I’m a sucker for minis so when I saw the Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Nude Lip Set ($28, limited-edition) it didn’t take me long to buy one. It sold out online but just restocked so if you haven’t seen it yet I hope these swatches will either help you decide to splurge or save $$$. I also got their Beauty Insider Birthday Gift and redeemed my points for a Tarte mini so I thought I’d round them all up in one post here.
The Sephora Favorites sets have a lot of great options to sample products in mini sizes. I have my eye on the Ultimate Travel Bag because it looks like it has a little bit of everything. I bought and reviewed their spring version back in January. The one for summer is just as fun. Quick note first – the current set still comes with the black stuffing, but I swapped it out for some white stuffing I had from a different set simply because it was easier to see the product.
How cute are the minis?! (On the nails is Essie Spin the Bottle)
Inside the Give Me Some Nude Lip Set you get 6 lip products, all are minis except for the Urban Decay lip which is full-sized:
Tarte Lingerie Lippie Matte Tint in Revealed is a mocha brown shade. I love the formula, pigment, texture and finish – I just found the color too dark for my personal preference. It’s a smooth finish chubby stick with a semi velvety finish. It says matte but it’s not flat looking and feels super lush on the lips. I will definitely try to check out other shades in this formula.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Kristen is one of my favorite opaque glosses, I already own it in the full size. It’s a neutral pinky brown color and perfect for any occasion. I love the rich opaque pigment and high shine. The color is just perfect.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi Shine Lip Lacquer in Sugar Sugar is a light nude champagne color. For me this one is best when worn over another lipstick or liner. Alone it has a sharper contrast to my natural lip tone making it look like I have a dark rim around the lips when I wear this because my lip shows through. The glosses in line have a lush cushiony feel without the tacky sticky finish.
Too Faced Lip Injection Glossy in Spice Girl is probably the most painful lip product I’ve ever tried. Tingles scare me because I’ve tried a few in the past where my lips literally flare up from an allergic reaction. This one started to sting within 10 seconds in such a sharp burning manner. I couldn’t wear it long enough to test because it hurt so much. I had it on probably 5 minutes just swatching and photographing it. The color and finish is really pretty but I just couldn’t tolerate the tingle.
NARS Velvet Lip Glide in Bound is another one I own in the full size. I definitely should have read the labels on the box to see if I already owned most of these, but the minis got me. This one is a perfect soft mauve color. It has the word “velvet” in it but on me these still have a slight sheen to them.
Urban Decay Vice Waterproof Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick is a full size metallic rose color. I’ve tried this one before and it was a total fail for me. The color dried on the lips in a way that make them look dried out and shriveled. In the past when I tested this one it dried out my lips so bad they peeled for several days after. They do last a long time as in they don’t budge all day long so if you don’t have sensitive lips this formula might be worth a try. Based on my one experience with this color though I’m passing on all the rest.
Next are some Beauty Insider Perks. This year you have a couple options for the Beauty Insider Birthday Perk. You can pick between skincare from Caudalie and makeup from Tarte. I opted for the Tarte options but in reality I should have gone with the skincare as they would have been perfect to travel with. The Tarte set comes with the Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Paaarty (1.5 g/0.05 oz) and a Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Birthday Suit (1 ml/0.034 fl oz). Both are really pretty neutrals, the blush is a matte pink brown and the lip paint is a creamy nude pink that doesn’t wash me out. I also picked up a mini Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint in Rose (1 ml/0.034 fl oz) as a 100 point perk. I actually already own this one in the full size but couldn’t resist the mini. It’s a warm rose peachy color on me. I’m not the biggest fan of matte lips or matte liquid lipsticks but the colors from Tarte are pretty good and I can add a bit of balm or gloss on top.
In summary I like Tarte Birthday Suit enough to consider buying the full size. It’s a good neutral nude color that works for my skin tone and doesn’t wash me out. For the Give Me Some Nude Lips set turns out I like the colors I already own the best (NARS Bound, Marc Jacobs Sugar Sugar and Anastasia Kristen). The others were nice to try and even though I didn’t like the colors or formula so much at $28 it was worth it for me to try. That being said $28 could still have gone towards a full size gloss or lipstick that I really wanted – but I never use the lip testers in store on my lips because of all the germs so sometimes it’s hard to guess what a color will look like. I’ll swatch lip products on my hand and then hold it up to my face to see if I can kinda tell what it will look like, but I’m one who cringes when I see others using store testers on their lips.
Bottom line not a total win, but not a total fail either. You can find the Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Nude Lip set at Sephora. It’s limited-edition and they’ve launched a few variations over the past few seasons.
Have you picked up any Sephora Favorites sets lately? If so which sets did you try and what did you think?
Mini lip products are my weakness and for spring Sephora launched a new Sephora Favorites set called Give Me Some Nude Lip ($28 for a $88 value). It has six lip colors from different brands with a mix of four minis and two full sized products. To me the color theme seems to have some more mauves and neutral pinks rather than all nude shades but I really like all the colors.
In this set you get:
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Honeycomb (0.05 oz/1.55 g) which is a perfect creamy beige, it has full opaque creamy coverage, also reviewed in this post here
Marc Jacobs Beauty Le Marc Lip Creme in Slow Burn (0.05 oz/1.7 g) I have the liquid version reviewed here which I adore, I thought I had the lipstick version but after checking my stash I found I did not, this has full opaque creamy coverage
Buxom Full-On Lip Cream in White Russian (0.07 oz/1.55 g) is a sheer white beige gloss that plumps up the lips and has a slight tingly sensation, on me it doesn’t sting but I definitely feel the cooling effects and it has a noticeable tingle, this has a high shine and semi-thick texture but isn’t goopy, also swatched here
Too Faced Melted Matte Liquidified Matte Long Wear Lipstick in Queen B (0.08 oz/2.3 ml) is a soft light pink mauve, it’s a formula I had been curious about for a while so this set was the perfect way for me to try it, the color is wearable on me for a cool-toned shade and I liked that it didn’t dry to an overly matte finish
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in 1993 Comfort Matte (0.11 oz/3.4 g) comes in a full size, it’s a brown shade with a very slight cool undertone, this did indeed feel comforting on the lips and even though it’s matte, it had a soft looking finish that didn’t feel or look dry, based on this I may give the lipsticks another go (from my first experience I found a different finish very dry)
Estee Edit The Barest Contour Lip Liner in In the Buff (0.009 oz/0.25 g) is a pretty nude rose, I have semi mixed feelings about this one, as a liner it’s medium-sheer so it won’t give full coverage, but it has a smooth texture that is easy to use and doesn’t tug if you line the edges of your lip, I love the color and the finish for a truly bare kind of liner that won’t look too done up, most of my liners though usually have more pigment, but I do think this is one I could get used to
It can be easy to get suckered into value sets or palettes. I usually try to stick with a rule that if there are 2 shades I don’t think I’ll use then I’ll try to pass. Sets are easier for me to justify because I can always gift away portions to friends. In this case the $28 price point didn’t seem like it would break the bank and the set had items I was interested in trying. I already have Honeycomb and White Russian but didn’t mind having another one of each, especially since they are minis.
For those wondering if you need both the Marc Jacobs Beauty Slow Burn Le Marc Lip Creme Lipstick and Liquid, the colors are identical. The liquid is more opaque with a glossy sheen while the lipstick has a more matte/satin finish. I would say it’s a tough pick – right now I have a slight preference for the liquid version, but they are both excellent.
To me the only real “nude” is Bite Beauty Honeycomb but I know everyone has a different take on what they think the color should look like. Overall I think the set has a great mix of shades that are neutrals but they are all very different from each other.
If these colors are up your alley then I think this is a great buy – you’ll use up all the colors because of the size and it’s a great way to try six formulas and brands at an affordable price. If not then I’d say save the $ for something you think you’ll really love.
Happy Friday everyone! In the “what would you like to see” survey posted a few giveaways ago, an overwhelming number of you requested I do more haul posts. I tend to buy things in little bits here and there – with free shipping or affordable rush shipping, it’s easy to place several orders as I think about things rather than do a larger one-time haul. Sometimes I’ll see something in store and decide to wait and think about it and then a few days later I decide to buy it. July was a very pricey and spendy month due to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I already did two haul posts on my picks (here and here) – since it only happens once a year and there were so many good exclusives/value sets I could justify the extra haul. I also found a lot of little things at Sephora so I’ve combined my recent picks into a haul post.
Up first are Nordstrom picks, some are non-sale items:
My Nordstrom hauls, mostly from online orders:
Antica Farmacista Santorini Reed Diffuser – I discovered the Acqua Reed Diffuser as shown in this home luxuries post and fell in love. Several of you told me there were a number of options on sale at Nordstrom. I bought five variations of the 8.5 oz version. I haven’t opened any of them yet – for those who use these, do you use one at a time completely before opening another one? Unlike candles, I suspect you can use for a little bit and store away since the reeds become completely soaked with the oils?
Ivanka Trump Ellyn Lace Up Sandals in Rich Chestnut suede are super comfortable and I found them to be true to size. The color is just a tiny bit darker than the stock photo but very close, heel is at 2.5 inches which makes them easy to walk in and 100% pain-free (at least for me).
Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder in Telluride is actually something I ordered from Sephora, but accidentally put it with the Nordstrom haul, it’s a luminous soft pink with a very pearly finish, full review next week.
Louboutin Loubilaque in Akenana and Bikini (not on sale), based on the good performance I saw with the Rouge Louboutin Loubilaque, I decided to order a few other shades, I haven’t tested them on my lips yet because I swatched a number of other lip products the past couple of days and one item ruined my lips so I’m waiting for them to rebalance/recover.
YSL Vinyl Lip Cream in 404, 407 and 412 are items I was really excited to try. I adore the Glossy Stains (reviewed here and here) and a cream version just sounded like a dream come true. 407 and 412 worked perfectly like a lightweight stain but in creamy form. 404 gave me a WTF moment – it was extremely streaky and for some reason turned my bottom lip bright red, almost like a reaction but there was no tingle, sting or odd feeling. It’s now about 24 hours after I lip swatched it and my lip is still red. I tried makeup remover, cleanser and a very gentle rub with a washcloth – it’s the oddest thing!
Vince Camuto Drape Front Blazer is something I stalked the web for the anniversary sale, it went out of stock in Size 0 and 2 but restocked. I’ve been searching for a white blazer for a long time and this has a drapey flowy fabric that feels comfortable. It’s a tiny bit long in the arms for me, but fits the shoulders well – it will need minor alterations for me, but I really like it.
Vince Camuto Feina Booties are items I ordered as well, my local store was sold out, but they found them for me and had them shipped to my home. This is the first time I’ve tried Vince Camuto boots so I don’t know how they size compared to other styles. The sales associate recommended I size down since in her experience they run big. Size 6 fits like a glove with room for thin socks.
Hudson Nico Ankle Super Skinny Jeans are very comfortable and they fit like a glove. The fabric is thick enough to be sturdy but not stiff so these feel good to wear. I’m normally one who opts for Paige, but I was really pleased with these. The raw hem gives them an edgy look. As one who is short, these are the perfect length that I don’t need them hemmed.
One more look at the Hudson Nico Jeans (top is an older style silk tee from J.Crew, shoes worn are by Stuart Weitzman which run large on me so I take these in a 6):
Up next are the Sephora haul picks:
Sephora Play! July box contents includes minis of Benefit Dew the Hoola, Ouai Wave Spray, Smashbox Photofinish Foundation Primer, First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser, NEST Citrine Perfume and Beautyblender Blottertazzi, I have yet to try everything in last month’s box, but Dew the Hoola is swatched here
Bare Minerals GEN NUDE Radiant Lipstick in Strip is a medium nude pink beige – finally balmy glossy lipsticks that have pigment! I picked up two shades (yes, they look almost identical) and love love love the way these feel and look, they’re effortless kinds of nude with the feel of Chanel Rouge Coco Shines but more pigment.
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Trance is a gorgeous pinky mauve shimmer, formula feels a bit thick and dry without a base but it does stay put on the lips, I’ll need to experiment more with bases on this one. It’s not drying, it just looks a bit dry if that makes sense.
Formula X Color Curators in Makeup by Rose XOXO Edition in Mahhveous Rose, Puffin! and Acoustick Dreams, these look gorgeous for fall, I’ll have swatches of all three shades soon.
Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation in Nude which is one shade darker than Warm Ivory but too dark for my skintone. Warm Ivory is a better match, but if I mix both shades the match is a 100% exact match.
Kat Von D Lock-It Creme Concealer in M19 and M27 – I matched myself in store and can’t believe I braved using a tester on my face in store. When I applied it my skin was a bit dewy as it was late afternoon and hot. It blended to a flawless finish so I bought two shades. When I got home and tested it the following days I found it looked cakey and patchy under eyes on my regular skin. I’m still testing with other eye creams and primers as a base to see how best to make it work. I’m not ruling it out quite yet, I’m determined to put it to the full test as I really like her foundation.
Becca Champagne Splits in Flowerchild and Champagne Pop – by this point I have Champagne Pop in all the forms possible and I do think it’s a bit overkill. The individual powder and poured cream (both swatched here) are my favorites. I definitely did not need it in a split pan with a blush, but what can I say – I think we all get sucked in sometimes by pretty packaging.
Formula X The System Xcel is something that just popped up online, I already own and use the original System (reviewed here a while ago), the Xcel set is designed for a gel-effect so I’m curious to see how it compares to the original!
Beauty Insider Points minis
Lip picks swatched:
I won’t be reviewing everything in this haul in a separate posts, so here are lip swatches for reference. The Bare Minerals GEN Nude Matte Liquid Lipstick in Swag was one of the Beauty Insider minis (love the color, not a fan of the matte finish). Above Bare Minerals Strip and Honeybun look identical, on the lips you can see the difference. If you click to enlarge the photo you can see how patchy YSL 404 applied on my lips, especially on the lower lip.
That concludes my haul picks from July from Nordstrom and Sephora. There are still a few more days left for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (prices go back up Aug 8th). I’m hosting one last giveaway for the summer and giving away three $100 eGift Cards. The selected winners will have a choice of getting an e-gift card to either Nordstrom or Sephora. Details:
Enter via the widget below, there are several ways to enter:
You must be 18 years or older
Three distinct winners will be selected at random via Rafflecopter
Winners will be selected at random on Sunday afternoon and contacted via e-mail by me
If you’re a selected winner you must send me a response confirming within 48 hours or another winner will be selected, prizes will be sent by the following business day
By popular request, I’ve rounded up some new bronzers I’ve tried this summer along with tried and true favorites. Bronzers are probably one of most favorite makeup products – there’s just something about a glowing tan that I love. Living in Southern California we have warm sunny weather almost year round. I do use sun protection for the face and body, but living here there’s just no avoiding the sun – but I love it.
I’ve pulled an extensive list of bronzers and split them by type. It’s by no means a comprehensive list of all the bronzers on the market, nor is it a list of all the bronzers I have tried or own (that would be a post a mile long). I have picked out the ones I thought were either new and interesting, tried and true or new found loves. A quick note before I go into the details – I have medium olive toned skin with normal/combination skin. I prefer warmer bronzers as cool-toned bronzers often look ashy or grey on my complexion. Foundation shades most reached for include the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation in 6 + 7 mixed, NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Groenland and St. Moritz mixed. I love bronzers of all types whether it’s liquid, powder, shimmer or matte.
Finding the right shade or formula for you will depend skin undertone (pink or yellow), skin tone (fair, light, medium, tan or deep), skin type (oily, dry, combo, etc.) and also things such as shimmer or formula preference.
Up first are some matte bronzing powders. Several of you have asked for recommendations on more affordable options. Two lines I’ve tried I think are excellent are the Colour Pop and Benefit.
Urban Decay Beached Bronzer in Bronzed (reviewed here) is a deep warm matte bronze, I think this is best suited for deeper skintones, on me it’s a bit dark, but good for days I want a more dramatic look.
Colour Pop Super Shock Cheek Bronzer in Skinnydip is a soft light neutral matte bronze that looks like a skintone color for me, for those with fair skins who find most options too dark, this might be a good option to look at.
Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzing Powder (c/o) is a classic that is neutral so it will work with a wide range of skin undertones, it’s one of the best more affordable matte bronzers I’ve tried.
Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer Tantric (c/o, on the face here) is another well-loved one by me, it’s huge! The color and pigment is semi sheer but buildable, so if you’re looking for one that is impossible to overdo, this is a good one.
Next up are more luminous glowy bronzers ranging from a soft shimmer to high shimmer.
Colour Pop Super Shock Cheek Bronzer in Poolside (medium-deep bronze) and Paradise Cove (cool-toned neutral) both have a soft luminous finish. They have a unique formula that I thought would be powders but are more of a bouncy gel cream. The price is affordable but the amount of product you get pretty small at 4.2g. Still I think these are fun and easy to build.
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow in Medium- Dark (review + look here) is a gorgeous bronze and orange shimmer duo. It’s more dramatic on me, but still wearable. For tan to deeper skintones I think you will love this one. More details in the review linked above.
Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder in Sunlight is one of the latest additions to the celestial powder line, it’s not really a bronzer, but on my skintone it is. It’s a medium to deep golden shimmer that gives my skin a golden sunkissed look. (It’s also coming soon in the Celestial Skin Liquid formula, available for pre-order.)
Edward Bess Black Sea Golden Hour Mousse Bronzer is something I bought while in New York. It’s the most beautiful warm golden coppery shimmer I’ve ever seen. It’s a mousse formula that is super lightweight and easy to blend. I swatched it with a heavy hand below but once you blend it on the skin it becomes a more soft glowy gold that gives the face a beautiful golden glow. I highly recommend it.
Liquid bronzers up next. I have used and liked the Armani Liquid Summer Bronzers but didn’t love it enough to repurchase (even though they added more shades). A few more affordable options below.
Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops (c/o) come in 4 highlighter shades and 2 bronzers. I’ll have a post on the entire collection soon, but for now a quick peek at the bronzers in Sunset and Sunkissed. Both are neutral to cool toned. Sunset offers a deeper bronzed look. If I look in the bottle there is a sheen but on the face it looks more creamy. Sunkissed is my skin but better. These have been swatched heavily but blend out nicely and are very easy to layer and blend.
Benefit Dew the Hoola (c/o) looks super orangey in the swatch, but let me assure you, it is not orangey on the face. It is on the warm and peachy side but I think that’s what makes it work. It’s sheer but buildable and dries to a semi-matte finish. I’ve worn it alone or with a tiny bit of powder blush layered on top.
NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer is another new one that looks super warm and almost orangey in the swatch but often times with any kind of cheek product what you swatch on the hand/arm looks very different on the face. I love this one because it’s fluid and blends into a very soft finish on the cheeks. It leaves a soft sheen without looking greasy. I almost hate posting these swatches because I think they will deter many of you from trying it, but I really urge you to try if you have a NARS counter near you. It’s one of the most natural looking bronzers I’ve tried that is visible but looks like your skin, just better and with a bit more life.
Last but not least, the three I consider classic staples:
Edward Bess Ultra Luminous Bronzer in Daydream is my holy grail of all bronzers. It’s soft and luminous just like the name implies, it’s impossible to overdo, not too shimmery and warms up the skin beautifully.
NARS Laguna Tiare (limited-edition Tiare version shown) is a classic with a scented twist for summer. It’s the same as the classic Laguna but has a summery tiare scent added in a special limited-edition packaging. The original was one of the first high end bronzers I splurged on and it lasted for what seemed like forever. It’s a classic soft luminous medium bronze that doubles as a soft contour powder. In the event you don’t want something scented or want this in a palette form, there are a few Nordstrom Sets you may want to check out including the Cult Survival Kit or the Nordstrom’s Best Cheek Palette.
Tom Ford Bronzing Powder in Gold Dust is another classic, it was quite the splurge when I first bought it because they only had the large size which is over $90. They’ve since launched smaller versions for the past couple of years which are still pricey but more affordable and nice to travel with.
For those who were asking for a summer bronzer roundup, I hope you found this helpful! I focused mainly on stand alone bronzers rather than ones in palettes. If you have any favorites please share them in the comments along with your skintone, maybe 1 foundation shade you use for reader reference.
Today I have a roundup of several cheek products from Urban Decay including the UD x Gwen Blush Palette ($45), Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighters ($26 each) and Beached Bronzers ($28). All the items are very pretty and give the complexion some life and color in a natural way. The UD x Gwen Blush Palette in my opinion is one of the best blush palettes I’ve ever tried. It has a good mix of cool and warm and also matte and shimmer finishes to give you a lot of options. The colors layer nicely and application is smooth. I do find some similarities between the colors in the palette and the new highlighters/bronzers. You may want to shop your stash too as some of these will probably be duplicates or similar to what you own but more thoughts on each one below.
First a quick look at the cheek, highlighter and bronze items from Urban Decay side by side. I’m trying out a new interactive tool so you can shop the images by clicking on the icons. Let me know what you think!
Swatches on bare skin:
Up first is the UD x Gwen Blush Palette. This comes in a medium-sized mirrored compact similar in style to the UD x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette. The packaging is very sturdy and well made. The colors have medium but buildable pigment and the texture is very soft and smooth. There is quite a bit of powder kick-up when I dip my brush into the powders but it’s easy to clean up and once the product is on the face there isn’t any fall out. Cherry is a soft cool matte pink, Easy is a medium rose with gold shimmer, Angel is a soft champagne gold, Lo-Fi is a medium tan, Hush is a shimmering peachy champagne, OC is an iridescent soft peach that flashes pink.
As you can see from the swatches above near the top of the post, Angel has a similar effect to the Afterglow Highlighter in Sin, Lo-Fi is a more yellow toned version of the bronzers, OC has a similar pinky sheen to the Afterglow Highlighter in Fireball. I would say by comparison the Blush Palette has a softer more natural look on the skin compared to the others. I love this palette because it’s so versatile and goes well with a wide range of looks. That being said the colors are fairly standard and I suspect you can find similar shades from MAC, NARS or other brands. I do really like that Easy Blush is a rose gold that is medium in undertone but doesn’t darken on my skin. So many rose blushes end up darkening and look muddy on my skin while Easy stays true to color. Angel has that pretty warm golden champagne undertone which makes it look soft and diffused on my olive skin. Hush is borderline a highlighter so I mix it with Lo-Fi to add more color on my skin.
Next up are the Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighters. These are designed to be long-lasting and the claim is they last 8 hours. On my normal combination skin I found they did not last on my cheeks for the full 8 hours. I would say color stayed true from morning around 8 am until 2 pm (so for around 6 hours). After that the color faded a bit. It was still visible but there was noticeable fading, at least on me. The colors are very pigmented and intense but are easy to blend and buff out. I’ve swatched them heavy and blended to try and show the difference. The heavier you swatch these the more intense the shimmer and with a heavy hand the colors are lighter in color.
Sin is a pale champagne gold, on my skin it looks very pale, almost like a pale cream. Fireball is an iridescent peach that flashes pink. Aura is a pale pink that flashes slight pink and blue tones.
Shimmer-frost wise I think these are definitely on the more shimmery side but they blend out smoothly on the skin. Sin is the most frosted on me since it has a sharper contrast to my olive skintone. I expected Aura to look really frosty but on the face it gives the skin a pretty glimmer. Fireball has a smooth shimmer that isn’t overly frosted. I didn’t have time to reswatch comparisons, but Fireball is similar to the Anastasia Hard Candy Highlighter reviewed here and Aura compared to the Laura Mercier Highlighters in this post here. Sin is one of the more unique shades I own for highlighters but it has a similar effect to that of MAC Nylon Eyeshadow.
A quick look from the weekend with Lo-Fi and Fireball Highlighter on one side vs just Lo-Fi on the other so you can see how the highlighter adds a bit of a glow and more dimension:
Last up are the two Beached Bronzers. These are matte bronzers that come in round mirrored compacts. I love the packaging – the palm trees add a fun twist with the summer theme. Sun-Kissed is the lighter and warmer option of the two, it has a pinkish undertone which makes it more wearable and natural on my skin. Bronzed is the deeper option and gives my skin a more bronzed brown look. For my medium skin I prefer Sun-Kissed right now – it just looks more natural while Bronzed borderline makes my skin look a bit weathered as it’s more brownish and deep. I love a good bronze but these days try to go a bit easy on it since I’m not as tan as I am in the summer time. They are different enough to justify owning both – I think fairer skins will prefer Sun-Kissed. Deeper skins will probably find Bronzed better for their skin tones. Neither turns orangey and I was relieved to find they did not darken on the skin. The texture is very smooth and the blend nicely on the skin without any streaks. If you’re super fair I’d recommend you opt for either Gold Dust or Terra from Tom Ford instead as those will look more natural on the skin.
In terms of performance all the cheek products work very well. The quality is excellent and I really didn’t know what to expect before hand since the Naked Flushed palettes did not work for my skin type at all (they look super chalky and emphasize pores on me). I think the UD x Gwen Blush palette is the winner and if you’re trying to narrow down your picks, I’d say opt for the palette since it will give you the most options packaged in a single convenient compact. If you like more visible pigment or color for the cheeks you may find the Blush Palette too sheer or natural looking. In that case I’d recommend you opt for the NARSissist Cheek Studio Palette which has more pigment and more color but will also give you a wide range of options.
The highlighters are really pretty but I can’t say any of them are absolute musts. If I were to pick one favorite it would be Fireball – the mix of peach and pink is really pretty although it’s nearly identical to one of the shades in the Anastasia Gleam Glow Kit, the UD one performs exceptionally well.
The Bronzers are nice to have but not musts. That being said I find it rare to find good matte bronzers that are smooth in finish and application that don’t darken. The ones from Urban Decay perform really well – I like Sun-Kissed the best and the packaging is fun for the upcoming warmer weather months. Even though I can probably find similar shades in my collection to all the cheek items featured, I don’t have any regrets purchasing them – the formula works really well to add color or highlight without emphasizing pores.
I attended The Makeup Show LA last weekend and it was one of the best makeup events I’ve attended. This year they had over 150 brands at the show – I love events like these that support beauty professionals in so many aspects. If are able to attend one I highly recommend you do. In recent years they’ve expanded their stops to some additional cities with pop-ups. Full calendar and list of upcoming shows on their website The Makeup Show. This was my second year attending although they’ve been making an appearance in LA for ten years now.
Urban Decay Cosmetics made an appearance this year with their full line available (items were offered at a 30% pro discount). Most of the brands offered generous discounts during the show for professionals to stock their makeup kits or explore new launches (some like Kevyn Aucoin offered discounts of 40% off). In the excitement of being able to swatch and play with so many things I neglected to take as many photos of the show as I had hoped, but here are a few I hope you will enjoy.
In the morning I attended the Press Preview where The Makeup Show Director of Artist Relations and Education James Vincent gave us an overview of show highlights, new product launches along with some inspirational thoughts about the business of beauty, building your own brand and the importance of knowing how to merging art and commerce.
A look at some of the booths, first is Kevyn Aucoin. They had the new Featherlight Collection for spring available along with the full line of makeup and brushes. I had their Sensual Skin foundation on my wishlist to try out but did not want to wait to get matched at the show.
Sephora Collection booth was very busy with lots to explore, pro discount offered at the show was 30% off so I picked up another of my favorite foundation brush and a few of the matte lip products:
Scott Barnes was showcasing their new Multi Media Liquid makeup, based on the raves from several of you, I did get a color match and picked up the shade Creme Fraiche. I haven’t tested it yet, but will have to see in natural light if the match was indeed correct. They also had mini Body Blings which I wish I had picked up one to try out, but since I don’t usually use body shimmers, it’s probably not a huge miss.
I’ve been a huge fan of the MustaeV Lustrous Cream Base and Skinny Tint Foundation. They are expanding their color selection for the foundation since it only comes in three colors right now. I was hoping they would have the new shades available at the show, but they won’t be launched for a few more months. If you’d like a review now of what I do have – let me know in the comments.
Nigel’s Beauty Emporium is a beauty supply store – at the show they had some of the best values and discounts. I stocked up on beautyblenders last year and did again. They had a Beautyblender Propack of 6 pink (or white) beautyblenders + the solid cleanser for $64 at the show (listed price on their website is $80). Individual blenders were on discount for $16 each. They also had a large number of mixed sets. If you’re in the LA area they have a store in West Hollywood and carry a wide range of brands like Anastasia, Ben Nye, Artis, Becca, Black Up, Make Up For Ever etc.
NARS also had their own booth with the full line. The Laguna Tahiti Collection was available for purchase at the show so I picked up several of the new items as they were available at a pro discount (I can’t locate my receipt at the moment but it was either 30 or 40%).
Kat Von D Beauty had amazing bundles at discounted prices on their Shade + Light collection, but the line was insanely long, I took a few photos from outside the line area:
Viseart has three new eyeshadow palettes launching exclusively at MUSE Beauty Pro at the end of the month called Theory Palettes ($45 each). I was hoping they would have these available for purchase at the show, but they only had the testers to play with. The texture and pigment is amazing. You can pre-order them from their website now (estimated ship date is end of March). MUSE Beauty Pro has the exclusive for 3 months on these palettes. I’ve never tried any of the Viseart palettes before – the pro discount at the show was 30% off so I was thrilled to buy my first two last weekend.
Beautylish had some of the Natasha Denona items on display. I was hoping they would have the entire line available to play with like they did at IMATS Los Angeles, however the selection was a bit more limited this round. A look at all the Natasha Denona Blush Duos.
For those curious about what I hauled, here is the loot. I did haul more than I had planned – some of the 30% to 40% off discounts were just too good to pass!
Items shown above listed below, items purchased by me except for a few press samples noted:
London Brush Company Vegan Brush Shampoo and Goat Milk Brush Shampoo – I’ve never tried either, the reps said the Vegan is better suited for synthetic brushes and the Goat Milk is best for natural hair brushes
I’ll be reviewing items as I work my way through testing them. I did pre-order the new Viseart Palettes at the show and will be swatching as soon as they arrive (estimated ship date is 3/30). I’m always looking to try new brush cleansers so I’m excited to try some of the ones I picked up at the show – I know many of you love baby shampoo, I used to use it, but I feel like these days it just leaves a film on my brushes that I cannot rinse off properly.
Did you visit The Makeup Show LA last weekend? Or do you have plans to attend on in another city later this year?
Last week I stopped by Sephora at South Coast Plaza for a Correct and Conceal Mini Makeover to learn more about the color correcting trend happening right now. I was curious to see if there was anything that could cover dark spots and redness better than a full coverage concealer or foundation. I had a session with artist Dre who was one of the most knowledgeable artists I’ve ever worked with. She was very thorough in explaining color correcting, going through all the options and application techniques, gave me awesome skin prep recommendations and I could not have had a more fun experience. If you’re like me you and consider yourself a novice or beginner when it comes to color correction you might be intimidated by the whole concept. I’ll share my makeover experience, what was used, what I bought and some thoughts on the product testing process. I hope this will help give you some tips and ideas of what to try on yourself. If you have a Sephora near you I highly recommend you call them to schedule a mini-makeover. They can be as quick as 15 minutes and I think you will be impressed with how much you learn – I learned a lot. Scheduling one in advance is probably best to make sure they have someone on site to sit down with you although they can accommodate walk ins sometimes and they are free of charge!
First a quick run through of the mini-makeover I had at Sephora. She started by assessing my skin type and skin concerns. I mentioned I had super sensitive skin and told her about a few products I had allergic reactions to. Personal concerns for my skin were to improve texture, cover dark spots from scars that were healing, under-eye darkness and redness in general. I also mentioned that I liked a streamlined easy approach to applying base face makeup so she picked out her four favorite color correcting products for my skin type that would be easy to use and incorporate along with some skincare items for me to try for calming and radiance.
For a bit of background on Color Correcting it’s not a new trend but it has been very popular right now. The concept of color correcting is that you can use certain colors to counter or diffuse others. Green will correct red, peach will help with dark spots and undereye circles, pink and purple will counter dullness and brighten the skintone. I initially thought using a full coverage concealer or foundation would be sufficient but I often find it leaves the face looking a bit flat and sometimes those dark spots still show through. This is where color correcting can help. Here’s a look at the Sephora Beauty Studio in store – it varies per store but most have a station with mirrors, makeup remover and tools for artists to apply product on your face.
A run through of all the products she used on me from start to finish:
Dre’s theory of using color correcting was to use apply in steps and use it with your current foundation routine. She started by applying the Algenist Reveal Concentrated Color Correcting Drops in Blue to help brighten the overall skintone as a base which did indeed brighten the skin without looking scary blue. Blue helps to neutralize sallow skin. She followed with the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick in 128 mentioning one’s foundation will do a lot of the color correcting as a starting point to neutralize uneven skintone or dark spots.
Step 3: Color Correct
At this point even with a fuller coverage foundation on my skin you can still see dark circles under the eyes and dark spots from acne scars that are healing still show through. Rather than layer on the foundation color correcting helps add coverage without caking on product. I was skeptical but was really impressed with how literally all the dark spots disappeared with a green color corrector and undereye circles disappeared with a peach/melon corrector. She applied the Sephora Collection Bright Futures Color Correctors in Green and Melon. The key here was to apply and let set so that colors don’t get muddied when you blend them wet. For the green she dotted on spots and then blended with a detailed concealer brush in a cross hatch method to help blend and cover naturally. For the melon she applied directly under my eyes in a downward swiping motion and blended with the sponge tip applicator.
Step 4: Conceal, Set and Finish
Once the color correctors have properly set (takes maybe 3 minutes at most, as long as you don’t pile on the creams) finish by taking concealer or foundation and pat it on top. She used the Sephora Collection Pro Foundation Brush #47 which is a more affordable similar version of the Marc Jacobs Beauty Sculpting Foundation Brush to roll and dab on the foundation over the corrected spots gently and then blend everything out gently with a beautyblender. You don’t want to take a sponge or brush and press too hard on the face or else it will drag and mix colors to make it look muddy. The final step she used was to set with a loose powder. She showed me the difference between the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder and also the Besame Brightening Face Powder in Violet (both applied with a puff). She said the Laura Mercier is her favorite (it’s one of mine too) but if I wanted to try something new she recommended the Violet to brighten the skin, for fairer skins she recommended the Pink (which I already own).
Step 5: Add color and makeup
She added a bit of blush and bronzer on my skin so my face wouldn’t look flat from all the base makeup, but I asked her to keep it minimal so I could see how the correctors and foundations performed through the afternoon. We skipped everything else and I was impressed that my makeup lasted well into the late evening without any touchups needed. Her skincare recommendations and application made it so nothing budged or creased or faded. Once I use up some of my moisturizers I will need to buy some of the items she used on me.
I have never been so impressed with a makeup session as I have been with my visit to Sephora. Dre taught me so many things – I really appreciated her taking the time to go through application tips and recommending products specific to my needs. My brother tagged along to help me take photos and afterwards I asked him if he thought my face looked ok. He said yes, it looked natural and he couldn’t tell that there were any weird colors. So it passed the brother test 🙂 In discussing the different color corrector options, I asked her why she recommended the Sephora Collection Color Correctors over the ones from Urban Decay Correcting Fluids or YSL Touche Eclat Neutralizers or even the ones that come in cream compacts. She said it was a matter of preference – the cream palettes can definitely multi-task with all the options for color correction and concealer, but to keep things simple she said the Sephora Collection correctors were her favorite for consistency, texture and coverage. (I bought one each of the Urban Decay and YSL to test against the Sephora Collection and I’ll say right now she was right.)
Next up is a run through review of everything I bought and tried along with a mini tutorial of how I’ve been recreating the color correcting look to diffuse dark spots and dark circles. Here are the items she used on me during the makeover. I bought all the items she tried with the exception of the Violet powder because I already own the Pink although I’m seriously considering going back to the store to pick it up this weekend.
Left to right are:
Micro Mini Correct Four by beautyblender – there are some new beautyblender options, for the color correcting trend they launched a set of four in different colors, I really like these for blending under the eyes or in the creases of the nose, it’s nice to have different colors on hand to match the correctors so you don’t have to worry about mixing colors together
Algenist Reveal Concentrated Color Correcting Drops in Blue – you can use these alone or mixed in with foundation to help color correct the skin. I’ve been using this as a base, almost like a primer to help counter my sallow undertones with my olive yellow skin. It brightens the skin without looking too blue. You can even mix it in with moisturizer to blend all over to make it a bit more sheer. I really like the way this performs.
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation in 128 (looks dark but blends out to a slightly lighter finish, that being said I am getting lighter right now so I will probably have to purchase a different shade soon to mix) is one of the most amazing foundation sticks I have ever tried (it rivals Tom Ford’s) – I’ll have a separate review in the upcoming weeks once I’ve given it a thorough test drive but it offers medium to full buildable coverage that looks amazing
Sephora Collection Bright Future Color Correctors in Green and Melon – After testing this compared to YSL and Urban Decay, I have to say that my favorites for texture and consistency on my face are the Sephora Collection ones, they don’t crease or emphasize fine lines and they have enough coverage and pigment to truly neutralize my face issues, the Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Peach has a similar coverage to the Sephora ones and looks great on the skin but if I don’t have enough primer under my eyes it emphasizes all the fine lines that I don’t want to show up, the YSL by comparison is a lot more sheer in finish and I need more coverage
A quick side note, during my make over I mentioned my favorite under eye concealer of the moment was the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer and that I liked the ones with peachy tones (mainly R32) to warm up and brighten under eyes, Dre did mention that this was also one of her favorites to use, but she showed me the Sephora Collection in Melon for me to try something new
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder – I already own this and have repurchased numerous times, it’s one of my favorite loose setting powders, if you haven’t tried it I will say you need to
A simple step by step mini tutorial showing before and after. I took the tips learned at my appointment to recreate a flawless base at home. I hoped to take an after show last week but the store lighting wasn’t ideal. In the first shot I did prep my skin with a thin layer of foundation, but as you can see dark spots and dark circles are still highly visible:
Below are the tools I recommend using, but you can shop your stash and find what works:
I hope you enjoyed this overview on color correcting! If you’re a novice like me I hope the rundown of my makeover, all the options I tried and swatches help make the color correcting concept seem less confusing or intimidating. I went into my appointment thinking that there wasn’t going to be much that could be done for my dark spots but I went in with an open mind and learned so much. Sometimes makeovers can be a daunting process especially if you get a pushy artist or one who just doesn’t listen to your needs or who doesn’t care preferences. I really recommend trying to book an appointment at your local Sephora – I am already planning on going back for a second appointment hopefully in the next couple of months because my experience was that good. If you’re in the area of South Coast Plaza try to book one with Dre – she’s awesome. If you can’t make it into the store, there is an online survey on the Sephora Color Correcting Makeup page to guide you and help narrow down the picks according your specific concerns and skin type.
Have you tried color correcting recently or is it something you’ve always done for your base makeup routine? Please let me know what you’ve tried and your thoughts. I always learn new tips and tricks from you and would love to hear about what you have been testing or if you have any favorites.
This post was created in partnership with Sephora. As always all opinions my own. Most products picked out and purchased by me, press samples include the Besame Powder and Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealers.