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.
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.
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).
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
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.
The first day of Autumn is just around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited. While I enjoy the summer, it’s been quite hot and humid here for about as long as I can tolerate. I prefer the fall with the cool breeze, changing colors and warm soups! I love the weather when you need to throw a sweatshirt on to go for a walk at night.
In celebration of fall I went through my makeup and picked out the shades for eyes, lips, cheeks and nails that I always wear this time of year. I am going to start with my favorite- blushes!
Shown: NARS Madly, Hourglass Mood Exposure and Laura Mercier Mocha Spice
In the fall I tend to go for similar colors for lips and cheeks. Nudes, berries and rosy tones make up the majority of my choices for both categories. I think I reach for nudes more because I tend to amp up my eyes more in the fall. These three shades are all very nude, in my opinion. None of them are completely matte, which I like. Nude shades can be harder to blend into the skin without a satin finish or a bit of sheen. It makes it more skin-like.
Shown: Tarte Blushing Bride, MAC Stark Naked, NARS Mata Hari, NYX Raisin
Not all berry shades have to be intimidating. They can be a berry pink, have a mauve tone, etc. that make them easier to wear. MAC Stark Naked was limited edition (NARS Sin is somewhat close) but the rest are readily available. Mata Hari was a surprise for me when I bought it years ago because I expected it to be a summer color. While it does look great with a tan, Mata Hari is a chameleon. It has just enough mauve/murkiness to it mixed with the right amount of berry pink. It’s a must have for me.
Shown: Illamasqua Sin, NARS Mounia, Becca Raspberry/Opal
While you can certainly use more sheer tones, it’s also fun to throw in some of those really pigmented colors that can imitate the effect of the cold. Illamasqua Sin and NARS Mounia are perfect for the fall. NARS Mounia was discontinued awhile back, but try a shade like NARS Taos or MAC Ambering Rose for a similar effect. Becca’s Beach Tint Shimmer in Raspberry/Opal is also worthy of fall must-have status. It’s the only cream product that made my list- but for good reason. The color gives a nice, refreshing berry tint while the highlighting aspect leaves behind a warm and wearable gold sheen. The two paired together are perfection and the formula is wonderful with excellent staying power.
Swatches from L-R: Illamasqua Sin, NARS Mounia, NARS Mata Hari, Tarte Blushing Bride, MAC Stark Naked, NYX Raisin, Hourglass Mood Exposure, NARS Madly, Laura Mercier Mocha Spice, Becca Raspberry/Opal
Also worth noting are the two highlighters I reach for in the fall season.
Shown: Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous and Guerlain Parure de Nuit
Both of these majestic (yes, it’s that serious) highlighters were sadly limited edition. Try another highlighter from Guerlain, like their meteorites perles. MAC has released a highlighter called Superb that is pretty spot-on for Rose Rendezvous. I have some comparison swatches of similar highlighters done here. If you ever spot one of these in a blog sale definitely snatch it up!
That wraps up my favorite cheek products for the fall. I’ll be doing eyes next!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 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 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.
A huge thank you to Sarah for helping us all find this dupe!
Like any other beauty lover I get a little nosy and wonder what products people like to travel with…you know, those essential pieces that make time away from home easy. Well, at least in terms of makeup application
As I prepare to travel for a few days I thought I’d give you a look inside my travel makeup bag and the items that made the cut for the trip.
My makeup bag itself is slightly pictured above. It was given to me as part of an entire travel set for toiletries, etc and has my initials monogrammed on the front. It’s roomy and has pockets for smaller items. I’ve used this exclusively for any travel I’ve done in the last 2 years.
Primers are essential for me, especially when I’m traveling for business and meetings. I need to know my makeup won’t be budging. Right now I’m favoring MAC’s Prep+Prime Natural Radiance for face and for eyes I’ve been loving the Smashbox Photofinish. It’s got a beige tone to it so it cancels out any discoloration and it really helps lock my shadows into place. MAC Face & Body has been my go-to foundation for a few months and is a welcome travel companion. It’s buildable, natural coverage and doesn’t break down on my combination/oily skin. All of my concealing needs will be met with Maybelline’s Eraser for dark circles (the illuminating shade) and MAC’s Pro longwear concealer. To set it all into place I’ll be using MAC’s Studio Careblend Pressed. Notice a theme? Mostly MAC, right? MAC makes amazing base makeup. Although their color line and collections grab most of the attention you shouldn’t overlook some of the amazing face products they offer.
My favorite bronzer of all time has to tag along for my journey, Laura Mercier Ritual. This needs to be permanent. Yesterday. I’ve also got two highlighting options, the RMS Living Luminizer for a more subtle look and Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal for a bit more oomph. I always like to have a few blush options. This time I’m taking some newbies. Lorac Baked Blush in Exposed (a bright coral/peach) and Dior Mimi Bronze (a natural nude– thanks to gorgeous Andie over at Techno Cupcake for the push to get this beauty). I’m excited about giving these two some testing!
This was the hardest category. For brows I’ve got my trusty Anastasia brow gel and Stila Stay All Day brow in medium. I opted for the original Naked Palette because it’s treated me so well on many travels in the past and I know I can count on it for daytime and nighttime looks that can be as business appropriate or dramatic as the occasion calls. I’ve also brought 3 of my go-to shades of Laura Mercier caviar sticks: Sugar Frost, Sandglow and Cocoa. These provide excellent glow and added drama when used as base shadows. For liner I’m bringing MAC Blacktrack Fluidline, Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner in black and tucked inside the Naked Palette I’ve got my number one black liner of all time- Bare Minerals Round the Clock Liner in Midnight (I have three backups I love it *that* much). I will be attending a dressy cocktail party one of the evenings so I’ve brought false lashes and all the gear I need to apply them. I’ve gotten better at this over time, but I definitely could use more practice.
(not pictured is the regular mascara I’m taking- L’oreal Butterfly)
I’ve not yet decided what my makeup looks are going to be so I wanted plenty of color options in the lip department. I’ve got a nice balm, Fresh Sugar Rose to keep things smooth. I’ve also brought along two of MAC’s new Huggable lip colors in Touche and Out For Passion (this formula is really nice!) for nude and rosy pink options with Marc Jacobs gloss in Kissability and NARS Gold Digger to top should I feel like taking it up a notch. And of course I couldn’t forget my favorite lip color- coral. I’ve brought two Becca items (thanks to beautiful Jenny from My Funny Valentine for the inspiration on these); their Lip and Cheek tint in Guava and their amazing Ultimate Colour Gloss in Pink Lotus (seriously, this gloss is awesome!). I’ve also added in Givenchy’s newest lipstick Le Rouge in Rose Dressing which is a dainty but slightly intense coral.
That’s it! It all fits in the bag! I’ve also got my favorite brushes tucked away and ready to go. One of the tips I picked up over the years is to pack my travel makeup bag a few days in advance and use only the makeup out of that bag. It will help me decide if there is something I’m missing or need to add.