Category: Product Reviews

Urban Decay UD Gwen Stefani Collection Blush Palette, Lipsticks, Lip Pencils and Brow Box: Review and Observations

Published in: Collections, Product Reviews, Urban Decay

Wearing the UD Gwen Stefani Wonderland Lip Pencil and Lipstick, and the  Blush Palette

Wearing the UD Gwen Stefani collection Blush Palette and Wonderland Lip Pencil and Lipstick

I could go on and on about my super fangirl crush on Gwen Stefani, but I think you and I have already done that dance before, haven’t we?

Yes, I love her — love her look, love her music, love her makeup, LOVE HER. (Note to self: consider dressing up Baby Girl as Gwen Stefani next Halloween, and try to find some red plaid baby pants, ASAP.)

Part two of the Urban Decay UD Gwen Stefani collection drops online tomorrow, and very soon at stores and counters, so grab your L.A.M.B. stilettos (the ones you can barely walk in but love anyways), and let’s do this. bananas bananas :)

ud gwen stefani collection

The Urban Decay UD Gwen Stefani collection

Like she did with the eyeshadow palette from part one of the release, Gwen put together a selection of shades that she said she’d want to have with her in her makeup bag. I’ve been wearing the lipsticks and blush palette for the past few days, including that two-day birthing class I think I mentioned, and I think the stunt baby was impressed…

Chillin' with the scary stunt baby

Chillin’ with the scary stunt baby

Er, well…maybe not.

So which of these are worth your time?

UD Gwen Stefani Collection Blush Palette ($45)

ud gwen stefani blush palette

The UD Gwen Stefani Blush Palette

How cool is that packaging for the Blush Palette? I definitely think this one is worth considering, but ideally for lighter lords and ladies.

In the palette you get two powder blushes (a shimmery cool pink and a shimmery golden plum), three powder highlighters (a shimmery golden beige, shimmery peachy beige and an opalescent peachy pink) and a warm matte orangey brown powder bronzer, and while I like how soft the powders feel and how they last all day long, a couple of the colors look — how should I say this? — a tad wonky.

ud gwen stefani blush palette packaging

Packaging for the UD Gwen Stefani Blush Palette


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NARS Spring 2016 Collection First Impressions & Swatches

Published in: Collections, NARS, Product Reviews, Video

There’s a video review in this post, but if it’s not appearing, you can click here to watch it on YouTube.

Ya know, I never would have thought to wear icy mint with rose gold — never in a million years! — but because NARS is NARS, for some reason, they go together. Who knew?! I sure as heck didn’t.

I really appreciate how NARS gets me out of my usual color comfort zone, and it’s their unexpected color combos that I think make their seasonal collections some of the most interesting ones around.

This year for spring 2016 we get a small, succinct NARS launch of nine products — about half of them eye products, half lips products, and a powder blush — mostly in sweet rosy and beige tones.

There’s also that icy mint up in the mix and a shimmery blue for a fun, springy touch.

I tried something a little different with this video by filming my first impressions as I use each of the products.

Um…please excuse mah crazy hair! It’s been raining cats and kittens here in NorCal this week, and I haven’t wanted to bother, LOL!

The NARS Spring 2016 Nouvelle Vogue collection…

  • Tarvos Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow, an icy mint ($29)
  • Cressida Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow, a shimmering midnight blue ($29)
  • Kari Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow, a soft rosy pink ($29)
  • Hammamet Duo Eyeshadow, a matte beige and a bronze rose ($35, limited edition)
  • Impassioned Blush, a pink orchid ($30)
  • Instant Crash Lip Gloss, a soft shimmering apricot ($26, limited edition)
  • Vida Loca Lip Gloss, a guava ($26, limited edition)
  • Rosecliff Lipsticks, a soft rose ($28)
  • Banned Red Lipstick, a mulled wine ($28)
  • Available January 15 at NARS boutiques and narscosmetics.com, and February 1 at NARS counters

As always, thank you for watching!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,

Karen

MAC Viva Glam Ariana Grande

Published in: Lips, MAC Makeup, Product Reviews, Video

There’s a video review in this post, but if it’s not appearing, you can click here to watch it on YouTube.

Turn up the music! — and perhaps hide that doughnut you’re planning to eat for your afternoon snack, because it might get licked… WHOA! That ended up sounding a lot naughtier than it did in my head.

Anyways! MAC Viva Glam’s newest ambassador is none other than pop star and infamous doughnut licker Ariana Grande, and [insert ridiculously impossible vocal run here] her new Viva Glam Lipstick and Lipglass hits all the right notes. I’m feelin’ it (especially the lipstick).

The quick deets on the two-piece MAC Viva Glam Ariana Grande collection:

  • MAC Viva Glam Ariana Grande Lipstick — a deep, dark plum ($17)
  • MAC Viva Glam Ariana Grande Lipglass — a light, shimmery pink ($15)
  • Available on the MAC website starting January 13 and in stores at all MAC locations January 21

As always, thank you for watching. :)

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,

Karen

:)

NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint SPF 30 Makes Makeup Life Easier With Sheer, Natural Coverage

Published in: Face, Makeup, NARS, Product Reviews

nars velvet matte skin tint spf 30 review

The new NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tints ($44 for a 1.7-oz. tube), coming in 12 shades January 15 to NARS boutiques and the NARS website, and February 1 to NARS counters

It’s a bold statement to say that I love a foundation after only using it three or four days, but that’s all the time it took for me to see how NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint SPF 30 rocks.

I put it through its paces last weekend on my three-day trip to Monterey and Carmel, and I can’t remember the last time I thought my skin looked better, whether in real life or pics. I think when you’re on vacation — and, assuming that you’re wearing makeup on that vacation because, let’s face it, on some vacations, like beach vacations or long walking tours, you don’t always want to wear makeup, especially a full face of makeup — that’s a good time to really test a new foundation, because you’re out and about for long stretches of time and probably taking hundreds of pictures along the way.

Also, and maybe this is just me, but I don’t like to spend a ton of time on my makeup when I’m on vacation, especially first thing in the morning. I can usually tolerate spending about 15 minutes (ideally less), but then I want to be out the door because adventure awaits!

I can say with absolute certainty that new NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint — which is really just a fancy name for a tinted moisturizer with an almost fabric-like matte finish — is the sh*t. Based on the crucial vacation/low-patience-for-makeup test, it totally checks off all the right boxes.

nars velvet matte skin tint

Wearing NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in St. Moritz (this pic was taken with a flash, BTW, and I think you can still just barely see my freckles and moles)

nars velvet matte skin tint

Again wearing St. Moritz, except this time in natural light after about six hours of wear

In some ways, NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint is a lot like that superstar of the NARS foundation line, Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, of which I’ve gone through bottles, and on which I’ve gotten many friends hooked. And, mind you, these friends don’t even wear makeup on the regular, but they still love Pure Radiant.

Yup, it’s that good, and this new one, Velvet Matte, is just as great, if not better.

Like Pure Radiant’s finish, this one looks like real skin, but it still evens out your skin tone. Also, again like Pure Radiant, Velvet Matte Skin Tint contains broad-spectrum SPF 30, along with extra skincare bells and whistles like vitamins C and E.

“This oil-free formula delivers NARS’ signature natural-looking finish and shine control with the skincare benefits of an all-in-one treatment. NARS’ innovative Velvet Illusion Complex Technology creates a soft-focus effect with a soft-touch feel. Transparent Blurring Powders instantly enhance the look of skin by helping to blur imperfections and even tone — naturally dimensional skin that doesn’t look flat, masked, or chalky.”

–NARS PR

The coverage is sheer but build-able up to medium, by the way, so don’t expect it to cover every single freckle or imperfection. My freckles and moles peek through, but I’m totally fine with that right now. I’ve been loving a more natural look lately, but I think you really have to like that whole, “What, me? Am I wearing makeup?” look to appreciate the finish.

nars velvet matte skin tint spf 30 swatches

NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint swatches from the left: Terre-Neuve, Finland, Alaska and Groenland


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NARSissist L’amour Toujours Eyeshadow Palette Swatches and First Impressions

Published in: Eyes, Makeup, NARS, Palettes, Product Reviews

narsissist lamour toujours lamour palette 1

New for spring, the NARSissist L’amour Toujours Eyeshadow Palette ($59, available now at NARS boutiques and the NARS website; coming Feb. 1 to NARS counters)

Today I learned a valuable life lesson from the new $59 NARSissist L’amour Toujours Eyeshadow Palette ($59), and it was this: ’tis better to drink the blueberry smoothie — the one you made for yourself as a healthy snack — after you’ve taken pictures of yourself wearing a new eyeshadow palette, as opposed to before.

(Lest you end up with pics of yourself with a blue tongue and teeth!)

Just as an FYI, you know, in case you ever find yourself in that particular situation. :)

narsissist lamour toujours lamour palette 1

narsissist lamour toujours lamour palette 6

Wearing the NARSissist L’amour Toujours Eyeshadow Palette on my lids

So, I took L’amour Toujours, a new NARS palette for spring, for a test drive around the block today (well…more like around my condo after I got back from seeing a nutritionist who assured me that I can have “a very small amount” of sweets here and there! Life is grand!).

The quick and dirty deets…

  • Limited edition
  • Available now at NARS boutiques and NARS website and coming Feb. 1 to NARS counters
  • 12 powder shadows, none of which, I believe, have been previously released (but I’ll have to double check that). Four are mattes, and eight are shimmers.
  • The mattes, and the names are numerical, which is a little tricky, include “I” (which is a sheer cream bisque), “IV” (a semi-sheer black truffle), “VII” (a cool-toned medium brown) and “X” (a regal blue).
  • Of the shimmers, there’s “II” (a shimmery pink sand), “III” (a neutral medium brown), “V” (a shimmery golden beige), “VI” (a shimmery copper), “VII” (a shimmery pistol gray), “IX” (a shimmery grayish blue), “XI” (a shimmery taupe) and “XII” (a shimmery blackened licorice).

And some quick first impressions…

  • When I popped the matte cool-toned medium brown (VII) in my crease, the shimmery pink sand (II) on my lids, the matte regal blue (X) in the outer corner, the matte black (IV) on my upper lash lines and the shimmery pistol gray (VIII) on my lower lash lines, I found that the shadows blend together beautifully. I do see a little fallout with the black shade, though…
  • Um…Roman numerals for eyeshadow names? That’s very confusing for some reason!
  • So far I like the combination and variety of warm and cool-toned colors. I also like how smooth they feel on my skin. They don’t feel heavy or look powdery either. I also lake how deep and rich most of the shades are, especially VII, VIII and X.
  • So far, however, I am not crazy about the sheer matte light beige or black, which are sheerer than I’d like, and I have to build them up to see them in swatches. I also feel like I’ve seen a group of colors just like these from NARS before…
  • Jury’s still out on whether I can recommend this palette with the gusto of a marching band and a ticker-tape parade, but it’s nice enough, I guess, and I can definitely see myself doing a number of neutral looks with it.

    I think I’ll have to use it a few more times to get a better sense of its value and gauge its flexibility.

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