Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighter

I shouldn't be swayed by InStyle. After all, they are compensated to feature beauty products. I thought this time, I would give an Urban Decay product a whirl. The daughter of a Facebook friend wrote the piece, and she praised this product to new heights. It's too bad that the Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighter ($26) isn't as nice as I had expected. Live and learn - over and over again.

I selected two of the three shades. Fireball, shown at left above, is described as a peach with a pink shift. OK. That had potential. Sin, shown at right above, is described as champagne. Aura, the one I didn't select, looked like a ghastly lavender-pink online.

Urban Decay describes Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighter as a super-soft, long-wearing, blendable powder highlighter for "strobing." I am already tired of the new term "strobing" used in place of highlighting.

Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighter is finely-milled to perfection for a lightweight (yet luxurious) result with an ultra-soft, creamy texture. It goes on sheer and blends in easily so that you can apply just a little or a lot. The wearable formula applies seamlessly, no matter how much you build it, and it has shades that are suitable for any skin tone. It creates a radiant, strobed effect that lasts all day - and never leaves just a powdery dusting of shimmer. Infused with light-diffusing pigments, it enhances and perfects the skin. 

That could be true, depending on your skin and its moisture level. I took my swatch photo in full sun. I applied the highlighters heavily for maximum color with a sponge-tipped applicator. Unfortunately, my swatch photo does not show the true horror of Fireball - a shade that had so much pretty peach potential when I saw the photos.

On my skin in the photo above, Fireball looks peachy - except where the sun hits it directly. There its true nature - so "un-peach" shows. Look at the blue pink in the center of the swatch. The color is way too blue to be pretty on most of us. The Sin color is fine, champagne as described. It's nice enough, but not special. How many champagne highlighters do we need?

The texture is these highlighters is nice. It is creamy for a powder. The price is certainly attractive at $26. However, I am disappointed. The one that I wanted the most, Fireball, is a blue pink on my face, and I don't find that an attractive highlighting color on me.

Here is another swatch photo. I don't like the blue tone. I should have picked up on its description: "peach with a pink shift." It certainly is a pink shift. Blue pink, and not at all attractive. On my skin, it looks like I had expected Aura to look. I even wondered if it was mislabeled, but the compact does show a peach shade.

I would not recommend that you try Urban Decay's Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighter, unless you want to select Sin for its price and light champagne color. There are plenty of other highlighters on the market that are more worthy of your money - no matter what InStyle says.

You can purchase these highlighters at Sephora if you are curious.

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Monday, May 2, 2016

Le Métier de Beauté Mazza Gallerie Extravaganza - Exciting Events Designed for You

Before I tell you about all the special events and gifts with purchase (GWP), I'll describe Le Métier de Beauté's new super-star serum, Instant Lifting and Firming Face Serum ($350).

Le Métier de Beauté's clients have been eagerly awaiting the Instant Lifting and Firming Serum since it made its debut in their token of appreciation during the spring 2016 Beauty Event. The product is now on the shelf.

This lightweight firming serum will instantly lift, tighten, and firm the skin. The long-term benefit of using the product will be a literal "architectural lift" to the skin. It is a groundbreaking product that shares its key ingredients and technologies with the company's remarkable and popular Neck and Décolleté Firming Creme.

The key technologies that power the Instant Lifting and Firming Serum are many. It's quite a lineup.
  • Pullulan natural polysaccharide with film forming benefits
  • Idealift, fights against skin sagging, helps improve elasticity and the architecture of the skin, and stimulates elastin synthesis improving the tissue structure
  • Dynalift, a natural film former that provide tightness and smoothes the skin for a youthful appearance
  • Biomimetic (mimics the skin’s structure) blend of amino acids necessary to help maintain the integrity of the network of elastin and collagen
  • TPM, a highly effective proprietary delivery system of various actives, to increase the potency of all ingredients
  • Grape seed oil and jojoba oil to nourish and moisturize - they are non-greasy and non-irritating
  • Penthanol (the provitamin of B5 because and is used in beauty products primarily as a lubricant, emollient, and moisturizer because of its ability to penetrate the skin), vitamin C ester, Vitamin E, sodium hyaluronate - offering moisturizing, antioxidant, and nourishing benefits
Use the serum on a clean face, day and/or night. Do not rub it in. Apply the serum gently to a uniform light film and let dry for few seconds before applying your moisturizer. I have tried it, following those directions. I felt an instant firming effect, and I believe I saw that firming on my skin. I will know more after a month of testing - my usual duration for testing skin-care products.

What has Le Métier de Beauté, only at Mazza Gallerie, got in store for you? This week, Friday, May 6, they will treat you to lunch at the Capital Grill if you are among those who are able to score an appointment for a master class with Ivan Castro, Lead Artist for the company. If you can't make it that day, Ivan will be in the store doing makeovers on May 7. Both events are by appointment, so if you are interested, call Michael Reinhardt or Andy Schug immediately at (202) 966-9700, extension 2258.

If I got this right, and I'll correct it if I didn't, Michael has a special, color GWP for anyone who pre-orders the new serum (or otherwise spends $350) for Camp Gorgeous or purchases it during this week's event. If you don't want a color gift, I hear he may negotiate to give you a skin-care treat instead.

Michael has managed to convince his own facialist, Beatrice, a popular sole practitioner, to give her area-famous facials at the store on May 14 and 21, June 16, and July 23 - all by appointment only. I hear she is amazing; I want one!

It gets really interesting in a few weeks. Michael and Andy have arranged for a licensed Botox nurse to give Botox injections to customers who order a specified amount of Le Métier de Beauté products. I don't have all the details yet, but I will update this feature within a day if the plans have been firmed up. The price in products will not be inexpensive (they were talking in the neighborhood of $1500), but with those products you would use anyhow, you will get free Botox. Intrigued?

Again, these events will only occur at Mazza Gallerie. If you are interested, call Michael Reinhardt or Andy Schug at (202) 966-9700, extension 2258.

As an aside, new color products are on the way. We can expect to see the first of them next month.

Photo by Best Things in Beauty

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Summer Glow Multi-Palette for Summer 2016

When I saw Estée Lauder's Bronze Goddess Summer Glow Multi-Palette ($50) online, it looked pretty. I see that it is now sold out on Estée Lauder's Web site. That doesn't mean the stores don't have it in stock. These Bronze Goddess items always sell quickly.

Here is how it is advertised...
Illuminate. Contour. Blush.
Radiant, sun-kissed color for face, cheeks, and eyes. Use each shade on its own to sculpt and define, or blend shades together for a natural-looking, all-over glow. Let the sun worship you.

Sounded good and looked good to me, but I'm not thrilled with it. There may be two reasons, and only time will tell if the powder is light on pigmentation or whether there was some kind of coating (not an overspray that's easy to break through) on the surface of the three shades that made it hard for me to pick up enough pigment, even with a sponge-tipped applicator. When I run my fingers over the shades, I can get decent color from the highlighter and blush. The contour (bronzer) is very light, but that's good for those with fair skin.

I took my photos in full, mid-day sunshine. I swatched from left to right as I moved down my arm. The shade at the top is the highlighter; the blush is in the middle, and the contour/bronzer is at the bottom in the photo below.

I worked to get even swatches. The highlighter shines like a beacon in full sun. The blush is a very light rose, a nice everyday shade. The bronzer is a tad muddy on my skin. I think I would want to blend the bronzer and blush together. I have not worn these shades yet, mostly because I had little time to experiment before I left for work last week. I fear that these shades will not have enough pigment when applied with a brush. I plan to try to rough up the diamond-like surfaces before I apply them with a brush. It may be the points of the design that are denying me good color payoff.

I'm surprised that 100% of nine reviewers on Estée Lauder's site recommended this product - actually gave it enthusiastic reviews. I can only give it a qualified recommendation. If I partially destroy the surface, I may end up enjoying the highlighter and blush. I doubt I'll wear the bronzer.

I'm sure that some Estée Lauder counters will still have the Glow Multi-Palette. Call first.

Photo at top courtesy of Estée Lauder; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

TATCHA Kyoto Red Silk Lipstick is Back

TATCHA just announced that last year's exclusive, very limited Kyoto Red Silk Lipstick ($55) is back! That's big news, especially for those who missed it. "The geisha's iconic vermillion-red lip is captured in a hydrating, lightweight formula with a long-lasting, matte finish."

This universally flattering red, with brilliant pigments and pure silk and botanical extracts, is available at TATCHA's Web site. I had to hop online to tell you!

Photo courtesy of TATCHA

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Friday Forum - April 29

It's dogwood time. Given the rain we had today and what's predicted for the next five days, I doubt the flowers will be with us next week. It's a shame; they are so pretty.

The rain presented a problem for our DC eaglets - and all of us eagle watchers. Apparently, when it rains, fish swim deeper in the river. As a result, the parents were not bringing in food yesterday. The kids went about 38 hours without food, and I was dying! Today, all is well. Mom and Dad have made up for yesterday's miserable rain, cold, and starvation. They looked so sad yesterday. I wanted to deliver a bucket of fresh fish to their tree. The photo above shows Mom sheltering their little faces in pouring rain.

It's time for our Friday Forum and weekend conversation. The Friday Forum has always been an opportunity to share information. Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? We can help! Want to talk about skin care? I'm game. Just use the comments. We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. I hope you are ready to share. See you in the comments.

I have a question for you. When I back-purchase spring items, do you want to see them? Or is it old news? For example, I back-purchased a few Tom Ford spring things that were still available.

BTW, those unsubscribing because I send an e-mail update every day can change, if they choose, to a weekly digest. Just wanted to let y'all know.

Dogwood photo by Best Things in Beauty; eagle photo copyright American Eagle Foundation

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tom Ford Moisturecore Lip Color from the Soleil Collection for Summer 2016

I love Tom Ford's Moisturecore Lip Colors ($55). They meet my criteria for hydration and sheer color. I purchased Pipa, shown above, and Scandola in person at Neiman Marcus.

Here is how Tom Ford describes them...
Two innovative formulas in one lip product. In the center, a liquid core infused with passion fruit oil provides luxurious moisture in a pink pop of color throughout every Moisturecore Lip Color shade. A luminous lip color encases the core, infused with an exotic blend of melon fruit extract, murumuru butter, and plant derived esters that conditions lips. Sprinkled with subtle gold pearl to complement bronzed, summer skin. Shades, ranging from sandy nude to rosy mauve, provide a soft veil of lightweight color that lasts for hours.

I agree. These are beauties, and if it weren't for the price, I would have purchased all of them. The color is long-lasting, particularly for a lipstick with shine.

Here is a photo of Pipa, taken from above in full sun, at my house. My swatch photo of pretty Pipa - also taken in full sun - is shown directly below.

Scandola is more brown. It's a lovely color that suits a neutral look perfectly. The tube is shown directly below, followed by my swatch photo of Scandola. Both were taken in full sun.

As you can see, Scandola is more sheer than Pipa. The nude shade, when added to the pink pigmentation of my lips, is very pretty. It looks peachy.

Sabrina at the Beauty Look Book reported these lip colors to feel "dry" on first application.  They aren't on me, and I thought I had driest lips on Earth. Perhaps the fact that I always have some layer of lip balm on my lips gave them an extra moisture boost? Regardless, go check out her feature because she has all of the shades shown.

I'll be living in these two Moisturecore Lip Colors this summer. You can too. You can find them at Tom Ford Beauty online and at retailers that carry Tom Ford, such as Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue. You Tom Ford devotees know where you can find them.

Photo at top courtesy of Tom Ford Beauty; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Giorgio Armani Beauty Rouge d'Armani Sheer Lipstick from the Sepia Collection for Spring/Summer 2016

Giorgio Armani Beauty introduced three new Rouge d'Armani Sheer Lipsticks ($37) with the Sepia Sepia Collection for Spring/Summer 2016. Featuring a creamy texture, feather light and translucent, and as hydrating as a lip balm, the new shades are wearable and chic. I have little time to write tonight, so I'm going to give you a quick 411 on these gorgeous lip colors.

A cutting-edge color formulation process was used to create them. The Color Shine Moisture Polymer, a revolutionary component able to retain twice its volume of water, enhances color luminosity while locking in hydration on the lips' surface - said to last for over eight hours. I can't get eight hours out of any lip color. I'm a Kleenex addict, and I drink water repeatedly during the day, leaving lipstick on my cup.

I love sheer lip colors and couldn't resist trying at least two shades of the three in the Sepia Collection. I purchased #203 and #604 - two extremes on the intensity spectrum.

It's always hard to take photographs of these lipsticks. the magnetic tubes want to lock together - and never aligned to show the logos. At least I got the colors right!

Number 203, shown on the left above, is a beige shade that perfectly matches the Sepia Highlighting Palette. Number 604 is a purple-brown "for beautifully outlined lips that won't go unnoticed."

The third shade, which I did not order, is #204, a warm brown. I had to stop somewhere! It looks lovely, and I may cave before the season ends.

The swatch photo above was taken in full, mid-day sun. I applied the shades directly from the tubes. Number 203 is shown at the top. It is a nude-pink on my skin and lips. The shade below, #604, is a gorgeous plum to my eyes.

I am extremely happy with both shades. My lips have enough pigment to give #203 a nice look. It is one of those "my lips but better" shades. There is no mistaking #604 for my own lips. It is a pigmented sheer - thankfully sheer enough that I can wear the pop of vibrant color.

I purchased both from Giorgio Armani Beauty. You can find these beautiful sheer shades at all Armani counters (I hope they have arrived). They are definitely worth a look-see.

Photo at top courtesy of Giorgio Armani Beauty; other photos by Best Things in Beauty