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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review & Swatches: Mac Surf, Baby! My Paradise Cheek Powder Blush

I didn't purchase anything from Mac's Summer collection when Surf, Baby! was released online on the 23rd because I was still waiting for my Macy's gift cards to come in the mail. The collection officially came out in stores on the 26th, but my gift cards still haven't arrived. I was getting really impatient because the Cheek Powder was sold out everywhere online already. Then, on the 27th, I called my nearest Macy's Mac counter and a MUA told me there were only 3 Cheek Powders left. So, I couldn't wait any longer. I went straight to the counter that same day and bought the blush with my credit card. It would have been nice to use the gift cards, but to this day, they still haven't arrived. It sucks that Mac's limited edition products sell out so fast. It's a huge marketing gimmick and I keep falling for it.

When I swatched this at the counter, I had second thoughts about whether or not I should bring it home with me. The Cheek Powder leans more towards the coral side with a hint of a reddish undertone when swatched without the gold overlay. However, it looks lighter and has a slight orange undertone when swatched with the gold overlay. I am not a fan of bright orange blushes, but I was more thrown off by the hibiscus overlay because it's a thick crust of gold glitter. I was hesistant on purchasing this cheek powder because the gold overlay looked too overpowering and extremely glittery. It's not an overspray that will disappear after 1 or 2 uses like Mac's Marine Life. The overlay in My Paradise will last a while.

 With Flash

I bought it anyways because the hibiscus design is simply too pretty to resist. However, I'm not too thrilled about the exterior packaging because it looks kind of retro, like it was made in the '70s. It's not really my style, but I've seen much worst packaging from Mac, such as Neo Sci-Fi with it's plain orange packaging. 
Direct Sunlight

I also bought it in a hurry because I was afraid it was going to be sold out and I also wanted to see if it would look different when applied to the face. It actually does and translates into a peachy coral shade without a hint of orange. Yay!! For reference, I'm a Mac NC30/35, Dior Forever 021 mixed with 031, MUFE HD 127 and L'oreal True Match W4.  

It looks semi-matte indoors, but shimmery under direct sunlight. I can barely see any shimmers on my cheeks when I'm under artificial lighting; however, when I'm out in the sun, I can see tiny specks of shimmers. Beware, the shimmers are extremely noticeable when the sun directly hits your face. If you read my previous posts, then you know that I absolutely hate shimmery blushes and bronzers; however, I'm keeping My Paradise because the color itself just looks so flattering on my skintone. I can get past the glittery mess by avoiding direct contact with sunlight and just reserve this cheek powder for night time use.

Indoors near Window

The biggest problem I have with this blush is applying it. I chose to apply it with my Mac 131 first because this is the only brush that I could use to avoid touching the gold overlay. I was really surprised that it ended up looking blotchy because the white synthetic fibers are suppose to lightly pick up powder products and disperse evenly, but it didn't.

Then, I tried applying it with my Mac 109 (review), Mac 168 (review), and Royal & Langnickel Baby Dome brush (review) by dipping the brush in the pan lightly and tapping off any excess, but it still ended up looking patchy. (I didn't swirl any of the brushes in the pan.) Also, please keep in mind that My Paradise is one of the most highly pigmented products that I have come across. I also tried buffing out the blotchiness with my Sephora #43 brush (review), but that was a failure because it wouldn't blend out evenly. The only brush that I have that works with My Paradise is my Sonia Kashuk Blusher brush (review), which is the fluffiest among all my face brushes. I really thought that my Mac 168 brush would work because it's not a super dense brush, but I guess you need a super fluffy brush instead in order to apply My Paradise flawlessly.  

Indoors with Shade

It costs $28 for 12 grams and is currently sold out everywhere online, but you can still find it at the Mac counters in various department stores, if you're lucky.

What brush do you use to apply My Paradise?

*This post contains affiliate links. None of the products mentioned are sponsored.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Review: Sephora Professionnel Contour Blush Bronzer Brush #43

The Coastal Scents Italian Badger Buffer brush (review) used to be my favorite brush for applying my setting powder. Lately, it has been giving me a rash when I use it in a tapping motion.

The Sephora Professionnel Contour Blush Bronzer Brush #43 is very similar to the Coastal Scents Buffer brush. It has a flat top and is ideal for buffing. I much prefer the Sephora brush because it's a little bit denser, wider and much softer.

When I go overboard with my blushes and bronzers, the #43 is my go-to brush for buffing out over applied products. It's also nice for applying setting powder if you want more coverage and I highly recommend it if you use powder or mineral foundation because it'll give you an even application and better coverage. 

Note: The Sephora brush measures 6 inches in total. The head of the brush is a little less than an inch tall. 

It costs $36 at Sephora.

What flat top brushes have you tried?

*This post contains affiliate links. None of the products mentioned are sponsored.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Review: Royal & Langnickel BC180 Silk Baby Dome Powder Brush

I was at the International Makeup-Up Artist Trade Show (IMATS) in April and grabbed a few goodies from Royal & Langnickel. I bought the BC180 Silk Baby Dome Powder brush and the BC448 Silk Super Eye Fluff, which I will be reviewing in a later post (review).

In comparison to the Mac 109 brush (review), the BC180 brush is much softer, denser, and bigger than the 109. The BC180 just makes applying any product easier in general because it picks up the right amount of product and covers my entire cheek area in one swipe. I also love it for buffing out over applied products.

However, if you do alot of contouring, then I recommend getting the Mac 109 because it gives you more control.

The only gripe I have with the BC180 brush is that it sheds 1-2 hairs after each wash. I've had it for more than a month now, but I don't know how much longer it can last. (Maybe I got a defective one?)

Note: The handle says, " Royal & Langnickel Silk Pro" and on the other side, it says, "Baby Dome C180." The brush measures 6 inches in total, while the head of the brush is 1.1 inches tall and 1.5 inches wide at the widest point.

It costs $14.99 at Royal & Langnickel's main website. They also charge $5.50 for shipping. I paid $8 at IMATS.

Have you tried any of Royal & Langnickel's brushes?

*This post contains affiliate links. None of the products mentioned are sponsored.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Review & Swatches: Mac Style Warrior Solar Riche Bronzing Powder

During my last trip to the Estee Lauder Company Store, I purchased Mac's Solar Riche Bronzing Powder, which was from the Style Warrior collection. I bought it out of impulse because of the packaging and most importantly, the price. Some people might think that the compact looks tacky and I kind of have to agree because I'm not a big fan of leopard print myself, but the bronze packaging sold me. It just looks so pretty sitting alongside my other bronzers on my West Elm vanity (review).

Natural Lighting

Besides the packaging, I am most excited about the price because it was $14.75. If I had bought it from the Mac store, it would have cost me $21.00.

Direct Sunlight

The product itself is not too unique. When swatched, it bears a striking resemblance to my Dior Bronze Original Tan in Amber Tan 03 (review & swatches). They both look dead orange. The only difference is that Solar Riche is a little bit lighter and has a more reddish undertone to it. 

As for the finish, Solar Riche is not completely matte, but it doesn't give that nice glow or sheen that other satin bronzers give. Under direct sunlight, it looks a teeny tiny bit shimmery, but it's very subtle and still safe to wear during the day.  Also, Amber Tan has slight sheen and makes my face look a little bit glowy. It definitely has a better finish and looks prettier than Solar Riche, but the difference of the finish between them is faint. Bottom line, if you already have Amber Tan, there is really no need for Solar Riche. 

The Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer (review & swatches), on the other hand, has a strong brown undertone to it, and is quite different than the other 2 bronzers overall because it gives a more natural look and is best used for contouring.

 It is also important to note that Solar Riche and Amber Tan both suit my warm complexion really well; however, I find them to be too orangey for lighter beauties. For reference, I'm a Mac NC30/35, Dior Forever 021 mixed with 031, MUFE HD 127 and L'oreal True Match W4.  

By the way, it's always being repromoted by Mac in Limited Edition collections, including Neo-Sci Fi and Surf Baby. So, if you really like this kind of bronzer shade, then I recommend grabbing Solar Riche because it contains the same amount of product (10 grams) as Amber Tan and it's a cheaper alternative too. (Amber Tan costs $44.)

Are you a fan of orangey bronzers?

*This post contains affiliate links. None of the products mentioned are sponsored.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Review & Swatches: Dior DiorSkin Nude Healthy Glow Powder in Aurora

I've been waiting for AGES for the release of Dior's Electric Tropics collection and finally, it's in my hands. I was going to blindly purchase the bronzer on Dior's main website (without swatching it first) because I was 99% sure that Sunset would be the color for me, but then I chose to go into the store to purchase it.

When I read the descriptions and saw the swatches online, I was certain that Aurora would be too light and pink for my complexion, and that it would suit cooler skin tones better. For reference, I'm a Mac NC30/35, Dior Forever 021 mixed with 031, MUFE HD 127 and L'oreal True Match W4.  

When I swatched Aurora in person, it reconfirmed my assessment. As for Sunset, good thing I didn't purchase it online because I would have been so disappointed. The color is basically the same as my Dior Bronze Original Tan in Amber Tan 03 (review & swatches), but I didn't want to leave empty handed because the design of the packaging is simply too gorgeous to resist. I just had to have it in my collection!

I know that products, when swatched on the back of the hand, look different than when applied to the face. So, I took the risk and bought Aurora since I already had something very similar to Sunset. When I got home, I immediately whipped out my Mac 168 brush and applied it onto my cheeks. I didn't use the mini brush that came with it because I find that full-size brushes are much softer and work better.

 Natural Sunlight

The bronzer is sheer, but buildable. It's perfect for someone like me because I have a heavy hand and tend to pack too much product on my cheeks. It gives a semi-matte finish under artificial lighting, but looks a little bit shimmery under direct sunlight. The shimmers are not overwhelming, and can still be used during the day without looking glittery or dramatic. As for the color, it's completely perfect, and totally not what I had expected. It shows up on my medium skin tone and translates into a peachy honey-tan shade with a teeny tiny hint of pink that is barely noticeable. It acts as blush & bronzer for me and I love it. In the swatch pictures, Aurora looks more peachy pink, while Too Faced Peach Leopard (review & swatches) looks more peachy tan.
                                  With Flash                                Indoor Lighting

I can't think of anything negative to say about Dior's Healthy Glow Powder, except that it's limited edition, but I doubt I'll be hitting pan anytime soon because the compact contains 10 grams of product. It costs $46 and can be purchased at any Dior counter, Nordstrom and Sephora, but you better grab them fast because they won't be available much longer.

Do you prefer Sunset or Aurora?

*This post contains affiliate links. None of the products mentioned are sponsored.
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