“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.” -Gwyneth Paltrow

Tarina Tarantino Review: Eye Dream Highlight Duo in Amber and Elektron

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Highlighter Duo in Iris Plume & Moon Opal. Well, I loved it so much I went back for more, this time choosing a warmer combo, Amber & Elektron.  As with Iris Plume & Opal, the shadows are soft, finely milled to the point of feeling creamy, and have plenty of pigment. They're easy to use because the shades are so perfectly paired and blend together so easily, so application is a breeze, even at 5:30 a.m. So suffice to say, I'm loving them!

Amber is aptly named, as it's a metallic amber color. It's a very warm, mid-tone brown with gold throughout. It's paired here with Elektron, a pale, pale gold that lightens and brightens the eye. While Amber is definitely a crease or lid color, Elektron can be used as a wash across the entire lid or as a highlighter specifically on the brow bone or inner corner of the eye. Used sparingly, Elektron adds a glow to the eye area. Heavier application gives a very shimmery, almost metallic finish. Either way, you really can't go wrong. 

Here's a shot of Amber & Elektron taken in indirect sunlight: 

As you can see, it's a very warm combination, perfect for spring and summer wear. If you're going to be outside while wearing it, you'll want to go with a lighter application due to the shimmer factor, but at night you can go all-out for a metallic bronze look that's absolutely gorgeous. 

In direct sunlight, you can see more of the gold shimmer that comes through in Amber: 

On the skin, the colors really come alive and work their magic. You can see below how creamy the consistency of the shadows is when worn: 

On the eyes, Amber & Elektron work perfectly to highlight and brighten the entire eye area. The formula does not accentuate fine lines or crepiness either, so those of you who are like me and are no longer spring chickens can rejoice in knowing that even if shimmery shadows are normally a no-no for you, you can probably get away with this one. 

Bottom Line: This is a great duo for my brown eyes, but I'm betting it will be stunning on blue or green eyes as well. It's warm and sunny and makes me think of summertime. The quality is outstanding, with a good feel and even better blendability and wear time than expected. I'm looking forward to seeing more of these duos come out in the future!

BB Cream Review: Boscia BB Cream SPF 27 PA++

BB Creams are all the rage these days, and for good reason. Originally formulated in Germany by Dr. Christine Schrammek in 1967, BB Cream was initially used for patients post-laser and other treatments to help soothe and protect their skin and add a bit of coverage. Later, the creams became popular in East and Southeast Asia, particularly Korea. These days, you can find BB Cream just about anywhere, and more are popping up seemingly every day. 

Also known as Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm (I definitely prefer the latter!), BB Cream is a multi-function cream that soothes, covers, and protects the skin. Coverage is light...usually just enough to even the skin tone and hide minor imperfections. There are skin care benefits such as moisturizing and sunscreen ingredients, so BB Cream is a definite multitasker. 

I've been wanting to try a BB Cream for some time, but until recently they were somewhat difficult to find in the US. The creams I found had to be ordered online, which was a problem for me since I'm sometimes hard to match color-wise. However, I recently found Boscia's BB Cream at Sephora and, on the recommendation of the SA, decided to take the plunge. I was a little worried since there's only one shade available, but it hasn't been a problem. 

Coming out of the tube, Boscia's BB Cream is fairly light and slightly yellow, but it melds perfectly with my skin and gives it an even, finished appearance. It feels wonderful...it adds some moisture to my skin without looking heavy or greasy. It gives the perfect amount of coverage for most days. While it won't cover major blemishes, it does a great job evening my skin tone and giving me a flawless, almost airbrushed appearance. A little concealer under my eyes and on any errant problem spots and I'm good to go! Plus, the addition of sunscreen is a definite plus. I often still apply my heavy-duty sunscreen beneath it, but it's nice to know that if I'm in a hurry (or forget to apply my regular sunscreen) I'm still pretty well covered. 

I'm really loving my first foray into the world of BB Creams, and I'm looking forward to trying more. For now, though, I think I've actually found a product I can be loyal to in Boscia's version. That says something!

Bottom Line: Boscia's BB Cream is excellent, and I'm loving it. It provides me with the perfect amount of coverage, leaves a velvety finish, adds moisture and sun protection, and is unscented and non-irritating. I want to try more in the future, but I'm so happy with this one I think I might actually stick with it for a while!

Beauty Spotlight Team: What's in Prime Beauty's Shower?

Our Beauty Spotlight Team series on 'What's In My Makeup Bag' was so successful that the team has decided to let you delve a little deeper into our inner sanctum. Prime Beauty is starting it off this week by giving you a peek at how she keeps her skin soft and smooth and her tresses shiny with 'What's In My Shower.'  Let's go behind the curtain and she what's lurking in Prime Beauty's shower! 

Beauty Blog Link Love 3/24/12

Inspired by spring and St. Patty's Day, Miss Beauty Nerd showcases her favourite green-hued products this season!

Phyrra's Independent Spotlight for March is with Maria of Cult Nails! Learn all about Maria and how she made her dreams come true!

Love colour? This week Madame B Fatale shows you her almost neon makeup tutorial!

This Spring at theNotice is all about Clarins. (Yeah, you read that right.) Check out the one limited-edition liquid blush Rae thinks you HAVE to have this season.

The fifth and final episode to the series Eyeshadow Tutorial for Asian Eyes. This time, we discuss the Horizontal Gradient Method!

Why settle for just one blush when you can have three in one palette?! Beauty's Bad Habit reviews Sleek 'Pumpkin' Blush by Three.

With Spring offically here, Beauty In The Mirror reviews Benefit Cha Cha Tint - perfect for a spring glow on the cheeks!

Think fancy, structured updo's are too hard? Gouldylox found one that is really easy and perfect for spring weather!

It's almost summertime, which means Shannon at Lipstick Musings is on the hunt for a great warm-weather red lipstick. She's found one with NARS Sheer Lipstick in Manhunt!

This gold, taupe, and blue smoky eye on My Funny Valentine adds a little tribal to your weekend.

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed discovers that not all frightening things are found in horror movies - some of them are actually as close as her face! Take a trip with her to the Vichy Skin Health Centre for a scary good time!

Check out Jenn at Spicedbeauty backstage coverage of Maybelline Beauty for Toronto Fashion Week.

Fleurissante shares her impressions on Ambre Oud, the most recent by Kilian fragrance.

Will the Hunger Games movies influence future makeup trends? Come join the discussion at Beauty Reflections!

DiorBlush Glowing Color Powder Blush #533, Passion Fruit

I'm not one of those women who get all hot and bothered over blush. For the most part, I use two colors at any given time: a warm tone and a cool tone. I switch back and forth based on the eye and lip makeup I'm wearing for the day. Every once in awhile I get crazy and try some bronzer, but that's about it. And at Christmas I bought a great NARS blush set with 6 colors, and I honestly felt that would do me for the next, oh, 5 years or so. 

That was before I caught sight of Dior's DiorBlush in Passion Fruit. I'm in love!

Passion Fruit is a dual-color blush that includes a lovely pinky-peach blush and a pale, warm pink highlighter. The two can be used separately or together, and work in perfect harmony. I've used them in several ways: I've used just the blush or just the highlighter. I've used the highlighter across the highest point of my cheekbones along with the blush on the apples of my cheeks. And I've used the two swirled together, swiped across my cheekbones to give me both color and shimmer all at once. 

Direct sunlight

As you can see above, Passion Fruit is a gorgeous peach-based pink with gold shimmer. Ordinarily, I'm not big on cheek products with shimmer (I get my shimmer from eye shadows ordinarily), but this blush is so finely milled, the shimmer is really more of a glow. It adds luminosity to my skin and definition to my cheekbones, but never goes into disco-ball territory. It's perfectly appropriate for day, even outside.

Indirect sunlight. 

As you can tell, this is a very warm pink. That works well for me because after comparing it to my other colors, I found that most of them are very cool or neutral (with the exception of the Orgasm that came in the NARS kit). So it's a plus that this wasn't a wasted purchase...I really don't have anything similar!

DiorBlush is a great formula, applying evenly, blending easily, and wearing well all day. The microshimmer adds luminosity without frostiness...always a plus. It's well-pigmented and a little goes a long way. And the glow it gives is unrivaled among all of my other blushes. 

Bottom Line: I'm loving everything about this blush. I adore the DiorBlush formula with its silky-soft texture and great longevity throughout the day. The color Passion Fruit is a perfect shade for Spring and Summer, and I know I'll get a lot of use out of it, as it imparts a pretty, natural, luminous flush to my cheeks. It's a definite winner!

Aftelier Perfumes "Tango"

I have great difficulty reviewing fragrances. In fact, I've only reviewed one fragrance on this blog, Aftelier's Cepes and Tuberose. The primary reason I don't do fragrance reviews is that I just don't have the technical knowledge to dissect them into specific notes the way the other fragrance blogs do so amazingly well. Every time I feel almost ready to jump into perfume reviews, I revisit one of my favorite fragrance blogs and am totally overwhelmed by the knowledge displayed there. 

However, there are times when I feel there isn't such a need for dissection. With certain fragrances, it's not as much about the distinct notes in the perfume as it is about the images and emotions brought forth and about the total sensory experience the perfume provides. So despite my relative ignorance in the world of fragrance, that's what I'm going to do today with Aftelier's Tango perfume. 

I've waited to review Tango for quite some time, as I've had a really difficult time putting my experience into words. Mandy Aftel, founder of Aftelier and creator of Tango, describes it as "naughty" and "sexy", and she's right. In my opinion, it's her most complicated fragrance, revealing layer after layer of emotion and imagery.

Tango opens with a bright yet smoky sweet orange infused with ginger. Initially, it arrives as a sexy citrus (which I didn't know existed), evoking images of hot, uninhibited nights. I can almost see the dance floor filled with writhing bodies moving in tempo. The feeling I get from the first sniff of Tango is that of excitement, that feeling one gets when they are about to do something forbidden. 

Almost immediately, though, Tango begins its dance on my skin, allowing the sweet and heavy champaca to emerge. As it slowly blends with the brighter top notes of sweet orange and ginger, the scent becomes nearly tropical on me. Adding to this sensation is the choya nakh, or roasted seashells, which bring forth the saltiness of the sea (or, more accurately perhaps, the saltiness of tears and sweat). The deep smokiness of the base begins to show itself, giving the fragrance a depth and dimension that is both rare and intriguing. 

As Tango continues to evolve, the sweet, smoky notes begin to emerge, dancing in perfect accord with the choya nakh and the sweet champaca, held together with smooth tonka. I envision a dark, smoky dance club filled with beautiful men and women intent on fulfilling their most base desires. Tango at this point becomes incredibly complex, and it's easy to imagine that hot, sexy dance taking place before my eyes. I can feel the heat and the passion of the Tango, and I want to take part in it. As a hint of leather begins to come forth, the scent becomes animalic, bringing forth images of lust, love and loss. 

Finally, it settles down a bit into a spicy, smoky base with the champaca weaving its way through, resulting in an intensely warm, rich fragrance. With the final drydown, the choya nakh reemerges, calling to mind hot summer nights and forbidden acts. It's incredibly sexy and dangerous, and it's also impossible to ignore. 

I wear Tango when I long to be transported to another time and place, one in which there are few inhibitions. With Tango, it seems as if anything is possible, and that appeasing my most base instincts and desires is perfectly acceptable...and in fact, encouraged. 

In my experience, all of Mandy Aftel's fragrances are similar in their ability to evoke intense emotion and imagery. Unlike most of the synthetic fragrances I'm familiar with, they are truly unique and completely personal. They are constantly evolving, and change slightly with each wearing, almost as if they are responding to my unique needs each time I apply them. I find myself sniffing my wrist all day to discover the newest incarnation, delighting in the subtle changes that take place through the hours. Wearing an Aftelier perfume is truly an extraordinary sensory experience unlike any other I've ever tried. 

Aftelier perfumes can be found online at the Aftelier site.

Art work: Night Life by Michael/Vincent, Paragon Fine Art

Skin Care Review: Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil

As you may know by now, I'm a big fan of cleansing oils. I use them to remove makeup and sunscreen, then follow with a more traditional lotion or foaming cleanser. It works well for me...I never wake up with racoon eyes and my skin stays clear. I also love knowing that I've really, truly gotten my skin as clean as it can be in a very gentle way. 

Since I'm so besotted with cleansing oils, I'm always on the hunt for new versions. My array of oils is starting to rival my red lipstick collection! So when I was at Sephora a while back and saw Josie Maran's Argan Cleansing Oil, I had to give it a try. 

Argan Cleansing Oil also includes almond, safflower seed, and grape seed oils, all of which are great for conditioning the skin. This oil is a bit heavier and thicker than most of my other oils due to the high Argan content. Argan is a fairly heavy oil (which is why I can't use it on my fine hair), but it's incredibly gentle on the skin and is very moisturizing and nourishing. The fragrance is a light, natural orange that's refreshing and does not linger. 

However, the texture of this particular oil makes the JM Argan Cleansing Oil a little harder to manipulate than most of my other oils. It does eventually spread across the skin, but I find I have to work it more than other similar products. The directions say to rub the oil between the hands before applying, and this method does help because it warms the oil and makes it more easily spreadable. Unfortunately I always feel as if I'm just rubbing half of the oil into my palms when I do this, so I prefer to try to work with it straight out of the bottle...and I always have trouble. One thing I do like a lot is that it's one of the water-rinseable oils, which makes it much easier to remove and leaves my face feeling much cleaner than the wipe-off oils. 

The Argan Cleansing Oil removes most makeup with ease, although I sometimes find it difficult to remove eye makeup...a problem I haven't really had with my other oils. Plus, one major caveat is that it tastes TERRIBLE. How do I know this? Because I often rub it across my mouth to remove the last traces of lipstick, especially if I've worn a stain or have used a particularly pigment-rich lip color. Sadly, if the teensiest little bit gets into my mouth by mistake, I end up with a horrible bitter taste on my tongue for the next 15 minutes. Ugh. 

Bottom Line: Josie Maran's Argan Cleansing Oil, although a great concept, isn't my favorite product of its type. Although it does a decent job removing makeup, it does occasionally have difficulty with mascara and eyeliner (and I don't use waterproof mascara) and it can be difficult to manipulate at times. Add to that the ungodly horrid taste, and I have to say this one is good, but not great. And for the $32 you'll spend on it, you can find some much more effective options. 

Lovely Lipstick Review: NARS Manhunt Sheer Lipstick

NARS makes some great sheer lipsticks. I love the texture and the wear time which, while less than a denser, creamier formula, still outlasts the typical sheer (and certainly a gloss). The lipsticks are lightweight and creamy, and while not moisturizing, they don't dry out my lips. It also doesn't bleed the way many sheers tend to do. Plus, the colors are to die for. They have enough pigment to give a lovely little pop of color, yet they remain very translucent on the lips, making them a perfect choice for Spring and Summer.

NARS Manhunt Sheer Lipstick is one of my favorites. In the tube, it's a brilliant poppy red with some serious orange undertones. Normally I don't look all that fantastic in orange-based reds, but Manhunt is different. Because of the sheer finish of the lipstick, the color doesn't scream "RED-ORANGE" on me, but rather becomes almost coral on my lips. It brightens my entire face without overwhelming me. It gives me a bit of drama without looking overdone with my lighter makeup during the warmer months.

You can see below that the finish is sheer but has plenty of pigment.

On my lips, it becomes a bright and happy red-coral-orange color that mixes beautifully with the light rose of my natural lip color to become a very flattering and unique shade. It's sheer perfection for summer...bright, happy, fun and yet much more subtle than my winter reds.

Bottom Line: Manhunt is the perfect summer color for me and lets me have my red even when it's 90 degrees outside. I love everything about it--texture, wear time, pigmentation, everything. It's going to be one of my staples in the coming months.

Beauty Spotlight Team for 3/17/12

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! This week, the Beauty Spotlight Team is getting our party on with plenty of new lines, some amazing old favorites, and the addition of one of my personal favorite bloggers, the incomparably cool Pink Sith!

Over at Pretty in Dayton, did Styrch choose to be "Beauty" or the "Beast" for her avant garde photo shoot with local photographer Kidtee Hello?

There's a new girl in town and her name is Sunday Riley. Beauty Info Zone has the first of several posts about Sunday Riley eyeshadows. Come see what the fuss is about.

Perilously Pale has found the most mouthwatering blush that she thinks will flatter almost every skin tone from fair to deep with Rouge Bunny Rouge Original Skin Blush in Orpheline.

Modesty Brown share the beautiful and very versatile Le Metier de Beaute Aurora Lip Kaleidoscope. There's also some exciting news for European LMdB fans!

Trip to London planned? London Makeup Girl tells you where to find some British beauty bargains in her Guide to Less Expensive Beauty Shopping in London.

In an attempt to simplify her routine, Zuzu's Petals at Everyday Beauty tries in vain to find a single brand that meets all her needs and wonders if you've found yours.

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed is ready for spring already and has the nails to prove it! Check out her swatches from the Sephora by OPI Bohemian Brights Spring collection and see if you don't get a touch of spring fever too!

Paula, from Older Girl Beauty, talks about the new product line from Burt's Bees called "güd" that has scents so good it made her act like a fool in Target.

The Pink Sith has made her justification to get the Chantecaille Coral Reef Palette. Can she provide one for you?

At Lipstick Musings, Shannon's found the coolest eyeliner collection EVER with the new Ultraflesh Black Magic palette!

Prime Beauty fell in amour with Lancôme's new Rouge In Love High Potency Lip Color in In Corail, see why it completes her.

Another Taupe Eye Shadow Review: Zuzu Luxe in Prism

So normally I'm not a big taupe person. In theory, I get it. It's a perfect neutral for just about everyone, it goes with everything and clashes with nothing, and it's light enough that it's very forgiving, but dark enough to use on the lid or in the crease. So what's not to like?  Well, my issue with taupe is that it's so....basic. I know it's blasphemy to say it out loud, but taupes just don't excite me. Yes, I just admitted it. Taupes leave me cold.

That being said, I've also been trying to streamline my routine by paring down products and shortening my morning primp time. To do this, I've had to start weaning myself off the darker, more dramatic colors that need a light touch and a lot of blending. I just don't have the time for that these days. And when it comes to foolproof, 5-minute beauty routines, taupes are an absolute must. After quite a bit of effort, I've discovered that you simply can't mess things up with taupe.

Zuzu Luxe is an offshoot of Gabriel Color, both of which are natural cosmetics lines. I found the line at Whole Foods and I've been impressed with what little I've tried--you can read my review of "Odyssey" eye shadow to get more info on the line.

Prism caught my eye because it has a wonderful shimmer and catches the light beautifully. It's just light enough to be super easy to apply without having to blend much, but it's dark enough to work on my lids or in my crease when I'm using a very pale base shadow. 

It's a bit on the cool side, but really I'd call it extremely neutral, with the shimmer showing as slightly silver. On my skin, it comes off as a slightly grey taupe, but it's livened up by the satin sheen. 

I'm afraid I don't have an EOTD for you at the moment because I managed to misplace Prism on about the second week I had it. I'm heartbroken, because I was wearing it every day. I guess I'll have to get a backup (at which point I will immediately find my lost one)...or I can always go searching for an even BETTER taupe, right? Yeah. So much for paring down! Suffice to say that it looks great, wears well, applies beautifully, and generally makes me happy as I walk out the door. 

Bottom Line: A perfect everyday shade, especially for us fair-skinned women. It's definitely shown my why taupe is such a holy grail for many women. 

Revlon PhotoReady 3D Volume Mascara

I have tried just about every mascara on the market at one time or another. I'm not sure why I'm so obsessed with them, but mascaras just rock my world, and I'll believe anything the lying advertising companies tell me. Volume? Check. Length? Check. Curl? Check. Lashes so abundant and long you'll look like a Liza Minelli tranny? Check. Promise me lovely lashes, and I'll buy it. 

So of course I had to try Revlon's new PhotoReady 3D Volume Mascara, which promises to give you, oh, about a million highly-defined lashes. Who wouldn't want that? I know I do!

So anyhoo, here's the skinny on this particular mascara. It's decent, but not fantastic, and it definitely serves a purpose...but not the amazing volume and length that's promised. 

First there's the brush: 

It's fairly large, but not as large as most volumizing brushes. It's also plastic as opposed to the bristles that are normally associated with volumizing formulas. So I started off a little skeptical about this one, since the applicator doesn't meet my standards for a truly volumizing mascara. 

And--I was right. Here are some shots of the PhotoReady 3D Volume in action: 
The eye on the left (my right eye) has mascara. The eye on the right is bare. 

Okay, so do you see much difference above? No. My lashes look darker with PhotoReady 3D, but aren't really any longer, and certainly no thicker or fuller. Although they may look a good bit longer in the photo, they really weren't. My lash tips are blonde, so you can't see them. 

So I thought maybe I just hadn't gotten a good picture, so I took some with my eyes closed, and here's what I got: 

Now in this picture, my lashes do look a good bit fuller and thicker, so I must say that the volumizing is there. However, it still isn't the kind of volume I'd be touting as "3D"...it's just pretty much the standard volume you'd get from any mascara. I will say, though, that there were NO clumps at all with this mascara, is a huge deal when you're in a hurry and don't want to fight with your eyelashes. 

Bottom Line: This is a good mascara for days when you're looking for something more natural or when mascara and lip gloss are all you plan to wear. It does a nice job of darkening your lashes, and thickens them up a bit too. However, it definitely doesn't give the massive volume and tons of lashes it claims to do. It does give plenty of definition to the lashes, but I'll be using this for weekend errand-running days, not nights on the town. 

Ultraflesh Black Magic Eyeliner Collection

Ultraflesh is one of the newer companies to hit Sephora, and so far they have a fairly limited range. They specialize in combination sets that are beautifully designed, and Black Magic is no exception; it's a great little collection of black eyeliners in cake, gel and pencil form, all packaged in a fabulous stacked compact perfect for easy storage and travel.

There's a lot to love about this collection, the first thing being the brilliant packaging. Housed in a sleek black multilevel case, the Black Magic Collection swings open to reveal pretty much every texture of liner out there (with the exception of pens). There are two cake liners in the top compartment, followed by a gel in the center compartment and finally two small pencils in the bottom compartment.

All of the textures available in this collection are high-quality and easy to work with. I tested all of them on my arm, using one swipe for each product. You can see that they all have fairly good pigmentation, especially the gel:
 When I use the cake liners, I usually go with two swipes just to get full opacity. One pass will get you a lovely, soft black. The pencils are easy to work with (I don't normally go for pencils). My favorite product in the collection, by far, is the gel liner. It's silky-smooth, soft enough to work easily without being too soft, and it leaves a deeply black, glossy finish.

Gel liner on upper lids. 

Cake liner on upper lids. 

Bottom Line: This is a great collection of black eyeliners. Not only are all the products high-quality, but the packaging is so flipping convenient! I love having everything I need in one box so I don't have to rummage through my eye makeup drawer every morning. One container, and I'm done! I do hope they start selling the products individually soon, since I think I'll be running out of the gel liner long before I make a dent in the others, and I'd like the option to at least get a refill. 

Beauty Blog Link Love 3/10/12--Part II

A botox virgin no longer - Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed gives you the scoop on botox and fillers - if you've been thinking about getting a little somethin' somethin' yourself, you'll want to check this out!

Lydia's addiction to Dior lipsticks is taken to a new heights with these new Dior Addict Extreme lipsticks at Perfectly Imperfect. 

Lovers of the infamous Black Honey will be pleased to hear that the line's been expanded with not one, not two, but seven new shades. Check out Rae's close-up photos, swatches, and review of the new Spring 2012 Clinique Almost Lipstick lineup over at theNotice! 

Miss Beauty Nerd doesn't believe that lip balm can get prettier than this... she's completely smitten by Dior's Creme de Rose lip balm

Want to get the info on the beauty look for The Hunger Games movie? Well, Krasey Beauty's got it!

Jenn from Spiced Beauty shares a post about the NewBeauty TestTube™, a Canadian blog exclusive!

Want fluttery, long lashes? Amy Antoinette reviews Sleek Lash Out mascara.

At Musing on Beauty, Mariella tries Clarins Ever Matte foundation and powder and has mixed feelings about them. Find out why!

Very much a lipstick lover at heart, Hellcandy discovers a lipgloss that has won her over with it's lip soothing properties. Click here to discover the By Terry lipgloss that works wonders!

Duochrome AND glitter! Musicalhouses shows you her favourite China Glaze's Prismatic Collection swatches!

Phyrra shares with you Darling Girl's Only One Can Win Hunger Games collection.

Have you heard about the new Sleek Blush by 3 Palettes yet? Midnight Violets has all the details, swatches, comparisons and looks.

Tracy at Beauty Reflections cracks open her special occasion makeup bag and uses herHourglass Aura Cheek Stain


Country Superstars and still-in-love couple Faith Hill and Tim McGraw recently launched their fragrance for couples, SOUL2SOUL. Visit Prime Beauty and enter to win a set for you and your man!

Claire is giving away a £50 Boux Avenue Gift Card over at The Beauty Scoop!

Beauty Blog Link Love 3/10/12--Part I

Shivani at Adorable On Your Vanity thinks MAC Lady Danger is the baddest lipstick ever.

Checking out a new MAC Collection? FabDiva20 has a MAC Chenman Haul/Swatches that she wants to share including the infamous Force Of Love Lipstick!

Want red carpet ready hair? Madame B Fatale shows you how to recreate a messy french twist!

Beautifully Addicted To get themselves into a right colourful mess with their NOTD.

Shannon from Lipstick Musings has found yet another red to love in Chanel's Rouge Allure Velvet #38, La Fascinante! She's thinking it's one of those rare reds that's perfect for day or night. See if you agree!

What beauty lover isn't intrigued by eyeshadow brushes? Certainly not the ladies from Beauty Info Zone. Find out 3 of Lisa's latest brush loves. She's sure you'll want them too.

Head over to Makeup Morsels for an Arkenstone inspired EOTD and a completely imaginary (but still very cool) Middle Earth makeup collection.

Take a look at Makeup, Beauty and More's Top 5 Pink Nail Polish Picks

Fleurissante gives advice on how to pick the correct shade of the foundation.

It has been a great month for finding new "holy grail" makeup items for Pammy Blogs Beauty. Find out what made her Star Products list for the month of February.

Do you like baked eyeshadows? Then check out Anita's swatches of the new permanent Mac mineralize eyeshadow duos and singles over at Pleasureflush. 

Visit Handmade Reviews to read the new Sigma Performance Eyes Kit Review.

Did you love Adele's performance lip color from the Grammys? Gouldylox Reviews did, and since she couldn't find it, she got together with Three Custom Color to create it. Help her name it, and the winning submission will receive a tube of the lipstick!

Find out who exactly is Bun Bun, blog mascot of Bun Bun Makeup Tips, & enter Bun Bun's first blogiversary giveaway!

Beauty Spotlight Team 3/10/12

The Mystery Makeup Bags have all been revealed! Therefore the Beauty Spotlight Team is regrouping for new surprises. In the meantime, please enjoy Marcia from Beauty Info Zone's picks of the week from the team. She hopes you enjoy these as much as she does.

Beauty Crazed has a great foundation contest.

Beauty Info Zone introduces you to Addiction NV cosmetics.

Everyday Beauty shows us the beauty of Rouge Bunny Rouge’s Florita blush.

Lipstick Musings shows us the beauty of a Tarina Tarintino eyeshadow duo.

London Makeup Girl goes nude with HIPP-RGB nail polish.

Modesty Brown tempts us with Edward Bess’ Monte Carlo palette.

My Beauty Bunny finds a great cruelty freebargain mascara.

Older Girl Beauty shows us how to enjoyNars artistry.

Pammy Blogs Beauty shares her February Star products.

Perilously Pale shares her thoughts on Lashem Lash Gel.

Pretty in Dayton shows the POP of China Glaze.

Prime Beauty teaches us about Sue Devitt Lip Intensifier pencils.

Visionary Beauty shows us how to be natural with Too Faced.

Miracle Skin Care Review: Clarins Huile Orchidee Bleue Face Treatment Oil

I'm having a love affair with skin care oils right now. I use oil to cleanse my face, oil to moisturize my face, and when I'm really in the mood for some pampering, I use bath oil and body oil to moisturize the rest of me. I've used Clarins' Huile Santal on and off for years, but the packaging did the product no favors. Housed in a round glass jar with a narrow opening, it was too easy to pour far too much into my hands, wasting product. It was also messy--I always seemed to end up with oil leaking down the sides of the bottle and slipping through my fingers. Eventually, I gave up. 

I was thrilled to see that Clarins finally listened to customer feedback on this issue and changed the packaging. Still housed in glass bottles, the Face Oils are now supplied with a dropper, which makes for effortless measurement of just the right amount of oil--which is only a few drops at a time.

I chose Huile Orchidee Bleue (Blue Orchid) oil this time around since my skin seems more dehydrated than dry these days. I get the flaky, dull skin, yet it still manages to "glow" by the end of the day. What I needed was an intensely hydrating oil. I was driven to Orchidee Bleue due to the fact that about 6 weeks ago I got a peel during a facial and was left with unrelenting flakiness around my mouth and chin. And I do mean unrelenting--it seemed no matter what I tried, be it serums, creams, or even thick balms, nothing could ease the dryness. I was becoming desperate, so I decided to revisit the Clarins oils.

Orchidee Bleue contains hazel seed oil along with sunflower seed oil, two of the most hydrating oils on the planet. They are known not only for their moisturizing properties, but also for their ability to sink quickly into the skin without leaving a greasy residue. As such, they provide the conditioning your skin needs without actually appearing or feeling greasy or heavy. In addition to the base oils, Huile Orchidee Bleue is infused with essential oils of Patchouli and Blue Orchid, which tone and revitalize the skin, as well as Rosewood, known to aid in the treatment of dry skin types. Together, these ingredients offer deep hydration, toning, balancing and softening. 

In my personal experience, I applied Huile Orchidee Bleue one night and woke up to flake-free skin the next morning. Flake-free! I had been struggling for weeks with the dryness around my mouth, yet one simple night of treatment with this amazing oil healed it and kept the flakies away for good. Color me impressed!

Huile Orchidee Bleue is a viscous, golden oil that is scented with Patchouli. I find it to be pleasantly herbal, but if you don't like fragrance in general or Patchouli in particular, I highly suggest you give it a sniff at the counter before purchasing because the fragrance may be too much for you, and it lingers for quite some time. The texture of the oil is thick and heavy, yet when applied to the skin it sinks in immediately. Skin is left soft and incredibly smooth with no residue at all. Overnight, the oils work in harmony to leave you with a refreshed, moisturized glow in the morning. I now find that there's a huge difference in the way my skin looks the morning after I apply Orchidee Bleue versus all of my other lotions and potions. It's truly amazing how well this oil hydrates my skin. 

As for application techniques, there are several. One is Clarins' recommended method of mixing a few drops of oil with a touch of their toning lotion, then gently pressing the mixture onto the skin of the face and neck (you can see a video demonstration here). I prefer to spray toner directly onto my face, place a few drops of oil on my fingertips, warm the oil by pressing my fingertips together and then pressing them into my skin, concentrating on my most problematic areas. Some nights I follow with additional moisturizer, but most nights the oil alone is enough for my skin. I've also used it in the morning under makeup. Because it absorbs so quickly and thoroughly, it makes a wonderful base for foundation, leaving my skin with a slightly dewy glow. 

Bottom Line: Huile Orchidee Bleue is a truly phenomenal product that delivers on its promises. After weeks of constantly flaking and peeling skin, one night of treatment with this oil ended my angst. Furthermore, my skin has only improved since then. As time has gone by, I've begun adding various serums on top of the oil and have had wonderful results. If you are suffering from dry or dehydrated skin, this is the product for you. 

It's a Steal! NYX Review: Roll On Eye Shimmer in Olive, Chestnut, and...TAUPE

I was lucky enough to receive some samples of NYX's Roll On Eye Shimmers a few weeks ago. Meant for use on eyes, face and body (although most of the colors are more eye-appropriate than anywhere else), these are convenient, portable shimmers that come in a variety of shades. They're fun and easy to use, and range from neutrals to pastels to very vivid colors.

The application process is fairly straightforward. Just roll the shimmer over whichever area you want to add sparkle to, use fingers to buff it in, and you're good to go. As I stated, I feel most of the colors are more suitable for eyes than other areas of the body, but you may be more creative than I. On the eyes, you need to be a good blender and willing to put forth some effort--in the pictures below, you can see that I did a quick job of it and there are some less-blended areas. That's because I wanted to show you that these can be used for 30-second eyes if you aren't able to spend the time or don't feel like dealing with a more detailed look. 

I tested 3 shades for this review and applied 2 of them on my eyes. The shades are Olive (mid-tone olive with golden shimmer), Chestnut (beautiful, deep chestnut brown with copper and golden shimmer), and Taupe (extremely shimmery, mid-tone taupe). As you can see below, all of these colors have a lot of shimmer. Probably a bit more than I would normally wear, but lovely nonetheless. 

As you can see in the picture above, Taupe is a slightly tan, classic taupe with shimmer that borders on glitter. Olive is the sheerest of the three, and takes several coats to become opaque. However, it's a beautiful golden green, which in my book makes it worth the effort. Chestnut is my favorite with its deep brown base and coppery shimmer. 

On the eyes, Taupe and Chestnut both behave well, wear for hours, and are fairly easy to use. I found that using a brush diminished the shimmer factor and using my fingers made the shadow apply more opaquely. 

Below are shots of Taupe, Chestnut, and finally Taupe and Chestnut layered together (my favorite!) 

Chestnut applied all over lid. Taken with flash. 

As you can see, Taupe actually has a glittery look to it, unlike Chestnut's heavy shimmer. 

And my favorite, Taupe and Chestnut layered and blended. This gave me both the glittery shine of the Taupe as well as the depth of color of the Chestnut. 

You may have noticed the glitter on my lashes. This is partly my fault, as I applied the shadows after applying my mascara (I was wearing something else and only removed the shadow, not the entire eye) and partly because there was a good deal of fallout when applying these colors. However, the unwanted glitter was easily removed with a powder brush and did not continue falling afterwards. 

Bottom Line: For me, these will be nighttime shadows only, as there is more shimmer than my 42-year-old eyes need to wear in the bright light of day. However, the colors are lovely, the wear time is excellent, they're easy to use and have good pigmentation, and they're fun. They're great for younger eyes and dramatic looks, and I plan to wear the Chestnut/Taupe combination out on the town soon. 

**Product was supplied as a PR sample. 

Tarina Tarantino Review: Eye Dream Highlight Duo, Iris Plume+Moon Opal

I had avoided Tarina Tarantino makeup for a long while because I felt it was, well, gimmicky. The pink hair and aggressively funky marketing campaign at the launch of the line made me feel as if they were trying too hard. Therefore, I figured, there must be something wrong with the product. That's the way my mind works. 

That is, until I stopped into Sephora a couple of weeks ago and really stopped to look at the line. The colors are well-edited and gorgeous, the textures are amazing, and the packaging is streamlined and sleek. I fell in love with a duo that caught my eye, one of the new Eye Dream Highlight Duos in the shades Iris Plume and Moon Opal. 

Iris Plume and Moon Opal are a lovely combination. The description at Sephora claims that they are light plum and frosted lilac, but that doesn't do them justice (nor do the highly inaccurate swatches, which you can view here). 

In indirect light, the colors are cooler and Moon Opal does appear to be a frosted lilac. 

More accurate color representation taken in direct sunlight. 

In reality, Iris Plume is a gorgeous, light to mid-tone plum; that much is true. However, it's infused with the most incredible shimmer, softly lighting it up with no trace of glitter. Moon Opal, to me, is not a frosted lilac for a couple of reasons; first, to me it's not a lilac at all, but rather a pale, pale pink, and a slightly warm one at that. It's as if they took Iris Plume and lightened it, shade by shade, until they arrived at a lovely pale blush shade. It's just a tad warmer than the Iris Plume and is perfect for highlighting brows and the inner eye. These two colors were simply made to be worn together. 

The Eye Dream Highlighter Duos are marketed as just that--highlighters. On the Sephora site, it's even recommended that they work amazingly well with other shadows. I agree with that. I've worn both shades with various combinations of colors and textures and have loved every one of them. However, my favorite is to wear them together, with Moon Opal across the lid and Iris Plume in the crease. Although the finish of these shadows is described as "metallic", I find them to be very versatile, ranging from the slightest hint of shimmer when applied sparingly all the way through to full-on metallic when applied with a heavier hand. 

Here are some shots of me wearing the duo together: 

These shadows are infused with diamond and platinum dust, which are claims I normally take with a grain of salt. However, in this case there may be something to the hype. The sheen of these shadows is unrivaled, possibly the smoothest I've ever seen. There is no "frostiness" to these shades when they are applied to the skin. Instead, they are incredibly finely-milled and silky with a texture that makes blending a dream. The final result is a finish that is unlike any other shadow I've tried, and I love it!

There is virtually no fallout with these highlighters and they are easily buildable. They're perfect used alone to highlight one area of the eye at a time or used together. A sheer wash gives just a hint of satiny sheen, while heavier application amps it up to full-on metallic. The colors are completely in sync, complementing one another perfectly. Wear time is excellent; I wore them for 12 full hours with no creasing, smudging or fading (with primer, of course). The texture is outstanding, as these are so finely milled that they literally feel like silk. 

Bottom Line: You need one of these. However, as you saw with the Sephora link I posted above, the online swatches are quite misleading, so stop in at Sephora in person to test them yourself. You'll fall in love, too. 

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