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First Impressions: Anastasia Beverly Hills Sun Dipped

June 2, 2016

ABH Sundipped Glow Kit - 41a

Anastasia Beverly Hills Sun Dipped Glow Kit ($40) is a huge palette with four summer-appropriate shades. Mine just arrived. As this is a new product, I thought it best to post some early swatches.

The palette is, unfortunately, cardboard but the pans can be de-potted easily to place into a sturdier palette. These huge pans are buttery soft and satiny.  So far, so beautiful.

There are four shades:

  • Summer – Luminous sand with a white gold finish. This is very close to a pearly white color.
  • Moonstone – Radiant quartz with a pearl finish. This is slightly peachy-pink and quite pretty.
  • Tourmaline – Warm taupe with a rose gold finish. This comes off as quite cool-toned. It’s a very unusual color, quite beautiful. I don’t know of any other highlighter that has such a strong taupe tone.
  • Bronzed – Amber with a penny metal finish. Although this looks quite deep in the pan and in my swatch, this can be applied sheerly on more pale skin.

ABH Sundipped Glow Kit - 51a

ABH Sundipped Glow Kit - 74

ABH Glow Kit - 69

I started out using a fan brush to apply, to do light layering. Despite the very good pigmentation of these, I found that my standard highlighting brushes for my best look.  I’m going to keep playing with these. So far, I’m loving the combination of Summer and Bronzed. I can’t wait to try Tourmaline alone. I’m really curious to play with a warm taupe highlighter.

So, what do you think?

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Blush Bronzers Brushes and Tools Highlighter NARS

Summer Loves: Nars Hot Sand Orgasm and Laguna Duos

May 30, 2016

NARS Hot Sand Collection - 17

It feels like this weekend has turned the corner from spring to summer. This is the perfect time to stock up on some summertime staples, NARS Hot Sand  – Orgasm and Hot Sand – Laguna powder duos. ($42 each). These slim compacts are full of summer goodness. Typically, I think of NARS staple highlighter as Albatross. For me, Hot Sand has a warmer, softer color that’s beautiful and very flattering. Of course, Laguna is an amazing bronzer that looks wonderful on a wide range of skin tones.  Of course, Orgasm is a glowing, flatter shade.

The formulations on these powders is superb.  As I go about my summer travels, these two will definitely be slipped into my carryon.  They’re gorgeous.

NARS Hot Sand  – Orgasm is available at Nordstrom and NARS online.

Hot Sand Palettes - 3

To go with these beautiful powders, this collection includes a limited edition brush, the NARS Hanamachi Kabuki Brush ($42). This fluffy, dense brush is designed to work with the Hot Sand palettes. It’s gorgeous, easy to work with and control. Here’s a comparison with the gigantic Givenchy Bronzer Kabuki ($50) and the MAC 182 brush ($53) (this one, from the Catherine Deneuve collection from several years ago).

NARS Hot Sand Collection - 14

The same brushes, set on their sides:

NARS Hot Sand Collection - 13

As you can see, NARS is a comfortable travel size but large and fluffy enough to provide a beautiful, diffused and blended looks.

The NARS Hanamachi Kabuki Brush ($42) is available at Nordstrom and Nars online.

Affiliate Links / These items were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for review.

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Highlighter MAC Powder

Review of Selections from Future MAC and MAC Mineralize

April 9, 2016

 

MAC Future Collection - 15

As I transition back into more active blogging, I thought it might be useful to do a (very) quick overview of my picks from the recent Future MAC and MAC Mineralize collections. Both are focused on skin-enhancing textures. I focused my dollars on the powder products.

These collections are currently available at Nordstrom, (Future and Mineralize) Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and Dillards.

MAC Future Collection - 13

Otherearthly is the most striking highlighter. Although intimidating, it’s actually sort of fun to use and creates a high-shine metallic light peach-rose gold finish. The look is pure MAC–bold, not a subtle sheen. There’s definitely a surprise factor with Otherearthly–depending on where you place your brush, you’ll get a different look. The two outer shades are rather smooth. The silver (not an overspray! It’s really silver!) doesn’t have a super-smooth texture. But you really can’t expect that (it’s a chunk of silver, hey!). And once the shades are blended together, the look is pretty spectacular. The swatches compare Otherearthly’s individual shades, mixed and swatch of Nuanced Mineralized Skinfinish (part of the Mineralized collection).

Mac Mineralized Swatches - 21

The new MAC Mineralized collection gives us five new options in a “pinwheel” format. These were a pure joy to work with–they’re creamy and with the four quarters, there’s a surprise factor that’s just absolutely fun.  I chose three:

  • Faintly Fabulous has a yellow color-correcting shade that can be used to brighten the undereye area. This gives a glowing light highlighter effect when all of the shades are mixed together that leans toward pinky-gold. I was surprised that the final mixed version wasn’t very yellow at all.
  • Nuanced is the most metallic and shimmery of these three. It gives a lovely gold-pink shade that’s just gorgeous. On my NC15 skintone, it can be used as a subtle high-shimmer blush.
  • Perfectly Lit is my favorite mistake. Technically, it’s too deep for my skintone and could never, ever be a highlight on me. It’s a gingery-shimmer orb of goodness that I have to apply very lightly as a high-shimmer blush.  If you look good in gingery deep shades, you might love this one.

All three had an excellent smooth formula. These deserve a lot of love if you are a mineralized skin finish fan.

MAC Future Collection - 5

Mac Mineralized Swatches - 10

MAC Future Collection - 6

Mac Mineralized Swatches - 11

MAC Future Collection - 7

Mac Mineralized Swatches - 13

MAC Warm Rose Mineralized Skinfinish is perhaps the most puzzling product of the lot.  It reminded me of Chanel’s Poudre Douce in Rosee that was discontinued in the U.S. some years ago. The Chanel allover face powder looks slightly cool pink when applied to my NC15/Cameo/Ivoire skintone. When certain kinds of light hit it, the Chanel powder gives a slight, soft pearly effect that’s just gorgeous. MAC Warm Rose has a similar quality, but it is not quite as pronounced. Indeed, the effect is so subtle that depending on the color/tone/texture of your skin, and the lighting, you might not see the effect at all. In that case, Warm Rose amounts to the most subtle highlighter on the face of the planet (truly, it’s more subtle than the Hourglass Ambient Light Powders). There will be a narrow class of people who might love Warm Rose. For others, it’s going to be best to skip. Warm, deep skin tones might find it looking ashy, and others may find it completely invisible.

MAC Future Collection - 17

MAC Future Collection - 18

There are two limited edition blushes with Future MAC–the soft pink/peach Ray Beam and the light nude Cosmic Force. The texture of both is satin-matte, and the formula is a creamy powder. These are both well done, but probably not must-haves.

Ray Beam is pretty, and I’ll get a lot of use out of it. It reminds me a little of Chanel Espeigel, but without the soft Chanel glow. MAC’s Ray Beam is softly pigmented, and it compliments Othereartly and Nuanced nicely.  In other words, it fits in nicely with the overall collection.

Cosmic Ray, a soft nude, was a miss for me. Although for some it would be a good contour shade, it didn’t have the complexity or depth that I was hoping for. My mistake was comparing it to Chanel Mocha, which has a deep mauve base note that looks amazing with Chanel Rosee (they always discontinue the nice ones). I’m including swatches so you can make up your own mind.

Mac Cosmic Force Ray - 1

Whew! So overall, I’d look at Otherearthly because that’s the most unusual star product out of this collection. I wish they’d made  pink and alternative nude versions of it. MAC Warm Rose is going to be a love-it or hate-it product (or a big “nothing-burger with nothing on the side” for some). The Mineralized “pinwheels” are worth your time–choose according to your skin tone. The blushes are well-formulated, the question is going to be whether these are colors that you are looking for.

I’ve heard good things about the lip products in this collection, but I had to draw the line somewhere. With the Sephora sale going on, and Tom Ford Bicoastal in stock, tough choices have to be made.

MAC Future and the new Mineralized collections are currently available at Nordstrom, (Future and Mineralize) Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and Dillards.

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Eyeshadow Highlighter Sephora Tarte

My Picks: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Collection

April 6, 2016

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Collection

I haven’t gotten deeply into Tarte’s line, aside from panning a Park Avenue Princess a few years ago (no regrets!). A few weeks ago, distracted amidst an in extremis deadline, I found myself drawn to the release of the Tarte Chicken Rainforest of the Sea Collection for no particular reason. A few of the products were surprisingly good, and others worth writing about in case you are thinking about them. I believe that these products are only available on Sephora and Tarte online at present.

Tarte Twinkle Palette 1

Tarte’s Rainforest of the Sea Skin Twinkle Highlighter palette was the winner. Although I’m biased and falling in love with all highlighter’s lately, let em tell you about this one. There are two giant pans of a gel-powder (the left is warm, the right is slightly rose). Applied with a fan brush, these are absolutely gorgeous reflective beauties without the dreaded glitter. They’re remarkably smooth, easy to work with and given their giant size, I’m hoping I never run out. These two Tarte pretties are a touch more subtle than Becca Champagne Pop and the other extreme shiners we’ve seen over the past year. Yet it’s not at all shy–the reflectivity is really there, and I’m loving it. 

Tarte Skin Twinkle 5

The middle shade is a matte yellow powder that must be ignored. Inexplicably, it’s a hard pan of nothing that’s sitting between two elegant  powders that will give you the upper cheekbones of an angel. This is packaged in a very slim, packable metal with a full-size mirror in the lid (no brush).

Tarte Skin Twinkle 2 swatches

I bought the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Quench & Drench Lip Set ($9). This is a set with two mini lipsticks–the lightweight mint-flavored Quench formula in Nude ($19 for full size), and the creamy Drench in Cabana Boy ($22 for full size, available separately).

I became addicted to the Nude Quench shade–it’s super moisturizing and mint-tingly.  Unfortunately, it’s packaged in cardboard and the formula is so soft it broke easily.  It is lovely, super wearable and gives a pretty nude glow. But it might be better in a pot.  The Drench Cabana Boy is a nice near-opaque shade in a somewhat moisturizing formula.

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Eyeshadow 2

Tarte RFOTS Eyeshadow 1

I had high hopes for the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Eyeshadow Palette ($34). Who doesn’t love a neutral palette with the look of a shimmery metal, and a few good mattes? The palette is certainly nice, and provides countless options, for its price range. But I don’t believe that that higher-end palettes have much to worry about. That said, I found the shadows consistent–all were good, none were duds. But none were complete standouts, except maybe the taupe called “Wave.” All had excellent blendability.

tarte rainforest of the sea

TARTE RFOTS Eyeshadow 9

To some degree, I’m glad that Tarte packaged this collection in metal, not cardboard. This is especially true for Skin Twinkle, as gel formulas are fragile. But for this eyeshadow palette, the metal adds a lot of weight. It gives the product a nice heavy, substantial feeling. But the weight takes away from the travel-friendly quality that other palettes have

I should note that I’ve sampled the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Foundation in Fair-Light ($39/1 ounce). After wearing it for a few days, I’ve placed the full-sized version in my cart. It’s really nice, especially for dry or combination skin. It’s designed to add hydration, and it does leave my skin feeling and looking better after removal. It gave me 10-hour wear easily, without shifting or fading. It looks lovely, with a luminous satin finish all day long.  It’s as good as any high-end foundation out there under $60. Definitely worth sampling if you are near a Sephora

Overall, the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea had items that–although I bought in haste–do not regret.  I’m addicted to the Skin Twinkle highlighter palette (recommended!). The eyeshadow palette is nice, but in a field crowded with beautiful neutral palettes I’m not sure it’s unusual enough to put super high on your list. I love the Quench formula for its moisturizing and minty tingle, but the fact that it easily broke put me off buying any more.

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Bronzers Contour Highlighter Tata Harper

Review: Tata Harper Highlight and Contour Creams

January 29, 2016

Tata Harper Contour and Highlight 1

Tata Harper is one of the premier creator of 100% natural, organic, non-toxic, anti-aging skincare. Even better, generally it’s effective skincare–to me, this is the true test of a healthy product. Recently, the line has begun to branch out into color, a lovely development given that so many are concerned about cosmetic ingredients. How awesome is that?  I was fortunate to try two–the Tata Harper Very Illuminating Luminzer and the Tata Harper Very Bronzing contour cream ($40 each).

tata harper contour and highlighter - 1

I’ve been working with these for several weeks, and find they are ideal for a contoured, highlighted cheek. These have a lovely sophisticated look, worthy of a high-end label.

As you can see from the swatches to the right. the Very Illuminating Luminizer leans slightly white-pink, and has a very natural effect when applied to the curves on the face. It has a very finely-formulated texture, and it can be easily sheered out or built up. It’s lovely. The Very Bronzing contour cream is one of the few products that leans slightly cool.

As the swatches show, the color of Tata Harper’s Very Bronzing can be used as a true contour shade (particularly compared to the much warmer-toned Soleil Tan de Chanel). Like the Very Illuminating Luminzer, the Very Bronzing shade can be fully sheered or built up as you like.

Tata Harper Highlighter 1

As genius as MAC’s Luna Cream Color Base is, Tata Harper’s Very Illuminating cream is easier to work with and more easily gives a more natural look. Obviously, the ingredients of both are quite different, as MAC makes no “all-natural” claims.

The ingredients for the Tata Harper Very Illuminating Luminzer are:   Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) seed oil*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit extract, Ricinus Communis (castor) Seed Oil, Cera Alba/Beeswax/ Cire d’abeille*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Mica, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Seed wax, Iron Oxides (C.I. 77891), Camellia sinensis (Green Tea) seed oil*, Plukenetia Volubilis, Palmitoyl Isoleucine, Euterpe oleracea (Acai) fruit oil*, Titanium Dioxide (CI. 77891), Lavandula stoechas (Spanish Lavender) extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E).

The ingredients for the Tata Harper Very Bronzing contour cream are: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit extract, Ricinus Communis (castor) Seed Oil, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) seed oil*, Cera Alba/Beeswax/ Cire d’abeille*, Mica, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Seed wax, Camellia sinensis (Green Tea) seed oil*, Plukenetia Volubilis, Palmitoyl Isoleucine, Euterpe oleracea (Acai) fruit oil, Iron Oxides (C.I. 77492), Titanium Dioxide, Octyldodecanol, Iron Oxides (C.I. 77491), Iron Oxides (C.I. 77499), Mica, Lavandula stoechas (Spanish Lavender) extract, Jojoba Esters, Trihydroxystearin, Alumina, Silica, Tocopherol (Vitamin E).

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The Tata Harper Very Illuminating Luminzer and the Tata Harper Very Bronzing contour cream are available at Nordstrom, Sephora, and Bergdorf Goodman.

Affiliate link/ press sample sent without charge for consideration for review

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Dior Highlighter

Dior Glowing Gardens Glowing Nude #2 Highlighter Review

January 18, 2016

Dior Nude Air Glowing Gardens 1 - 1 (3)

Now that Peter Philips is in control at Dior Beauty, we’re beginning to see some lovely things. His Glowing Gardens collection for Spring 2016 is hitting so many of the right notes. _behind-the-scenes-with-peter-philips_medias_coverThe Dior Nude Air Glowing Gardens highlighters ($58 with a mini kabuki brush) have been their most popular items. I’ve ordered them so many times, only to have them become cancelled because they’ve gone out of stock. At this point, your best hope is to call your local counter or a Dior boutique to find them. Although the year is young, I suspect that these will become remembered as one of the better products of 2016. There are two, both highly reflective shimmering wonders. One is #1 Glowing Pink, the other is #2 Glowing Nude. After several cancelled orders, I finally nailed down both of them. Unfortunately, my Dior #1 Glowing Pink shipment has gone to California to enjoy some warm weather and won’t be here until next week or so. Because these items are likely to go completely out of stock soon, I thought I’m post some preliminary pictures of #2 Glowing Nude so that you can decide whether these are worth pursuing.

Dior Nude Air Glowing Gardens 1 - 1 (5)

These beautifully appointed glowing beauties are similar in formula to Chanel Mouche de Beaute and MAC Whisper of Gilt. Here are some comparison swatches.

Dior Nude Air Glowing Gardens 1 - 1 (1)

I think the presentation and quality of these is well worth the price, particularly if you missed out on Chanel Mouche de Beaute (which has a touch of sparkle, but is otherwise similar).  If you are looking for them, please do not wait too long. Given my experiences, they will be completely sold out before too long. Check here at Sephora to see a few left.

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Blush Eyeshadow Highlighter NARS

NARS Fall 2015: Tribulation Blush, Pasiphae and Teslesto Dual Intensity Eyeshadows

September 19, 2015

NARS Fall 2015 Color Collection Stylized Image - low res

NARS Private Screening Fall 2015 brings some outstanding limited edition products worth highlighting.  The first is Tribulation Blush, a glowing nude.  This makes a beautiful skin-finishing highlighter on many skintones or can be worn as a nude blush on those in the NC10-25 range. It’s so unique, I don’t know of any other blushes that come close to Tribulation.  The finish is so gorgeous.

Nars Tribulation blush - 1

These products are available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Nars online, Barneys New York (Tribulation blush, Parsipahe  and Teslesto), Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

NARS Private Screening Fall 2015 also includes two new, limited edition shades of the Dual Intensity Eyeshadows:  Pasiphae and Telesto. Frequent readers of this blog know that I am head-over-heels for this format. Pasiphae is a extraordinary, unusual shade that evokes the many complex colors of a peacock feather.  Telesto is a shimmering brown with a slightly metallic edge.

Nars Fall 2015 Eyeshadow

These products can be used to give a glowy, intense gorgeous Fall look.

Nars Night Clubbing Eyeliner 2 - 1

These products are available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Nars online, Barneys New York (Tribulation blush, Parsipahe  and Teslesto), Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

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Products sent without charge for consideration for review

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Bronzers Highlighter Lipgloss Lipstick NARS

Nars Bronzy Summer Look

August 25, 2015

Nars Luxenbourg Satellite of Love Casino

Liz created this beautiful late-summer look with Nars Casino Bronzer and Satellite of Love highlighting blush to sculpt her cheeks. She placed a bit of the Casino bronzer in the hollows of her cheek, then topped Satellite of Love highlighting blush on her upper cheek.

She completed the look with  Nars Luxembourg lip pencil.

Nars Luxembourg4

Nars Luxembourg2

Such a simple look.  So simply beautiful.

liz

Nars Casino bronzer is available at Nordstrom, Nars online, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, and Neiman Marcus.

Nars Satellite of Love highlighting blush is available at Nordstrom, and Nars online,

Nars Luxembourg Satin lip pencil is available at Nordstrom,  Nars online, Sephora, Bloomingdales, Lord and Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, Selfridges, and Neiman Marcus.

 Affiliate links. These products were originally sent to the blog for consideration for review.

 

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Becca Highlighter

Becca Champagne Pop Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Powder Review

July 6, 2015

Becca Champagne Pop 12Last week, Becca released a new highlighter through Sephora— the Becca Champagne Pop Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Powder ($38) packaged in the same sturdy, luxurious packaging that houses its other soft, glowing highlighters.  This was a collaboration with makeup artist Jaclyn Hill.

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