Dreaming in taffeta: A Clinique The Nutcracker Act I makeup look

Monday, January 12, 2015

I may not have been crazy about the (dusty) qualities of Clinique’s The Nutcracker Act I palette, but I’ll be darned if I let that get in between me & my pinks.

Here’s a really quick makeup look that I put together while testing out a whole bunch of new products this month — literally none of what I used here was from my regular “kit”. (Scare quotes because I don’t actually have, like, a makeup artist kit. It’s pretty much just a drawer-full of boring stuff that I use all the time.)

Clinique Nutcracker Act I pink makeup look

See? Not that pink. (I wish it was more pink!)

There’s a proper product listing below, but for this look, I used all four shades of Snowflake Suite shadows from the palette, plus a Stila brow pen (LOVE) and Cover FX Cream Foundation that I picked up with my Optimum points — I’ll work on getting reviews up on both for tN’s silicone-free series, because they’re both really excellent!!

I also used Make Up For Ever’s new Graphic Liner pen in this look, which I’m crazy about (the wear is so good), plus a pair of Esqido Mink Lashes. They’re crazy pretty (also seen here), but I have to trim them down a lot to make the thick band–which is supposed to last for 25 uses–stop making my eyes sting and tear. I haven’t decided if I like them or not yet, but I’ll let you know when I know!

Clinique Nutcracker Act I palette review swatches

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Clinique The Nutcracker Suite Act I Palette & Powder swatches, review, photos

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Clinique The Nutcracker Plie Pink review palette

The product: Clinique The Nutcracker Act I Palette and Blended Face Powder & Brush in Snowflake Dreams

» Inspired by “the tulles and velvet fabrics in vivid pinks, glittering whites and vibrant purples” in The Nutcracker.

Clinique The Nutcracker Act I Palette ($36 USD/$46 CAD)

The pink Nutcracker Act I Palette (not to be confused with the purple-themed Act II) contains an All About Shadow Snowflake Suite quad in the shades Sugar Cane (available as a single), Crystal PinkMushroom (also in Clinique’s Greys 8-Pan Palette), and Boron, as well as a Blushing Blush Powder Blush in Plié Pink.

Clinique The Nutcracker Act I Snowflake Suite review

Clinique The Nutcracker Act I Palette

The shadows were much dustier than I’m used to seeing from Clinique, and apply fairly sheerly but with little fallout. I adored the taupey Mushroom and the Blushing Powder Blush in Plié Pink, which gave my cheeks a seriously gorgeous pink glow, but the other three shades in the palette (a boring shimmery white, a super-sheer pink heaped with silver glitter, and a boring sparkly black) were a big letdown for me.

At $46 CAD, I think this palette is worth it if you really adore those two top performers (all five pans are of middling-to-good quality), but it’s not getting a standing ovation from me. While it’s not like, the worst, I know that Clinique can do a lot better than this in terms of quality — and knowing that, it’s hard not to expect more from the brand.

Clinique Snowflake Suite Plie Pink swatches review The Nutcracker

Clinique The Nutcracker Act I Palette swatches: Blushing Powder Blush in Plié Pink (heavy/light), All About Shadow Quad in Snowflake Suite (Sugar Cane, Crystal Pink, Mushroom, Boron).

Blended Face Powder & Brush in Snowflake Dreams ($24 USD/$29 CAD)

Okay, so this one was another pretty-but-nonsensical letdown. Who, in their right of mind, needs ANOTHER shimmery powder?! I see at least five of these come out each holiday season from brands high and low, so someone must be buying, but this kind of product is just not up my alley.

Clinique Snowflake Dreams review Blended Face Powder

Clinique Blended Face Powder in Snowflake Dreams

Snowflake Dreams, which comes with a non-optional scratchy brush, is intended to add shimmer to the shoulders, neck, and chest, but the glitter is just too big and unidimensional — it’s just chunks of silver glitter in a crazy-sheer pink base. This Blended Face Powder would be great for an actual performance of The Nutcracker (theatre makeup, after all, has to be extremely obvious for the audience to see it), but in real life, it’s way too much.

Unless you were putting on some sort of crazy, Nutcracker-themed party with strobe lights and strippers, I guess? In which case this would probably be an awesome product to dust all over your body. I wouldn’t know; raves aren’t really my thing. (But I bet a Nutcracker-themed one would somehow manage to be really, really cool.)

Clinique Snowflake Dreams swatch Blended Face Powder review

Clinique Blended Face Powder swatch in Snowflake Dreams (brushed on below/patted on heavily over primer above).

The verdict?

As much as I love Clinique, this collection is an act that I would not like to see again. (Aside: what’s the best theatre performance you’ve ever gotten to experience? For me, it was a four-hour-long production of Pride and Prejudice. Worth every damn minute — to this day, I regret not seeing it again before it closed.)

I would love to see Plié Pink released as a standalone blush, and if you can get your hands on Mushroom, absolutely do, but aside from that — skip The Nutcracker Suite, and save your pennies for one of Clinique’s 8-pan palettes instead.

Availability: Online at Clinique and exclusively at the Hudson’s Bay in Canada.

Clinique custom phone cases & more | New 14/09/14

Sunday, September 14, 2014

New this week are a few long-awaited launches (like the NARS Audacious lipsticks), as well as a couple new-to-store ones (Charlotte Tilbury at Nordstrom, and that pastel Shiseido trio!) and a few unique items that caught my eye. If you’ve tried the new Micro.mini Beautyblenders, for instance, or that new Sephora makeup-removing lip gel, I’d be curious to hear what you thought of them! (And those new Bottega Veneta perfumes, hrrrnnnngh.)

New (& more than noteworthy)

Also upcoming this week is an event — and a very, very cool one at that. Manhattan residents are invited to the Clinique counter at Bloomingdale’s on 59th St. to receive a complimentary Smart Skin Consultation and create a customized smartphone case designed by fashion illustrator Brooke Hagel.

Clinique custom phone cases

The event will be held this Thursday, September 18th, and while I obviously won’t get to go… I can only hope that one of you will take this opportunity to have a phone case custom-illustrated with Chubby Stick sketches!

What: Complimentary Smart Skin Consultations, a fall trend fashion preview, and a custom-illustrated phone case with the purchase of Clinique’s Smart Repair Serum.

When: Thursday, September 18, 6pm-8pm

Where: Bloomingdale’s 59th Street Beauty Studio (1000 3rd Ave at 59th Street, NY)

Pre-book an appointment at the counter or by calling (212) 705-2879.

The multitaskers: Five skincare picks that do it all

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Multitasking products??? MULTITASKING PRODUCTS! I love multitasking products, dude — give me something that’ll preform more than one function for me and I am there.

(You have no idea how crushed I was to find out that there aren’t any 2-in-1 ‘cone-free shampoo-conditioners. There may have been tears.)

Marcelle Ultra Gentle Cleansing Gel Marcelle Ultra Gentle Cleansing Gel Marcelle Ultra Gentle Cleansing Gel HTML Map

The multitaskers

Marcelle Ultra Gentle Cleansing Gel ($1.99-$12.95 CAD) – a silicone, fragrance, paraben, and sulfate-free makeup remover and cleanser. This one is great for removing makeup (it even took off that new Hourglass 1.5mm liner I’ve been testing!), but I still definitely think Marcelle’s Cleansing Milk is better for extra-dry skin.

L’Occitane Immortelle Brightening Eyecare & Mask Duo ($42 CAD) – also silicone-free, this one’s not your usual kind of 2-in-1: used sparingly, it’s an eye cream; slathered on more heavily, it functions as a 10-minute mask to moisturize, luminize, and de-puff. Also worth noting is that it has a metal tip similar to that of the Clinique Lid Smoothies (but larger and more round), so application is mess-free and very cooling.

Marcelle Ideal Skin Perfector ($24.95 CAD) – this one’s not silicone-free, but it does do a whole bunch of things — and it’s brand spankin’ new. If you’ve had your eye on the Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum, this might be a good option instead if you’re on a budget!

Neutrogena Healthy Skin CC Fair Light swatch review

Neutrogena Healthy Skin CC Cream SPF 30 in Fair to Light swatches

Neutrogena Healthy Skin CC Cream SPF 30 ($16.99 CAD) – you guys, this CC cream breaks my freakin’ heart. It doesn’t just do everything well, it does everything perfectly — except for one big, glaring thing. Lightweight and insanely comfortable, it minimizes redness and smoothes over dry, flaky patches like a champ, but leaves the skin looking and feeling totally natural… until you walk into the sunlight.

See, the thing is, this CC Cream is actually packed with disco-ball levels of completely unnecessary microshimmer, which is a total deal-breaker for me (and probably some of you, too!) Skip it if you’re one of the shimmer-free camp, but definitely, definitely give it a go if you’re not adverse to shimmer. Lovers of Annabelle’s BB Pressed Powder, Guerlain Meteorites, etc., this means you! 

Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum ($59.50 USD/$69 CAD) – our last product today is the ultimate do-it-all: a serum that claims to target skin concerns based on the distress signals being sent out by your own skin. I don’t buy that for a second (despite the 37 patents backing this product), but I do believe in the six zillion actives crammed into this serum (including soothing caffeine, plumping hyaluronic acid, and brightening Vitamin C, to name just a few.)

Clinique Cheek Chubby Sticks, Baby Tint swatches, review | Fresh, flawless lips & cheeks in 10 seconds or less

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Clinique Baby Tint Chubby Stick review

The product: Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm in 02 Robust Rhubarb and 03 Roly Poly Rosy; Chubby Stick Baby Tint Moisturizing Lip Balm in 01 Poppin’ Poppy and 02 Coming Up Rosy

New this month to Clinique are two all-new Chubby Stick formulas — which, duh, I am super freaking excited about.

And guess what? They’re both awesome. 

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek review swatches

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm in 02 Robust Rhubarb, 03 Roly Poly Rosy

Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm ($21 USD/$24 CAD)

The Clinique Chubby Cheek Sticks are the same length as your average Chubby Stick, but they’re much wider, with a nice, domed tip — and they make applying blush really quick and easy. Just scribble a bit of the product onto your cheeks (straight from the stick!) and blend with a fingertip, and voila! perfect blush in under ten seconds, no brushes needed.

The Cheek Colour Balm formula is smooth and scent-free, medium-sheer with a texture that blends with a light touch without blending away. It’s a treat to work with, but I think it would be particularly perfect for makeup beginners and busy moms! (Much like this bronzer blush that I talked about on Thursday.)

Clinique Robust Rhubarb, Poppin Poppy review FOTD, Clarins Ombre Matte

Wearing Robust Rhubarb on cheeks, Poppin’ Poppy on lips

Clinique Robust Rubarb Chubby Cheek review swatchesClinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm in 02 Robust Rhubarb

These feel comfortable and lightweight on my cheeks, and they give an all-day glow without making your skin look shiny. I think the shimmer-free Roly Poly Rosy would make a great basic medium-pink blush for cool skintones like my own, but I actually really loved the coral-pink Robust Rhubarb, too.

Robust Rhubarb is the only coral blush that I’ve ever thought looked good on me (no joke!!), and it has some incredibly flattering cool pink nuances tucked in there alongside super-subtle shimmer. I’ve actually been wearing Rhubarb on the apples of my cheeks, with Roly Poly Rosy relegated to adding depth like some kind of backup dancer, and it’s been awesome.

Clinique Baby Tint, Chubby Cheek swatches review

Clinique Chubby Stick Baby Tint in 01 Poppin’ Poppy, 02 Coming Up Rosy swatches; Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm in 02 Robust Rhubarb, 03 Roly Poly Rosy swatches

Chubby Stick Baby Tint ($17 USD/$19 CAD)

Clinique Baby Tint Coming Up Rosy review swatches

Clinique Chubby Stick Baby Tint in 02 Coming Up Rosy

Like most of the regular Clinique range, the Baby Tints are sheer — but unlike the rest of the Chubby Sticks, they’re pH adjusting to “custom fit” the wearer.

This is, obviously, a load of crock, but you know what? Who cares. pH-adjusting products may not actually be made to suit your unique skintone, but they go from clear to tinted in a matter of seconds, and they’re fun. Show me a person who doesn’t think that colour-shifting makeup is cool and I’ll show you a liar.

Clinique Baby Tint Poppin Poppy review swatches

Clinique Chubby Stick Baby Tint in 01 Poppin’ Poppy

Clinique Poppin Poppy Coming Up Rosy swatches Baby Tint review

Clinique Chubby Stick Baby Tint swatches – 01 Poppin’ Poppy, 02 Coming Up Rosy

Both of the tints that I tried, Poppin’ Poppy and Coming Up Rosy, are shimmer-free, comfortable, and glossy. I find that they appear much more tinted on the lips than they do when swatched on the back of my hand, but they’re definitely sheer enough that you could pick up whichever shade suits your fancy.

Like any tinted lip balm, these aren’t going to last all day (unlike those Chubby Cheek Sticks — which, yes, I know that’s not their real name, but it should have been), but they do alright. Expect to reapply with the same frequency as lip balm, but no more often than that.

Clarins Roly Poly Rosy, Coming Up Rosy review swatches FOTD,  Clarins Ombre Matte

Wearing Clinique Chubby Stick (Cheek) in 03 Roly Poly Rosy, Baby Tint in 02 Coming Up Roses

The verdict?

I squealed out loud when I first saw these teased online, and for once, I’m 100% comfortable telling you that yes: these are every bit as good as I was hoping. (Especially Poppin’ Poppy! If you love corals but always find them too warm, try it. You’ll thank me later.)

The Clinique Chubby Stick Baby Tints are nice to have around (that purple!), but it’s the new Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balms that really steal the show for me. I can’t find a single flaw in them, from the way they apply to the way they blend, and they’re an absolute steal at $24 CAD. I love stick blushes, and these are the best that I’ve ever tried.

Availability: August 2014. Cheek – Nordstrom, Sephora, Clinique / Baby TintNordstrom, Sephora, Clinique.

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