Section: Product Reviews

Reflections on the Eminently Blend-able $59 NARS Dual-Intensity Cheek Palette

Published in: Face, Makeup, NARS, Product Reviews

narsissist dual intensity cheek palette

NARSissist Dual-Intensity Cheek Palette shades from the left in I Soft Tulle, II Damask with Gold Sheen, III Peony and IV Titian

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

OK, I was about two seconds away from quoting De La Soul right there.

Where was I going with this?

Oh, yeah! Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the cheekiest NARSissist of them all?

Why, it’s you, my dear, because when you marvel at the NARSissist Dual-Intensity Cheek Palette packaging, you see yourself. 🙂 You’re the star because there’s a mirror right there on the packaging.

narsissist dual intensity cheek palette packaging

Mirror, mirror…

You can use it to check your teeth for bits of food, or stare at your gorgeous mug all day long. It’s up to you.

I mean, it’s just a mirror, but it never hurts to have an extra mirror around, ya know? As long as you don’t get so caught up in your reflection that you forget to eat (see: Narcissus).

Anyways, enough prattle! Have you noticed that NARS has been churning out palettes like WHOA for the past few years? With old-school NARS, it was all about the individual pieces from their limited edition collections, along with an occasional palette sprinkled in here and there, but somewhere along the way they became all about the palettes, which is also cool.

This one is new and arrives July 1st at NARS boutiques and online at the NARS website, and then at Sephora and NARS counters in department stores August 1st.

narsissist dual intensity cheek palette packaging

NARSissist Dual-Intensity Cheek Palette shades from the left in I Soft Tulle, II Damask with Gold Sheen, III Peony and IV Titian

It’s $59 and holds four fresh, new Dual-Intensity Blushes, with a highlighter, a blush and two contouring shades. From left to right, you’ve got Soft Tulle, Damask with Gold Sheen, Peony and Titian. And on the back of palette, the blushes are named with Roman numerals — I, II, III and IV.

The thing about the Dual-Intensity Blushes is that they’re kind of, like, packed down…so when you run your brush across them, your brush doesn’t kick up a bunch of big ol’ powder grains, like what happens with most powder products. The powders are very finely milled and smooth.

narsissist dual intensity cheek palette damask

Wearing I Soft Tulle on my upper cheek bones and II Damask on my cheeks

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The Day in Beauty Vol. 19: Benefit Ready, Set, Brow! and Squid With Glowing Eyeshadow

Published in: Benefit, Eyes, Just For Fun, Product Reviews, Urban Decay

benefit ready set brow

Benefit Ready, Set, Brow!

Seriously, I don’t know why I keep trying, because every single time I try to make a kissy face in a photo, I feel like I look completely ridiculous.

How do girls do it?!

How do they take those kissy face pictures and look cute? It’s one of life’s mysteries I’ll never understand…

But I keep trying, like I am here with my latest crush from Benefit, Ready, Set, Brow! ($24)

It’s a freaking awesome clear brow gel, and I never thought I’d be raving again about a brow gel other than Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel, which had been my absolutely loyal ride-or-die for a while (I can’t even tell you how many tubes I’ve gone through), so much so that I always stocked up whenever Sephora had a VIB sale, but I don’t know if that’s going to be happening anymore with Ready, Set, Brow! in my life.

Basically, it’s really, really good, maybe even be better than Anastasia’s Clear Brow Gel.

Now, you might be thinking, “Karen, it’s a clear brow gel. How mind-blowing can it be?”

Well, pretty mind-blowing!

You know that look of brushed-up brows that’s really popular right now? I can never get that exact look with Anastasia’s Clear Brow Gel. Even though it seems like it has good hold and usually keeps my brows in place, I don’t think it’s strong enough to hold my brow hairs in place when I want them to go places they don’t naturally want to go.

Maybe my brow hairs are just too unruly… I don’t know.

But I can never quite get that Cara Delevigne pushed-up brow look with Anastasia’s Clear Brow Gel, but with Benefit’s bad boy, I totally can.

The brush has teeny, tiny teeth, which are great at grabbing and maniuplating the hairs, so I can really get in there and push them around (Anastasia’s, by comparison, has a brush that looks like a regular old mascara brush).

Plus, the gel itself has extra super duper strong hold and dries stiffer than Anastasia’s. I could probably jump out of an airplane or stand in front of a Beyoncé fan with this stuff in my brows and they wouldn’t move.

Ready, Set, Brow! comes out in a few days on June 24. Look for it when it does because it’s a winner.

urban decay space cowboy moondust


Oh, and that glittery action in that picture on my lids? That’s Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadow in Space Cowboy. The Moondusts are part of Urban Decay’s permanent line, and they’re astronomically sparkly.

Right before I took these pics, I was wearing a really basic 15-minute neutral look, and you know how it is — you’re puttering around, but then you get the urge to do something jazzy with what you’re wearing, so I took Space Cowboy, which is basically like a pressed golden peachy beige glitter in a pan, and picked up some of it by swirling a finger in the pan. Then I pressed it on my lids.

Et voilà! Sparkle for days.

If using your fingers freaks you out, you could also load up a flat eyeshadow brush and spray it with something like Make Up For Ever Mist and Fix before applying it to your lids.

I mean, you could also spray the brush first, then dip it into the pan (which is what a lot of peeps do), but when I do that, it changes the texture of the eyeshadow when it dries.

Just a quick tip there! 🙂

Via @urbandecaycosmetics on Instagram

Via @urbandecaycosmetics on Instagram

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I’ll Save the First, Last and Every Dance in Between for the Tom Ford Last Dance Eye Quad

Published in: Eyes, Makeup, Product Reviews, Tom Ford Beauty

tom ford last dance

Wearing the Tom Ford Last Dance Eye Quad ($80) on my lids and lash lines

It’s totally fine if you don’t know the words to Donna Summer’s disco classic, Last Dance, right now, but just know that from this moment onward, whenever I open the Tom Ford Last Dance Eye Quad to marvel at its golden taupe, beige, forest green and glittery midnight blue deliciousness in your presence, you’re going to have to sing the song with me.

Sorry, those are the rules! 🙂

So you’re gonna have to learn the words. Here, you can practice with the video…

When I’m bad, I’m so, so baaaaad!

P.S. When I was in high school, my friend Jen and I would sing Donna Summer songs all day, every day (especially in the car). Yes, I’m a not-so-secret Donna Summer fan.

Now back to the quad!

Somewhere between that first month with Connor, when I was getting, like, no sleep and would go to Panera Bread in my pajamas just to get of the house for 15 minutes (by the way, I was the lady with the unkept hair and dark circles eating the salad and crying), and today, the Tom Ford Last Dance Quad became my go-to Tom Ford eyeshadow quad.

I can’t say that it’s my favorite Tom Ford quad of all time, because upon that pedestal sits the regal Cognac Sable (which, I’ll never understand why, was discontinued!), but it’s definitely up right there.

I love it.

If you lean toward neutrals but also like fun pops of color, you’ll wanna literally AND figuratively dance with this quad.

tom ford last dance

With higher-end/designer/expensive makeup, in particular, I always feel like if the brand’s charging as much as they are, the makeup had better pass muster.

I ask myself, “Self, is this something I know I’ll be able to wear at least three times a week without getting tired of it?” Because, as you know, there’s a lot of great makeup out there that costs less than $80, and just because something is expensive doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good.

With pricey products like an $80 Tom Ford quad, OK isn’t good enough. It should be so good that I swoon on my fainting couch!

Thankfully (or, perhaps, unfortunately), the Tom Ford Last Dance Eye Quad isn’t just OK. It’s great. I think it’s fantastic for everyday neutral makeup.

That golden taupe? Oh, gorgeous! Whenever I get it on my lids, I feel like I’m discovering golden taupe for the first time. And the beige? It’s that kind of shiny that isn’t frosty, which is one of Tom Ford’s strengths when it comes to eyeshadow. He’s really good at that glistening, high fashion, glossy (but not frosty’80s-style) look.

Yeah, the two neutrals might not be as dramatic as a crazy rainbow glitter duochrome, but there’s no fallout, they’re hella pigmented, they’re a breeze to blend, they last all day long and, to top it all off, they’re abso-freakin’-lutely gorgeous, and I could wear them every single day.

tom ford last dance

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The Estée Edit by Estée Lauder Cocobalms: A Sleek Treat for Packaging Geeks and Coconut Freaks

Published in: Lips, Makeup, Product Reviews, The Estee Edit

estee cocobalm

The $22 Estée Edit Cocobalms

Obvs, the packaging.

Like, what are these? From the front they kinda look like jewelry to me, like you could wear one as an earring or a statement necklace (a statement pendant?), and from the side, they look like, I dunno…Saturn? Or perhaps a doughnut with a jelly center.

Mmm, doughnuts…

OK, so these aren’t jewelry, doughnuts or Saturn. They’re actually lip balms! They’re the new $22 The Estée Edit Cocobalms, and The Estée Edit is a relatively new makeup line from Estée Lauder that splashed on the scene at Sephora a few months ago.

It’s like the younger, hipper, more casual branch of Estée Lauder because, you know, Estée Lauder has a bit of a rep among many makeup lovers for being more stately, mature and refined.

The Estée Edit is their shout-out to risk takers and rule breakers, like the girl who goes to brunch wearing a flower crown, a flowing Free People tee, tassled shorts and gladiator shoes.

estee cocobalm

The Estée Edit recently released these new coconut-infused Cocobalms ($22 each) — lip balms infused with coconut oil — and there are one, two, three, four, five of them (extra points if you read that sequence like The Count from Seasame Street).

They vary in intensity, with the sheerest ones being mostly just pure shine with very little pigment.

I’ve been using three of ’em — Coco Peach, Coco Blush and Coco Berry — and texture-wise, finish-wise and performance-wise, they’re all pretty much the same.

The formula feels thick, slightly sticky and hangs around for a few hours, so before I give Connor a snuggle and a kiss while wearing one, I have to remind myself to wipe it off, and I also have to remember to use some elbow grease when I do it, because these take some effort to remove. They really cling to the lips.

estee cocobalm

Oh, and yes, they do have a coconut scent, but it’s very faint. I can barely smell it, but it’s there. I don’t really detect a flavor, though.

About the packaging, did I mention how they work? You lift the silver top, then squeeze the colorful center part, and gloss comes out of a tiny applicator. Seems pretty innovative, but they aren’t the easiest glosses to use when I’m on the move.

estee cocobalm coco berry

Coco Berry

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With Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30, Be a Sporty Sugar, Not a Sporty Spice

Published in: Fresh, Guest Post, Lips, Product Reviews

Fresh Sugar Sport SPF 30

Popping on Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30 ($25 for a 0.2-oz. stick) pre-jog!

Who here loved the Spice Girls?

“Ooh! Me!” *Raises hand!*

And who here LURVES Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatments?

“Oooh! Me! Me! Me! Me!”

Put ’em together, and what do you get? Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30, brand-spankin’ new for summer 2016 and available now for $25 wherever Fresh is sold!

As a runner, a sun-lover (PSA: I never leave the house without sunscreen, and you shouldn’t either) and a park/beach-going mom, I could not be more excited about this new oversized sunscreen-style take on Fresh’s classic Sugar Lip Treatment.

This bad-@ss moisturizing balm for the lips, face, and eye area has the same Sugar scent we know and love, but it comes jam-packed with skin-friendly ingredients, waterproof sun protection (for up to two hours), and a thicker, long-lasting formula. Plus, it’s safe for ages three and up and fab for the whole family.

So tell me what ya want, what ya really, really want. I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want… It’s this convenient purse stowaway!

Fresh Sugar Sport SPF 30

A wide stick balm for easy application on the go!

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