Monday, July 29, 2013

Fad and Fantasy

It's been many months since I compiled a wishlist, and I've been feeling the itch lately to do another one. Reading back on my past wishlists provides a really powerful snapshot of how my cosmetic interests have developed over the past year and a half (mainly, how my makeup collection has ballooned to unacceptable levels). I find making and reflecting on wishlists to be a great way of filtering what was merely a fad and what material desires have withstood the test of time. The exercise also encourages you to both justify any potential purchases while putting off acquiring them as you mull over whether or not to give into temptation.

1. Jouer Matte Moisture Tint in Linen
I so do not need this (like everything on this list), but I don't know, there's just something about a hyped up base that makes me unreservedly keen for a slice of the action. Said by fellow bloggers to be a lighter version of the also hyped Laura Mercier Silk Crème Foundation, I have hopeful visions of this ticking all the boxes in terms of colour match, coverage, finish, staying power, application and oil control. I still haven't found my absolute holy grail light-to-medium coverage foundation with a semi-matte finish (not too dewy, but not completely matte) capable of lasting the whole day without melting off, caking or excessively transferring. Too much to ask? Probably. But one can still dream.

2. Chanel Vitalumière Aqua in B20
Basically the same story as the Jouer, but this has been on my wishlist for ages. I was planning to buy it from the US last year, but it just never happened. I kept postponing it until the last moment, and when I finally was ready to hand over the cash, my shade was sold out. I'm really curious how this will perform on my skin, as I've read fairly mixed reviews. It's one of those bases that is so talked about, often raved about, that I feel like I'm missing out having never tried it. Not sure if I should be concerned that alcohol is really high up on the ingredients list though.

3. Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay Cologne
I've never owned anything by Jo Malone due to the crazy prices (a 30ml cologne is $90 here, or $170 for 100ml), but this one along with Orange Blossom were my favourites when I tested the fragrances out at David Jones. I'm partial to fruity and floral scents, and Blackberry & Bay is fruity without being too synthetic and sugary or reminiscent of tropical juice. It's one of those soft, simple, uplifting but comforting smells that you could wear on its own or layer with other perfumes. The bottle alone makes me wish it were on my dressing table.

4. Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner
Forgive me for being such a cliché for including this — it had to be done. Highly recommended by Caroline Hirons, this is the only product I've genuinely come close to buying several times in the past few weeks. I've bookmarked it on Adore Beauty (perpetually sold out) and check StrawberryNET in a religious fashion. It is back in stock for now, but for how long remains to be seen. I recently bought the Alpha-H Anti Ageing Discovery Collection off BeautyBay, so I'm convincing myself I don't need this toner as I have enough products with AHAs to last me at least the next few months.

5. REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask
Another skin care product that has received a lot of attention, but one that I probably won't be getting any time soon purely because of the price. I ain't forking out over $60 for an exfoliating mask. (Though I wouldn't think twice about spending that much on dinner, drinks and dessert on a night out.) Of course I'd be interested in a product that claims to deliver glowy, brightened, renewed skin, but I'll just have to rely on my existing skin care to (hopefully) get me there. I've yet to try anything from REN, but their Starter Kit for normal skin, containing a 15ml sample of this mask, seems to be an ideal introduction to the brand.

6. Dior Diorskin Poudre Shimmer in Amber Diamond
This powder highlighter has been on my wishlist since the dawn of time. Well, at least since March last year. I deeply regret not buying it off StrawberryNET when I had the chance as it's now no longer available. Sometimes I just get it wrong when deciding when I should exercise restraint, and when I should just give in. I don't think I've ever read a negative review of this product, which only intensifies how much I wish it were sitting among my collection of highlighters right now.

7. Origins GinZing Energy-boosting moisturiser
A favourite of Alix, I've tried a dollop of this on my hand a couple of times at Kit, and I've really enjoyed the cooling sensation and citrus scent. The texture sits somewhere between a cream and a gel — it feels light and non-greasy, but still lush and hydrating. I momentarily placed this in my cart the other day, but rationalised that I should use up my current Trilogy cream first. At $44 for 50ml (and cheaper online), it's still on the pricey side, but slightly more attainable than other offerings from Origins.

8. SUQQU Cheek Brush
This one's firmly in daydreaming territory, at an eye-popping £85 (or $AUD141) from Selfridges. Please send professional help should I actually consider purchasing this. Seeing it being used in practically every single Lisa Eldridge video (her "kitten paw" brush) doesn't help subside the wanting, but the price tag sure does.

9. Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base
I'm going through a major bronzer phase despite it being the middle of winter (or perhaps because of it), and I've finally come around to wanting this cream bronzer, about two years after everyone else. I've read the texture is superb to work with and it has multiple uses (contouring, all over bronzer, underneath foundation), making it versatile and seemingly a whole lotta fun to experiment with. I particularly loved this post from Laura demonstrating the ways she uses her Soleil Tan de Chanel. You get a huge amount of product (30g) which goes a long way in redeeming the hefty initial spend.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Someone Like Yu

My last HQhair order contained not just NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Biscayne Park, but also Yu. It was an immense struggle to pick just two colours, but any more would've been too much damage to my wallet. I was set on the nude Biscayne Park, but allowed myself to pick just one more pencil. I was so close to choosing the coral Lodhi or pinkish-red Luxembourg (and even contemplated the deep garnet Majella), but in the end, my eternal devotion to pink prevailed, and Yu was placed into my cart.

l-r: Maybelline Vivid Rose, Revlon Fuchsia, NARS Yu, Revlon Smitten, MAC Chatterbox

Yu is a bold dark pink with raspberry and fuchsia tones. On my lips, it's darker and more muted than expected. It's not the bright, vivid, shocking pink that I thought — it's closer to a dark, reddish magenta that almost drains my face rather than brightens it. Like Biscayne Park, I honestly don't think the colour is anything special, despite how incredibly good the texture of the NARS Satin Lip Pencils are. I find it too dark for the daytime (unless lightly applied over a lip balm and blotted with a tissue), but not bright and eye-catching enough for going out at night. For the evening, I prefer something either distinctly darker and moodier (like Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Crush) or happier and more neon (like the Maybelline ColorSensational Vivids or MAC Viva Glam Nicki).

Unlike Biscayne Park, Yu does leave a stain when it's taken off. I actually prefer the colour of the stain mixed with a bit of clear balm for a sheerer, lighter version of the full opacity of the pencil. It just looks fresher, more easygoing and youthful. The NARS Satin Lip Pencils are on the softer, creamier side compared with the drier, harder texture of the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains. The Revlon Balm Stains have much longer staying power (especially the ultra-staining Sweetheart and Smitten) and less transfer. The pigmentation of the NARS is unreal and they're comfortable and lightweight on the lips.

Despite the superior quality of the pencils, the colours are very dupeable. Pulling out a few shades that I suspected would be similar to Yu, it looks like Revlon ColorBurst lipstick in Fuchsia is the closest, though it's a touch darker and less pink. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Smitten is a bit more purple and applies more patchily, it's also less opaque and not as bright as Yu. MAC Chatterbox is the most dissimilar, it's lighter, dustier and more pastel in quality, not as fuchsia, more of a coral yellow-pink. Maybelline Vivid Rose clearly lives up to its name — it's far brighter, more red, not as purple. Given Revlon Fuchsia and Revlon Smitten are close enough to Yu once on the lips, I don't feel Yu was a particularly good selection. Maybe I should have opted for Lodhi instead...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

For Your Benefit

When I made my trip to the States last year (i.e. makeup spending spree with a bit of sightseeing thrown in), it became apparent my purchasing decisions favoured one brand in particular: Benefit. The almost 40% price reduction between the US and Australia helped explain my enthusiasm — a boxed powder is $28 there (before tax), compared to a whopping $51 here. I couldn't stomach the idea of forking out that much for a single blush, so Benefit had largely been out of the question until I found myself in New York. Since then, I've progressed from Benefit virgin to owning a good chunk of their offerings. Such a stark turnaround calls for a moment of reflection about the best Benefit products I've come across so far. After careful consideration (serious bizness, yo), I've whittled it down to my top 5.

Now, it's safe to say I'm a sucker for Benefit's packaging. After all, the colourful, playful, retro shtick they have going on is so intrinsic to the brand's identity. It's not all about the exterior though — from my experience, their products generally do perform. Probably better than expected, given their advertising can seem a little gimmicky and prone to exaggeration, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek way (like the page in their Summer 2012 catalogue showing a 'before and after' comparison of a model wearing their Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow foundation, but deliberately badly lit with messy hair and pulling a face in the 'before' picture, and airbrushed and glamorous in the 'after').

They're Real
My lashes are nothing spectacular but this mascara really left an impression the first time I used it. There's only so much mascara can do when you have short, straight lashes barely peeking through your monolids, but They're Real perseveres and even brings them to passable status. It's one of the most lengthening and volumnising mascaras I've encountered, while still being clump-free and defining. It also holds curl well and doesn't flake or smudge. I've been using the travel size that came with my full size mascara for an unsavoury length of time (tossing it any minute now, I promise), so at least I can say it's not one to dry out quickly. The bristles are quite stiff and spiky however, so it can feel slightly scratchy when you're using it, especially if you accidentally poke your eyelid.

I have so much duplication and excess when it comes to my makeup collection, with multiple versions of products that have only minute variations, so you know Hoola is special when it stands alone. It's basically the only matte bronzer I rely on to contour my face. Yes, I have my Stila Sun SPF 15 Bronzing Powder (too orange), my Bourjois Délice de Soleil (surface has sealed, too hard to pigment on a brush) and my Napoleon Perdis Ultimate Contour Palette (I forget it's even there), but Hoola is miles ahead of them all. Ultra smooth and blendable, no shimmer, not too light or dark, I use it with my Real Techniques Multi-Task Brush to bring some much needed definition and shading to my plump face. This isn't something I bother with regularly, but when I do, it's never let me down.

Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow/Liner in Busy Signal
There's already a whole ode I've penned to this cream shadow, but I just can't seem to shut up about it. Benefit recently repackaged their cream eyeshadows, and while they retained some of the older shades (like Birthday Suit and Skinny Jeans), Busy Signal didn't make the cut. I'm not sure whether this means it's now discontinued, because that would be ghastly. Busy Signal is a delightfully rich, chocolatey, gold-flecked bronze. My preference is to wear it on the lower lash line (the staying power is unrivaled), but you could easily apply a wash of this over the lid, layering it to your desired opacity, for a simple, fuss-free smoky eye. It seems very close to MAC Paint Pot in Eclair from the Baking Beauties collection.

Cha Cha Tint
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Cha Cha Tint, but I had to include it because when done right, you'll want to profess your loyalty and forsake all others. I find it very difficult to blend evenly — this includes when I'm trying to get it on one cheek first, and then ensuring both cheeks are the same. It sets to an unbudgeable stain so quickly that it's already too late when you're still in the process of blending it. If you haven't blended the tint out the way you want in 1.5 seconds, game over. I love the versatility of this product (it's underrated as a lip colour), the colour (very fresh, youthful and summery, one of the very few corals that I don't hate because it's too red on me), the way it melds with the skin rather than sitting on top. If only the application wasn't so challenging to perfect.

High Beam
One of my all-time favourite highlighters, probably second only to Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Crème. This is powerfully luminous but not gritty or packed with visible shimmer particles. It just gives this cool, pearly sheen that blends effortlessly into the skin (no Cha Cha Tint problems here). You can also wear this under foundation or mixed with your usual base, though I haven't tried that personally. I have a smaller size that came with my Go TropiCORAL Lip & Cheek Kit (4ml rather than the full size 13ml), but you really only need a very small amount each time, so thankfully there's no need to replenish my supply just yet.

l-r: Hoola, Busy Signal, Cha Cha Tint, High Beam

Monday, July 22, 2013

Guilt-Free Butter

The other night, I stumbled upon Sarah Wilson's blog and her post on the best toxin-free cosmetics. A couple of the people she contacted to provide a list of their "safe beauty" buys mentioned Butter London nail polish for being "3 Free", i.e. free from dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde. I have to admit to being fairly apathetic about toxins in cosmetics, but her advice about gradually phasing out existing products and replacing them with toxin-free versions, being wary about chemical nasties in ingredients lists and generally using less stuff made me think about the potential harm I'm exposing myself to as a beauty junkie. When it comes to nail polish, I've always been under the impression the vast majority of big companies are already 3 Free, so it was never of particular concern to me to make sure that was the case. Regardless, the mention of Butter London encouraged me to dig out and dedicate an entire post to my small collection.

Thumb to pinky: Yummy Mummy, The Black Knight, No More Waity, Katie, Tart with a Heart, Pink Ribbon

I don't know what it is about Butter London polishes, but I simply adore the packaging and most of the shades they come out with. If they weren't so exorbitantly priced in Australia ($22 each), I'd probably count more in my collection. My experience with the formula has been inconsistent — the glitters tend to chip on me very easily, but the cremes and sheers are very smooth and long-wearing. I find some of the glitters to be invariably lumpy when applied, even with multiple coats, base and top coat. They also dry to a brittle texture that doesn't adhere well to the nail's surface, making the polish prone to chipping and easy to peel or flake off.

l-r: The Black Knight, No More Waity, Katie, Tart with a Heart, Pink Ribbon

Thumb to pinky: Yummy Mummy, The Black Knight, No More Waity, Katie, Tart with a Heart, Pink Ribbon

I've already written an entire post on Hen Party, so I haven't swatched it again here. My first Butter London polish was the smoky light taupe Yummy Mummy, a freebie with Madison magazine a long time ago. Yummy Mummy is an office-friendly neutral made up of a mix of purple, tan and grey with extremely delicate silver microshimmer that prevents it from being a straight up creme. Madison were also offering Trout Pout as the other freebie polish — to this day I regret not picking it up since the magazine itself was only $8 or so. Pink Ribbon was another, more recent magazine freebie (the alternative free polish was Pillar Box Red which I passed on, as I'm not a big red wearer). It's very reminiscent of Revlon Peach Nectar with its sheerness and pale orange hue.

I purchased the three glitter shades, The Black Knight, No More Waity, Katie and Tart with a Heart from the Spa & Beauty Expo in August last year (there was a 3 for $30 deal which proved irresistible). Tart with a Heart has iridescent round pieces of glitter much like China Glaze Snow Globe, but with a peachy-yellow shimmery base and bizarrely, tiny black dots of glitter that I don't think add anything to the polish. I suppose the combination makes Tart with a Heart more unique than your usual iridescent glitter in a clear base (like Deborah Lippmann Stairway to Heaven or Revlon Heavenly). The Black Knight looked stunning in the bottle, but each time I've worn it, I've always felt it falls a bit flat on the nail. The pink, blue, silver and green glitter doesn't pop against the black and isn't as glimmering as hoped. While the glitter is fairly dense, there's not enough contrast with the base and it's a bit too small in size to make an impact. No More Waity, Katie (except for the end of her pregnancy, it seems) is my favourite of the bunch, a slate grey-leaning medium purple with lavender sparkle. The two work harmoniously to create a sophisticated but still playful glitter.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Revisiting Essence Mono Eyeshadows

It's been almost a year and a half since my first foray into Essence Mono Eyeshadows, and while my overall experience with the brand has been hit and miss, I didn't expect to be drawn to any more of their single eyeshadows. With the exception of Mystic Lemon (43), which I've tried to unsuccessfully pass off as a NARS Albatross dupe, I've barely touched the other two eyeshadows I bought, Taupe of the Pops (46) and Blue Mission (38). Given my lukewarm feelings, it's somewhat surprising that in the past week, I've purchased two more of their Mono Eyeshadows, Cappuccino, Please! (58) and "metallic effect" Party All Night (35). I guess you really don't need much of a push when they're a mere $2.85 each.

l-r: Party All Night (35), Cappuccino, Please! (58)

Cappuccino, Please! was something I rushed to take to the counter after halfheartedly trying out the tester and being amazed at how soft, buttery and smooth it felt. There is absolutely no powderiness, chalkiness or fallout normally associated with cheaper brands. It felt like a product that was worth ten times its price. I like how it's not overly metallic and shimmery — it has more of a subdued satin finish while still retaining a lustrous quality. In terms of the colour, it's your standard beigey/champagne highlighting shade which I foresee mainly using to brighten the inner corners of the eyes for more dramatic nighttime looks.

Party All Night is an eyeshadow I've contemplated buying on countless occasions but have repeatedly resisted, rationalising that I simply do not need it given the bazillion eyeshadows I have at home exactly like it. Well, one night I just cracked, because who cares at $2.85? Carly's recent review may or may not have given me the final push I needed. It's definitely something I could've done without due to its similarity to a suite of metallic taupey/bronzy eyeshadows I keep on high rotation, but another one in the mix can't hurt.

l-r: Blue Mission (38), Taupe of the Pops (46), Party All Night (35), Cappuccino, Please! (58), Mystic Lemon (43)

My Essence Mono Eyeshadow collection now consists of five shades, four predictably neutral and shimmery, one random matte cornflower blue. To this day, it boggles the mind why I bought Blue Mission. Yes, it was cheap and a unique and vivid colour, but come on now ... I know I'll never use it. It's just sitting there, taking up space, collecting dust, waiting to be thrown out. Let's not fool myself into thinking I'd ever reach for it, not even for attempted "bright"/"colourful" looks during summer, or concentrated on the lower lashline for a more accessible "pop of colour". Not going to happen.

l-r: Maybelline Bad to the Bronze, NARS Kalahari, Essence Party All Night, L'Oréal Tender Caramel, Urban Decay YDK

Party all Night compared with shades that I thought would be close. To a layperson, these five would be virtually indistinguishable. They're all very metallic and nicely pigmented. Urban Decay YDK is the most coppery, followed by NARS Kalahari (I have this shade in the NARS And God Created the Woman palette, which is the left side of the NARS Kalahari eyeshadow duo). The base colour of L'Oréal Tender Caramel underneath its overpowering frosty overlay is actually quite similar to Maybelline Bad to the Bronze. Party All Night appears the most pale and slightly dirty/ashy, more neutral than YDK and Kalahari, which are warmer. My favourite is Kalahari, because it reflects the least silver. Overly frosty eyeshadows are my pet peeve.

l-r: Urban Decay Bootycall, Laura Mercier Buff Pearl, Essence Cappuccino, Please!, NARS Alhambra, Urban Decay Sin

Except for the peachier and darker NARS Alhambra (again, from my NARS And God Created the Woman palette, this time I believe it's the right side of the regular Alhambra duo), the other four shades are basically the same with only very subtle differences. I usually opt for the slightly pinky Urban Decay Sin to highlight the inner corner of the eyes, as I find Urban Decay Bootycall and Laura Mercier Buff Pearl a little bit too white for my yellow skin tone. Cappuccino, Please! is a bit more yellowish-beige which works better for me. The texture is pure win considering how affordable it is.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Winter Skin Care Routine: AM

Not too long ago, my skin care routine was uncluttered and refreshingly basic. In the mornings, I'd splash my face with cold water and then apply my favourite Dove Essential Nutrients Protective Day Cream. If I wanted extra hydration, I'd use Nivea Soft mixed with a couple of drops of a face oil. At my most diligent, I'd also apply a layer of Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30+ over my moisturiser. Goodbye to those simple days of yore. In the last month or so, my interest in skin care has escalated quickly. Now my morning skin care routine involves a ridiculous number of steps and products. I'm still undecided whether my efforts have actually resulted in any improvement, or whether I'm just taking longer to put more stuff on my face.

I start by smoothing a generous amount of Sukin Cream Cleanser all over my face, then washing it off with warm water. I decided with all the gunk I put on at night, I need something more powerful than plain water to wash it all off. This 50ml tube was free with the Sukin Certified Organic Rose Hip Oil I bought last month. I've almost used it up and I'm contemplating repurchasing because it's so affordable and cleanses effectively without stripping or drying the skin. The consistency is like a decently thick but spreadable lotion, but it's not dense or creamy like the Sanctuary Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser which I prefer to use at night. The scent is thankfully on the light side as well. I pat my face dry with a washcloth.

I skip toner altogether (bad, I know), and go straight to the Aveeno Positively Radiant Eye Illuminator that I received in my Priceline skin care freebie bag. I have no idea what this does, but I was encouraged by a positive review from usually scathing Paula Begoun. It stung the first few times I applied it, but mainly feels minty now. I've noticed after using this day and night for over a week, my under eye area generally appears well-hydrated and not dry or uneven in texture, though I can't say it's done much in terms of illumination. The weird packaging makes it a challenge to squeeze out just the right amount. The very liquid lotion pools on one side of the brush tip applicator, which I then transfer onto my finger and apply to the eye area.

I've run out of my 567th Maybelline Baby Lips in Relieving Menthol and can't be bothered to open another tube just yet, so I'm trying to use up my Lucas' Papaw Ointment first. This is basically upgraded Vaseline, fruitier, more "natural" and generally more pleasant to use, but still petroleum-based.

Indeed Labs should write a hefty cheque to their best salesperson, Caroline Hirons, for convincing her readers Hydraluron is nothing short of a skin care necessity. When Hydraluron hit the shelves at Priceline, I couldn't hand over my money fast enough. My aim in the mornings is to maximally hydrate my face in preparation for a long day of sitting in front of a computer in a dehydrating, air-conditioned office, so incorporating Hydraluron into my routine seemed like a no-brainer. It's a hydrating serum that you apply underneath your moisturising cream that provides "below-surface hydration" and supposedly helps the skin retain as much moisture as possible during the day. I've been using this for a couple of weeks and to be honest, I don't really get it. The main thing I noticed was my skin feels quite tight and dry immediately after applying it but before I put on my normal moisturiser. I really dislike the packaging as I find the opening of the tube leaks terribly. I probably use way too much as well. I'll stick with it in anticipation of any longer term effects, but I can't say I've been immediately wowed by anything it's done for me so far.

Next, I mix 2-3 drops of a face oil (usually Josie Maran Argan Oil or Sukin Rose Hip Oil) with Trilogy Vital Moisturising Cream. I've temporarily nicked this off my mother who originally received it as a freebie from Trilogy's anti-retouching campaign, though I'm eyeing Origins GinZing Energy-boosting moisturiser as my next purchase. After finishing my last tub of Dove Essential Nutrients Protective Day Cream (which now appears sadly discontinued) and being put off mineral oil (Caroline Hirons again), I wanted to go in the opposite direction and try something mostly natural. Even with that extra face oil, I don't find the Trilogy moisturising enough on its own, so after a few minutes of letting it sink in while I do my eye makeup but before I put on foundation, I add another layer of Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè, second ingredient mineral oil. Because I'm congruent like that. The Embryolisse works well as a base primer to add more dewiness to the skin and facilitate a smoother surface for foundation. Once that's on and had a couple of minutes to settle, I finish off the rest of my makeup (foundation, blush, sometimes highlighter and powder), and then I'm out the door.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Signs of Sun

I'm having a bit of a love affair with NARS at the moment. With the exception of NARS Enchanted cream blush, I've pretty much been impressed with everything I've tried from the brand. My latest NARS acquisition is NARS Luster blush. I bought this from a work colleague who originally purchased it off HQhair (after my negative experience with them, I'd be extremely reluctant to buy from HQhair again, but the fact remains they are one of the few online retailers that sell NARS and ship internationally for free). NARS Luster has been on my blush wishlist for a while now, especially after rave reviews from Estée (who called it her "all time favourite blush") and Tiffany (describing it as the "perfect everyday blush"). With that kind of feedback, I knew it was most likely only a matter of time before I'd make it mine. The only reason I resisted purchasing it earlier was because I convinced myself I simply did not need another peachy blush, because let's face it, they're fairly indistinguishable once worn.

l-r: NARS Deep Throat, Benefit Sugarbomb, NARS Luster, Bourjois Rose Coup de Foudre

I pulled out existing blushes I had that I thought would be similar to NARS Luster, and was genuinely surprised at how they didn't really compare. My hunch that Benefit Sugarbomb would probably be the closest was confirmed, but the two are still fairly different. Sugarbomb is considerably lighter and softer, with more of a white, highlighting pearl, less of that almost burnt, outdoorsy quality of Luster. Bourjois Rose Coup de Foudre and NARS Deep Throat are distinctly more pink and reddish, almost bordering on coral in comparison.

NARS Luster is a tawny peach with gold shimmer. There's not a lot of red in it, and I find it more a straight up orange than a conventional peachy-pink, though it's also not predominately brown or muddy like a regular bronzer. I would describe it as an orange-tan that turns slightly more red once applied to the cheeks, with a subtle golden sheen (on me, I don't find it as glowy as other reviews I've read, but maybe I just don't use enough). Like Benefit Sugarbomb, Luster may be a good pick for those who find that certain peachy blushes undesirably emphasise the redness in their face. My preferred brush to use with it is the Real Techniques Blush Brush, which I deposits and blends the powder softly over the cheeks for a natural, diffused effect. The end result is akin to a 2-in-1 combination of golden bronzer and sheer apricot blush. Instant injection of summer for a healthier, warmed up complexion that suggests you've been out and about lapping up the rays.
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