Sunday, July 23, 2017

Anastasia Beverly Hills Concealer

Although I've been loving so many Anastasia Beverly Hills products as of late, I've avoided the line's base products until recently. Perhaps it's because I've heard poor reviews for my skin type with regards to the stick foundation that I skipped the concealer.

It took a sale over July 4th at Ulta that dropped the price from its normal $20 to a mere $10 to tempt me. Because I've spent $10 on a drugstore concealer!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Concealer retails for $20, contains 10g/0.35oz, and is available in 15 shades. I purchased mine from Ulta, but it's also available via Macys and the brand's website. As I've started to note, ABH is a cruelty free brand. (I'm not cruelty free but I know this is rather important to many consumers. I tend to purchase cruelty free when I can, but I do review EL, L'Oreal, etc. Please note- any attacking comments will be removed.)

I nabbed the lightest shade- 0.5- as a hunch. I was right, as the shade works wonderfully on my natural NW13-NW15 skin.

With the notable exception of the NARS Soft Matte Concealer, I generally hate pot concealers. This looks similar to the eyeliner and Dipbrow pots, only it's concealer.

The container has frosted glass look, although it's a plastic jar. I'll readily admit that my expectations were rather low.

Alright, enough rambling. Let's open this up.

This initially comes with a plastic covering across the concealer (see the small tab on the left?)

With that open, I can see that 0.5 is a creamy neutral, slightly leaning yellow shade. It wasn't until I dipped into it that I could tell anything about consistency or coverage until I swatched it:


After testing this for a week or so on a daily basis, I have so many wonderful things to say about it. It's glorious for spot concealing, but it's not an undereye concealer. Just the tiniest pin prick covers so much, and the amount of pigmentation is mind-boggling. I found that this lasts all day and even looks natural, blended out when wearing a tinted moisturizer. I'm just sorry that I hadn't tried it earlier.

Bottom Line: This is a wonderful, full-coverage concealer that I recommend checking out, especially if you're able to catch it on sale. It leaves a radiant finish- a perfect compliment to my other favorite potted concealer (NARS Soft Matte). It's overwhelming just how little you need to use, and this pot will last forever. This is not an undereye concealer. But it's gorgeous as a spot concealer and to cover larger red areas.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017 Beauty Exclusives: Winky Lux Besties Nude Lip Set

Today I have the final post from my giant Nordstrom Anniversary sale haul. It took me a bit longer to get through everything (I'd hoped to have all posts live on/before the 20th), but life intervened. I guess that's part of having a full-time job and blogging on the side. Candidly, I also hit some serious writers' block because of the number of nude lips I've been reviewing lately. That makes me sad, because the set I'm about to share with you comes from a brand that excites me and I honestly want to try more products from.

A few days ago, I shared with you the more popular set by the brand Winky Lux that's on offer for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017. It seems that the brand is determined to wiggle into my world; I reviewed the primer a few weeks ago and have their brow pencil from my Boxycharm to review.

The Your Bestie The Nudes Trio retails for $22 and contains three full-size products: Matte Lip Velour in Meow, Glossy Boss in Truffle, and Creamy Dreamies in Leche.

Like the other set, you get an awesome gold bag that's more than generously sized:

Unlike the balm set, this one comes with some added fun inside:

You know, it's the little details of this whimsical brand that just make me want to explore it more!

Here's the contents:

This set has three of what the brand is calling their bestsellers. Spoiler: they're all nudes/naturals.

This set contains the Lip Velour in Meow, Creamy Dreamies in Leche, and Glossy Boss in Truffle.

Let's start with the two lipsticks.

What's the fun of having a new faux fur rug (check my Instagram) if I can't use it when photographing more whimsical products?
A huge caveat: these little guys are hard to photograph because they don't have flat edges. The packaging is adorable but tough to sit still!

Creamy Dreamies lipstick in Leche is described as "brownish nude."

 Each of these lipsticks contain 0.14oz of product, and normally retail for $14. This shade, Creamy Dreamies, is my type of rosy nude.

I find the formula very balm-like and easy to wear. The little pill-like tube also pops into your bag quite nicely and easily.

Let's go to a swatch- these are very balmy, soft lipsticks.

And on my pigmented lips- look just how flattering it is!

I get about 4-5 hours of wear time, unless I'm snacking and drinking. Then again, you wouldn't expect this type of formula to live up to that type of abuse. My lips are rather sensitive as of late, so I enjoyed the hydrating aspect of the formula. I'll check out more shades for sure.

Now, onto the matte formula.

The Lip Velour in Meow is described as "universal pink-toned neutral." Like the other lipstick, you receive 0.14oz for a normal $14.

This little guy wanted to roll away from me, but I think I got a decent shot that showcases the matte aspect of the product:

These are billed as long-lasting; compared to the last one I'd agree. I get a solid 6-7 hours naturally- and it survived very light sipping on water.

Let's go to a lip swatch. Because it's a matte, my texture showed a bit. Don't let that sway you about this formula.

In terms of mattes, this is a very comfortable one. Yes, we're all got so many neutrals, but this is a lovely one.

Now, onto the lone gloss.

In this kit, you'll receive the Glossy Boss in Truffle, described as "tan nude." It's a lovely neutral shade.  You receive 0.25oz of product; these normally retail for $15 each.

When I was doing my research, the brand's claim of including Vitamin E and food-grade vanilla in their formula jumped out at me. Vitamin E is so amazing for the lips, and any brand that cares enough about their customers to use food grade ingredients gets respect from me. The average woman eats several tubes of lip products throughout their lifetime just in normal wear; food-grade ingredients make me feel better.

The packaging itself is very cute- I love that the shade is very visible but the bit of detailing makes it a bit lux.

The wand is small, but I don't mind it. Being able to have more control is a good thing. Let's go to a slightly-blurry swatch:

This is just a good, not-too-sticky neutral gloss that's good to have in your bag.

And yes, it worked well on my pigmented lips.

Finally, let's look at a group swatch of all three products, in the order that I reviewed them:

I've had a good experience with every product I've tried from the brand. They also have fantastic online engagement (sorry, but I get all the feels as a small blogger if the brand likes a post of mine on Instagram!). Overall, this gives me an incredibly positive view of the brand. I think I want to go onto their site (or Nordstrom, for the rewards) and purchase a heap of products to really give you a brand overview because I'm intrigued. Since all of the lip products I've tried have been emollient, it will have to wait until probably September. But I really want to try them!

Bottom Line: I remain really impressed by this brand that I just stumbled upon within the past couple of months. You can barely get a three piece kit at the drugstore for $22, let alone a brand carried by Nordstrom. I haven't had time to extensively test the formulas (more than once each), but these will stay in frequent rotation for awhile. I'm stunned that the kit's still in stock. Go pick it up- you won't be sorry that you did!

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017 Beauty Exclusives: NARS Angel Pride Cheek Palette

Oy vey.

It's been a long, long week. I'm not complaining, but this was the roughest week to try to write new daily product review. Doing so has been a labor of love, especially when my AC stopped functioning and I had to play HVAC tech for the third time in 90 days that I've owned it! I'm sorry that I failed yesterday, but I know you'll all understand.

Today I'm thrilled to share with you the one purchase I've been waiting to buy for months: the NARS Angel Pride Cheek palette. I'm not normally someone who buys the face palette in various collections, but this was different. I had to have it so much that I did an in-store pickup in case of sell out.

Let's go back a couple of months. Despite my robust collection, I didn't own NARS Laguna bronzer. I had a series of sample cards to try and discovered that I loved it. Something kept me from purchasing at a pan, though, and I decided to wait. 

I've been bored with my highlighters as of late, and more than once I picked up the Hot Sand/Laguna duo.

Then I saw photos of this beautiful palette and I knew it had to be mine. I just wasn't sure when it was going to be released.

For a mere $59, you get Laguna, Hot Sand, and four all-new blushes. Although you get less product, with the size of my stash that's probably ok. Let's compare a bit. The palette has 0.29oz of Laguna and Hot Sand; full size normally is 0.28oz for Laguna and 0.16oz for Hot Sand. You also receive 0.12oz of each blush- full size is 0.16oz. All in all, I think these are generous pan sizes.

Let's talk formula.

Like many of the other palettes I've tried from NARS, I find these pans to be a little more firmly pressed. I expected that coming in. In terms of product longevity, it lasted through triple digit heat indices, which is good enough for me. I'm quite happy with it overall.

Let's dig into the shades.

Angel Pride I , described as "soft pink", is my type of cool-neutral pink. I reached for this the most frequently. I will admit that it's quite sheer- something I didn't notice in the other shades. It's also quite stiff and requires a steady hand to build up.

For most, this is the worst performing shade in the palette. As someone with rosacea in my cheek area, I don't mind, especially in the summer.

Angel Pride II, described as "shimmering coral" is a lively peach. It... reminds me of something.

I feel like NARS has done a similar blush before, but that's all good. This was the other shade I reached for this time of year.

Angel Pride III, described as "shimmering rose", is simply stunning and way too pigmented for summer for me.

I haven't worn this all day, but I love these colors once it cools down. I'll be wearing it then for sure.

Angel Pride IV, described as "shimmering mauve," is another fall-winter shade for me.

I get some faint Rockateur vibes from this one. To be fair, I didn't wear this on my cheeks due to the weather.

Laguna is the cult-classic bronzer.

It's simultaneously stiff but also extremely pigmented.

Hot Sand is a beautiful golden beige highlighter.

It looks like it would be too dark, but it's gorgeous on my skin! Wow!

I honestly tried to swatch all of them together but failed- the size of brush needed didn't give an accurate representation of the color diffusing you'll see on your actual cheeks.

Bottom Line: I really enjoy this palette, and I was content to use only it for blush/bronzer/highlight for an entire week. That says something. Although the textures vary and I suspect the standalone powders are a bit nicer, this is still a really nice addition to my collection. It's my first NARS multi-product face palette, and I couldn't be happier with the purchase. It's an awesome value, and I think it's worth picking up from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Glosses: Parfait & Gilded

If you were paying attention to yesterday's post, there should've been a later review of the second Winky Lux kit. And that this should've been another Anniversary Sale item. Truth told, I tried. An awful combination of long days, long commutes, heat indices above 100 daily, and stress did me in. I'll get the other two posts written and uploaded ASAP- but in the meantime, here's another timely review to tide you over. I'm making it home at 7:30PM ready to sleep immediately... blogging is the last thing on my mind. I'm terribly sorry and hope you'll forgive me.

Today I'm happy to build on the metallic lips trend with two more Anastasia Beverly Hills Glosses: Parfait (a new release for Summer 2017) and Gilded.

First, the basics. ABH glosses retail for $16 each and contain 0.16oz/4.73ml of product. This is my favorite gloss formula- moisturizing, pigmented, and long-wearing. These are closer to lipsticks than gloss in many ways.

Now, let's get metallic.

Parfait, the Summer 2017 release, is described by the brand as "metallic coral with a rose gold finish."

That shot makes it look a little more pink, but I swear this is really a metallic rose gold shade. I kept that shot in to demonstrate the metallic properties that often don't translate to the camera.

I find the ABH wand so nice to apply gloss. This is such a lovely new shade- it looks coral in this shot.

For good nature, here it is, swatched. I'd argue it looks like straight rose gold here. Parfait is a chameleon of a shade, something that's rare in a metallic shade!

Here it is on my lips:

This is wearable metallics for me. I think this is a flattering shade, and I can't wait to mix it in with St. Tropez- which I can't stop wearing. This brings my Summer 2017 shade tally up to six of ten. I need to stop.

Gilded is described by the brand as "sparkly antique gold". I really purchased this out of equal parts curiosity and hoping this can be a highlight shade.

It's an intense, old gold. I should've expected it to be this pigmented:

Let's take a look at this interesting shade on my pigmented lips:

I don't think this is a standalone shade for me, but I think it'll be a lovely accent. It's what I'd hoped that the gold Bite gloss would be.

Let's take a look at both of these in comparison:

I think that the rose gold shade of Parfait really pops next to golden Gilded. I feel like these are approachable metallics.

Bottom Line: Gilded is a bit much on its own but will be an amazing accent this summer. ABH nailed the trend with Parfait, which I can't wait to play with more.