Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Benefit Box O' Powder in Dallas


I swap on Makeup Alley and a few months ago, I picked up the Benefit Box O' Powder blush in Dallas.  Benefit describes the color as "an outdoor glow for an indoor gal face powder".  I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean, but I do think it's a lovely color.



I don't know what's up with the color balance on my camera.  This blush definitely is brownish, but it's not near as brown as it is showing up in these swatches.  It's a dusky pinky brown.  It reminds me a lot of the Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Exposed or the Estee Lauder Pure Color blush in Rebel Rose.

Shades like this I really like for using as a blush/contour.  I just apply it along the back of the cheeks and it gives both definition and color without being over the top blush or contour.



The blush has good color payoff.  There isn't any obvious shimmer, but it has a satin finish.  I found that it blended easily and wore well.  I got a solid 8 hours out of it before there was any noticeable fading.

The biggest downside (as always) with me for this, and all, Benefit blush is the packaging.  At this price point, I don't want cardboard packaging.  And I think this is an older run of the product because the lid isn't attached at all.  Attached or not, I despise the packaging.

Benefit Box O' Powder blush in Dallas contains .28oz of product and retails for $28 wherever Benefit is sold, unless you're like me and you get yours in a makeup swap.

Overall:  7/10

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

CoverGirl Flamed Out Shadow Pencils in Melted Caramel and Gold Flame


I absolutely love shadow pencils.  Really.  I have them from brands at every price point.  I adore them, especially in the summer.  I think they are super quick and easy.  They tend to wear really well (unless they're from NARS).

So, of course, when I saw that CoverGirl released a line of shadow pencils, I had to check it out.


I picked up Melted Caramel and Gold Flame.  And yes, thank you very much, I do have a version of the taupey-brown shadow pencil from pretty much every cosmetics line.  I know what I like.  :P



So, as previously stated, Melted Caramel is a taupe/bronze/brown color.  It is very similar to Urban Decay's Rehab; Hard Candy's Head to Toe (liquid to powder) or Quicksand (cream); MAKE UP FOR EVER's #15, Tom Ford Platinum and on and on.

I do think that Melted Caramel tends to swatch much browner and darker than you might think looking at the pencil.

I picked up Gold Flame on a whim and it turned out much yellower than I anticipated.  I think it looks a lot like the Maybelline Color Tattoo Metal in Gold Rush, maybe not quite as patchy, but both are a very banana yellow gold.


Both colors applied easily, blended well and wore great.  They set in less than 30 seconds and did not crease on me.  I saw some minor wear by six hours, but nothing bad.  I did have to use an oil cleanser to remove them completely.

The packaging is okay.  I am not crazy about the fact that you have to sharpen them like eyeliners, but at this price point, I'm willing to deal with it.

The CoverGirl Flamed Out Shadow Pencils contain .08oz of product and retail for around $6.  I picked mine up at Target for $5.99 each.

Overall: 7/10

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hard Candy Shadow Dancers Liquid to Powder Eyeshadow in Head to Toe


Hard Candy isn't a brand I've ever really been too interested in, but lately I have to say, I think they've been putting out some really nice products at great price points.  I was particularly impressed with their All Lid Up Cream Shadows, which are really similar to the MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Creams at a fraction of the price.

So when I saw their Shadow Dancers Liquid to Powder Eyeshadow, I had to give it a try.  These launched with Hard Candy's Spring 2013 collection.  I picked up #578, Head to Toe.  This contains two liquid eyeshadows, one is a bronzy brown and the other is a shimmery peachy nude.  The silver part in the middle of the tube contains a dual ended doe foot applicator and the two ends containing the product screw onto it.



Both colors contain a good bit of glitter, but they can be sheered out fairly easily.  So depending on how many layers you apply, you can get anything from a light wash of color to very metallic.  Despite being called a liquid, this product isn't really runny at all.  It's very creamy.  

The product goes on tacky, but dries down quickly and sets in under thirty seconds.  It's called a "liquid to powder", but I have several other liquid to powder products and this really doesn't have a powder finish to me.  It certainly sets, but it doesn't feel powdery at all.  It's pretty budge proof and I didn't have any issues with it creasing - even without a primer.  After six hours there was some wear, but it wasn't looking bad.  I did need to use an oil cleanser to remove the product.



The packaging isn't the most elegant, but at this price point, I'm willing to deal with it.

Hard Candy Shadow Dancers Liquid to Powder Eyeshadow contains 5.9 grams of product and retails for $6 at Wal-Mart.

Overall:  8/10

Saturday, July 27, 2013

L'Oreal Magic Nude Liquid Powder Foundation


L'Oreal recently released their version of the Armani Maestro foundation and it is called the L'Oreal Magic Nude Liquid Powder Foundation.  I picked mine up this weekend at Wal-Mart and I have to say, I am very impressed.


I picked up the color 310 Light Ivory, which I believe is the lightest shade that they make.  The range comes in 12 shades total.  Here is L'Oreal's official line on the product:

Get the ultimate un-makeup look with Magic Nude Liquid Powder Bare Skin Perfecting Makeup with SPF 18. Revolutionary liquid transforms on contact, leaving a soft powder like finish. This foundation is so amazingly lightweight it's like wearing no makeup at all! Just shake and apply – it’s magic!
Application:  Shake Well. For best makeup result, pour just a few drops onto fingers and apply directly onto skin. Not recommended for use with a sponge or brush.
I am shocked in the best way that L'Oreal decided to release a version of the Armani Maestro foundation at a drugstore price point.  After only two days of wearing this foundation, I will say that it is my favorite drugstore foundation, ever.  It is phenomenal ... for the drugstore.

A caveat to my review:

  • I have incredibly dry skin.  L'Oreal doesn't seem to have an official recommendation on what skintypes this foundation is good for.  I love it on my super dry skin.  The only other foundation I'm aware of that is based on volatile oils, the Armani Maestro foundation, says that it is good for all skin types, but I cannot attest to how either formula wears on oily skin.  If you have oily skin, buyer beware. 
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I figure that most people who pick this foundation up, or at least the ones who are going to bother reading beauty blog reviews of this foundation, are interested in it because it is an extremely budget friendly version of the Armani Maestro foundation, so my review is going to concentrate on comparing the two foundations.

Packaging:
I really like the L'Oreal Magic Nude packaging.  It is a really tall, thin, square, glass bottle. It doesn't take up a lot of space on the counter.  It fits neatly into my makeup organizer, unlike the Armani Maestro foundation, which is a round bottle and doesn't really play nicely with any kind of storage.

The Armani Maestro foundation comes with a dropper, which I really like.  I know that some people found it really gimmicky, but I find it incredibly convenient.  It allows you to keep the makeup sanitary and it makes it easy to dispense.  The L'Oreal Magic Nude, you have to just take the lid off and pour it out, which is not sanitary at all.  Also .. messy.

The L'Oreal Magic Nude foundation contains .91oz.  The Armani Maestro foundation contains 1 oz.

Look and Feel:
The Armani Maestro foundation is made of volatile oils.  When you first apply it, it feels very cooling on the skin as those oils evaporate.  The L'Oreal Magic Nude doesn't have the cooling feel.  It also doesn't feel as oily to the touch.  I think it has more silicones in it than the Armani.

On the Skin:
I think on the skin, the products look very similar.  They both sit very nicely on my dry, mature skin.  They are both virtually undetectable provided you get them applied evenly.  They are both so lightweight that it really feels like you're wearing nothing at all.

I will say, that like the Armani foundation, the L'Oreal will cling to any flaky skin.  My skin is super dry and I think the foundation sits well, but if I have any spots where the skin is flaking off, both foundations will cling to it and make it look worse.

The Armani does seem to have more pigmentation.  The L'Oreal isn't bad, but it's not quite as pigmented as the Armani.  The Armani foundation bills itself as having a luminous finish.  I don't think it does at all.  I think both foundations have a wonderful natural matte finish that looks like bare skin.  At least in the marketing, I think L'Oreal did a much better job with this aspect in calling it "nude" than Armani did with the "luminous".

SPF:
The L'Oreal Magic Nude has an SPF of 18.  The Armani Maestro has an SPF of 15.  The active ingredient in the L'Oreal Magic Nude is Octinoxate 3%.

Wear Time:
I get really similar results from both foundations.  I've worn them both up to 12 hours and they don't really seem to break down.  I may get a tiny bit shiny in my t-zone, but nothing bad.  Neither foundation seems to oxidize on me.



As previously mentioned, the L'Oreal Magic Nude foundation contains .91oz of product.  It retails for $10 - $13 wherever L'Oreal is sold.  I picked mine up at Wal-Mart for $10.97.

Overall:  10/10

Thursday, July 11, 2013

NARS Pure Radiant Creamy Concealer


I've had the new NARS Pure Radiant Creamy Concealer since it first launched and I have not gotten around to reviewing it.  I love the consistency of this product.  It has phenomenal pigmentation, good staying power and (applied carefully), I don't have an issue with it settling into lines.


The biggest surprise for me was that I didn't need the lightest color.  I picked up the shade Vanilla and it is a great match.  The pigmentation, as stated before, is phenomenal.  I have some pretty serious under eye circles and this product covers them like a charm without needing to apply a ton of it.



I generally set the concealer with Laura Mercier's Under Eye Brightening Powder and it lasts a solid 6 hours before it starts to break down at all and a good 9 hours before it needs touching up.  I use this under my eyes, but I really don't ever use it to cover blemishes, so I can't really say how it performs there.

As I said, I do set it with powder, but even if you don't use powder, it dries down to a matte finish.  I think it's fairly unique in this as most of the really creamy concealers I've tried tend to not dry down well.

I was so excited to learn that NARS is bringing out a compact foundation in their Radiant Creamy line, but was soon disappointed to learn that it will contain the same shade range as their Sheer Matte and Sheer Glow foundations.  I've heard the formulations on those products are great, but since NARS seems to think that all very light complexions are also jaundiced (I'm not kidding, those foundations are SO yellow), I will be passing on it.  But at least the concealer is awesome!

The NARS Pure Radiant Creamy Concealer contains 6mL of product and retails for $28.  It has a doe foot applicator and comes in 10 different shades.

Overall:  10/10

Monday, July 8, 2013

Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre


Embryolisse is a brand that I heard about through PixiWoo.  I believe it is a British brand and it's not terribly accessible in the US.  Embryolisse does have a US webstore now, so you can order it direct from the manufacturer, but I'm not aware of any readily accessible resellers (you can't get it at Ulta or Sephora or any department stores as far as I can tell.  I think it is available from DermStore.)

I have super dry skin as do Nic and Sam from Pixiwoo and since they seemed to really like this moisturizer, I thought I would check it out.  I'd been eyeing it from several different Amazon.com resellers for a while, but then HauteLook had it, so I picked it up there.

The Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre retails for $28 for 75mL.  I got mine from HauteLook for $19.50 plus shipping and handling, which seemed like a much more reasonable price to me.



It should be noted here that the "Paraffinum Liquidum" listed in the ingredients is mineral oil.  I'm sort of on the fence about mineral oil.  I don't love it, especially at this price point.  However, on my super dry skin, this does a great job of making it feel hydrated and providing a nice, even base for makeup application (not so much for any other serums or products that you want to actually sink into the skin.)

This is a nice moisturizer, but it's not fantastic.  I don't feel like it does anything more for my skin that I would get from applying considerably more cost effective product like Aveeno or Cetaphil.  It comes in a metal tube,which just annoys the crap out of me because it's so hard to get all of the product out.


Even though I didn't pay full retail for this product, I feel like at this price point I want some luxury.  And there isn't a speck of luxury to be found here.  It is a very servicable, boring moisturizer with no bells and whistles.  In the future, I will be saving my money and buying at the drugstore.

Overall:  5/10

UPDATE: If you're curious about Embryolisse, they're on HauteLook again tomorrow (7/9/13)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush in Candy Glow


Yet another tongue twister, here is the Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush in Candy Glow by Too Faced.  It is a mineral blush with three distinct color stripes that can be worn individually, or swirled together.  


This blush released with the Too Face Boudoir Beauty collection for Spring 2013.  I do not believe that it is a permanent product.  I fell in love with this when I first saw pictures in early 2013 and it sat on my wishlist for a very long time.  However, during one of Ulta's 20% off sales, I went ahead and picked it up.


The colors from left to right are a bright blue-based berry pink, a warm yellow-based neutral pink and a warm shimmery peach.  The colors can also be swirled together.  The resulting color looks very similar to the middle color in my opinion.

(L - swirled together; R - individual stripes)



I am not crazy about the packaging.  It is cute, that's for sure.  But it's cardboard and foil and it's just not particularly resilient or easy to stack in a makeup drawer.


This is my first blush from Too Faced and overall, I am very impressed with it.  It isn't my favorite blush ever, but it has good pigmentation and wear time.  The colors are very true to pan.  The stripes are large enough to be used individually, but the colors when swirled together are also quite lovely.

This blush contains 5.3 grams of product and retails for $29 while supplies last where Too Faced is sold.

Overall:  8/10

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dior Paradise Duo in 002 Coral Glow


Today's review is for the Dior Diorskin Nude Tan Paradise Duo in 002 Coral Glow (I swear, cosmetics companies, what is the deal with the names lately?).  This beautiful blush and bronzer duo was released this spring and I believe it is limited edition, though it is still readily available at many retailers.


This is a summery take on the regular Dior Diorskin Nude Tan bronzer which is a lovely product in its own right.  In this packaging, you get half of the regular bronzer and then the other half is a coral blush.  It also comes in 001 Pink Glow, but I liked the coral better.


So you can use the products individually, or you can mix them together.  I use them individually.  I think on medium skintones, they could look lovely mixed together, but for my pasty pale complexion, it is glaringly obvious that I just swirled together my blush and bronzer.



As is to be expected from Dior, the packaging is beautiful.  This is a heavy compact.  It is a high gloss metal with the typical Dior quilted pattern.  It also comes with the cutest little kabuki brush you've ever seen - and it's also very useful!




In total, this contains 9.5 grams of product (half bronzer, half blush).  It retails for $56 wherever Dior is available.

Overall: 10/10

Monday, July 1, 2013

Tom Ford Eye Color Quad 05 Silvered Topaz

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I'm not dead, just incredibly busy with work.  I will probably be super busy through the end of July, but I will try to post here and there in the meantime.  And since my posts are few and far between right now, I am going to post about things that I truly love!

It has sort of become my ritual that when I go to Vegas, I stop by Nieman Marcus and pick up a Tom Ford eyeshadow quad.  Yes, I know they're available online, but I just love looking through the Tom Ford cosmetics line.  It is gorgeous.  

Last time I picked up the quad in Golden Mink, so this time, I picked up a quad in Silvered Topaz.



The Tom Ford eyeshadows come in 3 different formulas, shimmer, satin and matte.  This quad contains 1 shimmer, 2 satins and a matte.  All of the shadows had good payoff and were very soft and blendable without having fallout issues.




  • shimmery champagne - Shimmer formula.  Beautiful, translucent shimmer, with gold and silver sparkles.
  • gray taupe -   Satin formula.  Very complex color, very taupe-y, but in certain lights can look almost greenish.  Good payoff, but not great.
  • dark cool brown -  Matte formula.  Soft, blendable, excellent payoff.  Color is very true to pan.
  • medium cool brown - Satin formula.  Complex formula that swatches a smidge warmer than it looks in the pan.  Very soft and blendable with good payoff.




Overall:  10/10