Mar 252010

Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Sunlight ($38 for 0.08 oz/2.2 grams) adds a beautiful, gentle yet natural warm glow to the skin.  This is an emollient product that appears to be a light yellow-gold in the pot.  When applied, it adds a very sheer layer of glow to the skin that looks natural but somehow more alive.  The look is rich, sophisticated and genuine.  The product seems to meld with the skin, which looks lovely.

Sometimes building up a powder highlighter to give enough sheen gives a frosty, unnatural look.  When using one of these products, one begins to look like the skin is blocked up with powder just as one is trying to look glowy.  Others give an unnatural metallic look.  By comparison, Sunlight is far more natural and luminous, allowing the skin to show through.

Sunlight gives a slightly warm, clear sheen without adding any frost to the skin beneath.  Here are some swatches  that are applied heavily enough to show the color and tone.  Of course, you can apply Sunlight very sheerly for a more subtle effect:

You can see that Sunlight leaves a warm glow on the skin.  Here it is swatched heavily in the foreground, next to the cooler toned RMS Beauty Living Luminizer in the background which looks more white (click to enlarge):

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Mar 182010

RMS Beauty, created by celebrity make-up artist Rose-Marie Swift, began to get my attention via reviews by London Makeup Girl.  Although I don’t typically go for organic makeup products, the idea of organic makeup that promised skin care benefits appeals to me.  RMS Beauty promises product that are not only non-toxic, that deliver benefits like healing, anti-aging, hydration and nourishing.  RMS Beauty invites use to “consider it skincare with mineral color— giving makeup a whole new meaning,” and promise that the ingredients are raw, organic, food-grade and include vitamins and anti-oxidants.

I ordered the Living Lumizer ($38) from the Spirit Beauty Lounge.  London Makeup Girl had not reviewed this, but I did see some other favorable reviews out there.  The package arrived with breath-taking speed, only two or three days after I placed my order, in a cute recycled gift box with a pink raffia ribbon and several skin care samples from other lines.  Living Lumizer comes in a small glass pot roughly the size of a MAC Paint Pot.

The Living Luminizer is a sheer emollient with satin-pearl finish.  The color looks white in the pot, but it can be applied as sheerly as a almost-clear pearl, or nearly white with dense application.  There is absolutely no  sparkle or glitter whatsoever.  It’s color-neutral when sheerly applied (neither warm nor cool).  If more densely applied, the whitish pearl tone shows slightly.  It’s meant to give a touch of glow to the skin, indeed it could be worn sheerly on the lid as a clear shimmery gloss.

The Living Luminizer delivers a very subtle clear sheen.  It seems to dry down completely leaving the effect of a very finely crushed pearl.  I can’t feel any sticky or greasy texture as one might with vaseline or even a MAC Cream Color Base, which don’t seem to dry completely down.  However, the skin feels softer and moisturized where the product is applied, compared to the areas around it.

Here is a swatch of the RMS Living Lumizer compared to the Soleil Tan de Chanel Sheer Illuminating Fluid in Sunkissed.  These are heavy swatches to show the color, much heavier than I would ever apply directly on the face:

You can see that the RMS Beauty Living Luminizer leaves a whitish-pearly cast, compared to the warmer gold of the Chanel.

Can we talk about price for just a bit?  The RMS Beauty Living Luminizer sells for $38.  My jar lists the amount as .15 ounces/4.25 grams. (RMS Beauty’s website lists the amount as .20 ounces, but mine lists less). In contrast, Chanel’s Illuminating Fluid is $48 for 1 ounce/30 ml. (5x the amount, $10 difference). Armani Fluid Sheers are $59 for 1 ounce/30 ml.  (Again, 5x the amount, 50% higher price).

Based on these numbers alone, the RMS Beauty Living Luminizer is more expensive than Chanel and Armani.  However, there are other factors that should be considered…  After I originally posted this review, I heard from Rose Marie Swift who explained several important points about her products and Living Luminizer more specifically:

  • The amounts listed on the Living Luminizer is lower than one actually receives.  The packaging will be re-done with the next release to reflect the actual (higher) amount of product in the jar.
  • Living Luminizer is a solid, meaning it does not contain any water.  Other companies’ liquids might contain a significant share of water.  The RMS products should last much longer because they are all the ‘good stuff’–no filler.
  • RMS Beauty takes great care to eliminate harmful chemicals from her products.

She also referred me to her site, The Beauty Truth, and I must say I found her story very compelling (read it if you get a chance!).  Rose Marie Swift started her company after she fell in love with beauty products, worked in the industry, and found that she was experiencing serious health issues after working with beauty products through the years.  In response, she decided to do something about it.  This includes both spreading the word, and founding a company that was consistent with her concerns.   I must say that I do enjoy her products (I got an eyeshadow from the Spirit Beauty Lounge that I’ll review soon) and will be ordering more.

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Mar 162010

MAC Liberty of London Beauty Powder in Summer Rose ($25) is a cool pink confectionary pressed powder. MAC appears to use the term “beauty powder” to apply to a wide variety of products.  Some of their beauty powders are overall face finishing powders, some are very shimmery and seem to work best as highlighters and some are pigmented enough to use as a blush.  On fair-skinned users, Summer Rose sits somewhere between blush and highlighter, although personally I’ll be using Summer Rose primarily as a highlighter.  As a blush, one would apply more heavily by using several layers and even then the effect is very very soft.  This will be beautiful with pink and mauve blushes (including MAC’s Dirty Plum also released with the Liberty of London collection).

I must admit that the packaging of this collection really overwhelmed me–I really love Liberty of London. This launch was executed very nicely–the packaging, patterning and choice of colors is gorgeous.  I haven’t purchased very much MAC over the past year, but I’m happy to report this was worth the splurge.

Here’s a picture of the Summer Rose powder pan, which looks more pigmented than the product actually applies.  I believe that this is designed to work on cooler tones, and I am warm-toned.  However, I love crossing over the “do’s and don’t’s” line.  Further, I find that cooler blushes and highlighters can look right on me, although they are a touch more dramatic than warmer colors.   Who doesn’t love a little makeup drama, right?

Because Summer Rose’s effect is subtle, it is somewhat difficult to capture in a swatch.  I did my best here, with a heavier swatch on the left of this picture and very lightly applied with a highlighter blush on the right:

I recommend Summer Rose as a highlighter.  If you think this will work for you, act quickly as this collection appears to be selling out fast.

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Mar 132010

MAC’s Liberty of London Beauty Powder is Shell Pearl ($25) is absolutely beautiful.  This is a pressed powder highlighter in gorgeous white packaging, with a beautiful bird and flower design, which in combination with the Liberty of London name certainly drew me in.  Shell Pearl was previously released with at least one other collection (Sundressing in 2006), but somehow I missed it then.  This time, I was unable to resist the British connection and ordered this online.

My instinct to order it sight unseen was because I feel that this  collection will sell out quickly, not quite a quickly as Barbie but not too much longer either.  Indeed, Shell Pearl is now gone from MAC’s online site, although still on and in some stores.  Several of the lip products and Blue India nail polish is gone as well.  I suspect there’s another week or so left for the persistent purchaser, but not terribly much longer than that for the popular items.

Can I just rave about this beautiful packaging for a moment?  Shell Pearl arrived boxed in this patterned organic-pen-drawing covered box with bright flashes of color highlighting the bird and flower theme.  Inside the compacts are a pretty shiny white (who doesn’t love a shiny white compact!) that seems to resist showing the fingerprints that shiny black boxes do.  Typical of MAC, the plastic is sturdy, the included mirror is nice to have and I would feel completely comfortable packing this inside a nice purse without concern that it’s going to self-destruct.  As an aside, I am not a fan of cardboard or paper packaging for products that must withstand both travel and messy countertops.

Shell Pearl is a beautiful warn shimmery gold-peach with a touch of pink.  It makes my skin glow, without the addition of any glittery bits.  In the swatches below, you can see that building up the shade doesn’t seem to make it cakey or odd.   It is unquestionably a highlighter.  The color cannot be built up enough to use as a blush on my pale skin.  Used with a peach or pink blush, the effect is really beautiful.

Here are some comparisons-here, Bobbi Brown’s Nectar Shimmerbrick and her Antigua Illuminating Bronzer, which are in the same color family.  As you can see, Shell Pearl is slightly lighter in color and tone than Bobbi’s offerings.

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Feb 242010

Photo by NASA

There are some products which Chanel puts out that are so inexplicable, I cannot help but buy them just so I can try to understand them.  Rachel Zoe recently said in one of her recent Zoe Reports:

If you are someone who identifies with the fashion world, you probably have days when people look at you like you’re crazy—I know I do. But never let that discourage you. Anytime you find yourself the subject of a “What on earth is she wearing?” comment, it usually means you are doing your job right!

Chanel Joues Contraste in Luna seems to fit within a level of lunar insanity that makes me wonder, “Who on earth would wear that?”  Then I catch a glimpse of a cool luminescence on my cheek in the mirror, and I say “I would!!”

Although labeled as a “blush,” Luna is a most decidedly a platinum-toned highlighter.  Unlike Nars Albatross, most Bobbi Brown Shimmerbricks and other highlighters on the market, Luna runs white-silver rather than those that include pinks, peaches or golds.  This gives the cheek a high-fashion glow that is very very subtle.

If you apply this normally in the upper cheek and forehead area, you may not notice it at first.  I found myself squinting into the mirror, finally getting close enough to bump my forehead.  At extremely close (ouch!) range, you can barely see a cool multi-toned shimmer.  It is only when I came back an hour later, relaxed, stood back and allowed the light to fall naturally on my cheek that I noticed the pretty, glowy highlighting effect.

Glowy, but not as if you are the moon.  Rather, as if you are moonlit.

Here is a heavy, heavy swatch so that you can see the color.  I would not recommend wearing Luna so heavily:

There seem to be very few swatches of this blush around.  I doubt that product was popular, and it is extremely difficult to impossible to photograph the shimmery effect as a more lightly-applied, wearable state.  I find that it looks beautiful with a nude blush used as a contour, with the highlighting Luna on the upper cheek.  Clearly, this product is not for everyone.  But it was  more wearable that I imagined.  I suspect that it can be duplicated with a shimmery cool-toned pigment from one of the many etailers out there.  Nonetheless, I appreciate that Chanel tried something different with Luna that is a wearable, yet unusual, addition to my makeup.

Again, here are some heavy swatches:

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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.

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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.

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Dec 212009

It may be difficult to imagine, during this week of snow and cloud cover, the warm spring days that lie ahead–when we’ll be wearing both bronzer and sunscreen and may want to add some glow to the face.  As always, the beauty industry runs a season ahead and I can imagine that Chanel had these days in mind when it designed the Emprient de Chanel (Chanel Imprint) Poudre Eclat Illuminating Powder (Radiant Glow Highlighting Powder) ($65).

As the name implies, the surface has an imprint of the iconic Chanel logo in gold, surrounded by a multicolored circles which are packed with shimmer.  Aside from a light surface overspray, which quickly wears away, the bulk of the product applies as a warm, peachy-gold shimmer.  Despite the name, the product does deposit some visible color to the cheek.  For all but the palest skin tones, this amount of color will not be sufficient to substitute as a blush.

There is a small brush included, about half of the size of Chanel’s typical powder brushes that come with bronzers or the like.  It is sufficient for travel, and was probably included to assist with precise placement.  You may prefer to use a larger brush, depending on the area you wish to cover.

Below, I’ve swatched this next to Chanel’s Les Tissages Lames de Chanel highlighter released for this holiday (two slightly different swatches).  Here are some differences that were apparent to me:

  • The Empriente de Chanel’s large double CC’s give the impression that the palette is primarily gold, however the background textured area is a warm golden peach with a barest hint of pink
  • The Empriente de Chanel is not as gold as Les Tissages
  • Les Tissages has more — and slightly larger– glitter bits, where the Empriente de Chanel has a multidimensional smooth sheen

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Les Tissages Lames de Chanel: Can It Make You Happy?

 Chanel, Highlighter  Comments Off on Les Tissages Lames de Chanel: Can It Make You Happy?
Dec 122009

Chanel Suit

I demand more from beauty products than to sit on a counter looking pretty.  I want them to actually work well. And confronted with this product, I had to ask myself–could I use it?  Could I wear it to Starbucks without looking like “The Crazy Sparkling Chanel Lady”?  In other words, could it make me happy?

I rarely go anywhere draped in pearls and shimmer.  I never play with mini-birdcages.  But I did want to use the product several times a week to make the purchase price worth it. Chanel Birdcage copy

So after purchasing Les Tissages online, I went to my local Chanel counter.  As luck would have it, a Chanel representative was visiting that day, and gave me a lot of ideas. After a demonstration, I was convinced that I could actually use the item to pan.  First, she showed me that I could use this as an eyeshadow wash for an everyday look.  It leaves a sheer gold sheen that’s really pretty.

Second, she showed me that it could be used under foundation to give a subtle dewy look.  Here are the steps:

1. Apply foundation

2. Apply Les Tissages on the upper cheek, over the brows (yes, over), on the chin and even on the bridge of the nose.  If this is too shimmery for you, apply another layer of foundation over the highlighted areas.  These areas are circled on the facechart, below.  Stand back and gasp.  Yes, that’s actually your dewy skin.

Third, it can be used as a beautiful, sheeny highlighter all by itself.  This will give you the strongest look, but can work for daytime looks.  I’ve done a swatch in the shape of an “x” below, on my arm so you can see the full color and highlight effect.

As I left, I felt that although $60 is high.  However, I will use a substantial amount of the product.  And, it is a beautiful and useable product once you know how.  I especially like the “under foundation” trick.

For comparison, I would say that this has about the same amount of shimmer (tiny tiny glimmer bits) as a Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick, but more overall light-reflecting sheen.  The silvery sparkle that you see on the surface does come off with the first use.  This will mean that the shimmer bits will only be obvious for the first few uses, but the sheen goes through and through.

Les Tissages with Overspray

Tissage Swatch

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