To say that I love highlighters is an understatement. All forms and colors- if it shimmers and glows I am most likely going to want it. That’s just how I roll. When the holiday season comes around we usually see several brands release new sparkly products that are party-ready with plenty of glow. And so we find ourselves here.

Chanel Camelia de Plumes

It started with Chanel. The gorgeous Camelia de Plumes. I had seen pictures floating around Instagram for weeks leading up to it’s release. I knew I would have to grab it. As soon as it became available I did. The beautiful design lured me in, but it’s the color and the formula that leave me breathless. It’s a silvery shade mixed with a very pale gold sheen. You can see the pale/white gold reflect when the light hits or when you tilt your head. It’s a nice touch and makes this powder all the more unique. The formula is reminiscent of the gelee or extra dimension versions we have seen from Estee Lauder and MAC, respectively.

As of writing this post this highlighter is still available on Nordstrom, Macy’s and Bloomingdales. If it strikes your fancy even a little, I would grab it sooner than later. These special powders tend to disappear and once they are gone you’ll have to resort to ridiculous eBay prices to find it again. It retails for a staggering $72, and worth it, in my opinion. ;)

Bobbi Brown Pink Glow

And then Bobbi Brown had to go and do this. I was mostly unaware of Bobbi’s planned holiday release mainly because her products tend to be very repetitive and frankly, the quality is quite hit or miss. I have tried many Bobbi Brown products and I usually come away feeling underwhelmed and maybe even hoodwinked. You see, Bobbi’s products always seem to get rave reviews and the celebrities who promote the brand (Katie Homes, Kate Middleton) can’t seem to get enough. With all of that clout I’d expect the products to be nothing less than stellar. Unfortunately, most of the time I feel like I overpaid and Bobbi under-delivered.

Back to this highlighter though. I was unconvinced by online swatches. I had to see this in person to appreciate it’s texture and color. The powder itself has a marbled effect with pink on the outer edges blending in to a lighter pink/white pearl shade in the center. The overall color will vary as I think each pan is different. Mine comes away looking like a very light pink, with a warmness to it that keeps it from looking silvery. Again, this formula is very similar if not exact to the MAC and Estee Lauder versions (not surprising since they are all owned by the same company).

Bobbi Brown Pink Glow Comparisons

Comparisons (clockwise from bottom left): Bobbi Brown Pink Glow, Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous, Estee Lauder Modern Mercury, Estee Lauder Crystal Baby, MAC Superb, Bobbi Brown Pink Quartz, Chanel Camelia de Plumes

Chanel Camelia de Plumes Swatches

Swatches L-R: Chanel Camelia de Plumes, Bobbi Brown Pink Glow, Estee Lauder Crystal Baby, Bobbi Brown Pink Quartz, Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous, MAC Superb, Estee Lauder Modern Mercury

None of the other highlighters I have really come close to these two new ones. I do have some liquid/cream highlighters that are more pearl/white in color (MAC Pearl Cream Colour Base and Becca Pearl come to mind) but I don’t have any in powder form. Most of the lighter highlighting powders I own are more gold in color, making these two welcome additions to my collection.

I don’t think either of these powders disappoint and I am happy to have them.

It’s no secret that all of us beauty lovers tend to obsess over a particular shade or type of product until we move on to another, seemingly more interesting obsession. Sometimes I go into phases where I want every bright pink blush or every coral lipstick. Over the past few months that focus was easily on bronzers. Perhaps it was the long and almost tortuous winter we had here in Chicago, but I couldn’t get enough of the bronze glow on my face all spring. Now that summer is nearly here my obsession appears to have paid off.

Favorite Bronzers 2014

Bronzers come in many forms but on a day-to-day basis I definitely reach for powder products over cream or liquid versions. They just seem to be easier to use and less difficult to overdo. I usually choose a satin or matte finish, but I do have some with a slight sheen or shimmer. I almost always use the same brush to apply my bronzer- the MAC 138 tapered face brush. It applies the right amount of product and the tapered shape allows me to dust my temples, jawline and cheekbones with ease. I would recommend getting the MAC version of this brush over the Sigma version. I had the Sigma one first and it shed everywhere! I had to discard it it was that bad.

Favorite Bronzers 2014 2

Aphrodite’s Shell from the MAC Alluring Aquatic collection is my newest edition. The packaging is absolutely stunning, isn’t it? It’s my current go-to shade. My most used is definitely Laura Mercier’s Ritual- a product I’m nearly devastated to say was limited edition. The only cream bronzer I’ve been using lately is Daniel Sandler’s Fiji. It has an amazing texture and has the perfect red undertone to it. It really does create a stunning, believable tan on the face. Bobbi Brown Natural 1 is like Fiji in powder form. The powder is smooth and pigmented and the color is perfect. The Bare Minerals compact is relatively new and I’m quite impressed with both the presentation and actual product. It adds a nice glow without looking heavy or overdone.

Favorite Bronzers 2014 Swatches

Swatches L-R: Daniel Sandler Fiji, Chanel Les Beiges in 30, Laura Mercier Matte Baked in 02, Bobbi Brown Natural 1, Laura Mercier Ritual, MAC Aphrodite’s Shell, Becca Duende, Bare Minerals The Beach is Waiting, Dolce & Gabbana Glow Powder Shimmer 6

The Dolce & Gabbana powder is actually touted as a highlighter- but I bought it to use as a contouring product and it works well for that. The powder is incredibly soft and velvety. I’m still warming up to the Chanel powder. I find it a bit light so I have to layer it to get the correct color. Becca Duende is a great color, but the formula isn’t as smooth as I would prefer. It’s not noticeable in application but it is when I touch the powder with my fingers. Having said that, I don’t apply it with anything other than a brush so, maybe it doesn’t matter. Laura Mercier Matte Baked Bronzer in 02 has a nice texture and color, and for some reason I had totally forgotten about it! I’m glad to have it back in rotation.

There you have it! My picks for getting your glow on this summer, and throughout the year!

Tell me, what bronzer or bronzers have you been using lately? Why are they your favorite?

 

 

I mentioned in my recent video that I had finally picked up Bobbi Brown’s rather famous blush in Pale Pink. A reader asked if I would do some swatches comparing it to a few other colors in the same family. As I love doing a good swatch-fest I happily obliged (thanks Shayna)!

Hot pink blush is something I have a hard time resisting, as you will see below. It’s just a fun, face-brightening shade that no one should be scared of- no matter how eye-searingly bright the color in the pan may seem!

Hot Pink Blush Comparison

The contenders, clockwise from bottom: MAC Pink Swoon, Illamasqua Nymph, Tarte Amused, NARS Desire, Smashbox Radiance, Stila Custom Color Pink, Bobbi Brown Pale Pink, Milani Delizioso Pink

All of my hot pink blushes are matte. I’m not sure if this was intentional or if hot pinks are really catered to that particular formula. In any case, all of these are beautiful in their own way and some are more similar than others. I believe Smashbox Radiance I have owned the longest and Milani Delizioso Pink is brand new.

All of the swatches below were done with the same brush on unprimed skin.

Hot Pink Blush Comparison Swatches Sun

Swatches L-R (in direct sunlight): Milani Delizioso Pink, Stila Custom Color Pink, Bobbi Brown Pale Pink, Smashbox Radiance, NARS Desire, Tarte Amused, Illamasqua Nymph, MAC Pink Swoon

The least pigmented is Pink Swoon and the most pigmented is NARS Desire, followed closely by Stila Custom Color Pink. NARS Desire is the most warm-toned of the group, along with Smashbox Radiance and Tarte Amused. Stila and Milani are definitely cool toned.

Hot Pink Blush Comparison Swatches Shade

Swatches L-R (in shade): Milani Delizioso Pink, Stila Custom Color Pink, Bobbi Brown Pale Pink, Smashbox Radiance, NARS Desire, Tarte Amused, Illamasqua Nymph, MAC Pink Swoon

The best texture goes to Illamasqua, Milani, NARS and Stila- all of which were smooth and soft. The biggest disappointment is MAC Pink Swoon. Although it looks nice when applied when swatched it loses a lot of it’s luster, especially when compared to some of the other standouts in my collection. Lasting power goes to Bobbi Brown, NARS and Tarte. I haven’t properly tested Milani so I cannot compare that one yet. I don’t have a problem with wear time on any of these blushes, but the ones noted above stood out to me as being particularly long-lasting .

My overall picks? NARS Desire, Stila Custom Color Pink, Bobbi Brown Pale Pink and Tarte Amused. If you’re on a budget the Milani blush is a great option. Skip MAC Pink Swoon. It isn’t as pigmented and the color in the pan isn’t exactly the color you get applied. Illamasqua Nymph is lovely all the way around, but it really isn’t hot pink as much as it is a bubblegum pink so I don’t feel right comparing it to the shades above.

I hope you found this helpful! What’s your favorite hot pink blush? Is there anything I am missing out on?!

It’s hard to accurately describe how much I have loved my Laura Mercier Ritual bronzer (limited edition last summer featured here). It’s one of the few bronzers I have ever used that I reach for time and time again and don’t ever tire of. It wasn’t until recently that I started branching out into other shades, knowing full well Ritual wouldn’t last forever and that eventually I’d need to find something to take it’s place.

It was upon watching a video by Sam of Pixiwoo (you can see that here) that I knew what my next target would be. It was a bronzer by Bobbi Brown. Though Sam featured a different shade, I did my research and ended up with the shade Natural 1. Which, as it turns out, was an excellent decision indeed.

I am now in possession of a dupe to Laura Mercier’s Ritual. And I actually have a reader to thank for helping me come to this conclusion. I received the most thoughtful and heartfelt email from another beauty lover and in it she had mentioned her quest for Laura Mercier Ritual and if I knew of any potential dupes. I sat down to swatch my bronzers to see what (if anything) I might have that came close. Up until a few weeks ago I did not.

Laura Mercier Ritual Dupe Bobbi Brown Natural

Enter Bobbi Brown’s bronzer in the shade Natural 1. If you love the color of Laura Mercier Ritual I think you will absolutely adore Bobbi’s take. It is smoother, more finely milled and free of shimmer. It’s amazing. I featured this bronzer in my latest favorites video as well (here).

Laura Mercier Ritual Dupe Bobbi Brown Natural Swatch 2

Laura Mercier Ritual on left and Bobbi Brown Natural 1 on right (swatched heavily)

On my skin the shade and tone is identical. The only difference is that Bobbi’s version is matte (and a better formula).

Laura Mercier Ritual Dupe Bobbi Brown Natural Swatch

Laura Mercier Ritual on left and Bobbi Brown Natural 1 on right (lightly blended)

Ritual has long been sold out and was limited edition probably never to return. No worries for those who misses out or fell in love with the now impossible to find shade. Bobbi Brown has you covered.

You can find this bronzer at Sephora (here) or on Bobbi Brown’s website (here). No affiliate links, just trying to make it easy, lemon-squeezy!

A huge thank you to Sarah for helping us all find this dupe!

I frequently lust after those beautifully edited eyeshadow palettes; you know the ones with classy packaging and the perfect coordinating neutrals?  However, in my palette-hoarding haste I have often overlooked the fact that many brands I currently love offer the opportunity to create your own unique blend of shadows to suit your very refined and specific taste.

Enter Bobbi Brown, I brand I have been exploring more the past few months.

Bobbi Brown Custom Palette

I opted for neutral, wearable shades (of course) when putting together this versatile quad. Each of the shades work together in the expected ways however I try to get creative with it as well.

Each shade is full size (.08 oz/2.5g) and retail for $22/each. Steep, however I picked mine up from a local Cosmetic Company Outlet Store for around $12-$15. The four pan well was just a few dollars at CCO, and it retails for $10 on the Bobbi Brown site. You can find it here. The shadows pop out of their normal packaging with minimal fuss and pop into the custom palette with ease. I kept the singles packaging in case I decide to swap out the colors or take just one of them with me when I travel. You can also see the palette comes with a full size mirror. Perfect for touch-ups throughout the day/night.

I have 4 shades in 3 finishes. Clockwise from top left: Taupe, Stone, Velvet Plum, Rich Brown. Each shade is pigmented, smooth and easy to blend/apply. I don’t experience fall out with them either, a huge bonus considering two of the shades are shimmery.

Bobbi Brown Custom Palette Swatches

Swatches L-R: Taupe, Rich Brown, Stone, Velvet Plum

How gorgeous! I’ve wanted Stone for a long time so I’m glad I remembered to include it in the palette when I was choosing my shades.

As much as I enjoy a good palette that a brand designs itself, there’s something quite powerful about being in control- the master of my own destiny. Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic but I still enjoy picking out the colors I will actually use and not get stuck with shades that don’t suit my skin tone or my shade preference.

What do you think? Have you made a custom shadow palette outside of MAC?