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.

Keep reading! »

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 »

Lise Watier Sun Bronzing Powder & Sensationnelle Dry Oil review, swatches, photos | Sun Destination

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lise Watier Sun Destination collection

The products: Lise Watier Sun Destination collection (part two)

This year’s Lise Watier Sun Destination collection (limited edition for Summer 2013) contains four gorgeous products, but I didn’t want to review them all at once — I’m terrible at the entire concept of succinct, as I’m sure you all know by now.

Here’s what I think of as “the pretty half of the collection”: the Sun Bronzing Powder & Sensationnelle Dry Oil. The Illuminating Bronzing Gel is possibly actually prettier once applied than both of these combined, but, well — it’s not not as eye-catching in its packaging as these two are!

Lise Watier Sun Bronzing Powder review swatches

Sun Bronzing Powder, $39

Okay. You guys. You guys.

This is so pretty.

Lise Watier Sun Bronzing Powder review

Lise Watier Sun Bronzing Powder swatches

Lise Watier Sun Bronzing Powder swatches — center, surround, mixed

On a slightly more coherent (and hopefully more eloquent) note, the Sun Bronzing Powder is an enormous bronzer with a really lovely, ethereal glow. It’s large enough to easily grab the two shades–a softly glowing bronze & a luminous gold–separately, as well as to use on your shoulders, chest, arms, and legs.

While you could grab these intricately-pressed shades separately, though, they really do work best paired together. The soft, buttery texture of this bronzer means that they blend beautifully (both with each other and the skin) and deliver a sheer, warm bronze with gold microshimmer.

(If you bought last year’s Havana All Over Baked Bronzer: this one’s more buttery, less orange-red, more sheer, and packaged with a much slimmer profile.)

Talc, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Zinc Stearate, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Mica, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77288 (Chromium Oxide Greens), CI 77289 (Chromium Hydroxide Green), CI 77742 (Manganese Violet), CI 77007 (Ultramarines), CI 77510 (Ferric Ferrocyanide), CI 75470 (Carmine), CI 42090 (Blue 1 Lake), CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), CI 15850 (Red 6, Red 7 Lake), CI 73360 (Red 30 Lake).

Lise Watier Sun Bronzing Powder

Lise Watier Sun Bronzing Powder swatches — center, surround, mixed

Sensationnelle Dry Oil, $42

As a clear, scented oil, the teardrop-shaped Sensationnelle Dry Oil is perhaps the least exciting Sun Destination product to swatch — but it’s the most universal of the collection, too.

Scented with top notes of orange blossom extract, a heart of tangerine and fleurs solaires, and a base of vanilla and coconut (think big white florals paired with beachy base notes), the Sensationnelle oil is made for use on face, body, and hair. Multi-use and silicone-free, the formula is made in part from six different oils, from sweet almond to cottonseed.

Lise Watier Sensationnelle Dry Oil review

Keep reading! »

Lise Watier Bronzing Gel & Tinted UV Shield review, swatches, photos | Sun Destination

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lise Watier Sun Destination 2013 reviews

The products: Lise Watier Sun Destination collection (part one)

Every summer, Lise Watier releases a summer bronzing collection, available only for a few months. I’m a little late with this one (the products are technically only supposed to be around until the end of July), but as far as I know you can still get all of these products — and some of them, on sale!

Here are two of this summer’s Lise Watier bronzing products, on shelves and online now. (Their summer Sensationnelle Dry Oil & Sun Bronzing Powder will be on theNotice shortly!)

Lise Watier Illuminating Bronzing Gel review

Lise Watier Illuminating Bronzing Gel

Illuminating Bronzing Gel, $30 $18

Described as a ”lightweight, sheer illuminating gel that delivers a youthful, radiant finish,” the Illuminating Bronzing Gel is — well, kind of a stunner, really. Neither too orange nor too brown, it gives a great neutral-brown glow to the skin, sheer and sparsely shimmery.

I’d recommend this one to people with fair to medium skin who want to create a natural, softly bronzed glow. It can be worn with or without makeup, and I think (at $18 CAD) that it would be gorgeous on the décolleté, shoulders, and arms & legs, too.

Aqua, Cyclopentasiloxane, Zinc Oxide, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Squalane, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Sorbitol, Octyldodecanol, Isononyl Isononanoate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Steareth-21, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Sodium Chloride, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Talc, Phenoxyethanol, Erythritol, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Xanthan Gum, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Disodium Edta, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Nymphaea Coerulea Flower Extrat, Homarine HCL, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sorbic Acid, Fragrance, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, CI 77491, CI 77492, Iron Oxides.

Lise Watier Illuminating Bronzing Gel swatches

Lise Watier Illuminating Bronzing Gel, swatched heavily/sheerly

Lise Watier Illuminating Bronzing Gel

Lise Watier Illuminating Bronzing Gel, swatched heavily/sheerly

Sun Smart Tinted Universal UV Shield SPF  30, $30 $23

I’m a lot less smitten with the colour of the SunSmart Tinted Universal UV Shield, but it does tout a shimmer-free matte finish and an SPF of 30, which may appeal to some.

Designed to give both chemical-free (physical) sun protection and a velvety, bronzed finish, this is a bronze version of Lise Watier’s Universal UV Shield (available year-round). It’s too orange, in my opinion, when you consider how much sunscreen you really need to be using to get proper coverage — about a teaspoon, for your face.

Lise Watier SunSmart Tinted Universal UV Shield review

Keep reading! »

Essence Vintage District It’s Popul-Art Blush review, photos, swatches | A gorgeously intricate blush for less than a fiver

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Essence Vintage District It's Popul-Art blush review

The product: essence cosmetics 01 It’s Popul-Art Blush (Vintage District collection)

Alright, so: I’m a little late with this. That, topped with the fact that that the Vintage District collection was hard to find in the first place, means that there’s a pretty slim chance that you’ll be able to get your hands on this beauty.

(Sorry about that.)

Essence It's PopulArt gold overspray

I don’t love posting about products you won’t be able to find, but for this one, I couldn’t help it.

Despite its limited North American availability and measly price tag, the pattern and overspray of It’s Popul-Art make it one of the most stunning blushes that I own–at least, in the pan,–and at a mere $3.49 CAD, it’s the cheapest one in my collection, too.

Essence It's Popul-Art direct sun

Essence It's Popul-Art red blush uncovered

The intricate gold flower on the pan of It’s Popul-Art is an overspray, and comes off after a few uses*. As pretty as it is, I’m far from crushed by its loss: I’m not a fan of shimmer or sheen on the cheeks, and that is one dense gold.

Underneath the overspray lies a solid dusky red flower, large enough that you can easily get only this shade on your brush. Despite its potentially-intimidating colour, its soft texture makes it easy to sheer out, and I think it would work well on most fair to medium skintones.

*If by “a few uses,” you mean “once you manually and meticulously remove all of it with a small brush, in typical crazy-person style.”

Essence It's Popul-Art swatches

Swatched heavily L-R: Gold overspray, gold overspray + red flower / red flower, peach background, red flower + peach background

Essence Vintage District blush swatch peach gold pink

Essence Vintage District “It’s Popul-Art” blush swatches (same order). Direct sunlight.

Surrounding the flower is a light peach background (again, large enough that you could get just this shade) which I think would make a lovely peach blush on lighter skintones. It’s a little chalky on its own, but not enough to be noticeable on anything lighter than a medium skintone.

Blended together, It’s Popul-Art (minus the gold overspray) is a lovely, pinky-peach blush with a soft matte finish. I can see it working on pretty much all fair to medium skintones, but it probably wouldn’t show up on anyone with deeper colouring (think NC35 and up).

Essence Vintage District It's Popul-Art Blush

The verdict?

If you can find it, It’s Popul-Art is absolutely worth its $3.49 CAD price tag. While the shade isn’t the most unique, and the formula is a little talc-heavy, the design of this product makes it worthwhile – reminds me of high-end holiday collection blushes (but at literally less than a tenth of the price!)

Whether you’re leaving the overspray intact for a serious sheen or removing it for a matte finish (this could theoretically transform from a blingy blush to the perfect early autumn “naked” cheek), this pinky-peach blush is something I would wholeheartedly recommend snapping up…

…if you can find it.

Ingredients + more photos and swatches! »

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