Clarins Graphic Expression Face & Blush Powder review, swatches, photos | Clarins Fall 2013/The Gift Guide

Monday, December 9, 2013

Clarins Face & Blush Powder review Graphic Expression

The products: Clarins Graphic Expression Face & Blush Powder

This post comes a little late in the year, but as both this powder and the Graphic Expression Forest eyeshadow quad (review later this week) are still available, I’m hoping you’ll be able to forgive me.

These two gems launched in the Clarins Fall 2013 Graphic Expression colour collection, and would make wonderful Christmas gifts — the quad depending on the skintone of the recipient, and this Face & Blush Powder for, well, anyone.

Clarins Face & Blush Powder review

Clarins Graphic Expression Face & Blush Powder review

The formula: Like all of the other Clarins powders I’ve tried, the Graphic Expression Face & Blush Powder has the most beautiful, delicate violet fragrance. It’s soft and ethereal, but with this wonderful fruity edge, tamped down by a hint of powder.

I’ve never been able to test their powders for all-over wear, as all of the ones I own are either too dark, too shimmery, or too silicone-y (or a combination thereof), but I’ve never read an outright bad review for them. Christine (Temptalia), for instance, found that Graphic Expression “wore well for eight and a half hours, and it did seem to help prolong the wear of [her] foundation slightly (by about a half hour),” while Karen (Makeup and Beauty Blog) notes that it “does slightly darken on [her] skin over time.”

Clarins Graphic Expression swatches review photos

Clarins Graphic Expression swatches photos review

Clarins Forest, Graphic Expression swatches review

Swatched L-R: Clarins Eye Quartet Mineral Palette in Forest (4), Clarins Face & Blush Powder in Graphic Expression (blended)

The shade and finish: More peachy than last spring’s pinky-peach Palette Eclat, and much darker than 2010′s apricot-peach Barocco Face PaletteGraphic Expression has a bit of gold shimmer woven through its formula, too. The stripe of gold overspray comes off to reveal a wider pink strip, but the two pink portions carry a hint of finely milled shimmer right down to the bottom of the pan.

Both the light and dark beige/peach strips are smooth and completely matte, with a dry-satin finish. If you use all of the shades at once, the resulting colour is just as surprisingly pigmented as the Palette Eclat was, with a warmer, peachier lean and a very softly frosted finish — but only if you build it up tons, as in a blush or bronzer.

When worn all over, this is, again, warm and peachy, almost orange (but a good orange). The more you buff it in, the more the shimmer seems to come out, but it’s glowy and imperceptible from a foot or more away. If last spring’s palette gave a glow with its rosy tones, then this one gives it with its subtle shimmer.

Clarins Face & Blush Powder swatches review Graphic Expression

Clarins Graphic Expression Face & Blush Powder swatches: without & with overspray

Clarins powder blush review swatches photos Graphic Expression

What makes it such a perfect gift: I mean, look at it. If you had to give one makeup item to someone — why not this? More portable and budget-friendly than something like Guerlain’s Meteorites, Clarins’ Graphic Expression powder is almost alarmingly versatile across skintones, functioning as everything from an all-over radiance powder to a blush or bronzer.

The design of the Face & Blush powder changes with each season, but it too is always so well thought-out: intricate and mesmerizing, with strips of colour that go straight down. I really liked spring’s design, but this one really is much more holiday-appropriate — its lines upon lines remind me of ribbons or wrapping paper, and I just think it would make such a lovely gift.

Clarins Fall 2013 review Graphic Expression Face & Blush Powder

The verdict?

Clarins cheek palettes are always gorgeous in tone and design, and the Graphic Expression Face & Blush Powder is no exception. I love Clarins powders for their beautiful violet scent, and though their Face & Blush Powders’ tones (typically peach or pinky-peach) suit my complexion better in the summer, they’re wonderful all year ’round on neutral and warm skintones.

As always, I would recommend this powder as a brightening, all-over powder for darker skintones, and as a blush or contour on lighter ones.

While this palette isn’t quite as holiday-perfect as Clarins’ Barocco collection powder was (yes, I’m still in love with its aesthetic, even after all these years), it’s definitely more than holiday-ready.

Availability: $35 USD/$40 CAD, limited edition.

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eos Smooth Sphere Lip Balm 3-Pack review, photos: Sweet Mint, Vanilla Bean, and Pomegranate Raspberry | The Gift Guide

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

eos Smooth Sphere Lip Balm Limited Edition 3-Pack review

The product: eos evolution of smooth Smooth Sphere Lip Balm Limited Edition 3-Pack

   ↳ Sweet Mint, Pomegranate Raspberry, and spherical-only-in-this-set Vanilla Bean

Ahhh! Another holiday season, another Gift Guide series. This year, we’re starting off with eos’ limited-edition lip balm trio: a great drugstore pick-me up that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.

I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love the Smooth Spheres, from my boyfriend to my best friend (read: sister). They’re surprising, sweet-smelling, and unbearably cute — plus, with the subdued rainbow of colours you can find them in, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find one that’ll suit you.

eos smooth sphere trio winter 2013

eos pomegranate mint vanilla smooth sphere review

The formula: As I’ve said in the past, the Smooth Sphere formula is a good one – but it’s not the best. It’s 100% natural (95% organic) and gluten-free, with a well-balanced sweetness (sweet-but-not-too-sweet), both in fragrance and flavour. Er, not that I’ve intentionally tasted these because they smelled delicious, or anything.

What keeps the Smooth Spheres from reaching holy grail status is their level of hydration: some find their shea butter, vitamin E, and jojoba base to be deeply hydrating, but my lips need something with a little (a lot) more oomph. To be on the safe side, I’d say that they’re mildly hydrating: somewhere around Maybelline Baby Lips, but below Aquaphor and far below my beloved Bobbi Brown & Osmia Organics lip balms.

The flavours (I can say “flavours” for these, right?) 

eos sweet mint smooth sphere review

eos smo0th sphere in sweet mint

Sweet Mint is my #1 favourite Smooth Sphere, and for good reason. It’s sweet and minty, in that oh god eat me now kind of way, and tingles just a touch. If you love minty balms but you don’t want anything to aggressively (read: irritatingly) minty, this is a fun one to have in your stash.

eos vanilla bean smooth sphere review

eos smooth sphere in vanilla bean

Vanilla Bean isn’t a must-have for me, but it’s a surprisingly nice vanilla. I’m not usually a fan of the scent in general, but eos does it softly and… smoothly. (Sorry, I had to go there). If this was sold in a duo with Sweet Mint, I think it would sell out in no time! Vanilla fans, be aware: the Vanilla Bean Smooth Sphere is exclusive to this set.

eos pomegranate raspberry smooth sphere review

eos smooth sphere in pomegranate raspberry

I’ve left Pomegranate Raspberry, my least favourite, for last. It’s not a bad scent by far, but it’s not my favourite Smooth Sphere — it smells good, but not salivation-levels of good, you know? (Points to eos for getting this to smell like both pomegranate and raspberry, though, no matter how subtle. I’m sure it wasn’t the easiest feat!)

eos lip balm 3-pack review photos smooth sphere

The verdict?

If you love eos’ Smooth Spheres, or you know someone who would (spoiler: everyone on your gift-giving list would, even your grumpy great-aunt), this set would make a pretty cute Christmas tree gift-ornament. That said, these three aren’t my absolute must have spheres, as far as scent goes — though they do look very Holiday-appropriate!

If I had to pick my three favourite Smooth Spheres, in order, they would be Sweet MintBlueberry Açai, and Summer Fruit. 

Availability:$9.99 USD, limited edition. Or, get them separately: Sweet Mint, Pomegranate Raspberry, and Vanilla Bean (the Smooth Sphere is exclusive to this set, but you can still get the flavour in stick form).

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YSL Marrakesh Sunset Palette swatches, review, photos | YSL’s Summer 2013 5 Colour Eyeshadow Palette

Monday, September 23, 2013

YSL Marrakesh Sunset 5 Colour Eye Shadow Palette review

The product: Yves Saint Laurent Marrakesh Sunset Palette (Ombrés 5 Lumières/5 Colour Eye Shadow Summer Look 2013)

Summer may be over, but I couldn’t not share this gorgeous YSL palette with you anyways. From the packaging, to the formulas, to the eyeshadow shades, this is one palette that really can’t be missed — um, so I’m really very sorry that I’ve taken so long to get this post up.

YSL Marrakesh Sunset Eyeshadow Palette swatches

The packaging: To start us off, this palette is packaged in a gorgeous gold case, unique to this collection. The same in size and function as the regular 5 Colour Eye Shadow palettes, the Marrakesh Sunset Palette features a Moroccan arabesque design on the front, “engraved with golden satin contrasting against shiny golden reflects.”

Their words, not mine. You know palettes mean business when they come engraved — and though this one fingerprints like crazy, I have to admit: it’s pretty unique.

Limited edition YSL Marrakesh Sunset palette packaging

YSL Marrakesh Sunset 5 Colour Eye Shadow Palette packaging

YSL Marrakesh Sunset Palette review

YSL Marrakesh Sunset Ombrés 5 Lumières Eyeshadow Palette

The eyeshadows: The shades of the Marrakesh Sunset palette are, well, made to be representative of a beautiful Moroccan sunset, and they do a wonderful job of it.

The centre highlighter and bottom two shades create the impression of a warm, hazy sky, brightening and lifting the eye area with shimmering finishes and peachy undertones. The highlighter, softer than the other four shades, swatches almost like a shimmer finish within a frost — from a distance, it has a watery, metallic effect, and it makes a beautiful inner corner highlight.

YSL Marrakesh Sunset Eyeshadow palette swatches review

YSL Marrakesh Sunset Palette swatches: bottom left, centre, bottom right, top left, top right

The top two shades are the accents of this palette, but while both are gorgeous, I felt like they could have used a little more pigment.

The medium brown has green-yellow undertones, and on the lids (where the gold shimmer is more diffuse than in the swatch), the undertones make my eyes look rather haggard. On someone warmer, darker, more peach, or even just a little bronzed, I think they’d have worked much better.

YSL Ombres 5 Lumieres eyeshadow swatches - Marrakesh Sunset review

YSL Marrakesh Sunset 5 Colour Eye Shadow Palette swatches

Finally, the violet. Oh, god — this one is absolutely beautiful both swatched or in the pan, but like the bronze, it doesn’t quite work. It’s a medium-opacity shade with most divine undertones, perfect for both warm or cool skintones, and they’re complemented with absolutely mesmerizing fuchsia and blue (!) microshimmer.

The shimmer, however, has a terrible tendency to fall down during application — it actually has less shimmer than the other four shades, but it was the only one that speckled my cheeks as I blended. While beautiful, at the price point, I was left wanting more from this one: more pigment, a more buttery texture, more adhesion to the skin.

YSL Marrakesh Sunset palette swatches review

The verdict?

At $72 CAD, this palette isn’t a must-have. I love the shades in theory, but they’re best on warmer, darker, more bronzed skintones — on anyone who can pull off sheer golds and peaches well.

The violet (oh, the beautiful violet!) has a tendency to produce shimmer fallout during application, and none of the shades were as pigmented or buttery as I would have liked them to be. Though beautiful, Marrakesh Sunset simply doesn’t make enough of an argument to justify its price tag, and I think it can be skipped.

Availability: $58 USD/$72 CAD where still available. (Limited edition Summer 2013).

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L’Oreal Collection Privée by Colour Riche review, swatches, photos | A Tale of Two Freidas

Thursday, September 19, 2013

L'Oreal Collection Privée review swatches photos

A tale of two Freidas

If you didn’t notice it in Tuesday’s post (the nail polish half of the Collection Privée), there are two sets of Freida’s Nude in my photos of the collection. From group shots to lipstick swatches, it appears once on the left, and then again on the right.

This wasn’t some great ploy or easter egg, however — I’m not that good. Rather, I’ve been operating on auto-pilot for the past few weeks, and I completely blanked on the fact that the press kit for this collection included two of each of Freida’s products.

My apologies for any confusion!

L'Oreal Colour Riche lipstick swatches review

The Colour Riche Lipcolours ($10.99 CAD)

Packaged in matte black tubes with shiny gold accents, the Collection Privée Colour Riche Lipcolours are pretty darn chic for the drugstore – and at $10.99 each, they darn well better be. (What? It’s the drugstore; I like to keep my price expectations low!)

Each tube contains a sheer, pearl-finish nude lipstick. Like all L’Oreal Colour Riche lipsticks, these lip colours are fairly perfumed, so be sure to give a tester a sniff in-store if you haven’t used the line before.

L'Oreal Colour Riche review photos swatches - Collection Privée microshimmer

The microshimmer/pearl finish of the Collection Privée by Colour Riche lipsticks

Despite its darkness in the tube, Freida’s Nude applies as a very soft violet with a brightening sheen. Even on my very fair skin, it’s no more bold than a sheer Fresh Sugar lip balm or Clinique Chubby Stick, and picks up my complexion rather than muddying it (as many darker nudes will do).

Eva’s Nude is much more full-on; with medium opacity and a slightly thicker texture, it’s also more of a traditional frost. A warm, orange nude with only a hint of pink in its undertones undertones, it’s much better suited for skintones like Eva’s — against my complexion, it’s very noticeable and rather dated.

L'Oreal Freida's Nude swatches review photos

Collection Privée by Colour Riche: Freida’s Nude

L'Oreal Eva's Nude review swatches photos

Collection Privée by Colour Riche: Eva’s Nude

L'Oreal Colour Riche swatches review Collection Privée

L’Oreal Collection Privée by Colour Riche Lipsticks swatched very heavily L-R: Freida, Eva, Doutzen, J Lo, Freida

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Senna Brilliant Bronze Bronzer & Highlighter review, swatches, photos | Senna Sunglow collection, Summer 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

Senna baked mineral bronzer highlighter review

The product: Senna Cosmetics Brilliant Bronze Baked Mineral Bronzer & Highlighter in Sunset and Dawn

Every now and then, I’ll come across a product that’s strangely, inexplicably difficult to review. Senna’s new Brilliant Bronze baked bronzer/highlighters are the perfect example of this: they’re limited edition in this summer’s Sunglow collection, and I really want to love them, but I’m still not sure if I actually do.

Senna baked mineral bronzer highlighter review dawn

The packaging and aesthetic: Let’s start with an easy one, then. I love the glossy black boxes that these bronzer/highlighters come in — everything from the sharp, sturdy lines to the Senna logo & design. There’s just something so fresh and chic about them, and opening the compacts to reveal almost-veined domes really completes the effect.

Mirrored compacts aren’t always something that I’m a fan of, but I think they work here. The size makes them big enough to be useful, but the thick plastic (as opposed to glass, metal, etc.) means that the addition of a mirror doesn’t make things too heavy, either.

Senna Brilliant Bronze review Dawn

Senna Brilliant Bronze Bronzer & Highlighter in Dawn

Senna Brilliant Bronze review Sunset

Senna Brilliant Bronze Bronzer & Highlighter in Sunset

Senna Brilliant Bronze Baked Mineral Bronzer Highlighter swatches review

Senna Brilliant Bronze swatches: Dawn, Sunset (highlighter/bronzer/mixed)

The shades: The Brilliant Bronze Bronzer & Highlighters are available in Sunset, which pairs a pigmented brown bronzer with a sheer buttery-yellow highlighter, and Dawn, featuring a lighter, cooler bronze shade and a soft pink highlighter. Sunset has mainly golden shimmer, while Dawn has mainly silver shimmer.

As you might expect, Sunset is better for darker and warmer skintones, while Dawn shines on paler, cooler complexions. Both shades are beautiful, but while I prefer Sunset on an aesthetic basis (I’m loving gold highlighters at the moment, and the bronzer is gorgeous), Dawn is definitely better for my skintone.

My advice? If your skintone is warm or medium-to-deep, go for Sunset. If you’re fair-to-medium with cool undertones, opt for Dawn.

Senna Brilliant Bronze Baked Mineral review Sunset

My experience with these: I applied these with the Powder Point 33 brush (also featured in the Sunglow collection), and while I absolutely adored the shape of the brush, I thought it was a little too large and disperse for these products.

The thing about the Brilliant Bronzes is that they’re absolutely loaded with shimmer, and while I know a lot of bronzer lovers are into shimmer, I always end up with it everywhere by the end of the day. These have great staying power, each lasting easily through nine hours and two naps on a hot summer day, but the shimmer has a tendency to migrate. (The dusty texture of these doesn’t help, either — I bet they’d fare better with a smaller, more controlled brush.)

Senna Cosmetics Dawn bronzer highlighter swatches

Senna Brilliant Bronze swatches, to show off the shimmer: Dawn, Sunset (highlighter/bronzer/mixed)

The verdict?

If you’re into makeup that you can see, then these are a really lovely example of a glowing bronzer-and-highlighter done right. The tones, shimmer (of which there’s a noticeable amount), and packaging are excellent, and they stand up well through daily life.

If you don’t want your makeup being spotted from two paces, though, give these a pass. Being able to catch glimpses of individual shimmer particles can be pretty visually interesting, but it also means that these Made-in-Italy baked domes are quite obvious on the skin!

Availability: $42 USD online & in-store. To my knowledge, these are limited edition while available.

Makeup daydreaming, a how-to video, & ingredients »

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