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Review: Dior Nude Air Summer Glow Shimmering Loose Powder

May 12, 2016

Dior Nude Air

Dior Nude Air Summer Glow Shimmering Loose Powder ($56/0.56 oz.) is a finishing powder that delivers a softening, blurring effect with a bit of an ethereal warm glow. Limited edition as part of Dior’s Milky Dots collection for Summer ’16, this powder immediately caught my eye.  I’m a fan of beautiful textures (and I’m a bit over-saturated in highlighters), so I thought that Summer Glow would be a fun addition to my summer beauty collection.

Bottom line–Some will love this and back it up, while others will not love it. I found that this works as a beautiful glowing summer finishing powder when applied with a large fluffy powder brush. Despite the sparkles you see in the powder, I found that this application method doesn’t appear to translate those sparkles to the face (checked in several different types of lighting). It gives a beautiful, warm, glow effect that is similar to some of the “glowing foundations” that we’ve seen released lately. I love the effect. Alternatively, Dior Summer Air can be used as an glow over blush for those looking to add a touch of warmth.

Dior Summer Air Shimming Loose Powder is available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Bergdorf GoodmanLord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue (and Harrods in the UK).

This lush tub of luxury powder appears to be made of a plexiglass, which makes it both strong and pretty. It’s packed with a puff (no brush). Although the Dior specialist recommended using the puff for all-over application, I haven’t worked up the bravery to do that yet.  I don’t think she was wrong, she was quite insistent in fact (she said it three times! okay!) If you look closely at the powder, you will find that it is full of a very fine iridescence (this accumulates on the plastic sifter lid, below right). This powder’s name includes “Shimmering Loose Powder.” With a concentrated highlighting brush (like this one from Charlotte Tillbury, but others will do), Dior Summer Sun can create a subtle highlight.

Dior Summer Air 3

 Keep in mind that this powder works best applied sheerly, and the tone is deeper than a typical highlighter. Here’s a comparison with Dior’s Nude Air Highlighter in Glowing Pink. After playing with Dior Summer Air, I decided that the Dior sales associate was on to something. Although I don’t like using the puff (I prefer a large fluffy brush), Dior Summer Air is a beautiful all-over glowing finishing powder. In fact, it reminds me of a deeper, summery version of Chanel Feerrie.

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Dior Nude Air 2_edited-2I suspect that if you are (like I am) beautiful face powders, Dior Summer Air is worth your time. Applied softly all over the face, it gives a similar impression to some of this Spring’s glowing foundations (not as glowing as Becca’s, more similar to Giorgio Armani’s). If you go this route apply in a very sheer layer with a large fluffy powder brush. It dds a touch of healthy summer color without going all the way bronzed.

Alternatively you can apply with a smaller brush as a concentrated soft highlighter or glowing powder over blush.

The packaging is beautiful Dior–lighter than glass, but still makes my heart race with the quilted silver top. Certainly, it will work as a body powder as well if you love the look.

Dior Summer Air Shimming Loose Powder is available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Bergdorf GoodmanLord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue (and Harrods in the UK).

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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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MAC Powder

Quick Review: MAC Pro Longwear Pressed Powder

July 10, 2015

MAC Pro Longwear powderDuring a makeup emergency (long story!) I bought the new MAC Prolongwear Pressed Powder ($26) in Light Plus on a trip several weeks ago. I integrated it into my daily routine immediately, without photographing the product or keeping the box as I usually do.  In the meantime, I’ve been impressed with this light-coverage, velvet-matte powder. I thought it was worth discussing even if my pictures aren’t complete. This comes in eleven (11) shades from Light to Dark Deepest. MAC’s Prolongwear Pressed Powder is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Dillards and other MAC sources.

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Chanel Foundation Powder

Chanel Les Beiges Collection Healthy Glow Fluid, Blush Sticks and Healthy Glow Powders Reviewed

June 11, 2015

Chanel Les Beiges 5I was pleasantly surprised to see such a lovely collection at my local counter–the Chanel Les Beiges collection. Although I’ve refreshed my Chanel staples over the past few months, I have not been drawn to any of their recent collections. Happily, their Chanel Les Beiges is based on everything that the line does superbly–it is minimal with excellent textures that make one look and feel beautiful. Bravo!! This collection is currently at Chanel online, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Selfridges UK, and Bergdorf Goodman.

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Eyeshadow MAC Powder

Quick Thoughts: MAC Bao Bao Wan Collection

March 4, 2015

MAC Bao Bao Wan09MAC has released another “blink or you’ll miss it” collection in collaboration with fine jewelry artist Bao Bao Wan.

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 9.04.07 PMThis review will be brief, because unless you are ready to go search the stores tomorrow–and it is not entirely clear which stores will carry this collection–or luck out online then this post will be moot. Stock is limited, and demand appears to have drained Nordstrom’s online site already. As is MAC’s predilection, they have some stunning, saturated lipsticks and nail colors with this collection that I let get past me. Instead, I focused on the Bao Bao Wan Jewels Deluxe Pearlfusion eyeshadow palette ($44) and the Summer Opal Beauty Powder ($28). Oh, and it’s a very cold, dark and stormy night so I’ll do the best with the light I have. Tonight, there’s limited stock available at Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and MAC online.

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The Bao Bao Wan Jewels Deluxe Pearlfusion eyeshadow palette. This is a complicated metallic palette. These are not smooth or finely milled compared to some of the lines carried on this blog, and I did experience fallout both during and after application. The colors are unusual and they make a beautiful, complicated, exotic looking lid. The warm golds and the cool grey metallic is an interesting mix. This is something to kick up your routine, and only for those who like warm metallics. I definitely needed a true matte in the crease with this to knock down the glimmer effect–I used the dark brown espresso color from this YSL palette–but there are lots of other choices. Of course, there are more finely-milled metallics out there, but the combination of these colors really does do some beautiful things in the light.  Swatches:

MAC Bao Bao Wan14 The top pink is a bit like a Bobbi Brown sparkle shade with a transparent base and pink glimmer. There are two golds–warm, and warmer–and the two bottom shades to anchor things down. I like using the cool gray as a liner color, it gets very vibrant against the golds.

MAC Bao Bao Wan11

Things smooth out nicely when the shades are used wet. Still not as smooth as some eyeshadows, but the rougher texture melts together, the fallout stops, and the shades become much more smooth. I’m going to be using the palette applied with a wet brush from here on out.

MAC Bao Bao's Jewels

As I suspected, the Bao Bao Wan Summer Opal Beauty Powder ($28) was the star item for me in this collection. MAC’s Beauty Powders really defy categorization–they are finishing powders, but with a little extra je ne sais qua that keep them from being typical. Their uses seem to vary by collection and skin tone.  Blush? Finishing powder? Highlighter? Really, there’s no answer. You have to try it and see what happens on your skin. Anyway, for my pale NC15/20 skin tone, Summer Opal is a soft beige-pink highlight with slight reflectivity. I suspect that there are some glitters in the mix, but I’m not seeing them translate to the skin. The whole thing applies really smoothly on my upper cheek, down the center of my nose, and around my eye area.

MAC Bao Bao Wan03 copyI suspect this will look pretty over a bronzer or blush as well. The highlight effect is soft and subtle–it’s not highly reflective. Swatch:

MAC Bao Bao Wan15Although not for everyone, I think those with warm skin tones (light through dark) may find something extraordinary and fun in this collection. It really seems like a ‘fast fashion’ type of collection, not for those looking for the everyday classic. There’s limited stock available at Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and MAC online. This is due to be released in some stores on March 5, 2015, but  please call ahead because there is conflicting information about the stores that will be getting it.

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NARS Powder

Nars Soft Velvet Loose Powder Swatches

March 1, 2015

Nars powders2The new NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powders ($36 for 0.35 ounces) are winning my heart. These very finely milled powders provide a perfect finish,  perfect my foundation for all-day wear, eliminate any “glow” that typically happens at the end of the day and add just a touch of natural color. These are available at Nordstrom, Barneys New York, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

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Designed to be worn alone or over foundation, the line describes:

NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder sets foundation, controls oil and smoothes the texture of your skin while giving it a soft-focus finish. Infused with hyaluronic acid bonded powder, the non-drying, innovative formula visibly blurs the appearance of fine lines and pores while wearing comfortably all day. Photochromic technology keeps your skin looking naturally polished in every source of light.

The powders come in eight shades, from a near-white Snow to the deeper Valley:

Snow: For fair skintones

Flesh: For fair skintones

Eden: For warm medium skintones

Desert: Light rose undertones to enhance medium skintones

Beach: For deep yellow medium skintones

Mountain: For deep reddish-brown skin tones

Heat: For the deepest true brown skin tones

Valley: For the deepest neutral skin

Nars soft velvet loose powders

These have a similar melt-into-your-skin effect of the Nars Light-Reflecting Setting Powder, but add a light color coverage. I’m MAC NC15/20, Chanel Cameo and match well to Eden. Flesh can work for me, but it’s a little rose-toned and emphasizes my winter paleness. Eden makes me look a little more alive and matches my neck more closely. For the NARS genius factor, I’ve been adding Mountain to contour. It looks incredibly natural and adds just the right touch of dimension.

Nars powders1Here are some heavy swatches (applied very heavily so that you can see the color well):

Nars Soft Velvet Powder4Of course, these swatches look powdery because they are heavy, heavy, heavy.  You’d never wear them this heavy, but these just blend too much into my skin tone to see if I apply them naturally (especially Flesh, Eden and Desert). Also, I’m using one of the sharpest lenses on the planet literally. Liz calls this my “scary lens.” Another:

Nars soft velvet loose powder 3b
Here are more:

Nars Soft Velvet Powder2Last one:

Nars Soft Velvet Powder Swatches 1a

If you are trying to decide on a powder, I have to say that these are gorgeous and as lovely as some of the higher-priced French lines. I love that the shade range is so complete–some companies appear to ignore the very light and deep skin tones. Also, it’s a bit unusual (and welcome!) to see a line that acknowledges those crucial warm-cool skin tone differences. As far as brushes, I’ve been using a duo-fiber Chanel or MAC 187. I’ve also used the NARS Loose Powder Brush #10–this is also a good brush to just sweep all over the face to remove any excess powder.

These are available at Nordstrom, Barneys New York, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue. If you are trying to decide between these and the NARS Light Reflecting Loose, they are two different products.  The Light Reflecting Loose adds no color, but the Soft Velvet do.

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These powders were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post includes affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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NARS Powder

NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder Preview

February 22, 2015


Nars powders3 copy2This is a quick preview of the NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powders ($36 each).  I’ll be doing a full post with swatches soon, but could not keep these beautiful colors from you a moment longer. These are available at Nordstrom, Barneys New York, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

According to the line:

NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder sets foundation, controls oil and smoothes the texture of your skin while giving it a soft-focus finish. Infused with hyaluronic acid bonded powder, the non-drying, innovative formula visibly blurs the appearance of fine lines and pores while wearing comfortably all day. Photochromic technology keeps your skin looking naturally polished in every source of light.

How to use: Use alone or to set foundation and concealer. If using a brush, dip into the powder then tap off the excess powder. Apply to the face using circular motions starting in the center of your face to absorb shine and working your way out until blended. If using a puff, dip it into the powder then tap off the excess powder. Apply by pressing and rolling the puff onto the skin.
0.35 oz.
Alcohol-free; oil-free; fragrance-free.
Dermatologist-tested.
Non-comedogenic.
By NARS.

 These powders were sent by Nars Cosmetics to Cafe Makeup for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Eyeshadow Foundation Lipgloss NARS Powder

Quick Preview: New Nars Foundations, Powders, Eyeshadow Palettes more…

January 9, 2015

This is just a quick teaser post of some Nars items that arrived.  This box contains the new series of Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, several Soft Velvet Loose Powders, Eyeshadow palettes, eye pencils, a new lipgloss, a more.  Please keep in mind that this is just an “open the box” style post. These pictures are not color-accurate as I have not set up the correct lighting.  Still, so exciting!  I can feel my heart beat faster and faster….

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Guerlain Powder

My Thoughts: Guerlain Reformulated Meteorites in Clair

January 25, 2014

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation1

Guerlain has repackaged and reformulated its iconic permanent line of Meteorites. I tried the new Guerlain Meteorites in Clair #2 ($60) (available here from Nordstrom, here from Sephora).  If you are new to the product, Guerlain Meteorties are a vanity-display-worthy container of color correcting finishing powders. Guerlain explains this concept in a more elevated tone:

A subtle blend of matte, rosy and radiant blue-toned white pearls, combined with corrective coloured pearls – yellow to counter redness, pink for freshness and mauve to catch the light – they light up the face in an illuminating and corrective halo to give endless radiance.

I have loved all of the previous powders beyond reason. I have long thought that there are not true “dupes” of the colors. I actually liked the subtle violet scent (which this updated version retains). Perhaps some of their more beautiful meteorites are in their limited edition range, and so it was with some trepidation that I approached this new reformulation.

Guerlain Meteroites new formulationa1

The new packaging is beautiful, the design is updated, delicate and simplified. This lightweight metal product is pretty, although still not extending into the “travel friendly” category (Guerlain makes meteorites compacts for those purposes).

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation4

The container comes with a soft flocked padded sponge, which keeps the little meteorites in their place. The color-correcting, illuminating powders are inside:

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation5

The new reformulation is said to be “softer” in texture, meaning that it is easier to pick up on a brush. I found that these new reformulations are in fact much softer. Indeed, I found that a few meteorites had slight breakage, and there was a pool of loose powder on the bottom of the container that had collected (perhaps during the shipment process). Some of the perles had chipped at bit. The entire contents:

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You can see some of the powder in the open jar as it sits on its side:

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Certainly this loose residue is still usable as a powder, although it seems to defeat the purpose of the meteorites concept.  I found that I could not use the same powder brush as I have with the prior version on the unbroken perles.  The application was too “white” and heavy. I’ve had to switch to a duo-fibre brush (Chanel’s version of the MAC 187).

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation7

I am thinking of trying the bronzier-toned Guerlain Meteorites in Dore, as a soft bronzer along the lines of the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow #30 powders. Then again, the Chanel Les Beiges is working out so beautifully, comes in a travel-friendly compact, and gives me a beautiful finish. So I’m reluctant to mess with success. After I swept the little meteorites back into their container, the below image shows the residue that was left. Some powder was knocked off during shipment and came from the container during the spill, and some from handling during the spilling and sweeping.  Although I tried to handle these gently, this should indicate my experience with how soft these new meteorites are.

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation8

I trust Guerlian’s powder products so much–they truly understand the concept of finely milled on an entirely different level. These are beautifully formulated, but it will take me some adjustment to learn how to apply this new reformulation properly so that it compliments my skin. I’ve heard different criticisms of the prior version, such as that the effect was too subtle, or that the price point was too high to be justified by the effect. But I had not heard that the prior version wasn’t soft enough. Guerlain thought differently, and they are certainly in a better position than I am to understand and respond to customer feedback.

By reader request, here is an image of the ingredient list. I’ve amped up the contrast because the original box has subtle printing which is hard for me to read/photograph for a blog.  Click to enlarge:

guerlain ingredient list meteorites1

My sense is that, if were not a beauty blogger trying to understand the newest and latest, I would have continued using my existing Meteorites. In the meantime, I am wondering whether the new version of the Guerlain limited edition lines will use this new format as well. If you’ve heard anything, please feel free to share in the comments.

Available here from Nordstromhere from Sephora.

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Guerlain Powder

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites Pressed Radiance Powder Review

December 4, 2013

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites3

This year, the Guerlain Holiday Collection includes the Crazy Meteorites Pressed Radiance Compact ($69) (limited edition), a finely milled pressed finishing powder with a pattern evocative of the Guerlain Meteorites Voyage Compact/Mythic ($170) (originally reviewed here). Unlike the Guerlain Crazy Meteorites Pearls (reviewed here), the effect of the Crazy Meteorties pressed is subtle, less shimmery, and slightly more neutral in color.

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites1

Let’s talk first about the differences between the Voyage and the Crazy compacts. The amount of powder in the Crazy pressed is slightly more (.35 oz. compared to .28 oz. in Voyage). As you can see, the Guerlain Voyage has a more complex and more pastel powder pattern. By comparison, the Guerlain Crazy Meteorites has a simpler, brighter color pattern. Those who love their clutches take note–the Guerlain Voyage has a heavy, luxurious, slimmer compact (roughly 5 5/8 ozs. including the powder and compact together), compared to the lighter, plastic/composite compact of the less expensive Guerlain Crazy Meteorites pressed (roughly 3 1/4 ounce all together).

Guerlain compact comparison1

The powder color with the Guerlain Crazy pressed is slightly more vibrant healthy pink color. The Guerlain Voyage is slightly, subtly more illuminating. This is a difference which could give you a slight color glow with the Crazy, but most of you will not notice a a strong color when applying lightly with a soft powder brush. I did my best to do a color comparison, but am not super hopeful that you will actually see much here unless you click to enlarge and unless you have a very, very good computer screen. These comparison swatches are the Guerlain Crazy (pressed), the Guerlain Voyage, and the Guerlain Illuminating and Mattifying pressed powder (which matches my skin tone and therefore looks virtually invisible). Click to enlarge:

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites8

One more, same order and different light:

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites9

Like the Guerlain Crazy Terracotta, the Guerlain Crazy Meteorites compact looks like a dark brown-black in typical lighting. However, the compact has a neon pink effect in the “68” pattern (the Paris address of the main Guerlain boutique and spa at 68, Avenue de Champs-Élysées) in bright light:

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites5

 Overall, the Guerlain Crazy pressed is an excellent and finely milled glowing finishing powder, at a lower price point compared with the ultra-luxurious Guerlain Voyage. Texture-wise, both are excellent. Guerlain knows its powders (as well as its fragrances, lip products, and nail polishes, oh my!). The packaging and powder construction is different(and therefore, so is the price point). The Crazy provides a slight pink glow (that is hard to detect with typical application), while the Voyage is slightly more brightening and ethereal.

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