Feb 142013
 

Hourglass Ambient31

Hourglass Ambient Powders ($45) have hit the market of the past few weeks via Sephora.com and soon to be available in stores. Essentially, these powders are intended to brighten, conceal by capturing and diffusing the way that light hits the skin. The company makes the powders in six different shades intended to work on all skin tones, so that one can choose the effect they desire.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders - group shot white lowres-1

 

According to the company:

“I learned early on how different types of light can truly flatter the complexion,” says Carisa Janes, Hourglass CEO & Founder. “Growing up, my mother had pink light bulbs in all of the lamps throughout the house. She loved pink light because it was the softest and most flattering, and she always wanted to look good.” Janes was inspired to create a new generation of powders that can be customized according to the desired lighting effect.

Unlike traditional finishing powders, Ambient Lighting Powder alters the perceived appearance of the complexion by manipulating and filtering out harsh light. As we age, skin loses its natural luminosity, and Ambient addresses this deficiency with ‘photoluminescent technology’. These transparent micron-size, color-correcting particles emulate the appearance of young, healthy-looking skin.

The packaging is a lightweight compound that feels a bit like plastic and touch-up mirror. The company has released a accompanying Ambient Powder brush ($35) that is sold separately.

Hourglass Ambient34a

We tried Houglass Ambient Powder in Luminous Light, a champagne pearl powder that looks magnificent in the pan:

Hourglass Ambient32a

We wanted to love Luminous, we tried to. We actually had a meltdown, of sorts, about the fact that the powder didn’t work for us. Well, two meltdowns, really. (We get passionate about makeup in a way that’s sort of not, well, normal maybe. What of it?).  

It was our opinion that the Hourglass powder was too visible and shimmery to use as an all-over face powder for our personal taste. For comparison, here are heavy applications of the nearly-invisible Nars Light Reflecting Setting Powder (loose). As you can see, this very heavy application of the Nars Powder sets up as a demi-matte finish and adds no color, compared to the shimmery Hourglass Luminous. I also swatched the Guerlain Pressed Meteorites in Wulong. As you can see, this very heavy application Guerlain Wulong deposits a subtle soft color, compared to the more visible Houglass Luminous. Of course, you’d never wear any of these as heavily as they are applied here–I’m trying to show relative visibility (not actual).

Hourglass Ambient1

I’m not sure how visible these will be to you, as setting powders are notoriously tough to swatch. One more, same powders:

Hourglass Ambient22

We took a cue from The Beauty Look Book, who loved it as a highlighter. I tried, but found that the color blocked up a bit on me and left a touch of frost.  Back of the compact:

Hourglass Ambient33

Edit on Feb. 22, 2013:  I was able to try Hourglass Ambient Dim by applying it over my Tom Ford foundation in a Sephora. Still not working–my husband said I looked better prior to application. I didn’t buy, and I won’t be pursuing more of the powders–this is just not the product for me.

Our advice: There are others who are giving these fabulous reviews. In our book, this is a “try before you buy.”

Hourglass sent this Ambient Powder and Ambient Powder Brush to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Feb 122013
 

Guerlain Spring Meteorites1

Lacking time to do a thorough swatch comparison, I thought it worth doing a short post to provide my thoughts about the Spring 2013 Guerlain Perles de Paradis Meteorites Powder ($70) (available at NordstromSephora and elsewhere). As you likely know, this container is larger than the standard sized Meteorites powder. In other words, Sephora’s site shows that the standard Meteorties contain just over 1.05 oz. of powder. The Spring Guerlain Perles de Paradis are rated at 2.08 ozs, so nearly double in weight for another $12 in price.

Because of the weight increase, the price difference from $58 to $70 for the Spring 2013 version isn’t troubling to me.

Guerlain Spring Meteorites2

 The container is slightly larger than the standard Guerlain Meteorites containers. Of course, the new Spring Guerlain Perles de Paradis comes with a kitten-soft puff with a bow, sure to draw sighs at its prettiness.  Inexplicably, the Spring container is cardboard, while most others are a nice moisture-resistant metal.

Guerlain Spring Meteorites4a

I love the soft barely-there pastel veil that these give my skin. Although I had heard that this season’s Meteorites were glittery, I had to try them myself. It is true that these have silver-metal colored balls in the mix, which might have caused me some concern.

Guerlain Spring Meteorites3

After applying these over the course of several days, I asked the ever-patient members of my family to do a glitter-inspection under some hanging light fixtures. Overall, the verdict was quite positive. We detected a fleck or two, but never more than that. The light-diffusing effect of these Meteorites gave me a beautiful finish, even over a heavy-duty sunscreen-based foundation that I’ve been testing. 

Overall, I love these. Yes, they are lovely for Spring but they are also beautiful any time of the year.

Available at NordstromSephora and elsewhere.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

 

 

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Feb 022013
 

Nars Translucent Crystal Loose 2

Nars Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder in Crystal ($34 / .035 oz.) (now available at Nordstrom.com, Nars Cosmetics online and Sephora.com) is the loose powder version of the Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder previously reviewed here. Both sell for the same $34 price point. The loose version contains more product by weight (.035 oz. for the loose, and .24 oz. for the pressed), however the pressed has the convenience of the purse-friendly compact and mirror.

Nars Translucent Crystal Loose 3

I’ve found that, with the qualification that they be properly applied, both provide me with the same airbrushed-photoshop effect. I absolutely love it. By the way, you must, MUST see this comparison picture on Beautylish. Seriously, even if you don’t think you are interested in this powder…. well, you just should know about it.

Nars Translucent Crystal Loose

The reason that I’ve been delaying this review is that I’ve really been working with the loose vs. pressed question. When I first applied the loose Nars Light Reflecting Translucent, I used the same type of brush that I used with the pressed. However, I found that this gave me an overly powdery look.

Nars Translucent Crystal 4

I did not use quite this much, I swear.

After experimenting, I found that I’ve got to use a very light touch (sometimes, a duo-fiber brush), and then buff, buff, buff. This method of application gave me a seriously glowing-matte perfection finish that made my makeup last all day. The all-day effect actually got better as the day went along, as my natural oils mixed with the product.  Although this doesn’t prevent oil from coming from the skin, on me it did prevent me from getting the overly-shiny glow that becomes so prominent after 6-8 hours.

My application tip of the day, and I cannot stress this enough, is less is more. You need only the tiny, tiniest bit to really make your skin look amazing. And buff, buff, buff this into the skin so that it really melds with your foundation. Less. Is. So. Totally. More.

So, which to buy? Here are my thoughts:

  • The compact is for travel convenience and super-fast application. I seem to be able to pick up any random powder brush in my cup and whisk on the compact version with the greatest of ease. I haven’t had to re-apply this yet during the day as it is quite long-lasting. However, for travel there is something so effortless about tucking this into the pocket of a carry-on.

 

  • I had a slight–and I repeat–slight preference for the look of the loose. If I were going into a 16 hour work day, a wedding, or any event where I wanted my skin to be free of perceived imperfection, I’d choose the loose. If I had a less hectic travel schedule, I’d go with the loose as well.

Bottom line–I love these. Love. You must check these out. But don’t let someone layer too much on you. Properly applied, these really make my foundation and blush last all day and make my skin look a bit like luminous velvet. Or, as close as my skin can get to luminous velvet. There is a mattifying effect, but the lightness of the powder doesn’t look aging or layered so long as you use a very small amount and buff, buff, buff.

Available at Nordstrom.com, Sephora.com, and Nars Cosmetics.com and elsewhere.

 This product was provided to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This review contains affiliate links (please see About Cafe Makeup for more information)

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Jan 242013
 

Nars Translucent Crystal 1a

Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder ($34/ 0.24 oz) has just become available on Sephora.com. This compact is a generous size (the compact is roughly 3 1/2 inches by over 2 1/2 inches), also slim and sturdy enough to fit into a clutch.

Nars Translucent Crystal 6

The compact comes in a protective fabric pouch with an elastic closure (no brush, but any face powder brush will do).

Nars Translucent Crystal 7

There’s a little white flat applicator that slips into its own individual pocket in the cloth holder:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This product is fascinating to me– here is the company’s description:

NARS Light Reflecting Complex utilizes a blend of pure ingredients that work in synergy to transform light like a prism. Light-active micro-prisms are combined with algae extract and Polynesian seawater to optimize light reflection on the skin.

The photograph-friendly Photochromic technology reduces the “washed out/chalky” appearance that can occur when makeup products are exposed to sunlight or flash photography. This unique powder assures a healthy, natural-looking complexion in any light. When makeup products are exposed to sunlight or flash photography, the powder actually becomes darker to prevent the complexion from looking washed out. The Photochromic technology is a hybrid powder developed from Shiseido’s Advanced Ceramic Technology. The hybrid consists of both Titanium Dioxide (which is white in color) and Iron Oxide (which is red in color). When exposed to sunlight, the UV rays have an effect on this dynamic and the darker shade from the Iron Oxide becomes more pronounced—resulting in the powder taking on a more natural tone and not looking washed out or chalky. Once out of the sunlight, the powder will revert back to the original color.

For me, this product is “photoshop” in real life. It blurs imperfections without changing the color. Although if you look microscopically close in a mirror (Liz and I do that squinting!), you’ll see the powder ever so slightly in real life, but back even just a bit and it disappears, along with lots of the textural imperfections (pores, fine lines, tiny scars) of our complexions. It diffuses and makes our foundation last longer throughout the day. Another interesting thing is that the powder doesn’t feel (or look) dry– the product description says that it contains glycerin and antioxidant vitamin E to help guard against dryness.

Nars Translucent Crystal 10

This finishing powder is completely clear, adding no color. Although a slight shimmer is perceptible in the pan, Liz and I agree that this does not translate to the face when applied.

Nars Translucent Crystal 5

Here’s a quick comparison of Liz, taken while were were testing out some lip products. In the earlier picture, we were getting a bit of glow from her Chanel Vitalumiere liquid foundation (you can see it on her forehead with the flash image on the left). After we changed the lips, she brushed on Nars Light Reflecting powder. These pictures were taken within a few minutes of each other. This isn’t a scientific comparison (the clouds were moving and the light was changing quickly, and I adjusted the flash and lens), but I think it shows the difference (the Nars powder was used on the right, no powder on the left).

Nars Translucent Crystal Comparison

You can see how the powder softens the “glow” from Chanel Vitalumiere’s foundation and the overall texture of Liz’s skin. It photographs beautifully. Incidentally, Liz is wearing the blue shade from Nars Spring 2013 Mad, Mad World eyeshadow duo under her eyes.  Her lip color on the left is Chanel Rouge Allure in Eclatante (reviewed here, where you can see Liz wearing the powder also) and on the right is Chanel Rouge Allure Suidisante (reviewed here).

Nars Translucent Crystal

Overall, I believe we have a winner. I do not want my picture taken without this powder.

Nars Light Reflecting Setting Pressed Powder in Translucent Clear is available now on Sephora.com. Review of the loose powder is here on Beautylish.

Ingredient list (from Sephora):

  • Reflecting Complex™ (Sea Water, Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, Barium Sulfate, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Aluminum, Iron Oxides): Transforms light like a prism; optimizes light reflection on the skin.
  • Glycerin/Vitamin E Mineral Powder (Glycerin, Tocopherol, Silica): Allows for targeted release on the skin; gives a soft-focus effect on the skin; guards against dryness and leaves the skin feeling comfortable; offers antioxidant benefits.
  • Advanced Smooothing Blend of Spherical Powders and Polymers: Gives a perfect glide, easy blending ability, and silky feel.
  • Photochromic Technology (Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide): Alters the tone of the complexion according to the intensity of the light.

This product was 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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May 282012
 

Emilio Pucci for Summer 2012

Guerlain for Emilio Pucci is a gorgeously successful collaboration for Summer 2012. It includes a version of Guerlain’s Meteorites Illuminating Powder ($59).  The packaging on this is so Pucci, please indulge me as I post several pictures of this amazing creation. The box, which includes a metal box housing the Meteorites:

The metal container has a Pucci-patterned top and a deep blue-violet ridged side.

Close up, Emilio’s signature is reproduced on the top:

Guerlain’s signature embossed on the side:

Inside, the violet-scented Meteorites provide a neutral-to-cool matte yet luminous veil that looks like a beautiful cool background for summer’s warm bronzers:

I almost didn’t buy these, because I’m so delighted with the Guerlain Meteorites that I already own. They differences between them is subtle. Yet I find myself reaching for these Pucci for Guerlain Meteorites like a kid into a candy jar. Sometimes warm summer makeup can look a little too warm and one-note. Using these as a finishing powder under my other warm summer color provides a perfect neutral canvas that balances and modernizes the warmer bronzes and golds.

I did not pick up the Pucci for Guerlain brush–it’s adorable and I’m still on the fence. I use a very soft powder brush, usually my Shu Uemura 18R just because it’s handy, but a Bobbi Brown Blending Brush or any other large, soft brush should work as well.

If you are on the edge, I’ll just say that I’m glad that I made the leap. The powder is very long lasting, and really adds an expensive finishing touch that’s absolutely gorgeous. I find the effect too subtle to swatch for the blog, but I do provide my enthusiastic support.

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, Guerlain’s Marcus Monson will be at the San Francisco Center Nordstrom this Saturday. There’s a nice gift with purchase for the event (please call the store for details and an appointment).

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