Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Kevin Murphy Shimmer.Shine Repairing Shine Mist - Review & Before/After Pictures

A brief tale of woe, to begin.

I recently had my hair highlighted, and it did not go well.
I had brought in inspiration pics of balayaged brunettes with deep brown crowns blending softly into caramel ribboned ends - and as a newbie to dyeing my hair, I had no idea where in the process things were going wrong. 

My stylist proudly told me as she rinsed out the toner, 'Oh yeah, I can see the brightness, this is going to be great!"

Cue to the blow-dry and my growing dismay as I watched my hair transform in the mirror to a light brown almost monochromatic sheet starting about an inch away from my part, with precise thin streaks radiating downward. Gone was any trace of my well loved dark brown hue. No rivers of caramel peeking through the at the ends. It was a 90's color revival. 

Unfortunately, I am not Sarah Michelle Gellar, and this do would not do. 

Long story short, I went back and asked for my roots to be deepened, the sharp streaks blended out, and the deeper hue blended into the lengths of my hair to contrast with the light pieces. And that's how I ended up with red toned roots and bronde ends. And also when I gave up and decided oh well, at least the bottom looks ok now.

That's also when I tried to make the best of a bad situation and bought Kevin Murphy's Shimmer.Shine Repairing Shine Mist, which is AMAZING (as you'll see below). 

The product:

All shook up.

The Kevin Murphy website says:

"Revive shine and repair hair with this finishing mist. Treat your hair as it shines with Vitamins C and E, Baobab, Immortelle and Bamboo extracts. Light reflective technology from high-end skincare adds a brilliant shine to hair with no oily residue. SHIMMER.SHINE contains essential oils and vitamins that treat and repair damaged hair."

How to use: Spray lightly over hair after styling. Twirl me before use.
Benefits: Repairing, Adds Shine, Strengthening, Antioxidants, Moisturising, Applied pre or post styling

Thanks Kevin Murphy. Now back to me.

All that, and just look at that bottle! Swirling eddies of liquid gold shimmer. Gorgeous. One note - the fragrance is strong, and it is unique. I saw one review that described this as smelling like 'vanilla rum', and I can't say I disagree. For me, this is not a dealbreaker - I'm not spraying it on my hair to intentionally get the scent, no, but it isn't overpowering. Just something to be aware of!

On to the important stuff.

The performance:

Before, no product (direct sunlight)

After using Kevin Murphy Shimmer.Shine Repairing Shine Mist (direct sunlight)

Close-up after using Kevin Murphy Shimmer.Shine

Close-up, dim lighting

My thoughts:

I could write more, but I feel like the pictures kind of speak for themselves. My hair feels soft after using this, and the shine is subtle (flecks of shimmer, not chunks of glitter) but very apparent. 

I really love this!

If you can get past the fragrance, I highly recommend giving this a try, particularly if you have hair on the dry side, like I do. And if you're blonde, you might want to check out the Shimmer.Me Blonde version, which has lovely lavender shimmer to brighten. 

This particular line is sold in salons, so be sure to use the website to find your nearest vendor. Because of this, prices vary slightly, but I paid $27 for mine (3.4 oz). 

Let me know what you think in the comments!

- Taylor

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Underrated Beauty Line - Albeit by Anthropologie

It's a funny thing. You know it's a trap. Your mind is screaming it at you. 

But the bins lining the corralled-off aisle you're waiting to check out in are just full of so. many. pretty. things.

You were never going to beat this. You might as well browse.

As I did, with great abandon as I stood in line at Anthropologie last week! And oh my, what treasures I found - dewy, luminous blushes and lipsticks, highlighters, and more, all packaged beautifully. And the brand? Anthropologie's own, named Albeit. 

Albeit's brand description reads: 

'A Middle English term meaning "although it be," Albeit is devoted to everyday glamour and the belief that confidence is a woman's greatest accessory. Exclusive to Anthropologie, the line invokes the Art Deco style of the 1920s and 30s, with products inspired by the romance, elegance, functionality and modernity of that era.'

You can see the Art Deco influence in the packaging:

Albeit Cheek Stick, top two; Albeit Lipstick, bottom


The colors are vibrant but flattering, and the formulas I tried on are pigmented but easily sheered out - forgiving for those unused to cream formulas. I bought two of the line's offerings. The first is the Albeit Cheek Stick, $20 for .21 oz., which I purchased in two shades - Bare Rose and Nectar. The second is the Albeit Lipstick, $18 for .1 oz, which I bought in one shade - Claret.

Albeit Cheek Stick -

'This translucent gel stick will have you looking askance at your powder blush. Silicone powder allows for a soft application and a silky feel, while a luminous gel structure leaves your face dewy and flushed. Dab and blend for easy sculpting and instant touch-ups.'
  • Nectar - 'an oh-so-flattering coral'
  • Bare Rose - 'a medium-intensity pop of pink'

'Blended with moisturizing argan oil and antioxidant-rich vitamin E, this lightweight formula can be swiped on for a luminous splash of color, or layered for a high-impact pout.'
  • Claret - 'a deep, caramel-toned rose'

See below for swatches and pictures!

Indoor natural light, no flash; L to R - Albeit Cheek Stick in Nectar, Albeit Cheek Stick in Bare Rose, Albeit Lipstick in Claret

Indoors, with flash; L to R - Albeit Cheek Stick in Nectar, Albeit Cheek Stick in Bare Rose, Albeit Lipstick in Claret

Wearing Albeit Cheek Stick in Nectar on cheeks and Albeit Lipstick in Claret on lips - 

Direct sunlight

Direct sunlight
Indoor, natural lighting

Wearing Albeit Cheek Stick in Bare Rose on both cheeks and lips -

Indoor, in sunlight (no flash)
Direct sunlight
Indoor with flash

Indoor with flash

Indoor no flash

Final thoughts -

The shades I tried all had a translucent quality about them. These are perfect for a healthy, dewy natural flush on the cheeks and lips, but I would not recommend these formulas if you're looking for something more high-impact in terms of pigment. 

I tried several other shades in the store, and while there were several lipstick shades that packed intense color, for the most part the line seems to tend more towards this translucent quality. Personally, I love this type of formula, so I've been wearing these cheek sticks and lipsticks almost daily. Although not swatched here, I also picked up a few of the deeper berry shades to try out as we transition into fall. 

This is very emollient in application, so I found myself dabbing, blending out, and then repeating to build up sheer layers of flush. Once applied in this way, the color lasted on me for an entire day of running errands in the Texas heat, only fading slightly. If you want this to last a little longer, and want to ensure there's no chance of makeup migration, I think you could easily set this with a little translucent powder without taking away the sheen.

Overall, I really loved this line! Anthropologie occasionally puts the Albeit line on sale, so be sure to keep an eye out for that. The mix of colors are so vibrant and lovely, and I think the shades tend to be universally flattering. 

Let me know if you've tried anything from the Albeit brand, if you plan to, and what your thoughts are!

- Taylor

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Bobbi Brown 5-in-1 Essential Face Palette - Review and Swatches

I'm always on the lookout for perfect combination products, and I recently picked up what seems to be a holy grail palette for travel - the Bobbi Brown 5-in-1 Essential Face Palette. It has every base product you could need to create a flawless canvas! The palette is a Nordstrom exclusive, and it just launched online and in stores for $65 (a $135 value). A bargain for what you get, if you ask me. 

 This baby includes the following Bobbi Brown products:

  • Corrector
  • Creamy Concealer
  • Skin Foundation Stick
  • Sheer Finish Pressed Powder
  • Bronzing Powder

The description on the Nordstrom website reads:

'Great for travel and touch-ups, this coordinated, five-in-one face palette contains all the products you need to perfect the look of your skin. Bobbi's Corrector brightens and neutralizes undereye discoloration, while her Creamy Concealer lightens and evens out the skin tone beneath your eyes. Skin Foundation Stick provides a seamless, natural, skin-like finish; Sheer Finish Pressed Powder sets makeup for all-day wear; and Bronzing Powder provides a touch of flattering warmth.'

This is offered in nine shades - 01 Porcelain, 02 Warm Ivory, 03 Sand, 04 Beige, 05 Warm Beige, 06 Natural, 07 Natural Tan, 08 Honey, and 10 Warm Almond. The shade refers to the stick foundation included in the palette, and the corrector and concealer vary to match. If you're familiar with Bobbi Brown's foundation range, you'll note that these shades are universal across the line between her stick foundation and liquid makeup. 

See below for my experience, swatches and pictures!


I was matched in-store to 04 Beige, and I'm testing out the color match currently - I feel like it pulls way too yellow on me, as you can see below in the pictures.

I've worn 06 Natural in the Skin Foundation before, but that tends to be a bit more sheer so the color selection is more forgiving than an opaquely pigmented product like this stick foundation. I will probably end up exchanging for a different shade, but I can tell that the quality of the palette is stellar!

Inside the box:

The box includes a step-by-step instruction card for 'How To Get Perfect Skin', along with a handy diagram of where each product is in the palette. 

Inside of palette and swatches:

Top row, left to right: Light Bisque Corrector, Beige Creamy Concealer, Beige Skin Foundation Stick
Bottom row, left to right: Sheer Finish Pressed Powder, Bronzing Powder

My palette is in shade 04 Beige, which includes these shades: Light Bisque Corrector, Beige Creamy Concealer and Beige Skin Foundation Stick

Left to right: Beige Skin Foundation Stick, Light Bisque Corrector, Beige Creamy Concealer, Sheer Finish Pressed Powder, Bronzing Powder

Left to right: Beige Skin Foundation Stick, Light Bisque Corrector, Beige Creamy Concealer, Sheer Finish Pressed Powder, Bronzing Powder

 Before and after pictures:

No makeup, indoors

Bobbi Brown 5-in-1 Essential Palette on left side, bare face on right

Outdoor, indirect light; wearing palette on left side

Outdoor, indirect light; wearing palette on left side, no makeup on right side

Final impressions - 

I really liked this palette in terms of functionality. The products are great quality and I found them to be good, easy staples for a quick flawless face routine. I do not believe that this is a good shade match for me, but I'll be exchanging because I'm in love with this overall!

One note - I have skin on the drier side, and I noticed that I really needed to moisturize and prime with a hydrating formula to give this the glowy finish I prefer and to minimize caking. I would be aware of that if you have similar skin!

Also, a cool feature of the palette is that all pans are removable - they click into place, so theoretically you could switch out as necessary!

Overall, I am a big fan, and I think this is a great investment if you can find a good shade match. 

What do you think of Bobbi Brown's new face palette? Let me know!

- Taylor

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

All About The Glow

I may let go of my summer wardrobe as the seasons change, but I refuse to let go of my glow!

Some gorgeous formulas and finishes help me out here (sadly, angelic luminosity is not in my genes, my grandmother aside). A typical day finds me using two to three of these products. An extra dry skin day has me frantically piling them all on to achieve a semblance of humanity. Unshockingly, this sometimes backfires. 

But! This is human error, not the fault of the luxurious, buttery products I'm about to knock your socks off with. Let's take a look at some pictures and swatches!

Top row, L to R: Rivage, Crique, Laguna
Bottom row, L to R: Corniche, Galet, Casino

First up is the NARS Bord de Plage Highlighting and Bronzing Palette ($59 for six .12 oz pans). 

The product description reads:

'This palette of four, limited-edition, wet/dry highlighters and two Sun Wash Diffusing Bronzers creates a smoldering summer look. The highlighters work with skin to create a universal glow, as light-diffusing bronzers add natural-looking warmth. Together, they create a second-skin luster that amplifies and intensifies. Attract opposites with sheer dimension.'

I have not tried these wet yet, but I've been using Casino every day on the outside of my face for definition and a mix of Rivage and Crique on the high points of my face to finish off any makeup look. The deeper gold of Galet makes a stunning eye shadow, and when I'm wearing a warmer toned look I've been going for Laguna dusted over the spots on my face that the sun hits naturally (cheekbones, forehead, nose, chin). These are so easy, and so lovely. I anticipate this palette lasting quite some time, so I found it to be worth the investment!


Left to right, direct sunlight: Rivage, Crique, Corniche, Galet, Laguna, Casino

Left to right, indirect sunlight: Rivage, Crique, Corniche, Galet, Laguna, Casino

Left to right, in shade: Rivage, Crique, Corniche, Galet, Laguna, Casino

Bottom to top, direct s: Rivage, Crique, Corniche, Galet, Laguna, Casino

Next up is Clinique's new foundation formula, Even Better Glow Light Reflecting Makeup ($28 for 1 oz).

This is a revamp of their bestselling Even Better makeup with a less matte finish. The original formula is still available as well!

This version caters to dry skin types and promises 'light reflecting' qualities. I can attest to this - although I haven't found the wear time to be incredible, and this occasionally separates on my skin if I don't prep properly with moisturizer and primer, I've found this to be a nice lightweight formula for days when I don't want to look as though I'm wearing much but still want a bit of polish. It includes SPF 15. I wear the shade Bone, and find it to be a little on the light side for me currently - as I start getting less sun, I think it will be perfect!

Clinique Even Better Glow Makeup in Bone

I stalked this next product for WEEKS. I couldn't find the new NARS Liquid Blush in Orgasm anywhere! 

It's been sold out online and in store at Sephora basically since it first came out. I finally got lucky and came across it randomly while shopping Ulta's recent 20% sale. Talk about serendipity! It's available online at Ulta as well, linked above, and is priced at $30 for .5 oz.

This is the most efficient pick me up shade that you could possibly put on your face. It's transformational. The original Orgasm powder blush was more of a peachy pink with fine gold shimmer - this definitely leans more to the pink side, away from the peach.

Nars Liquid Blush in Orgasm

The Dior Addict Lip Glow Color Reviver Balm in Coral ($33 for .12 oz) has been a favorite of mine for a while now.

The formula is intensely moisturizing, and the color adjusts to a perfect peachy-coral shade (somewhat sheer, because it is reacting with the chemistry of your lips). It has mango butter and SPF 10 to keep your lips in good shape. I will say that it is on the pricey side, but I'm using mine up fairly slowly and treating it as a luxury item, so I'm happy with the purchase!

Dior Addict Lip Glow in Coral

Becca's First Light Filter Face Primer ($38 for 1 oz) has been a staple in my beauty routine for the past several months - it's moisturizing, lightweight, and blurring.

It also has a fresh citrusy scent, which helps me wake up a bit during early morning makeup application. The glass bottle lends a luxurious look to my vanity, which I appreciate!

The brand description reads:

'A wake up call for the skin, First Light Filter Face Primer brightens lackluster and dull skin and instantly refreshes the complexion. It’s perfect for flaunting a fresh canvas for all-day makeup wear. Cool Light Technology softly scatters translucent, cool violet light to brighten and even out imperfections. Mineral-rich spring water, prickly pear flower, and sodium hyaluronate capture moisture to hydrate and revive skin. Ginger energizes the complexion and the fresh citrus notes create an awakening experience. The primer looks violet but goes on sheer, and the energizing citrus scent is the perfect first step for your morning routine.'

Becca First Light Filter Face Primer

Finally, I'm trying out a relatively new purchase - Urban Decay's The Illuminizer Translucent Pressed Beauty Powder ($34 for .31 oz). 

I've been looking for a setting powder that doesn't dry my face out or take away whatever glow I've successfully faked with the previous steps of cosmetics, and this seems to be doing the trick (so far). This is a very fine, soft powder - super easy to apply!

The brand description reads:

'Naked Skin The Illuminizer Translucent Pressed Beauty Powder instantly illuminates, giving skin a radiant look. Formulated with synthetic white sapphire, it gives The Illuminizer a multidimensional finish. Because these pigments are semi-transparent, they reflect light beautifully while still letting your skin show through. Special technology in the pigments also helps the formula to glide on and stay put.'

Fancy. I like!

Urban Decay The Illuminizer Beauty Powder

Swatch time!

Nars Bord de Plage Palette is swatched above, and the rest of the product swatches can be found below. I tried to photograph in several different kinds of light to give an accurate idea of product appearance.

The Urban Decay Illuminizer powder is swatched rather heavily, as is the Becca First Light Primer - keep in mind that these go on relatively sheer for real life application.

The Nars Liquid Orgasm blush is SUPER pigmented! This bottle will last forever and a day. The swatch reflects one pump, with two back and forth finger passes to smooth out.

Clinique Even Better Glow and Dior Lip Glow are pigmented but give a sheer finish, as mentioned and seen below.

From left to right, direct sunlight: Dior Lip Glow in Coral, Clinique Even Better Glow in Bone, Urban Decay The Illuminizer Powder, Becca First Light Primer, Nars Liquid Orgasm Blush

From left to right, in shade: Dior Lip Glow in Coral, Clinique Even Better Glow in Bone, Urban Decay The Illuminizer Powder, Becca First Light Primer, Nars Liquid Orgasm Blush

From left to right, indirect sunlight: Dior Lip Glow in Coral, Clinique Even Better Glow in Bone, Urban Decay The Illuminizer Powder, Becca First Light Primer, Nars Liquid Orgasm Blush

From bottom to top, direct sunlight: Dior Lip Glow in Coral, Clinique Even Better Glow in Bone, Urban Decay The Illuminizer Powder, Becca First Light Primer, Nars Liquid Orgasm Blush

And that completes my roundup of must-have glow products for the summer! Tell me, how do you get your glow?

Happy hauling!

- Taylor