Friday, March 29, 2013

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light


I had heard people raving about the new Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders, so I decided to pick one up in Diffused Light.  Hourglass describes the powder as "a soft, warm, pale yellow powder that reduces redness and gives skin clarity – like a soft ray of morning light".


This is indeed a beautiful finishing powder.  It is super finely milled, applies like a dream.  It sets makeup beautifully without making you look like a disco ball.  In fact, I really couldn't find any detectable shimmer at all to the powder, though once the whole face was powdered, there was a bit of a ... I guess you could call it a luminosity (nothing terribly glowy and definitely not shiny or oily looking ... just nice).

I'm more than a little skeptical about the yellow powder neutralizing redness.  I really don't think there's enough pigmentation in the powder to really do that.  In fact, it was hard for me to even tell the powder was supposed to be yellow.  It looked like a translucent pressed powder to me.


As I said, this is a beautiful product.  And I am intrigued about the rest of the line.  However, after a week of use, I was soft of left feeling flat.  I really didn't feel like I got incredibly different results from this product than I get from my MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural or even my Sleek Luminous Pressed Powder (both of which have better price points.)  Don't get me wrong, this product is discernibly more higher end than either MAC or Sleek.  But for me, the results were not dramatic enough to warrant the price difference.

Other colors in the range are supposed to have more obvious effects and are intended to be used more as highlighters or even bronzers.  I am much more interested in the colors Dim (neutral peach beige) or Luminous (champagne pearl).

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders contain 10 grams of product and retail for $45 wherever Hourglass is sold.  I got mine at Sephora.

Overall:  7/10

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review: Caudalie Premiere Cru Eye Cream


Over the last couple of months, I received several deluxe samples of the Caudalie Premiere Cru eye cream and I loved it.

I know that a lot of people eschew eye creams and just use regular moisturizer because a moisturizer is supposedly a moisturizer.  However, having contacts I feel like I need very different things from my eye cream from people who don't wear contacts.  I need an eye moisturizer that doesn't migrate around, or that if it does, one that won't irritate my eyes.

I also need something that is a really good moisturizer - not because of the contacts, but because of the fine lines, LOL.

The Caudalie Premiere Cru eye cream met my requirements beautifully.  It's a super creamy, hydrating formula that doesn't burn my eyes.  I've been wearing it daily now (heavily at night and very lightly in the morning) for about three months and I love it.  I do feel like it has helped the crepe-y skin around my eyes quite a bit - hasn't banished it completely, but then again, it's a cream, not a time machine.


The downside to this lovely product?  Price.  I will admit that this had been on my wishlist for months.  .5oz of product retails for a whopping $95.  So I did what any woman whose fine lines are at war with her wallet, I waited until I had a really bad day and I picked some up on a whim.  Sue me.


I love this stuff.  I absolutely think it is worth the $95 and when this bottle is empty, I will cry.

Overall:  8/10

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

MAC Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Grande Dame

MAC revamped and relaunched their Mineralize range in early 2013.  They discontinued their Mineralize foundation, replacing it with the Mineralize Moisture SPF 15 foundation.  They also added a new range of 12 permanent Mineralize Rich lipsticks.

All of the packaging for the Mineralize products is similar, so the Mineralize Rich Lipstick bullets look different than any of the other MAC lipstick bullets.


The lid has a magnetic closure which holds the cap on securely.  The only other lipsticks I've seen with packaging like that are the Burberry lipsticks, so it may be gimmicky, but I like it ;)

Last weekend, I picked up the Mineralize Rich lipstick in Grande Dame.





MAC describes Grande Dame as "midtonal neutral rose cream".  Honestly, I'm not sure what the hell that is supposed to mean.  It's a medium neutral pink.  I don't think cream really applies as this is a slightly frosty lipstick with some super fine glitter.  Sitting here staring at the lipstick, I can definitely see the glitter in it, but I don't notice it at all on the lips (it should be noted that I am not particularly sensitive to texture on the lips, if you are, buyer beware.)



Grande Dame has surprisingly good color payoff, considering some swatches I've seen of the more vibrant colors.  I feel like Grande Dame really delivers on color.  And the texture is fantastic.  I find it super moisturizing without being sheer.  I also got really decent wear time out of it - 3 1/2 - 4 hours easily.


MAC Mineralize Rich Lipsticks contain .14oz of product and retail for $22.

Overall:  8/10

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

BeautyHabit haul: Rouge Bunny Rouge and Nuxe


I have had Rouge Bunny Rouge on my wishlist for months and months.  I knew the brand was available through Zuneta (UK), but the last few times I had looked at their site, it seemed like they were getting rid of their stock.  I suspect this has a lot to do with Rouge Bunny Rouge's launch of their own (UK-based) web boutique.

Long story short, I ended up with a chunk of extra cash I hadn't been expecting and I decided to splurge on some Rouge Bunny Rouge.  I set a budget and made a list of items I know I will both love and use.  Sadly, the two do not always go hand in hand with me and I didn't want to shell out this much money for something that was gorgeous, but wouldn't get used.

The RBR web boutique ships to the US, but all the pricing is in GBP, so I was constantly having to do currency conversions to try and figure out how much stuff cost.  Also, in general, I dislike purchasing direct from manufacturers, at least in the cosmetics realm.  It almost always seems like you get a worse deal than you would get through retailers who sell multiple brands.  And you almost always get screwed on the shipping.

When Elvira at PinkSith did her post on The Trouble With Taupes, I asked her if she'd tried the RBR web boutique she said RBR was still available from BeautyHabit.  BeautyHabit is one of those sites that I bookmarked ages ago, but I hadn't really looked at - or purchased from - before.

So I did a side by side comparison between the Rouge Bunny Rouge web boutique and BeautyHabit to see which would be cheaper when all (products, shipping, tax, etc) was said and done.  It turned out it was over $70 cheaper for me to buy my RBR items from BeautyHabit.  

I'm not great at math, but HELL YES.  

I picked up:
  • RBR Highlighting Powder in Sweet to Touch
  • RBR Skin Blush in Orpheline
  • RBR Long Lasting Eyeshadow in Delicate Hummingbird (backordered)
  • RBR Long Lasting Eyeshadow in Bohemian Waxwing
  • RBR Long Lasting Eyeshadow in Abyssinian Catbird
  • RBR Color Burst Lipstick in Word of Mouth
  • RBR Color Burst Lipstick in Prey of Lust


And of course, it wasn't like I was just going to tuck away that money I "saved".  I picked up a Nuxe gift set, mostly because I wanted to try out their dry oil.  It included a 100mL bottle of their dry oil, a tiny deluxe sample bottle of their shimmering dry oil, a moisturizing cream and a candle.

BeautyHabit had free shipping.  I got a Nuxe serum GWP.  Extras included perfume, haircare and skincare samples and a handwritten thank you note.  The one item that was on backorder will be shipped at no charge next week.

Actual reviews on the RBR and Nuxe products will be forthcoming.

As for the BeautyHabit shopping experience, I couldn't be more pleased.  The customer service was great.  The pricing was phenomenal.  All in all, I will definitely buy from them again.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hard Candy Itzy Glitz in Lil Lilac

Before this month, I had never used or purchased anything from Hard Candy.  Then I saw swatches at Vampy Varnish and decided I needed to get ahold of the new Hard Candy Itzy Glitz polish in Lil Lilac.  


I have to say that in these swatches, it does look fairly lilac, though in person it definitely comes off as more of a rose gold.  The gold glitter in the polish is super fine and it really is just a beautiful shade.  Also, it was much easier to remove than most glitter polishes.


The polish applied evenly and smoothly and was completely opaque in two coats.  As with most glitter polishes, it wore well with only minor chipping along the tips after three days.

Hard Candy nail polishes contain ..26oz of product and retail for $3.97.  The Hard Candy line is apparently owned by Urban Decay (or L'Oreal now, I suppose) and is available exclusively at Wal-Mart.

Overall:  10/10

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Terrafirma Haul


I am obsessed with Dustin Hunter.  I think he makes some of the most creative, informative, witty and well produced videos on YouTube.  Thanks to him, I now have a health obsession with Estee Lauder (which I thought was totally old lady, but it's not!).

Another brand that he often references is Terrafirma Cosmetics.  As far as I can tell, they're an independent brand specializing mostly in mineral makeup, though they sell things beyond color cosmetics.  Dustin has raved about their gel mineral bronzer and being on the pastier side of pale with absolutely no hope of ever achieving a natural glow from the sun, I'm curious about bronzing products.  Self-tanners turn me orange, so a straight up bronzer seems to be the way to go. 

While investigating the gel bronzer, I realized that Terrafirma also sells a damn lot of blushes.  And I think we all know how I feel about blushes.  And even better, they sell samples.  OMG, yes.


I picked up a sample of one of their matte loose mineral blushes in refined, which is described as a neutral plum.  I also picked up three of their Radiance Glowing mineral blushes, Antionette (Warm Coral), Tender (Pinky Coral) and In Love (Warm Mauve) for $1 each.


The gel mineral bronzer comes in two formulas, matte and shimmering.  And given that a full size bottle is way more than I could ever hope to use in my lifetime, I picked up a sample size of each of the bronzers.


And while digging around on the site, I realized that they also sell Zoya's nail polish remover (of which I needed a refill) and Argan oil (which I can also use).  Both of them were very reasonably priced.  And given that I was going to have to pay shipping anyway, I decided to make the most of it.


The order shipped super fast and arrived well packed.  The blush colors are absolutely beautiful.  I haven't had time to try bronzers.

Here is Dustin's brilliant video on Terrafirma cosmetics.  If you're interested in picking some up, I highly recommend his video.  His swatches are fantastic.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Illamasqua Speckled Nail Varnish in Freckle


Illamasqua's Spring 2013 collection is called I'mperfection.  (I absolutely love that.  And the ad campaign is stunning.)  Launching with this collection is Illamasqua's new line of limited edition Speckled Nail Varnish that comes in five colors.

After seeing swatches, I picked up the Speckled Nail Varnish in Freckle, which is described by Illamasqua as "speckled neutral".  It's a browny nude base (it does lean a little orange in certain lights) with black glitter in various sizes.  


This is my first Illamasqua polish (my first Illamasqua purchase ever, actually) and I was so pleased with the formula.  It applied evenly and I got really good coverage from just one coat.  I was concerned that multiple coats might make it lumpy, but it didn't.  I ended up applying two coats, which made the base completely opaque without having the glitter be overwhelming or uneven.


As with a lot of Illamasqua products, people will either love this or hate this.  I, personally, love it.  I think it is just stunning.  The finish reminds me of quail eggs and those little malted easter egg candies.  I think it is just beautiful as well as fun.

I showed the polish to two different people and neither of them seemed to care for it.  My friend, Ree, said it looked like chocolate chip cookies.  My mother, bless her heart, told me it looked "shit knuckle brown."  (I don't even know where she got that, I swear, seniors these days.)

Illamasqua Nail Varnishes contain .5oz of product and retail for $16 at Sephora.

Overall:  10/10

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: NARS American Dream Palette

The NARS American Dream eyeshadow palette #9976 was one of two limited edition release for Fall 2012 (the other was New Wave, which as of this writing, is still available at NARS.com).  The American Dream palette is sold out, however, all six shades are available in the permanent range, though, obviously, not in this packaging.

I don't have any of these particular shades in the standard, permanent packaging, so I can't really compare the quality of the LE packaging to the permanent line.  Sorry!


The palette contains six eyeshadows: (Belissima, Alhambra, Silk Road, Galapagos, Bali and Tzarine).    In total, the palette contains 9 grams of product.

(top row: swatched under daylight bulbs)
  • Belissima - This shade is permanent as part of the Belissima duo.  It is a matte white with gold glitter. Despite the way the swatch looks, it does have decent pigmentation.  The glitter doesn't immediately fall out, as is an issue with some of the other glittery NARS eyeshadows I've tried *cough*NightFlight*cough*
  • Alhambra - This shade is permanent as part of the Alhambra duo.  It is a metallic peachy gold with phenomenal color payoff.
  • Silk Road - This shade is permanent as part of the Silk Road duo.  (Are we seeing a trend?)  The shadow is a warm rose pink with gold glitter.  The base seems a little frosty, but not straight up metallic.  The color payoff is good.


(bottom row: swatched under daylight bulbs)

  • Galapagos - This shade is permanent.  It is a warm medium dark brown with gold and copper sparkle.  It is a very soft shadow with good color payoff.
  • Bali - This shade is permanent.  It is a dark gray/brown matte eyeshadow.  It is buttery soft with excellent payoff. 
  • Tzarine - This shade is permanent as part of the Tzarine duo.  It is a blue/silver/gray with gold sparkle.  It felt dry when I was swatching it, but it had great color payoff.

Unlike the other palette released in this collection, I think American Dream is very wearable across the board.  I think it is a nice collection of darker and highlight shades and for someone like me who really doesn't have many NARS shadows, this was a good opportunity to pick up some of their most popular shades at a better price point.





This product originally retailed for $55 and I got mine from NARS.com

Overall: 8/10

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Flower Beauty Eye Quade in Smoke & Mirrors

The last of my haul from Flower Beauty is the Eye Quad 4 in Smoke and Mirrors.  There are currently 4 Eye Quads in the Flower Beauty range.  As far as I can tell, these are the only powder shadows in the range.  The individual eye shadows are all cream eyeshadows.


I thought all of the Eye Quads were striking, yet still wearable.  I picked the Smoke and Mirrors quad mostly because it's the one that struck my fancy that day.


Clockwise from the top left:
  • Soft Gray-Brown - Satin.  Super soft and buttery texture.  It looks a lot more gray-brown in the pan.  Swatched, I think it almost leans purple.  Payoff was disappointing.
  • Blue-Gray - Satin.  Super soft and buttery texture.  Color is true to pan.  Payoff was disappointing.
  • Matte Light Peach - Matte.  Super soft and buttery texture.  Slightly powdery when applied.  Color is true to pan.
  • Brown with Copper Glitter - Soft texture.  Good color payoff.  The glitter seemed to disappear when swatching.


(day bulbs)

(sunlight)

(flash)

Overall, I wasn't blown away by how this palette performed.  The color payoff was disappointing on two of the four colors had disappointing color payoff.

Again, the packaging drives me nuts.  The quads won't stack and aren't square.  It just seems unnecessary.  It's probably great when you only have one eyeshadow palette, but when you have an extensive collection that you have to organize, the outliers are just irritations.

The Eye Quad contains 6 grams of product and retils for $9.98 at Wal-Mart.

Overall: 5/10


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Maybelline Super Stay 14hr Lipstick #65 Ravishing Rouge



I've seen a lot of beauty bloggers and YouTube gurus from the UK talking about the Maybelline SuperStay 14hr Lipsticks laterly, specifically several of the reds.  Now, I'm sure there are great reasons for this, but I have no idea why the colors, names and numbering for products differ between the US and Europe.  A lot of times, the products look identical, but they're labeled completely differently.

Anyway, the specific colors of red lipsticks in this range that were touted by the UK bloggers and gurus aren't available in the US.  And I'm not sure how swatches between the UK name/number might line up with the US name/number.

So ... I just picked out what I thought was the prettiest red in the range, #65 Ravishing Rouge, and bought it.



Given the 14 hour claim, I was really expecting a different texture.  This lipstick goes on surprisingly sheer and glossy.  I needed a couple of passes to get complete opacity.  I expected it to be a thick or even latex-y feeling formula, but it was very light and thin.

(sunlight)

(flash)

(daybulb)

The color is a bright, true red.  The flash picture looks rather orangey, but I don't think it looks that way in real life.  It is just a very bright red.

Application was very smooth, given the lightweight formula, though as I said before, I did need a couple of passes.  It wore really well and also stained the lips.  I'm not sure I'd say it was a 14 hour wear time.  While my lips were still red after 14 hours, they were looking rather worse for the wear.

Maybelline SuperStay 14hr Lipsticks contain .12oz of product and retail for between $6 - $10 depending on where you buy them.

Overall: 8/10

Friday, March 15, 2013

Review: Estee Lauder Pure Color Blush in Rebel Rose

Estee Lauder re-vamped and re-launched their Pure Color blush line in 2012.  I mentioned this in my review of Fearless from this line, but I really love the packaging on these blushes.  I love the square pans, you get a lot of product and I find this to be just really functional packaging.



Since Fearless was a very bold color, I decided to pick up something more subdued this time around.  I went for Rebel Rose, shade #12.  As far as I can tell, Estee Lauder doesn't actually provide color descriptions for their products, so you're stuck with mine ;)

To me, Rebel Rose is a rosy tan color.  Initially, I thought it looked a lot like the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Exposed.  In fact, they looked so close that I actually photographed and swatched them side by side for my own comparison.



As you can see, Rebel Rose is definitely rosier than Exposed, which can lean a little orangey.

The texture of this blush is phenomenal.  They are so smooth and buttery and super pigmented, way more so than even the Tarte blushes, which I love.




The Estee Lauder Pure Color blushes contain 7 grams of product and retail for $28.

Overall: 10/10



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sonia Kashuk Super Sheer Liquid Tint in Poppy


I'm a huge fan of blush.  I love powder blushes and I love cream blushes.  But up until I purchased the Sonia Kashuk Super Sheer Liquid Tint in #03 Poppy, I hadn't tried a liquid blush.


The packaging is weird.  More than most lines, I feel like the Sonia Kashuk cosmetics packaging is really random.  There doesn't seem to be much cohesiveness in look or performance of packaging across the line.  I do, however, love that it has a pump.  But trust me, it may take some time to get used to how much product to pump out.



It is a liquid blush, so it's no surprise that the formula was very runny.  Poppy is a bright pinky coral in the heavy swatch, but when sheered out on the cheeks, I think it leans more pink than peach.  The color is buildable.  I had the best results in applying several very thin layers, allowing the layers to dry before applying more.  The formula was not sticky when it tried down.

For a quick tinted moisturizer and just a wash of color on the cheeks look, this product is great.  And from the name alone, I have to assume that is what the product was created for.  Some people could really love this for spring and summer.

For me, this is definitely a novelty and not a daily go-to.  If you want noticeable color (nevermind dramatic), it just takes more time than I'm willing to invest.


Sonia Kashuk Super Sheer Liquid Tint contains 17mL of product and retails for $9.79 at Target.

Overall: 7/10