Friday, March 28, 2014

Tom Ford Lip Color Sheer in Pink Dune


Apparently 2014 is the year I dabble in luxurious lipsticks. Who would have thought? Tom Ford released eight lip color sheer lipsticks as part of his Spring 2014 collection and, as you might have guessed, Pink Dune ($49) immediately caught my attention. Shimmery gold pinky nude lip color... it all sounds too familiar, I know. I only have a handful of other lipsticks that fall under the same category (some possibly exact dupes), but the sleek and chic white and gold packaging had me swooning when I first laid eyes on the ad campaign.

Thankfully, the formula proved to be just as big of a hit as the packaging. The scent of Tom Ford lipsticks reminds me a lot of MAC's, though nowhere as strong of a vanilla scent. Calling it a sheer lipstick is a bit of a misnomer, as Pink Dune layered quite nicely with two passes to give decent pigmentation but not to the point where I would consider it opaque. When worn alone, Pink Dune gives off a sheen that makes additional lipgloss unnecessary.

What I love about the formula is that I can keep on layering, but it would never feel heavy on my lips, unlike other lipsticks. What's equally amazing is the wear time of Pink Dune, given the fact that it's a nude lipstick. It wasn't until the sixth hour mark (and after talking and eating/drinking) that I noticed the color slowly start to fade from the middle of my lips. Nothing that re-application can't solve, and even then, I did not notice any flaking. Also, I would like to add that I did not experience chapped lips at the end of the day during the times that I have worn Pink Dune. Lipsticks with shimmer tend to make my lips peel, so I've always proceeded with caution. I am glad to report that this one in particular is extremely sensitive lip-friendly.

I can't foresee myself owning any more colors from the lip color sheer range, but I do want a couple of shades from his permanent range of lipsticks. Don't be too surprised if you see the infamous Spanish Pink or the Lip Color Shine in Bare show up in my future reviews. Just sayin'. That said, if you've been eyeing a lip color sheer, I'd strongly suggest snatching the color(s) that interests you as they are limited edition, and some colors have completely sold out.
Friday, March 21, 2014

Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope Lipstick in Star System

Lipstick Queen, oh, Lipstick Queen! How you manage to boast a price tag with your Velvet Rope lipsticks higher than Tom Ford lipsticks is beyond me. How I manage to somehow own one is well beyond me too, as lipsticks rank quite low -- categorically speaking -- in my makeup addiction. What happened was sent out a "We've missed you! Here, enjoy $15 off $50 purchase!" What's a girl to do? $35 is much more palatable than the original $50, so I submitted my order for Star System, albeit reluctantly. YSL and Chanel lipsticks run ~$35/pop for justifiable reasons (read: designer.) Lipstick Queen, on the other hand...?

I'll start out by saying that if you dislike the silicone-y feel with your makeup products, you will not like the Velvet Rope formula. To me, it felt like a silicone lipstick once I applied the product on my lips. I personally don't mind it, because it just means that it is incredibly light-weight. It literally glides on like silk. Another point I would like to mention is that all of the lipsticks in the Velvet Rope range is matte -- something I did not know before as I had not seen these lipsticks in person prior to ordering. However, I have to say this is one of the most comfortable and most long lasting matte lipsticks I have tried. As a person who has very sensitive lips prone to chapping, I've always steered clear from matte lipsticks completely, despite having tried many in the past. The closest finish to a matte lipstick that I can tolerate is satin, and even that can be troublesome. But I am happy to say that Lipstick Queen has restored my faith in matte lipsticks.

Color-wise, Star System is not a color I would wear on its own (on my NC25 skin tone) when I'm not wearing any other makeup as it washes me out a tad bit. Instead, I've enjoyed pairing it with Giorgio Armani's Gloss D'Armani in 103, and it just creates the perfect nude lip combination that is not too brown nor too pink. When paired with a smokey eye, I can see many nude lipstick lovers rocking this lipstick alone -- without a gloss -- and looking fabulously. One major drawback to this range of lipsticks is how there isn't a large color selection: five to be exact. Of the five, Star System is the only color in the nude family and the one I would consider to be the safest, as the other four are quite loud in color. Great for those of you who love bolder colors, not-so-great for those who prefer nudes or my lips but better shades. Additionally, the lipstick has a subtle peppermint scent, but it is not noticeable once applied.

Lastly, I am sure the question a lot of you are probably thinking is: So is this lipstick worth $50? I am hesitant in saying 'yes', because I don't think any lipstick is worth shelling out $50. However, what makes this lipstick so amazing is its formula and its longevity. This lipstick held up extremely well through eating and drinking, and I only needed to reapply by the 6-hour mark which is quite good, especially for a nude lipstick. I would also like to add that this is definitely a collector's piece, considering how glamorously packaged it is and how heavy this weighs. Not clutch-friendly, by any means, but it does make for a great self-defense tool if need be.

Bottomline: Recommend purchasing but not at full price. I do believe these Velvet Rope lipsticks are limited edition, so I would pick them up sooner than later. Certain shades are still available on, Nordstrom, and Ulta.
Friday, March 14, 2014

Shu Uemura Silk Cushion Eyeshadow in Amber Brown and Blusher in Orange Quartz

Shu Uemura is a line I tend to forget about, because it's not as easily accessible here in the states (and I have my reservations with ordering products online without seeing them in person beforehand.) I only own one other Shu product, and it is the painting liner which was gifted from a friend nearly three years ago. To this day, the gel liner still has not dried on me and works just as well as when I first received it! So when I saw promo pictures of the Spring Collection Silk Cushion eyeshadows and blushers, I knew I had to venture into the Shu territory. As a fan of cream eyeshadows and neutral colors, by default, I had to get Amber Brown. The other three colors released with the collection were pastels, so I safely passed on them. Blush-wise, there were only two options: Orange Quartz and Pink Quartz. Because I already have other pink cream blushers in my collection, I went with the former, despite the rather intimidating color that was shown on the Shu site.

Silk Cushion Eyeshadow in Amber Brown

I had really high hopes for this eyeshadow, but this went on extremely sheer. With one swipe, the only thing I saw was silver glitter particles with the slightest hint of beige. It wasn't until three or four swipes later when I was able to see the warm brown base color of the shadow. Even then, it was nowhere close to what you see in the jar. Texture-wise, I would say it's a hybrid of Chanel Illusion D'ombre eyeshadows and Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush. Like the Dream Bouncy Blush, with first use, one can clearly see the dent I had made in the jar. Also, like the Illusion D'ombres, the silk cushion eyeshadow is moussey in feel, though nowhere as glittery. The glitter particles are still present but less noticeable to leave a shimmery, light brown with red undertones shade when blended onto the lids.

The lasting power is equally disappointing. Even with my NARS Pro Prime Smudgeproof eyeshadow primer, I noticed creasing by the four hour mark, and that has never happened to any other eyeshadows I have ever tried before! If you're one who doesn't have issues with oily lids and prefer sporting lighter eye makeup, Amber Brown might be worth looking into as this may fare better.

Shu Uemura Silk Cushion Blusher in Orange Quartz

This blush initially went on sheer, much like its eyeshadow counterpart. However, the color is more easily buildable with a couple swipes with a synthetic blush brush. While I could have applied Orange Quartz with my fingers, I still prefer a brush, since it gives me more control in terms of placement and in depositing the perfect amount. This blush leans slightly on the orange side of peach blushes but with a neutral undertone, making it extremely wearable for all skintones. Additionally, there is no shimmer whatsoever in Orange Quartz. Instead, you're left with a glowy sheen, since the product does not entirely dry down to a powder finish.

Thankfully, the blush lasted on my cheeks longer than the eyeshadow did on my lids. In fact, the blush stayed vibrant without any signs of fading on me for a good seven hours (with no additional layering of powdered blush on top), which I would consider quite good for a cream formula. The product also does not oxidize -- an added bonus!

(Swatches: Amber Brown 3 swipes, blended; Orange Quartz 3 swipes, blended)

Overall, I would say that I was quite impressed by the blush from the Silk Cushion range, although I could do without the eyeshadow. If Shu expands the blush line from the current range in the future, I will definitely be investing in a couple more. Both of these products and the rest of the Silk Cushion range is currently available on Shu
Friday, March 7, 2014

Christian Dior Diorific Perfumed Illuminating Powder 002 Perle D'Or

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not always the biggest fan of Dior face and cheek products, as they tend to fade on me after a few short hours. They're also not the most pigmented to begin with. Needless to say, I don't pay too much attention to Dior's new releases. However, when I saw pictures of the Diorific Perfumed Illuminating Powders circulating on Enablergram Instagram, I knew I needed to get my hands on one. It didn't help that it was limited edition for the holidays 2013 AND was part of the Europe exclusive Golden Winter Christmas Look collection. Also, in case you've missed the memo, I'm a highlighter addict.

Dior released two illuminating powders in this collection: 001 Rose D'or and 002 Perle D'or. After the longest game of eenie meenie miney mo to help me decide between the two, I finally settled with 002 Perle D'Or. (Picking both of them up was not an option, as these ran quite exorbitantly price-wise.) To start, the packaging. To call it luxurious would be an understatement, as this is one of the most beautiful and most hefty compact I own in my makeup collection to date. The highlighter itself is a true work of art, and some have even said that it was designed to mimic Charlize Theron's dress in the J'adore ad campaign. Additionally, it also comes with a brush, that is rather soft and useful, to match the compact's golden exterior.

Now Dior wasn't joking when they called this a perfumed illuminating powder. In fact, when I first opened the compact, I was able to detect Dior's infamous J'adore scent, which had been infused in the the product itself. Not to worry as the scent itself does not linger too long once the product is applied. The highlighter has a glittery gold overspray that disappears once I dipped my brush in the pan. What's left, however, is a beautiful pearly gold highlighter. In terms of texture, this is soft but not exactly the most finely-milled highlighter I've come across. Instead, it's borderline powdery. The pigmentation is quite good, yet subtle. I would call Perle D'Or a more tamed version of the Becca Pressed Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone and definitely less potent than theBalm's Mary-Loumanizer. As far as wear-time goes, this lasted a good eight or so hours with no noticeable signs of fading -- one of the better performers in Dior's recent face product offerings.

Now, would I say that Perle D'Or is an absolute must have? No. Is it nice to have? Definitely. The product is more suited for light to medium warmer skintones and for those who are not sensitive to fragrance in their makeup. Lighter skintones could possibly pull this off as a finishing face powder when lightly dusted all-over, whereas slightly darker skintones can use this as a traditional highlighter. Perle D'Or not only is a collector's piece but a functional one at that. Despite the hefty price tag, it is one product I know I will be getting a lot of mileage out of.
Saturday, March 1, 2014

Jill Stuart Mix Blush Compact in 08 Tulip Fields

Jill Stuart really brings out my inner princess. I mean, if that packaging doesn't scream girly at you, I don't know what does. I've always been interested in this line, but trying to find a reputable seller that carries her products is half the battle. (The other half of the battle being at a reasonable price.) Jill Stuart blushes come in two flavors: a loose form and a pressed version. Loose powders, in general, have never really struck my fancy, so I decided to pick up Tulip Fields (08) -- limited edition for Spring 2014 -- instead as my first Jill Stuart blush.

Like all of her products, this has a light rose scent when you first open the compact but quickly dissipates upon application. The blush is divided into four quadrants, and I particularly chose Tulip Fields because of the highlighter shade on the top left hand corner. Alone, it gives a very strong yellow lean -- a bit too yellow (and glittery!) for my liking -- so I've been enjoying mixing all four quadrants for a soft, glowy peachy-pink blush. Because it is so glowy, a highlighter is unnecessary. On days when I do want a more satin, rosy-pink blush, I just concentrate on the bottom half of the pan, and it is equally beautiful.

(Swatches: 4 quadrants individually, all 4 shades mixed)

Asian cosmetics products tend to be sheer in nature as they are meant to be built up. This blush is no exception. It is difficult to over-apply, and on my NC25 skin tone, I had to swirl my brush in the compact a few times to get just the right amount of pigmentation. On me, the blush lasts a good ten hours without any signs of oxidation or fading, which is quite impressive.

I was able to get Tulip Fields at Beauty Kat, since I didn't see the Spring collection on Imomoko. Both are great sites for authentic Jill Stuart products. The blushes run anywhere from $55-$65, but do keep in mind that you also get a rather nice goat hair brush (that can easily be detached.) I can't see myself owning more than three blushes from her line, as the colors are not all that unique. I do, however, have my eyes set on #10 Sweet Biscuit, since the color combination is slightly more different than the rest.