Monday, September 11, 2017

Photo ID makeup (+ NARS Audacious Lipstick in Apoline)

My local Sephora at the King of Prussia Mall moved to a new location last Friday. I ended up there two days in a row, first last Friday, just to scope out the party and then again early on Saturday morning for the Rouge event. It was timed well for me because I could get part of my makeup done before heading out to the DMV to get my picture taken. I could certainly have done the makeup myself but I like to be out there a few times a year to see what products associates would recommend and to see if I can learn something new. As it happened, there was quite a bit to be learned that day...

I approached an associate whose makeup looked close enough to what I wanted to achieve for myself that day and said that I wanted to try some NARS foundation. I told her up front that I was headed out to the DMV after, so I wanted something that would look nice for that picture. After working the color IQ machine on me, she sat me down on one of their new makeup stations and went to grab some foundation. As frequently happens, the color IQ machine recommended shades that are too dark for me but she was able to remedy that. She recommended the All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, saying that it looks great in pictures, matching me with the shade Ceylan. But first, she primed my skin with the latest primer from Smashbox, the Photo Finish Primerizer, which she explained was a moisturizer and primer in one. Thus, it was great for dry skin.

Primer and Foundation were both applied with this brush

After we applied these two products on half my face, we took a nice long look in their beautiful new lighted mirror. I was left speechless at how bad the whole thing looked, with the foundation clinging to dry spots I didn't even know I had. Everything looked like a splotchy mess. The gracious associate immediately came to the save and said, if I didn't like it, we could try something else. She started describing a Natasha Denona foundation to me but I said that I wasn't sure I wanted to try that brand and suggested HOURGLASS instead.

When she came back, she had with her basically the only HOURGLASS foundation that I had actually tried before, the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick. I had been hoping to try something new but the clock was ticking and this was a chance for me to see if she could find me the correct shade. I had Ivory and it was not right for me so we went with Buff. She used the NARS concealer in custard under my eyes and set my foundation with the Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation in 117, which according to her, suits quite a lot of people. I have 118 and I'm aware that it's bit dark for me. The 117 looked good.

She swept some Too Faced Chocolate Soleil to warm up my complexion and added the Anastasia Beverly Hills Blush Trio in Pink Passion all mixed together on my cheeks. She finished off the look with a dusting of a Bobbi Brown highlighter whose name I forget. I actually kind of wish she hadn't gone in with the Bobbi Brown because I very much liked the way she applied my blush and bronzer but I know that these Bobbi Brown highlighters are not for me. Whenever I looked in the mirror, I could see how shimmery my cheek was and it really bothered me. Too much shimmer! But at least in pictures, it wasn't really visible. And now I have a reason to bust out that old Chocolate Soleil sample I've had sitting in a box forever.

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil, the matte finish is great!

I bought the NARS Audacious Lipstick in Apoline, which I chose over Anna and Audrey, and I was very happy to get to try this line with a color that I love. It really is a very nice lipstick. The pigment is rich, kind of like the Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Color, and it feels very comfortable on. I like it better than the brand's original lipstick formula. The color was also long-lasting, considering that I didn't wear any kind of lip primer beforehand. I just kind of slapped it on in the store before I put on my eye makeup. It looked great for hours.

the cap has a magnetic closure 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hot, Humid and Rainy? What Makeup to Wear (+ New Guerlain)

I'm back! Literally, I have just gotten back from Florida where it was hot, humid and rainy for most of my trip. They're prepping for another hurricane and my heart goes out to everyone affected by it (which is really all of us, it seems). While it may appear counterintuitive to post this now, when summer vacation is over and the kids are back in school, I do this in part so I can remember what works and doesn't work for when we take another trip some place where it's alternately scorching and then rainy.

Patrolling any theme park with a small child or two is a lot like having a baby. There are moments of pain and joy, and lots of sweat (or rain). Calls to mind the lady who prepared her makeup for pictures during her delivery (genius!) and posted them online. When you're going to be outdoors for hours in unpredictable conditions, and I don't just mean the weather, you have to be in that same frame of mind.

A vacation is NOT the time to experiment with skincare. Whenever you travel, you deal with changes in the air and the water that you use. Your hair and skin has to cope with that. Not even considering that you may not be eating properly either, don't let your skin have to deal with new products too! I packed the things that I normally use for cleansing and moisturizing when I'm at home, along with additional sunscreen products for body use. I kept up my nightly Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair II and Revitalizing Supreme+ Creme which is probably the bare minimum that I do for evening skincare and something I've stuck to over the last year.

What makeup to pack? Our trip was a family vacation and since there were pictures to be taken, I made it a priority to make my brows look right. I highly recommend the Burberry Effortless Eyebrow Definer (reviewed here). This is the most efficient product that I've found to do my brows. It's easy to use and it looks incredibly natural, not drawn in. I would happily trade in every other brow product I own now for this one. May they never discontinue it. If they did, I would be front and center at the protest line (or maybe I'll hoard a lifetime supply before it's gone). Thankfully, there is a LOT of product in each pencil. Even with regular use, I don't think it will need to be replaced often. But don't quote me on that just yet. Still waiting to see when I use this one up.

Slap on some eye makeup or wear sunglasses in all your pictures. I have small eyes and I need to them to look open. I start with the Sephora Collection Lid & Liner Primer which I apply all over my lid with an eyeshadow brush. I've mentioned buying this item before (in this post here) and I've been using it constantly now, just like I would a favorite beige eyeshadow for a lid wash and/or under the brow. Then I apply some budge proof eyeliner. On some days, I went solely with the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Underground and some waterproof mascara. I layer two of them for the best effect and the two that I brought with me performed flawlessly (L'Oreal Lash Paradise and Maybelline Lash Stiletto, both in the waterproof version). Despite my clothes being drenched, my shoes soaked and my hair in a frizz, my eye makeup remained pristine. Score! On days when I wanted more definition, I added some black liquid eyeliner. My go-to for over a decade has been Lancome's Artliner applied in dots and dashes to the upper lash line only. Once or twice I noticed that it can lightly migrate towards the tear duct or the outer corner of the eye but I've used this liquid liner for years and when I need something I can rely on, it's my choice.

For lips, I stuck it out with tinted lip balm, rotating between the Clarins Lip Balm Perfector in Rosewood (see my swatches here) and the Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Poppy that I bought in Sephora at Disney Springs. I tried wearing lipstick, but with the constant drinking, it started to get pointless. Going with a natural makeup look, a lighter lip seemed the proper way to go anyway.

Above and below, Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Poppy

Sunday, August 27, 2017

NARS NARSissist Velvet Lip Glide Set

Promotion after promotion from ULTA finally made me go for the new Velvet Lip Glide Set by NARS. It's an ULTA exclusive, at least for now. And although I originally looked at it and thought, no, I don't need more liquid lipsticks since I rarely use them... well, the colors. At the end of it, I'm so glad I got the set.

The new NARSissist Velvet Lip Glide Set has all new colors. It's a much-needed infusion, if you ask me. I think the line really could use these lighter and brighter shades and I'm happy to have them in minis. I think every color is wearable although it feels more "warm weather" than cold, if that makes sense. Some colors would look great all year round, like my favorite Californiacation. The more coral-leaning shades, like Rapture, may be better for spring and summer use. I believe the ULTA-exclusive set was released in July but they could have timed this as a spring set and it would still have done well.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

NARS Lipstick in Little Darling, Fire Down Below and Joyous Red

I got a neat GWP from Bloomingdale's recently that included these three NARS mini lipsticks. From what I've gathered, they were part of a boxed set once and two of the three colors are now discontinued. The only one still available in full size is Fire Down Below. I'm such a sucker for lipstick and these minis are adorable. Little Darling is sheer and Fire Down Below is semi-matte. Not too sure about Joyous Red but it looks to be a pearl finish.

NARS lipsticks tend to vary greatly for me. Their basic lipsticks, like these, have different finishes and the color selection is huge. I have no issues with the formula's application (smooth) and longevity is about average. They're not moisturizing nor particularly drying and the tubes, even the full-size ones, are actually pretty small. That makes them easy to tote around and have in the purse. The Audacious lipsticks are bigger and supposedly better, but I've only tried one and it wasn't a color that I loved (orangey) so I'd like to reserve comparison until after I've tried more shades.

Then there's the liquid lipstick line... Personally, I'm not big on liquid lipsticks but it's such a trend that I feel like I have to keep exploring until I find something that I love. I have the Velvet Lip Glide set that is exclusive to ULTA and I'd be happy to review that soon.  I don't think I ever had the chance to review the original Velvet Lip Glide set that came out over the holidays so I may throw in some swatches of those colors as well. Something to look forward to soon.