ve tried. It’s very lightweight, very hydrating and sheer but buildable. It gives the skin a well-rested glow look like you just had a facial. I like that it has enough yellow in it for my skintone. Right now it’s a bit light but since it’s sheer I can make it work by dusting a bit of darker powder like Chanel Les Beiges 30 on top. If the next shade up was a good match I would get it, but my rep said there’s a huge jump and that it would be too dark. If you have oily skin I don’t think this is the product for you. For normal to dry skin it’s a great one.
  • Chanel Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid ($45 for 1 fl oz) is a sheer glow product. The colors pull pink but the formula is very sheer so applying this all over gives the skin a warm glow. I like to use this as a base and then layer a heavier coverage foundation on areas that need more coverage. It gives the skin a natural healthy look.
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Medium Coverage

Three medium coverage base products I’ve had in rotation are from La Mer, Charlotte Tilbury and NARS. This is my foundation coverage of choice. I like medium coverage to cover the entire face but something that still has a bit of transparency so if it’s not an exact match it will adjust.
  • La Mer The Reparative Skin Tint ($95 for 1.4 fl oz) is the most I think I’ve ever spent on foundation. Color selection is limited but it’s sheer to medium in coverage and adjusts to the skin after it sets. My closest match is Light Medium 3. It looks pinkish in the swatch but it blends out really nicely. The warmth gives a glow to the skin and makes it glow. When I went to the counter to try this I really appreciated the honesty of the rep who helped me. His initial thought was that I would be in between shades but was really nice and swatched two colors, one on each side. We were both surprised #3 matched. I had one of my friends with me to give a second opinion. She gave it the thumbs up so I bought it. It gives a similar glow to that of the By Terry but it has more pink undertone and it has more coverage. It has SPF 30. I hate to say it but I really love this one.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder ($45 for 1.4 fl oz) is an amazing foundation. It gives the appearance of a youthful glow with perfect medium coverage. It’s thin-to-medium in texture so it feels weightless. It blends into the skin flawlessly and lasts all day long. The downside is the color selection and until now I’ve been in between colors. I swatched #6 and #7 above to show you the jump. If you’re at the counter and look at the shades in consecutive order you may find them confusing. There’s a huge jump in colors and undertones. Right now I’m a perfect match to #7 but I can tell any day I’ll have to mix in a light color to adjust it. If you can find a good color match this one is amazing in formula.
  • NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($43 for 1.9 fl oz) has been my holy grail medium coverage tinted moisturizer for a long time. My go-to shade has been Groenland but over our trip I found St. Moritz to be a better match. I got even darker than St. Moritz however the next shade up is too dark. I still love this formula – it’s the best tinted moisturizer I’ve tried but it doesn’t have that tinted moisturizer feel. It has medium coverage and feels super lightweight. It evens out the skin and looks very natural.
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Medium to Full Coverage

I have a few favorites for medium to full coverage but I can’t wear all of them now with hot humid weather. There are only two that truly hold up to the heat.
  • Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet ($47 for 1 fl oz) has never let me down. In my lightest I wear 20, I’m normally a 30, right now I’m a perfect match to 40. It’s been a long-time go-to for me. It has a perfect velvet finish without looking too matte. It holds up really well in the heat and for the coverage and pigment I’m really happy it doesn’t oxidize or darken.
  • Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Super-Charged Oil-Free Foundation ($48 for 1 fl oz) is my new favorite (tied with the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet). It’s an oil-free foundation that comes in a wide selection of color undertones. I matched myself at Sephora to Golden Medium which is really yellow (I swatched 4 different colors on my face at the store). It’s concentrated but fluid so you only need 1-2 pumps to cover the entire face. It’s lightweight but gives medium to full coverage. It blends out nicely and is easy to layer. I don’t know what took me so long to try it but it lasts all day.
  • Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation ($80 for 1 fl oz) is something I repurchased recently. I’m usually Bisque 4 but it pulls light so I went up to Natural 5. I really adore this for the coverage, color selection and finish. In hot humid weather this time of year it just feels too heavy. It holds up pretty well to the heat but on the skin if I’m outdoors I can feel it.
  • Chanel CC Cream Complete Correction Sunscreen ($55 for 1 fl oz) is another Chanel love of mine. It has a high SPF of 50 and covers the skin really well. I wore this all through spring and have been using it on and off in the summer. In 83+ degree weather it feels thick on the skin although it holds up well and looks good. I’ll be saving this for cooler days. It still works on warm days I just prefer something that feels more lightweight.
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Overall my top three picks for right now include the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet, Marc Jacobs Genius Gel and Glossier Skintint. The La Mer follows close behind but due to the price and limited color selection I don’t know how likely it is I will repurchase once I finish it up. NARS is almost always at the top of my list but I don’t have a color match. Do you have a summer favorite right now? If yes, please share!

The Glossier Skintint was provided as a courtesy sample for review consideration. All others purchased by me.

Men's Grooming Monthly Favorites

July Beauty and Grooming Favorites

August 1, 2015

The month of July has flown by so quickly I can’t believe it’s already over. It’s been a while since I’ve shared my monthly favorites so I decided to try something new – I’ve compiled a list of favorites in skincare, haircare, makeup and grooming in a his and hers edition. My husband has always been a well-groomed man and likes testing new things but is very particular about smells, textures and performance. He will research products to death before he splurges on grooming products so I always try to bring him home samples to try when I shop at Sephora or Nordstrom. When he saw me gathering a pile of products for this post, he said wanted to participate by sharing a few of his favorite grooming products too. I hope you enjoy this roundup of favorites we’ve been testing for the past month!

First up for me include fragrance, body, skin care and hair care favorites.

  • It was love at first smell with L’Artisan Mûre et Musc Eau de Toilette. This tiny Coffret Miniatures Set is the cutest thing ever with my two favorites the Mûre et Musc and Las Chasse Papillons. It’s too small to have a spritzer so you
    have to dab it on the skin but it’s perfect for a clutch or
    small bag.
  • For body I’ve been loving the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse for a dry body oil. It absorbs into the skin quickly and has an amazing smell. You can often find the deluxe minis online from https://us.nuxe.com/ – they have lots of good promos from time to time.
  • For the face I’ve been loving the First Aid Beauty Vitamin Hydrating Mist. It’s hard to describe the smell but it is very fresh and slightly sweet/citrusy. It makes the skin feel nice and hydrated and has a lightweight feel.
  • Beautylish has finally started carrying the travel sized Bioderma Sébium and Sensibio H20 Cleansing waters separately. They are the perfect size and price to try them out before buying the full sized versions. I’m obsessed with mini sized beauty products – these are beyond cute.
  • The Drybar Mudslide Hair Mask is the most incredible hair treatment that I’ve tried. I bought mine from Sephora in store (I don’t see it online, but it is available as a mini in this set). It leaves the hair super soft and silky. After I use it I can air dry my hair without it getting frizzy (no hair dryer or flat iron needed). I use it as a weekly treatment.
  • R+Co is a new brand I’ve been experimenting with. I picked up two of the items from Space NK and the Moon Shine Shampoo and Conditioner are among the best I’ve tried ever. It cleans the hair really well and leaves it feeling well hydrated, soft and shiny smooth without being too heavy. It leaves the hair feeling bouncy and weightless all day long. Since it is a hydrating product I wouldn’t recommend it for daily use but I like it 2 to 3x per week (I wash my hair daily but alternate shampoos). It smells amazing with a mix of orange, cardamom, fig, guava and amber. It sounds like a lot but it’s not too sweet or rich in scent.

My husband’s name is Andrew. He’s always been a well-groomed man for which I am really grateful. For his group of favorites, he’s tested a few new brands in shaving and also pulled out some tried and true staples to share in this month’s roundup. In case you shop for any of the men in your life, he says he hope this is helpful for gift ideas or recommendations if they are looking for something new to try.
  • The L’Occitane Cedrat Stick Deodorant is an alcohol-free and aluminum salts-free deoderant (two of the things he checks for on the ingredient list). This one from L’Occitane lasts all day and smells really good. It doesn’t make his skin peel or feel oily. The entire Cedrat line has a good mix of masculine citrus and wood.
  • For skin his go-to moisturizer is the Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturizer with SPF 20. He uses this daily and it leaves the skin feeling hydrated and soft. It dries down to a nice feel so there is no oily or greasy texture and absorbs into the skin quickly. He does wish it came with a higher SPF but so far it’s the best one he’s tried and he’s stuck with it for quite some time.
  • For shaving, two brands have been in rotation. First his regular go-to is the L’Occitane Cade Plisson Razor + Shave Cream Duo. His quick take on each:
    • The L’Occitane Shave Cream is the best he’s tried because it’s thick, it lathers up well, and it keeps the blade from touching his skin. According to my husband, the cream is gentle with a clean scent and doesn’t break out his skin.
    • The L’Occitane Plisson Razor is crafted in France and comes with wood, chrome and brass handle. These come with the Gillette Blades that are easy replace. He likes the look of the wooden handle and the shape is tapered and long so it fits well into his large hands and won’t slip while he shaves.
  • Harry’s Shaving Sets come in several options. He tried the Truman Set which is priced at $15. It includes 1 Truman Razor Handle, a 3.4 oz shave cream, 3 German Engineered Blade Cartridges and 1 Travel Blade Cover. The packaging and presentation for the price point is all on point. According to my husband, he believes this is truly is the best shaving set for the price (he says drugstore prices can’t even beat all that is in the box for $15).
    • The Truman Razor is well designed and even though the handles are plastic, it’s very good quality with some weight to it so it doesn’t feel cheap. He likes the modern look and design and the blades are good for the price but not quite as sharp as Gillette.
    • The Shave Cream is ok – the packaging is on point and it does the job but it has a slight menthol scent and isn’t as thick as the L’Occitane (which gives him a better shave). He still thinks it’s definitely worth trying out. He ordered the Foaming Gel to give it a try.
  • For scent, his go-to these days is the Chanel Bleu de Chanel. He likes the travel size because it’s easy to carry in his briefcase and also doesn’t take up a lot of space on his desk at his office. He says it’s got a good masculine scent (that’s all he gave me for the description, lol).
  • For the hair, his favorite styling product is the Drybar The Chaser Shine Pomade. He’s claimed several of my tubes as his own. He likes this because it’s lightweight and keeps the hair looking groomed and soft. It helps manage his hair without feeling or looking greasy. I agree with him and like how it adds shine and makes the hair soft – it lasts all day and leaves the hair feeling soft. Because we use it daily, we’ve gone through around 8 tubes already.
  • Last but not least he’s obsessed with the Muji clear flat zip pouches. The website is under construction but the options we bought are shown here. He likes the texture and feel.
That wraps up our July favorites for beauty and grooming. As always I would love to hear what your favorites were for the last month. If you have any recommendations for men grooming products my husband says he is open to suggestions! Also if any of you or if the men in your life know of any good men’s grooming blogs – please shoot me an e-mail or let me know in the comments below 🙂

This post features some items that were sent for review consideration including the Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquers, Harry’s Truman Set, L’Occitane Cedrat, Clarins Lip Perfectors and Burberry Shell Eyeshadow. All other items purchased by me.

On My Radar

On My Radar / New In Beauty

July 29, 2015

Happy Wednesday everyone! I have a roundup of new beauty releases on my radar. I was planning to share this tomorrow but there’s a super special amazing deal that can’t wait. Fall collections are trickling in and the new releases look amazing. My first post will be on NARS fall (which is incredible) and I’m currently swatching my picks from Chanel. Several have asked for the post on my travel carry-on contents – I promise to have it up as soon as I can! I’m editing the photos today and tomorrow. Here’s what’s on my radar from the top left then clockwise:

Sephora Pro has launched a collection of 5 brushes in the hakuho-do + SEPHORA PRO Brush Collection. Each brush comes encased in a beautiful rich red box. The brush tips are a pale white and grey color. Handles are lacquered in a shiny red with silver embossed labels. The presentation is just phenomenal. I’m testing the brushes this week and hope to have a review with first impressions soon.

Tom Ford Beauty has some amazing things coming out this fall. I’m most excited about the Skin Illuminating Powder Duo (currently available for pre-order, I’ve ordered it). I’m also intrigued by the Skin Primers that come in a Pink and Peach version.

One of my BFFs shared her love about Korean Skincare Peach and Lily over the weekend. She ordered some of the Cremorlab Sheet Masks and said “you need to try them.” She has super sensitive skin and also knows her ingredients as she works in product development and closely with chemists. If she says something is good I trust her 100% – I’m ordering a few over the weekend. If you have any recommendations I’m all ears!

For Chanel fall I’m obsessed with the new Le Vernis shades in Vert Obscur, Ecorce Sanguine and Chataigne. Two are very very dark but they are perfect for fall. The new Les 5 Ombres de Chanel is to die for. My personal favorites are the four new Stylo Yeux Eyeliners.

Fresh has a new Limited-Edition Rose Face Mask launched to celebrate their 15th Anniversary. They’ve teamed up with London-based artist Jo Ratcliffe to create a beautiful special-edition floral design for the packaging. It’s gorgeous.

Guerlain Fall isn’t expected to arrive until next month but there is a new Terracotta Bayadère Face & Eyes Contour Palette that has caught my eye. I need to check it out immediately.

Marc Jacobs Beauty has three new face products that just launched. I need the Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer for sure. It wasn’t on display at my Sephora last week but I hope to check it out soon. There is also a new Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate and a a new brush to go with it called The Face III Buffing Foundation Brush.

Armani has a new Luminous Silk Powder Foundation. I’m a 6.5 in the Luminous Silk and was matched to shade 4 at the counter. I’m not entirely sure it’s the right match but I’m giving it a go anyways. The other colors in the 5, 5.5 and 6.5 range looked very pink to me. I’ll report once I’ve given it a proper test.

Tatcha just launched a new Pore Perfecting Suncreen with SPF 35 (also available in a travel size). I’m really anxious to try this as I’ve been testing sunscreens all summer long. I have high hopes for this one.

Last but not least, many thanks to a couple of my readers who let me know Diptyque is on Hautelook for a limited time. There are a few select pieces available – but the deals are really good and it’s worth a look. I bought two of the Lilac pillars although now I need a photophore to store it. This is my first time ordering from Hautelook.

What’s on your beauty radar this week?

Uncategorized

My Favorite Lipsticks of All Time

July 29, 2015

In honor of National Lipstick Day I’ve compiled a mini guide covering my absolute favorite lipsticks. I’m a your-lips-but-better kind of girl when it comes to lip color, but I like playing with all kinds of textures, formulas and finishes. A lot of women ask me what’s the one lipstick I would recommend. My answer is usually, “well, it depends …” The right lipstick really does depend on what you are looking for. Sheer or full-coverage? Matte or glossy? Neutral or bright? The options and types of lipstick available today is mind-blowing. I’ve split my favorites into several different categories. It was really difficult to narrow down my picks – I’ve tested dozens of brands and formulas, many of which are all very good. This is my edited list of tried-and-true.

Colors shown in above photo: Tom Ford Lip Color in Blush Nude, NARS Audacious Lipstick in Viviene, Burberry Beauty Kisses in Tulip Pink, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Intrepide, Edward Bess Lip Color in Island Blossom, Marc Jacobs Beauty New Nudes Sheer Lip Gel in Anais

So many lip products are scented. A lot of my readers are super sensitive to any fragrance in lip products. I too have a sensitive nose but don’t mind certain scents like vanilla, rose (in small doses), fig or mint. I think most lipstick I’ve tried have some kind of scent or another. Finding a fragrance and taste-free lipstick with a smooth hydrating feel is a challenge, but the newly launched Burberry Kisses Hydrating Lip Colors are hands down the best ones I’ve tried. They come in a wide range of colors from nudes, rose pink, plum, coral, reds, brick and berries. There is literally a shade for everyone. The colors are shimmer-free (at least the ones that exist now). They cover the lip entirely and the color is easy to build. Full review + swatches in this post here.

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If you’re looking for a full coverage lipstick that has super rich pigment but one that won’t leave the lips looking flat or dull, there are three formulas that I am obsessed with. First is the the NARS Audacious Lipsticks. There is a wide range of colors available. If you love neutral lip colors, there are tons of options. Many look similar but NARS created them with slight variations in undertone so you’re bound to find at least one neutral that will work whether you have pink, yellow, olive undertones. My top picks: Raquel, Anita, Barbara and Julie. Review + swatches on lips here. Note that most of the shades can be found at most NARS counters, however 10 of them are exclusive to narscosmetics.com and Barneys New York (Vanessa, Julie, Carmen, Ingrid, Dominique, Kelly, Sandra, Vivien, Silvia, Marisa).

Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipsticks also have an amazing rich full coverage finish. They are super pigmented and very rich so they do require some blending or a tiny bit of blotting. She has some amazing neutrals and the perfect 90s pink-brown shades along with really good pinks and nudes. My top two favorites: Confession and Penelope Pink. Swatches of my picks here. Note these do have a vanilla scent.

Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Cremes have the most incredible opaque full-coverage formula. The finish is flawless and lasting power is very impressive. The color range is for those who prefer the bold lip. The range contains a lot of bright and deep colors. Swatches of the entire lineup in this post here. My top three picks are Infamous, Boy Gorgeous and Blow.
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Above Tom Ford Lip Color Sheers Skinnydip and Rose Soleil
YSL Rouge Volupté Shine #8, Volupté Sheer Candy #14, Volupté Shine 22, Volupté Sheer Candy #15
Chanel Rouge Coco Shines Confident and Intime

My personal lipstick formula of choice is usually glossy and semi-sheer. I find sheer lipsticks more forgiving on the lips so you don’t need a super precise application. They are easy to swipe when you’re on the go and the sheer glossy finish usually means fading is more gradual and natural. My top four sheer lipstick formulas are with brands that have a lovely shine and sheen with the perfect hint of color.

YSL Rouge Volupté Shines and Volupté Sheer Candy Glossy Balms are a classic staple. The Rouge Volupté Shines have a cushiony feel with a wonderfully soft but sweet grapefruit candy scent. It’s sweet but not overly sweet. Colors have medium lasting power because they are super glossy but have decent pigment for a sheer lipstick. My favorite shades are #8, #9 (swatched here) #22 (shown above third from the left) but really all the shades are amazing.

Volupté Sheer Candy Glossy Balms are super sheer and give the slightest wash of color but leave the lips glossy and pretty. I like the bright ones because they give the lips a nice soft wash of color that is bright but the sheerness tones down the color so it really gives them a natural tint. My top picks are #1, #9, #15-17 (#15 through 17 swatched and reviewed here).

Tom Ford Lip Color Sheers = pure luxury. Four shades were introduced for summer: two repromoted in Paradisio and Sweet Spot and two new shades in Skinnydip and Rose Soleil swatched here. I like these because they have a lot of color even though the formula is sheer. The brights are very bright but the neutrals are just amazing. I brought along Skinnydip and Rose Soleil with me on my month long trip to Europe and they were perfect for the entire trip.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine always a favorite among my friends. This is the ultimate sleek modern chic lipstick. The formula is lush and glossy. It’s the ultimate swipe and go kind of no-fuss lipstick. There is a shade for everyone in this line. I would be hard pressed to pick just one shade, if I did, I would say for light to tan skintones Boy is a classic.
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I don’t usually like liquid lipsticks. I find the finish to be drying or cakey but the one exception is Dior Addict Fluid Sticks. Some may say they are more of a gloss, but others say it’s a lipstick + lipgloss hybrid. I put them in the liquid lipstick category because the coverage and finish is super opaque like a lipstick. They go on like a gloss but it thickens a bit once it dries and has rich coverage like a lip color. There have been a number of shades released for summer and fall. I’m working my way through testing some, but the original shades are amazing. Lip swatches here.

Marc Jacobs New Nudes Sheer Lip Gels have a unique gel formula. They are called sheer but they aren’t really all that sheer. The pigment and coverage is medium to full but you can control coverage easily. My favorite neutral is Role Play but there are a number of great nudes and corals in the line. Swatches + review of all the colors here.
 
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Last but not least, my personal top picks for the ultimate luxury lipstick. I know each person has their own favorite. Edward Bess has been a long time favorite. His lipsticks are perfectly creamy and go on the lips flawlessly. They have a natural shine with rich pigment. Each of his lipsticks contains the most perfect lush fig scent. Rose Demure is the perfect neutral rose. Island Blossom is the best bright peachy coral ever. Pure Impulse is my holy grail nude. (I love Island Blossom + Pure Impulse layered together.)

Tom Ford Lipsticks are amazing in all the formulas. The regular Lip Color is my favorite with Pink Dusk and Spanish Pink being at the top of my list (Pink Dusk is swatched here). The Tom Ford Lipsticks have this super rich super pigmented formula that I find unique. It provides coverage to the entire lip with lasting power that stays put from morning to night. The Lips & Boys from last holiday was pure genius. Most of the colors have sold out but you can still find some online. my personal favorites are Peter, William and Luca. Peter is the prettiest nude shimmer. These are some of the most expensive lipsticks on the market but in my mind they are worth every penny if you can splurge.

Surratt Beauty Lipsliques are something I’ve been accumulating one at a time since they launched at Sephora. I have a review of two shades Gamine and Hevyn here but have added 3-4 more colors over the past few months. Given the size and amount of product you get, these lipsticks are extremely expensive but the formula is phenomenal. It’s a richly pigmented glossy lipstick in a sleek twist-up tube. Gamine is nude peach perfection. Hevyn is nude pink mauve perfection. There’s no tweaking required with these – they are that good.

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I hope you enjoyed this roundup of my favorite lipstick formulas. As always I would love to hear about your favorite lipsticks. Do you have a favorite formula or color that you’re obsessed with?
The Marc Jacobs Beauty Lipsticks were provided courtesy of Marc Jacobs Beauty for previous collaborations. All others purchased by me.

Uncategorized

Peachy Makeup Loves

July 26, 2015
Right now I’m obsessed with peachy makeup for lips and nails. All variations from peachy nudes, lush peachy apricots and bright coral peaches. Anything with peach is actually a staple for me – the color is almost a neutral to me because I find it goes with everything, almost every occasion or any color outfit. I’ve pulled a few of my favorites that I have had in rotation this summer.

Lips: Clarins, NARS, Tom Ford, Smith & Cult, Marc Jacobs Beauty, YSL and Fresh

  • Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector Sticks (c/o) have been in regular rotation. I’ll have a review of all six shades hopefully this next week. All the colors have the perfect amount of color and shine for a tinted lipbalm. 02 Coral is a sheer light peach.
  • NARS Chelsea Girls Lip Gloss (c/o) is a new shade for fall, it was previously in pot form. It’s now in tube form and seems a bit deeper in color compared to the original making it more wearable.
  • Tom Ford Skinnydip Lip Color Sheer is my favorite peachy nude gold shimmer, it makes the lips look shiny and naturally full.
  • Smith & Cult Her Name is Bubbles is something I’ve been testing out. I ordered 3 glosses, so far the gloss in Her Name is Bubbles is my favorite, it’s a bright coral in the tube but goes on the lips a sheer lush peach. It smells like soft vanilla.
  • Marc Jacobs Uproar (c/o) is the prettiest sheer peach sparkle. It has an ultra luxe cushiony texture that feels super moisturizing on the lips. Review and swatches of all Enamored Hi Shine Lip Lacquers in this post here.
  • Tom Ford Lips & Boys in William is a high shimmer warm gold peach nude. The frost factor is high but I like it. If you can’t do high shimmer frosts, try Skinnydip instead.
  • YSL Pop Water Glossy Stain in Wet Nude is the best sheer nude peach gloss ever. (Swatches and review of more colors here.)
  • Fresh Sugar Lip Shines now come in more shades, Sugar Nude is a sheer peachy nude shimmer with a high shine finish.

Lip swatches of a few of the colors:

Nails: Dior, Smith & Cult, Chanel and Essie

  • Dior Sunkissed is the prettiest peach nude I’ve ever tried. It’s super flattering and brightening on the hands without looking too pale, too pastel, or too peach.
  • Dior Majesty was released in the US as a Nordstrom Anniversary Beauty Exclusive. It’s a brighter peach but still a soft color. Against a tan it makes the hands look darker but it’s a fun bright peach without being too bright.
  • Smith & Cult Ghost Edit is a super sheer glossy nude peach. It took three coats for me to get the color to show. It’s a nice glossy neutral that lets the whites of your nails show through. The look is polished and natural.
  • Essie Sunday Funday is such a pretty coral peach with a tiny hint of shimmer. For the price, the pigment and color is really good. I have yet to find a good base/top coat combination that makes an Essie nail polish last more than 3 days on me (I am still getting major tip wear by day 2). But the colors are fun to wear and affordable.
  • Chanel Mirabella is my favorite orange peach. I’m glad it hasn’t been discontinued even though it was released last year. It’s a pretty bright orange.

What’s your favorite peachy lipstick, lipgloss or nail polish?
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