Feb 162010

Over the next several days, I’m doing my own version of the Winter Olympics featuring Chanel.  This marathon includes posting pictures and swatches of my over-sized collection of Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blushes (Fard a Joues Poudre) ($42.00).

Just a portion...

Here are a number of things that you should know about the Joues Contraste blushes:

  • U.S. Joues Contraste blushes are made of pressed powder, and are remarkably soft and easy to work with.
  • Almost any blush or powder brush will do.  I’ve used them all, including the tiny one that is packaged with the product.
  • These last for years of heavy use, depending on their pigmentation.
  • The compacts are luxurious, with a good usable mirror.  However, they can be a bit bulky for traveling.  Because I love them, I do bring at least one.  No major tragedies yet, except for a broken clasp.

I purchased my first round Chanel blush in the mid-1980’s.  As far as I can recall, it had a different texture than the pressed powder Joues Contraste blushes sold today –it was somewhat harder texture.  The color was a popsicle red, and I miss it.

Are you ready?  Let the marathon begin….

Please follow us on....

Feb 112010

Bobbi Brown’s Cabana Corals Collection contains the Pink Quartz Shimmer Brick Compact ($38), a nice pink-tan addition to the group.  This product was previously released for the Holiday 2007 collection.  Because I missed the product last time, I was pleased to see it again.

Those who may find coral too much should give Pink Quartz a try.  I’ve read several very positive reviews from makeup lovers who insist it is their favorite or most-used one of shimmer brick family.  I can see why.

Pink Quartz is an easy product to wear, because the subtlety meshes with all colors of  clothing.  Likewise, if you are wearing a strong eye or lip, Pink Quartz should work easily as a little splash of pinky-tan highlight on the upper cheek.  Alternatively, you can choose to sweep a bit of this as an eyeshadow (or a touch on the brow bone):

Below is a very heavy swatch.  Nudes are notoriously difficult to swatch, and Pink Quartz is no exception.  Applied lightly on the cheek, this can give a subtle glow.  This swatch is applied far more heavily than I would ever use this product, but sufficient to show you the color on a computer screen:

You do not need to layer it this heavily to get a pretty sheen. It catches the light nicely with a lighter application.  Overall, Pink Quartz is a nice down-to-earth highlighter that can be worn anywhere, regardless of whatever else you might choose to wear.

Please follow us on....

Bobbi Brown Spring 2010: Calypso Coral Nectar Shimmer Brick Compact

 Blush, Bobbi Brown, Highlighter  Comments Off on Bobbi Brown Spring 2010: Calypso Coral Nectar Shimmer Brick Compact
Feb 102010

Bobbi Brown’s Calypso Coral collection includes the Nectar Shimmer Brick Compact ($38), a multi-color highlighter that is pigmented enough to work as a blush.  Briefly last December, Bobbi released a mini-version of this in luxe chrome packaging.  Now, the product is bigger, less expensive and my Bobbi Brown sales associate swears that this is now a permanent part of her collection.

If you closely examine the product, you’ll notice that most of the color bands are leaning more toward pink, rather than orange.

When applied, this color mix gives an overall healthy pink glow effect with a touch of coral.  Although I own several of Bobbi’s Shimmer Brick Compacts, this one is by far my favorite.  I can’t remember ever being this excited about one.

Here are the colors separately swatched:

Because pink is such a difficult color to wear on the eye, I don’t hold out any hope of using this as an eyeshadow.  Nonetheless, the quality as a highlighter/blush is so good that it more than makes up for that.

Below is a swatch of all of the shimmerbrick swirled together, very heavily.  Here’s the thing, light highlighter swatches simply doesn’t show up well on a computer screen.  So this is far more layering than I would dream of using on an actual cheek.  Rest assured that if you use a normal amount (I use Bobbi’s blending brush, a few swipes), you still get an incredible glowy effect without any metallic look:

If you add a pop of one of the Calypso Coral or Cabo Coral Pot Rouges, the effect is heavenly.  Highly recommended.

Please follow us on....

Feb 092010

Spring! Although I realize that many makeup lovers are digging out of snow, Bobbi Brown’s Cabana Corals collection fills me with thoughts of warm sunshine.

I usually avoid Corals, in favor of nudes, pinks or berries.  Here is the genius of Bobbi’s collection~~ she makes corals wearable.  Also, she makes them in a way that fit with the makeup that I already own.

This time around, Bobbi brings us a variety of cheek and lip products.  There’s a limited edition palette eye and lip palette, sold only at Neiman Marcus for $60 (I’m skipping this one personally).  Here, I’m focusing on the Pot Rouges in Calypso Coral and Cabo Coral ($22 each).

I assumed that both would be too orangey on me.  I was wrong.

Calypso Coral, which was formerly part of Bobbi’s line, has returned with this collection and has a wonderful coral-pink tone that gives me a very fresh and summery look.  For some reason, Bobbi’s colors always look appropriate.  This can be worn sheerly, or layered for more color.  It can be worn on both cheeks and lips.  It’s a gorgeous blush.

Cabo Coral has the faintest touch of brown that brings the color to a beautiful, wearable level.  Coral can go so wrong, but this Coral is so right.

These are heavy swatches so you can see the color difference between the two. Click to enlarge:

I love the fact that these are only $22 each.  It’s nice to get two choices from Bobbi in this same collection.  My high recommendations for both Calypso Coral and Cabo Coal.

Please follow us on....

Feb 082010

When I was out shopping this weekend, I noticed that MAC’s All Races, All Ages, All Sexes collection is still out on counters.  Because I love neutrals, this collection held a lot of interest for me.  After playing with the products at a few counters, I decided that the texture and quality of the collection was not something that suited me.  I settled on the two products reviewed here.

MAC Personal Style Beauty Powder Blush ($18.50) is a very subtle nude.  It’s described as a “light mauve taupe” on MAC’s website.

Here is a comparison of MAC’s Personal Style with two other nice nudes, Lancome’s Miel Glace and MAC’s Taupe Pro blush.

As you can see, Lancome’s Miel Glace gives a pleasant shimmer compared to MAC’s Personal Style.  Both have a touch of pink, although MAC’s Personal Style does lean mauve.  MAC’s Taupe is much more of a true matte nude.  After attempting to use Personal Style several times over the past few weeks, I decline to recommend this blush.  It takes a number of layers to get the blush to show on my somewhat fair skin at all.  If you’d like a subtle look, I’d use Lancome’s Miel Glace instead–the application is much nicer.  If you want more impact, get MAC Taupe.

The other item is MAC’s Universal Mix pigment ($19.50), previously discussed here.

Overall, I found Universal Mix quite difficult to work with.  As Karlasugar warned about here, Universal Mix is not a pigmented as other MAC pigment offerings.  Serves me right for buying it before reading her review.   Also, there is a lot of fallout. It’s messy!
In the swatch below, I’ve used 3-4 layers of Universal Mix compared to the other products swatched there.  Despite the layering, Universal Mix is still applied thinly in places.  MAC’s Vanilla did a nice job with a single coat.  Surprisingly, even Shu Uemura’s P White 900, a pressed powder eyeshadow, did better than Universal Mix.

Perhaps Universal  Mix works better when used wet or blended into a moisturizer, when the texture won’t be an issue.  To be entirely honest, I wish that I had not purchased either of these items.  Of course, everything in makeup is “your mileage may vary,” so if you do enjoy them I’m very happy for you.

Please follow us on....

Jan 152010

As an overview, MAC Pro blushes are not as easy to work with as their standard line but they offer a very unusual combination of shades.  I imagine that a pro who needs to do numerous faces over the course of a morning can apply these highly-pigmented blushes without concern of ever running out and, because of their expertise and wide selection of different blush brushes, can control their highly pigmented nature.

For the average user, these offer some variety and the chance to work with something unusual.  I have not reviewed all of MAC’s pro blushes, but only those that work for me.  A full list of MAC’s current Pro blushes is here on their website.  I highly doubt that all will work with every skin tone, so if you get a chance to try them at a MAC Pro store I would recommend it.

MAC Blush Palette Empty 1

You can obtain the address of MAC Pro stores by checking on their website.  If you cannot, but wish to order a Pro product, every MAC Pro store can ship you their products by obtaining your payment information over the phone. In addition, you can buy MAC Pro products by calling the company at 1 800 588 0070 (U.S. only).

MAC Blush Palette Empty

If you’re into makeup, you’ll see references to “MAC Pro Member” and “MAC Pro Discount” around.  Only MAC Pro members can order directly from the MAC Pro website.  I’m neither, but you can find out more information about their program here.

Mac Blush Palette

Please follow us on....

MAC Pro Blush: Taupe

 Blush, MAC  Comments Off on MAC Pro Blush: Taupe
Jan 142010

MAC’s Pro blush in Taupe is a neutral-to-cool finely milled matte powder.  As you can see, it doesn’t resemble most blushes or bronzers at all.  I’ve read that it’s frequently recommended as a contour powder.  I’ve been working with it over the past few days and this is my advice:

1.  This will work best on fair/medium cool-toned skin tones.  If you find that most contour powders are too warm/golden for you, this is the one to look at next.  I’m fair and slightly warm.  Although I can usually handle a cool-toned pink, this leans a bit toward grey on me.

2.  This may not show up at all on darker skin tones, and could turn a bit ashy.

3. Although I’m fair and can handle some deep golden bronzers, I have to use a light hand with Taupe.  Because of the grey tones in the blush, it can start to look a bit too dirty on the skin if applied too heavily.  You can start to see this in the center of the swatch, below, which was applied with a compact eyeshadow brush.

Mac Taupe Pan

Mac Taupe Swatch

Although I find this difficult to work with, I’m glad that I picked it up before it disappeared.  It’s unusual enough–I’ve honestly never seen another product quite like it.

Please follow us on....

MAC Pro Blush: Cantaloupe

 Blush, MAC  Comments Off on MAC Pro Blush: Cantaloupe
Jan 132010

We’ve finally arrived at one of the quieter of MAC’s Pro blush colors, Cantaloupe.  This is a peachy-nude that has a touch of sheen.  It is one of the very few lighter colors in MAC Pro line.  Being fair-skinned, I can’t afford to be liberal applying this blush but I don’t have to be quite as careful either.  I believe that this would work for a variety of warm skin tones, although if your skin tone is very cool you might avoid this one entirely.

Mac Cantalope Pan

 Mac Cantaloupe Blush Swatch

Please follow us on....

MAC Pro Blush: Salsa Rose

 Blush, MAC  Comments Off on MAC Pro Blush: Salsa Rose
Jan 122010

MAC’s Salsa Rose is a complex mix of coral, pink and red with a touch of shimmer.  This is my favorite so far–it’s incredible.  I won’t repeat all of the cautions that I stated with the earlier MAC Pro blush shades, but suffice it to say that a light hand is warranted when applying Salsa Rose.  Can you imagine how gorgeous this is with a bronzer? And a coral lipgloss…

Mac Salsa Rose Swatch

Please follow us on....

MAC Pro Blush: Rhubarb

 Blush, MAC  Comments Off on MAC Pro Blush: Rhubarb
Jan 112010

MAC Pro blush in Rhubarb is an amalgamation of red and mauve in a shimmery pan of highly pigmented color.  Because I’m warm with mauve undertones, I find that I can carry this color off quite well.  If you are cool toned, I suspect that you might too.  However, this shade is very unusual and strong.  Definitely not for everyone.

As with the other highly-pigmented blush colors, care must be taken to place this in a small cheek area lightly. Again, a skunk (du0-fiber) brush can be key.  These brushes are sold by many companies, including MAC.  If you are using a standard blush brush, wipe the brush several times on a paper towel or tissue to knock off some of the pigment especially the first time.  The pigmentation of Rhuarb is nuclear, and so one pan of this is probably enough to last forever.

Please follow us on....