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Wander Beauty

Dior Highlighters NARS

Easy to Wear Contour and Highlight Sticks

August 10, 2016

I have mixed feelings about the contouring technique for beauty. Mainly because I’m not very good at doing it myself on my own face. I have used a bronzer like Bronze Universel de Chanel or NARS Laguna in a 3 shaped motion along the sides of my face to warm up the complexion and add depth, but for the popular contouring powders and creams – I find they are easy to overdo and while they look great in photos, in real life I think it can look very much overdone. I do own quite a few contouring powders and the most natural ones to date that I’ve tried are the Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Light Filtering Powders for flawless finish and textures that blend beautifully with the skin. I haven’t really found a cream product that I love – there are a number of compacts others rave about but cream compacts get messy so I haven’t really found anything that speaks to me. Today I have a roundup of four brands of contour sticks, several of them are multi-tasking and great for travel because they are double-sided.

I find it rare to find all items I test in a category phenomenal in the sense that I think all aspects  of the product are great but this is one of those rare occasions. I tested highlight/contour sticks from Burberry, Wander Beauty, NARS and Dior and all of them are impressive to me and perfect for a natural look. If you need a contour product for dummies (like me) these are the perfect option for you because they look very natural, easy to use and blend really well. Picking one will come down to brand, texture or color preference.

Up first are the Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighting Luminous Pen in Nude Radiance 01 and Face Contour Effortless Contouring Pen for Face and Eyes in Medium 01. In terms of a highlight the Burberry Fresh Glow Pen is on the sheer and subtle side. You will see a glow on the face if you highlight the cheekbones or eyes but it gives a luminous glow versus a more visible shimmer. The fresh glow highlighting pen comes in 1 shade, if you’re similar to my skintone or lighter the effect will be more subtle, but if you’re tan to deep there will be more contrast and it will show up better on your skin. Texture is creamy but dries down quickly. It is easy to blend before it dries down so you don’t have to rush.

The Face Contour Pen comes in two colors and I picked the lighter option. It dries to a matte finish and blends easily on the skin for a very natural contour. It is on the warm side but it’s not too warm. This one is the easiest for me to use by applying a few stripes along the cheeks and then blend with either a finger or brush. This is the easiest to use along the sides of the nose because it’s slim. You can find these at Nordstrom, Sephora and Net-A-Porter.

There are two On-The-Glow Bronzer Duos from Wander Beauty. I received both items to try out, each one has the same highlighter in Candle Glow. The lighter option is Malibu which is a neutral brown and Capri is the darker/deeper option. If you go to their website you can see it on different skintones. These have a thicker creamy texture but they don’t feel greasy and look completely natural once blended. I love Malibu because it’s a lighter color and the perfect shade for my skintone for a barely there contour. Candle Glow Highlighter has the perfect mix of gold and warmth so it doesn’t look yellow on my olive skin. You can also find these at Sephora.

Next up are the NARS Sculpting Multiple Duos which are currently Sephora exclusives. I had very high hopes for these as I’m a huge fan of the multiple sticks and they did not disappoint. The texture of the highlighter multiples are stiffer than I normally see in multiples so they do not swatch well on the arms. They do swipe a 100x better on the face or eyes. I found these to be on the more subtle side which I think is due to the slightly stiffer/harder texture. The bronze/contour sides are amazing though. As a lover of lighter contour shades I love the Copacabana and Sidari Beach duo – it’s a peachy pinky color on my skintone which makes for a less traditional brown contour.

As you can see below they look to be on the sheer side. I think the highlighters are all sheerer than most multiples I’ve tried from NARS. The darker contour sides are creamy with little to no shimmer. They look streaky on the arm but blend out easily on the face.

Last but not least are the Diorblush Light and Contour Sticks which are part of the fall 2016 collection launch. They just launched at Dior.com and there are three shades each with a different color of shimmery highlighter and contour cream which has no shimmer. These are my favorite of the bunch because the round tip makes them easy to glide along the face. The flat tips of the others are still easy to apply but having the round tip is easier for me to put on the cheeks. My favorite color is 001 but 002 is probably better suited for my skintone. The browns are on the warm side which I found a bit too warm for my nose but for the rest of the face or eyes it’s perfect. Texture is very creamy but natural looking without being too dewy.

Here’s a quick look of before and after the Diorblush Light and Contour Duo in 002. Also worn on the face includes NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint Groenland and St. Moritz mixed, Anastasia Glow Kit in Sundipped on the eyes, Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara, Lancome Juicy Shaker in Lemon Explosion. On then nails is Dior Minimal.

I couldn’t fit all the items on my arm so I split them between the contour side and highlighter side with a few added items to compare.

That wraps it up for thoughts and swatches on four brands of contour sticks that are easy to wear and natural looking. My personal favorites are NARS Copacabana/Sidari Beach and Diorblush Light and Contour Duo 001 – but all of the ones I tested are pretty good for that natural contour. In terms of application I put these on the face after foundation and powder. I like putting these on the cheeks in stripes along the side of the face directly from the tube and then either blend with fingers or a duo fibre brush like the MAC 159 or any synthetic brush like the ones in this post here.
Do you have any contouring favorites? If so please share in the comments what your skintone is and your favorite shades or brands. If you haven’t tried contouring and are interested in starting with natural looking products, I hope this post helps you find something new to try!

Press samples include products from Wander Beauty and Dior Beauty.
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Loving Right Now

November 18, 2015

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope your week is going well so far. A few things I’m loving right now, especially since the weather seems to have shifted overnight here in Southern California. It’s still relatively warm compared to most parts of the US, but we’ve had some rain, lots of wind and dry weather. My skin has definitely felt the impact and my lips and skin have felt dry so I’ve needed to switch things up.

For lips I’ve been loving the Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment that I picked up from Sephora. It comes in a sleek little squeeze tube and has an angled applicator so you can apply it without using fingers. It’s hydrating and feels lush on the lips. I’ll give an update later as I’m testing a few new lip treatments. Also great for dry skin is the Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Oil-Free Essentials Set (not shown). I bought this a couple months ago and loved the items but found them too hydrating when we had super warm and humid weather in the high 80s (I thought fall weather would never arrive here). For right now, the cleanser and toner are just what I need to mix into my routine on days I feel extra dry.

These days I feel like I can’t live without the Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist*, the travel size is perfect to keep in my purse and I love that the mini packaging is just as good as the full size. Be sure to check out their gift sets this year. Their packages are beautifully wrapped so you really don’t need to do any extra work if you gift something.

For under eye concealer, I’m still loving the Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher Concealer as the best under-eye and spot cover up (I use Shade 3). Pigment and coverage is impressive but it blends out to a completely natural looking finish. Swatches of all the shades in this post here. Because many of you have been asking about the newer Mini Miracle Eye Wand Dynamic Duo Lift and Light Reflector, I picked up one in Shade 3. I’ll report once I’ve given it a thorough test drive.

Another staple in my daily makeup rotation is the Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base. Many of you have repeatedly asked what my favorite eye base is, and it’s the one from Edward Bess. It evens out the lids and primes it for eyeshadow. It extends eyeshadow wear and doesn’t crease. Many skin-tone colored primers dry out my lids or make them look wrinkly, the Edward Bess smooths out the skin and makes it glow naturally (even though there is no shimmer).

For color, I’m obsessed with Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Versatile (swatched here), Wander Beauty Exquisite Eye Liquid Eyeshadow* in Bronze (swatched here), and Chanel Rouge No. 19 Le Vernis (released last year, but still available at Chanel.com, swatch here).

I’ve been testing a number of different hand creams. I did a roundup of my staples back in January. I’ll have another update soon. The Molton Brown Alba White Truffle Hand Treatment* and Hand Exfoliator* are really quite amazing. I’ve never done a hand scrub but the exfoliating treatment is incredibly helpful in scrubbing off dead skin and also offers hydration leaving hand silky smooth and feeling really good. (Not to mention is smells delicious.) The Alba White Truffle Hand Cream is ultra hydrating. 

Also not to be missed is the L’Occitane x Pierre Hermé Collaboration. Both brands have a special place in my heart and I couldn’t be more thrilled that they partnered for a holiday launch. The packaging on the Hand Cream Trio is to die for. As soon as I saw it online I immediately went to my local store to pick it up. Unfortunately it appears to be an online exclusive in the US. If you’re one to shop in store, there is a lot to choose from – but don’t forget to check online for exclusive sets. The gift sets this year are so beautiful (more on these soon). There are some cute Lip/Hand Duos and other items that are only available online. (I ordered multiples of the trio and duos.)

Last three things I’ve been loving are the Gourmand Eau De Parfums from Urban Outfitters. I have Thé Matcha which is a super clean fresh scent. I have several others on my wishlist. Truffle pouches are always on my love-list. The Rose Gold Privacy Clutch is always fun around the holiday season. New for holiday is the Ivory Pearl Cranberry Pouch in Small* and Large. Right now Truffle has a 20% off sale on this color through 11/25 with code CRANBERRY at checkout.

Stay tuned for a hand cream and lip treatment roundup along with more holiday reviews and gift guides. What are you loving this week? Do you have any go-to’s for dry skin during the colder fall/winter months?
P.S. The Garance Doré Book is so incredibly fun and chic!

Press samples included indicated by a * next to the items featured. All others purchased by me.

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On My Radar / New In Beauty

October 20, 2015

Here’s a beauty roundup of new launches I have on my radar this week. From top left, clockwise:

The holiday collection from Chanel called Vamp Attitude just launched. I am still working on swatches for the Rouge Allure releases, but I know I will need the Le Vernis in Rose Fusion and the Le Top Coat Lamé Rouge Noir ($27 each).

Wander Beauty is a new brand that’s popped up on my radar. They sent a couple of the Exquisite Liquid Shadows ($26 each) for me to try (they are stunning, review soon). I’ve been browsing their site and the Paris Collection features four items for lips, cheeks, eyes and highlight that look like they could create the perfect polished look. Have you tried this line yet?

Eve Lom has launched a number of gift sets for the holiday. The Icons Gift Set ($260) contains their Cleanser, Intense Firming Serum, Daily Protection SPF 50, Eye Lift and a Muslin Cloth. There is a price break for this set (individually the items total a little over $300). Other options such as The Perfectors Set and The Classics which have different items and are at lower price points. If you’ve been eyeing any of these, don’t forget Space NK US has their Explore promotion that’s going on online through Sunday. Use code EXPLORE15 at checkout for $25 off any orders $100 or more.

Net-A-Porter has this amazing Smith & Cult The Shining Lip Lacquer Set ($150). It has eight lip lacquers packaged in a pretty black box. You can find the colors individually in case you’re one who prefer to pick out your own colors.

Bite Beauty always launches cute sets over the holidays. I ordered the Discovery Set ($55) a few weeks ago, I hope to review it soon. The Best Bite Rewind has four mini matte creme lip crayons. This one has more color for those who like something brighter with more variety. This one has been calling my name too.

Holiday season is the season of palettes. I stopped buying holiday or seasonal palettes years ago because I found if I didn’t like all the colors the palettes didn’t end up getting much use. The NARS x Stephen Klein One Shocking Moment Cheek Palette ($69) looks soooo pretty though. It has the Contour Blush in Paloma, Bronzing Powder in Laguna, four blushes in Robotic, Blasphemy, Luster and Dolce Vita. If you’ve seen or tried this let me know what you think!

MAC Magic of the Night Collection launches in stores this week. There are already some items that popped up online and as usual many pieces have already sold out within minutes of launching online. I was able to order Please Me Lipstick ($18) and Shaft of Gold In Extra Dimension Skinfinish ($33). I’m hoping nothing in my order gets cancelled.

What’s on your beauty radar this week?

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