I was absentmindedly browsing the Nordstrom website last week and found that in the “New Arrivals” section they had a new highlighting powder from Estée Lauder listed. I hadn’t even heard they were releasing one! I’m all over the Estée Lauder gelée powders (I own every shade they have released!) so I immediately placed an order for it. Since that time I have seen I few other posts about it and it seems as a whole the beauty community was a bit surprised at the launch!

Estee Lauder Crystal Baby Gelee

Crystal Baby takes on the same format as last year’s Tease blush (featured here). It appears in the pan as a dainty, light pink highlight with plenty of shimmer and gleam to go around.

Estee Lauder Crystal Baby vs Tease Gelee

Next to Tease, Crystal Baby is considerably lighter in shade and tone. The formula is the same silky, slightly wet feel that we have come to know and love from the gelée hybrid formulation.

Estee Lauder Crystal Baby Gelee Dupes

I also pulled some of my other pink highlighters to compare: Guerlain Cruel Gardenia, Bobbi Brown Platinum Pink, Estée Lauder Crystal Baby, Estée Lauder Tease, MAC Definitely Defined

And of course, the swatches:

Estee Lauder Crystal Baby Gelee Swatches

L-R: MAC Definitely Defined, Tease, Crystal Baby, Bobbi Brown Platinum Pink, Guerlain Cruel Gardenia

I was quite surprised to see how peach toned Crystal Baby looked on my skin. I’m thrilled with it, actually! The texture is superior to MAC’s Definitely Defined, but the two are very close in color. Tease is much darker and much more pink. Bobbi Brown Platinum Pink is again, definitely more pink pink. Cruel Gardenia is the lightest of the group.

My recommendation on highlighters is biased because I love them so much. If you like reflective but not chunky highlighters, you can’t go wrong with Crystal Baby. I wouldn’t wait too long, though, as these things tend to sell out just as soon as they appear. It retails for $40 and can be found at Nordstrom online and in stores.

 

Is there anything quite as feminine or dainty as that perfect pop of pink swept lightly across your cheekbones? I recently had a request to swatch all of my pink blushes (thanks Katherine!) and I was happy to oblige. I didn’t know when I first sat down to take photographs for this post just how many (or few) pink blushes I would have. If you have followed my blog for any length of time you know that I tend to prefer my peach and coral blushes and often gravitate towards those types of shades in new releases.

However, I quickly realized that I do in fact own a number of pink blushes in a wide variety of tones and finishes. Please note that this is only for powder blushes. I intend to do a cream blush post separately only because swatching the two different textures together isn’t exactly ideal.

I have tried my best to group them together in a way that makes tonal sense. Enjoy!

Pink Blushes 1

Clockwise from bottom left: Milani Dolce Pink, Benefit Rockateur, MAC Pink Cult, Chanel Rose Ecrin, MAC Pink Tea, Rimmel Autumn Catwalk, 17 First Kiss, Estee Lauder Tease

These are the lighter pinks and the more neutral pinks that can almost border on nude. Some are matte and some are quite shimmery. The lighting here looks slightly different as a storm ended up moving through as I was finishing and this was the last photo I needed to take. Don’t you hate it when that happens? Love thunderstorms though. ;)

Pink Blush Swatches 1

Swatches (direct sunlight) L-R: MAC Pink Cult, MAC Pink Tea, Chanel Rose Ecrin, Rimmel Autumn Catwalk, 17 First Kiss, Benefit Rockateur, Milani Dolce Pink, Estee Lauder Tease

Pink Cult has quite a grey cast to it, which also makes it quite unique. It was limited edition- I depotted mine but I think it came out with the Jeanius collection in 2010? It’s a favorite for me in the winter. Pink Tea and Rose Ecrin are wonderful blushes that work well under pretty much any circumstance as they border on being nude. Autumn Catwalk was a gift from the lovely Tiffany of Will Work for Makeup well over a year ago, maybe even two- and it really does add that “hike on a windy fall day” color to the cheeks. I feel like drinking hot cider just looking at it. The 17 blush came from a friend overseas who used to have such an incredible blog (I miss you H!) and is amazing considering the price- I think it retails for 2 or 3 pounds. Rockateur is new and I just featured it in my last post- amazing!!! Dolce Pink and Tease are both quite shimmery- Dolce Pink being lighter and less pigmented and more noticeably sparkly on the face. Tease is that gelee formula I love and makes for a very glowing complexion.

Pink Blushes 4

Clockwise from bottom left: Stila Custom Color, Illamasqua Nymph, MAC Well Dressed, MAC Azalea Blossom, Stila Love at First Blush, Tarte Fantastic, MAC Two Virtues, Tarte Adored, Cargo Catalina (also pictured Milani Dolce Pink and Estee Lauder Tease but are not in the swatches below)

These are the cooler toned pinks and ones that have a slight lavender twist.

Pink Blush Swatches 4

Swatches (direct sunlight) L-R: MAC Azalea Blossom, MAC Two Virtues, Tarte Adored, Stila Custom Color, Tarte Fantastic, Illamasqua Nymph, Stila Love at First Blush, Cargo Catalina, MAC Well Dressed

Can you even see Well Dressed? It barely shows up on my current skin tone. I feel like when I am more pale it does, but it’s not earth shattering. It’s one of the first MAC blushes I purchased due to all the hype it got on Youtube and blogs at the time and frankly I’ve never really understood why. The Stila Custom Color, Tarte Fantastic and Illamasqua Nymph are all fairly similar- with Nymph having the best texture. Fantastic was limited edition and is a mini size that came from a set. Love at First Blush was limited edition as well but the pigmentation isn’t that great. Azalea Blossom is a true treasure and I am glad MAC has repromoted it a few times. Two Virtues and Adored are nice shimmery options for a slightly purple-hued pink. Catalina is the only Cargo blush I own and it’s rather nice. I enjoy the texture and pigmentation.

Pink Blushes 3

Clockwise from bottom left: Benefit Bella Bamba, Smashbox Pop of Pink, Illamasqua Hussy, Burberry Rose, Tarte Dollface, MAC Dollymix, MAC Mighty Aphrodite, Physicians Formula Healthy Booster Rose, Too Faced Candy Leopard

These are more the medium pinks, some are brighter than others but these are the standard, “suit all” shades that are so easy to use.

Pink Blush Swatches 3

Swatches (direct sunlight) L-R: Burberry Rose, Illamasqua Hussy, Tarte Dollface, Physician’s Formula Happy Booster Rose, Smashbox Pop of Pink, MAC Dollymix, Too Faced Candy Leopard, Benefit Bella Bamba, MAC Mighty Aphrodite

I hesitated including Mighty Aphrodite because it does border on being coral, but if you use the pink side a little more in ends up turning out a little more so. Illamasqua Hussy is the brightest of the group and Burberry Rose the darkest. Both are favorites of mine in terms of pigmentation and formula. Tarte Dollface is a super easy, never-fails shade that just seems to look good on everyone. Smashbox Pop of Pink is new to me (the newest is this group) and came in a set that may still be available at ULTA. I am super impressed with it. MAC Dollymix has a reputation all it’s own and seems to work well on a wide variety of skin tones. Too Faced Candy Leopard came in their Leopard Love palette (unfortunately limited edition) and is very soft and glowy. Bella Bamba is a nice watermelon pink with the right amount of shimmer.

Pink Blushes 2

Clockwise from bottom left: Sleek Santorini, MAC Her Blooming Cheek, MAC Azalea, Burberry Hydrangea Pink, NARS Desire, Tarte Amused, Smashbox Radiance, MAC Flaming Chic

These are the brights. The almost-neon and the ones you really have to take care in applying.

Pink Blush Swatches 2

Swatches (direct sunlight) L-R: Sleek Santorini, Burberry Hydrangea Pink, MAC Her Blooming Cheek, MAC Azalea, MAC Flaming Chic, NARS Desire, Smashbox Radiance, Tarte Amused

I have a hard time deciding between NARS Desire, Smashbox Radiance and Tarte Amused. All three are quite similar and add the most amazing pop of color to the face. I simply love these shades! MAC Flaming Chic is the lightest in pigmentation and Sleek Santorini is the heaviest. Just look at that glaringly bright color! Can you believe that it is from the drugstore? If you’re unfamiliar with the brand it is from overseas and is widely carried in drugstores (they call it “high street”) there. You can order the brand online but I’ve yet to see it carried in store in the U.S. – though I firmly believe they should! MAC Azalea is also quite the neon shade and I have to take extreme care when applying. MAC Her Blooming Cheek is similar but has no shimmer and is slightly lighter (and was limited edition).

That about wraps things up. I’m quite satisfied with my pink blush collection and feel I have most tones and finishes covered. I do still have a few shades on my wishlist (namely Chanel Rose Initial, Dior Rosy Glow and MAC Pink Swoon) but I’m not feeling the need to rush out and purchase them any time soon.

What are your must have pink blushes? Is there a shade I need to know about?

Here in the Chicago area the season of summer has made its presence known. The sun is hot, the air is humid and the flowers are in bloom. Although it’s been a little cooler this week, warm temperatures are again on the horizon-indefinitely.

Bronze Goddess Products 1

That’s fine though, because I’ve got my self-tanner on and have picked out some of my favorite new (new releases and new to me) products to look the summer part. I was actually inspired to write this post by the most quintessential summer perfume I have ever tried- Estée Lauder’s Bronze Goddess Eau Fraîche Skinscent.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess

I picked this up a couple of months ago at my local CCO (the Estée Lauder Companies Outlet store- a true treasure if you’ve never been to one). The bottle is whimsical and chic- much like the scent contained therein. I had read many reviews about the various Bronze Goddess scents available- it seems each year brings something different. Determined to find out exactly which one smelled like the beach, I went to the CCO and gave several a whiff. Turns out this one is the exact one I was looking for (the 2011 version). It smells delightfully of suntan lotion, the warmth of the sun, and a hint of coconut. In other words- a day at the beach. The actual notes are as follows: Top notes: mandarin and bergamot. Heart: magnolia, orange blossom, tiare flower, jasmine, myrrh. Base: coconut, caramel, sandalwood, amber, vetiver

Each year the notes either change or they bring back a version from the past. I highly recommend the one you see above, from 2011. It was around $40 for 3.4oz/100mL at the CCO. A word of caution, the perfume has an average wear time of about 3-4 hours on me. It does not last the whole day. It does last longer if I spritz a little in my hair, but put this on knowing that you may need to reapply if it has to last longer than 4 hours.

Bronze Goddess Products 3

Laura Mercier certainly knows how to do bronze the right way. Her new Ritual bronzer that was released in her summer collection has been practically the only cheek product I’ve been using since getting it almost two months ago. It’s had some pretty stiff competition with the new Dior blush/bronzer duo and Clarins Splendours bronzer I purchased around the same time. Ritual tops both of the others. I have Lisa of LisaLisaD1 (wonderful Youtuber) to thank because when I first swatched this in store I was frightened by the pigmentation and color. Turns out it’s perfect.

The shadow is another Youtube beauty find- the lovely Vanessa of TheBombshellSuite recommended this shade awhile ago and I finally picked it up. Turns out it’s as incredible as she said it was. It’s Laura Mercier Baroque and I think every girl needs this shade in her arsenal.

MAC released a new verion of their Strobe Liquid Lotion called Golden Elixir. I thought it would be a nice way to add a subtle glow to my complexion and I was right. It’s fabulous. I believe the MAC website sold out, but try your local store/counter. Give it a swatch and see what you think. It’s thin enough to be mixed with foundation but can be built up enough to use as a highlighter on cheeks.

Bronze Goddess Products 2

MAC released their Temperature Rising collection a few weeks ago, and although I hauled a number of things, this eyeshadow quad turned out to be my favorite. The textures, colors and pigmentation are all top notch. One of the best quads they’ve ever released I’d say. On that same note- Urban Decay released a handful of new shades of their buttery shadows this spring. I picked up two of them, the one shown here is Easy Baked and it’s perfect for the summer.

For liners, MAC and Urban Decay stun again with two amazing products. Demolition is a deep, matte brown that works well with most every shadow I’ve paired it with. It looks great smudged too. MAC’s Rich Ground fluidline was actually the very first MAC Eyeliner I ever purchased. It was used on me by one of their MUA’s at Saks (incidentally- I have several favorite products because of that one very talented artist, including their prolongwear concealer and #33 lashes). I probably would never have picked it out for myself, but once I had it on I was convinced I needed it. It’s a gorgeous luminescent bronze and the formula is flawless.

Bronze Goddess Swatches 1

Swatches L-R: MAC Rich Ground, Urban Decay Demolition, Laura Mercier Baroque, Urban Decay Easy Baked, MAC Bare My Soul Quad- When in Rio, Friendly, Romantico, Bare My Soul

Side Note: How gorgeous is When in Rio?!?!

Bronze Goddess Swatches 2

Swatches L-R: Laura Mercier Ritual, MAC Golden Elixir

Below is a picture I posted to my Instagram using a few of the products mentioned above (Rich Ground, Baroque, Ritual). By the way, I update Instagram WAY more than I update here (unfortunately). If you’re wondering what I’m hauling, loving, eating or wearing- that’s the best place to find me.

Laura Mercier Ritual FOTD

Subtle, but glowy- my favorite kind of summer look!

I’ve been testing a number of self-tanners over the past few months and I’m working on a comprehensive breakdown of the ones I like, love or loathe. Expect to see that soon.

In the meantime, what are your bronzey favorites? What is your go-to summer look?

I posted a small cry for help on twitter the other day regarding bronzers. I took a break from buying new ones last summer because… well… here is a portion of the ones I own:

Bronzer Mania

Included in this group: Dior Aurora, Estee Lauder Sea Star Bronzing Blush, Too Face Chocolate Soleil, Too Faced Aqua Bunny, Chanel Soleil tan de Chanel, Giorgio Armani Bronze Mania #1, MAC Give Me Sun, MAC So Ceylon, Tarte Park Ave Princess, Tarte Amazonian Clay Bronzing Powder, Physician’s Formula Cashmere, Sonia Kashuk Illuminating Bronzer, Givenchy Bonne Mine, Mark Pro Bronze, Bourjois Delice de Poudre in #52 and #14

As you can see, I have tried numerous formulations, brands, textures and colors. Below is a swatch of a few selected shades featured above:

Bronzer Swatches

Swatches L-R: MAC Give Me Sun, Giorgio Armani #1, Mark Pro Bronze, Bourjois #52, Bourjois #14, Benefit Hoola, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil

Of the above, my favorites are definitely Give Me Sun, Mark Pro Bronze and the Giorgio Armani. All three have a great texture, give a slightly different tone to the skin (depending on the season) and have excellent lasting power. The Mark Pro Bronze has given me the most mileage with hardly a dent and it was literally the only bronzer I used from May to December last year. I started getting bored with it recently and was looking through my stash for something different. But, nothing is really popping out at me in terms of my next go-to shade. Also worth mentioning is that I loathe Benefit Hoola. It looks way too ashy on me and actually makes me look quite dirty in the face as opposed to glowing. Yeah, yuck.

Which brings me to this post. What bronzer do you use the most? Are there any you highly recommend I try? My wishlist at the moment looks something like this:

Bronzer Wishlist

Guerlain Terracotta Four Seasons Bronzer, Clarins Splendours Summer Bronzing Compact, Edward Bess Daydream, Dior Nude Tan Healthy Glow, Dolce & Gabbana The Bronzer

I have heard so many people rave about the Edward Bess Bronzer, and I am admittedly smitten with the two face products I have already purchased from his line (Quad Royale in Monte Carlo and South of France). The Clarins bronzer looks amazing but I am uncertain of two things: the color and if it will be released in the U.S. The reviews I have seen never show swatches and have been exclusively UK blogs. What gives??? I have also heard plenty of good things about the Guerlain and Dior offerings and have recently fallen in love with Dolce & Gabbana makeup.

So the big question is…what bronzer do I need next? I am actually looking for drugstore/mid range and  high end recommendations as I’d like to get two new shades. I’m looking for a powder formula and something mostly matte or completely matte.

Thank you for your help!!!! :)

I know every time new seasonal collections launch it’s always so hard to believe we are already looking at products meant to be used 2 seasons away. Although, with the recent launch of Estée Lauder’s summer collection, it’s definitely a welcome change from the snowy weather we have had here in Chicago this week.

It’s no surprise that my stand-out pick from the collection is the new illuminating powder gelee in Heat Wave. A cruel irony is that the day Heat Wave arrived on my doorstep we were pummeled with 8 inches of snow…

Nevertheless I was super excited to see Heat Wave in person, and I was not disappointed.

Estee Lauder Heat Wave Gelee

Unlike last summer’s launch, Heat Wave is much lighter and much more wearable. It’s the gilded, less rosey sister of the original gelee, Modern Mercury. In summation: perfect for summer. Bronzed goddess looks will easily be nailed with this in your makeup rotation.

I love the design this time as well. The ray of light effect is perfect and geometrically fun to play with…

Estee Lauder Heat Wave Gelee 2

If you didn’t already know, would you take this for a picture of makeup? I don’t think I would…. :)

I thought I’d bring out the other illuminating powder gelee’s that Estée Lauder has released for a quick round up:

Estee Lauder Gelee Powder Comparison Clockwise from bottom: Topaz Chameleon, Shimmering Sands, Heat Wave, Modern Mercury

Modern Mercury is the one that started it all, the quick to sell out and rare to find piece that is one of the most gorgeous highlighters I have ever touched. Topaz Chameleon was released last spring and is an incredibly pigmented bronze shade. Shimmering Sands followed in the summer last year, and turned out to be much darker than I had anticipated and is also the least shimmery of the gelees released thus far. Heat Wave is of course the latest release and fans of the original Modern Mercury should not hesitate to snatch this up. It will surely sell out and be difficult to find soon enough.

Estee Lauder Gelee Swatches

Swatches L-R (sunlight) Topaz Chameleon, Shimmering Sands, Heat Wave, Modern Mercury

You can see the clear difference in all 4 in terms of shade, but also worth noting is that Modern Mercury and Heat Wave are the closest in terms of texture and shimmer. If you found Modern Mercury a bit too intense or dark in color, Heat Wave will probably look better to you.

I also pulled out a few shades of highlighters from other brands that I thought might be similar:

Estee Lauder Heat Wave Dupes Comparisons

Clockwise from bottom: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Moonstone, MAC Whisper of Gilt, Estée Lauder Heat Wave, Jemma Kidd Rose Gold, Benefit Watt’s Up

Estee Lauder Heat Wave Dupes Swatches Sunlight

Swatches L-R (sunlight): Benefit Watt’s Up, Becca Moonstone, Estée Lauder Heat Wave, MAC Whisper of Gilt, Jemma Kidd Rose Gold

In terms of texture, only Heat Wave and Whisper of Gilt are actually powders (albeit hybrids) and they are also the closest in color. Whisper of Gilt is warmer on my skin than Heat Wave, if not peachier. You can see the difference in warmth in the swatches, but your skin tone may play up or play down that slight variation. The texture is somewhat smoother on Heat Wave, but the formula on both feels very similar. Moonstone is much lighter, less shimmer and more glow. Watt’s Up is a distant relative being a full cream product and much less shimmery, but similar in tone. Rose Gold is, well, rosier and is also more toned down in the shimmer department.

As I said above, if you were a fan of the original Modern Mercury or regret missing out on it, don’t wait around to buy Heat Wave. I see it being a quick sell out. Highlighters happen to be quite an addiction for me, so I might be biased here. But don’t say I didn’t warn you… ;)

You can pick up Heat Wave on the Estée Lauder website, and it retails for $40. However, Macy’s is running a gift with purchase right now on any $35 Estée Lauder purchase, so I’d start with them here.