Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nars Bilbao Lipstick Review and Swatch

I'm fooling around with fonts today, and now many of my posts are just screwed up. Ugh. Everything else was equally frustrating, so when the FedEx guy dropped off NARS Bilbao lipstick, I'm not exaggerating when I say that it was the highlight of my day.

Bilbao was makeup love at first sight. While it may seem like a dime-a-dozen pinkish nude brown shade that's exactly like hundreds of others on the market, Bilbao is without a doubt the most flattering, beautiful, "where-have-you-been-all-my-life?" neutral I have ever worn (and I usually don't get too excited about neutrals!). It pulls pinker on lips than it looks in the tube, and the hint of golden shimmer keeps it from looking flat. I love it SO much more than MAC Viva Glam V, which has a strong reddish tone on my lips. This is a Satin lipstick from NARS, but it looks just a bit closer to a satin-matte because of its low sheen when worn on bare lips. Bilbao wore evenly for hours without a touch-up. What else is there to say? This is easily my best purchase in a long time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Too Faced Natural Face Natural Radiance Face Palette Review and Swatches

Do you love contouring and highlighting as much as I do? It's like real-life Photoshop. Ever since I was a preteen and saw Kevyn Aucoin contour his sister's face in his "Making Faces" book, I've been fascinated by it. I don't do a full-on contour and highlight everyday, since my face is quite bony to being with. I sweep a little bit of MAC Shadester under my cheekbones and then dab on a bit of highlighter over it, adding a bit under the arch of my brows. Too much heavy contouring makes me look like RuPaul at best and Skeletor at worst, but when done correctly, it's truly amazing for photos. Too Faced has released a new face palette that has everything you need to do different levels of contouring, whether you want a full-on supermodel look or just a bit of an extra glow. It's one-stop shopping for a contour lover: a powder bronzer, powder blush, creme blush, concealer, luminizer, and brightener. 

Here's the how-to card with instructions for doing three different styles of sculpted faces:

The palette is just beautiful! A dream come true, right?

Wrong. The bronzer is so light, it's a joke. I had to swatch it VERY heavily to get any sort of payoff. I don't see this working on anyone except fair-skinned ladies, and even then it has a strange sort of yellow tone to it (cool-toned lovelies will likely be pissed off, lol). The creme blush is a lovely fleshy neutral pink with a great creamy texture, but alas, it's just a bit too light for me. The powder blush is a frosty light peachy-pinky-coral shade with great pigmentation that I'm sure we've all seen many times before, but that's ok, because it flatters so many. The Luminizer is a frosty pinkish champagne, and the brightener is a yellowish cream tone. The Concealer is sort of a standard "light" skintone shade, and it's pinker than the Brightener. It looks even pinker when swatched on my arm. Here are the swatches:

L-R: Bronzer, Creme blush, Powder Blush. Top to bottom: Concealer, Luminizer, Brightener

Here's another shot of (L-R) the Concealer, Luminizer and Brightener. Just way too light for me:

Skintone Match Fail

Man.... I really wanted to love this! There's nothing in the world more convenient than palettes, but this was such a let down. I guess I can sum it up simply by saying this is yet another One-Shade-Fits-All kit. And for myself and anyone darker, that means it's a fail. If you have the skintone to pull this off, not only will look amazing on you, you'll have lots to play with for $39. I'm cranky because this is yet another time when darker skintones have been shafted by a makeup company. Come on, Too Faced! At least release "Light/ Medium" and "Medium/ Dark" versions to make a little more fair.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sephora Collection Double Contouring Blush Review - Apricot Sheen and Golden Spice

My skin has been getting noticeably drier this winter (go's the mildest one I've ever seen), so I've decided to hop over to cream blushes for awhile since my powder blushes have been leaving me looking a bit cakey and, well... powdery. Sephora Collection has some new cream blushes up on the site, for only $14 each, so I didn't even hesitate to add to cart when I saw 01 Apricot Sheen (tawny nude with gold shimmer) and 04 Golden Spice (antique rose with golden shimmer). Both of those color descriptions are truly right up my alley. These blushes are cream-to-powder, and claim to be REVOLUTIONARY! Really. From the Sephora site: "this revolutionary blush sculpts in two ways: its Portulaca Complex smooths, while the cream-to-powder finish contours cheekbones for a young, beautiful look." Micronized pigments promise to be budge-proof for eight hours. That's a lot of hype to live up to!

When these babies were dropped off on my doorstep, the first thing that took me by surprise was how off Sephora's color descriptions were. WTH! Apricot Sheen is a coral-peach with shimmer - NOT a tawny nude. Of course, the word "nude" in terms of color is always misleading... one woman's nude is another's band-aid... or bronze... or cocoa... or ghost white. But still... just who among us has orange skin?? (BESIDES Snooki from Jersey Shore ;) Golden Spice is a cool plummy pink; not anything like an antique rose at all. And I don't see any "spice" in it. The shimmer in these are noticeable; moreso in Golden Spice, where it's actually a fine glitter (think NARS powder blushes such as Orgasm), especially when blended. The pigmentation is good if you are fairer, but sadly these barely showed up on my medium/ tan skin. I had to apply a couple of layers to get a pretty, flushed "J.Crew model cheek". The finish is very natural looking, and these lasted quite a long time on my skin for a cream blush.

L-R: Apricot Sheen (this is nude??) and Golden Spice

I don't understand how these are marketed as "contouring" blushes, since these two shades have prominent shimmer and all of the available colors are definately NOT what you'd ever use to contour.  Meh... I'll stick with my MAC Shadester and Lightsweep Pro Pans for that. And the packaging is just ok. The rubberized bottom of the compact has grooves for your fingers on either side. Sephora claims it pops open with just a squeeze of one hand. Well, yeah, it does, but only if you squeeze really hard in my case. Then the lid either flips open completely or does this half-assed slight pop, but you still have to use your other hand to flip it open entirely. Honestly, trying to use the packaging as a selling point was a fail. The last time I checked, opening a blush compact was not that difficult xD