Friday, May 30, 2014

NARS Illuminator - Copacabana & Orgasm - Review

Summer, summer, summer. Yes, the heat is unbearable, and yes, sometimes the humidity is so thick you could cut it with a knife, but the best part? It's time for all the colors, and the shimmers, and the bronze-y, glow-y look for the skin.

So what's the easiest way to look like Jennifer Lopez? Illuminators are a great way to add that lovely sheen (and no, I don't mean sweat by that!) while looking quite natural. Now, the first ever illuminator I got was MAC's Strobe Cream, and to me that is the gold standard (for several good reasons that will be detailed in a review soon). So, how do these hold up to something I'm close to calling holy grail?


I snagged some sample sizes - they come in little plastic tubes with a black screw-on cap. They resemble the full sized tubes (except the full size ones have a flip-top cap instead of the screw cap). The packaging is nothing special. I'd have preferred a pump, because I find that the opening is pretty wide, and so quite a bit of product is dispensed when you squeeze the tube - more than what's required.



The illuminators have a liquid texture that is quite runny, but just a tad less so than MAC's Strobe Cream. They spread out and blend easily, and dry down to a non-tacky and non-sticky finish. You can use them on their own, under your foundation, or mixed in with your foundation.

The shades I have with me are:
- Copacabana
- Orgasm


Copacabana is a pearly champagne shade with a hint of pink in it. It has noticeable shimmer particles in it when blended out, so it's definitely for a more dramatic look. Because of the pink-ness that it has, it will look more natural on cool tones, but warm toned gals can definitely rock this if they're looking for a more dramatic highlight.

I like this mixed in with foundation, because that dampens the highlighting effect to a more glow-y effect. It does work well as a cheek highlight, but you might want to be a little careful if you have large pores - this tends to emphasize them a little bit thanks to the shimmer particles.


Orgasm is a peachy gold shade with gold shimmer particles. Despite appearing quite pigmented in the tube, it's comparatively sheer when applied to the skin. This is a great shade for warm toned gals, because it will give you the warm, molten honey glow when used under foundation (or mixed in with foundation). It makes for a nice, subtle cheek highlight that's great for everyday use. Cool toned gals can also use this, because it isn't super pigmented - however you might want to use a wee bit because overdoing it might look wonky.

Again, it does emphasize pores a wee bit thanks to the shimmer particles, but who cares, amiright?



As you can see from the swatches above, Copacabana clashes with my skin while Orgasm blends in.

They last a good amount of time when used mixed in with or under foundation (I find they last a little bit more than my foundation does, but not in a bad way. My foundation fades, and some of the shimmer with it, but not in a noticeable, "I'm a disco ball" way, if that makes sense). As a cheek highlight (over foundation) they last a good 6 hours on my skin with some fading seen.

Copacabana is more similar to the Strobe Cream in terms of color, but I find that the NARS Illuminators have bigger shimmer particles than the MAC Strobe Cream. So, it's worth picking up Orgasm because it's quite unique and lovely for warm toned gals, but if you're cool toned, or looking for a great highlight, personally, I'd still go with the Strobe Cream.

BGMM Rating: B

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

MAC Alluring Aquatic Lipstick Review - Goddess Of The Sea

Wrapping up the MAC Alluring Aquatic collection is the Goddess Of The Sea lipstick. I was hoping to grab hold of Enchanted One and Mystical as well, but I missed them out online. Luckily, I was able to get them on back-order at Nordstrom's; unfortunately I won't get a hold on them till early next month.



I'm not going to talk much about the packaging, except that it's absolutely gorgeous and so unique. I've spoken about it here and here. I think this packaging is one of the best packaging I've come across. Look at those waterdrops!



I have Goddess Of The Sea, which is described as a dark, vibrant violet. It is a Cremesheen finish, which is personally one of the more comfortable finishes for me. I would describe it as a medium cool-toned berry. It is semi-opaque, but can be built up to a deep berry finish with multiple swipes. It can be worn lightly as a stain, or at full opacity; I like using it as a soft, just-bitten lip stain during the day, and built up at night.

It feels light on the lips, and is comfortable to wear. It's not very moisturizing though, but doesn't dry out my lips either. I would recommend wearing a light lip balm under this, just to provide some hydration over time. It bleeds out a little bit, but it's not noticeable. I've worn a colorless lip liner, and it helps to extend wear a little bit, and also eliminates any bleeding and feathering.



Wear time is surprisingly long - I can get a good four hours out of this without lip liner, and four and a half hours with lipliner. It's got the typical MAC vanilla scent to it, which I find pleasant, but the scent is mild and doesn't linger. As previously mentioned, it is comfortable to wear, and does require touch ups as it cannot hold up to drinking and eating. It leaves behind a very light stain once it has worn off, though, but fading is noticeable, so touching up would be needed.

I'm glad I have this shade - it's one of those shades that will look gorgeous on all skin tones, but I think it will definitely shine on deeper skins. If you have a chance to get hold of this, I recommend that you do. It's gorgeous, and you won't regret it!

BGMM Rating: A-

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush - Mood Exposure

Mood Exposure is the final Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush I will be reviewing. The ones I have previously reviewed are Luminous Flush, Diffused Heat and Radiant Magenta.



The Hourglass Ambient Blushes are housed in a gun metal colored, metallic packaging that, while looking absolutely lovely, is a magnet for fingerprints like none other. I had to wipe these down several times while photographing them because even the slightest adjustment would leave fingerprints all over.

They are very sturdy, and would be easy to travel with. However they do weigh a little bit on the heavy side for a typical blush, and so if you're trying to keep your travel kit light while having a variety, you might not be able to do that with these blushes. (I wouldn't travel with them because I'd be too terrified of having something happen to them!)


Mood Exposure is a light, nude-ish blush with plum undertones. This is one of the lighter shades in the collection, but it's also one of my favorites. It combines the blush with the Ambient Lighting Powder in Mood Light.The blush is marbled, as a result of which no two blushes will look the same. In order to use the blush, one has to swirl a blush brush to combine the two shades.


The powder is finely milled, and soft an silky to the touch. It applies effortlessly, and is very easy to blend. It is on the less pigmented side, so fair skins don't have to worry about overdoing it. For medium and deep skintones, the color can be built up; however I see very deep skintones having issues with this blush - it can look ashy and chalky because you will have to really build it up to be seen. For the rest, the resulting blush, whatever intensity you choose, is very natural and looks like it comes from within your skin.

There isn't any glitter/sparkles, but the finish is a soft, satin-like sheen that gave the skin a glow. It did not emphasize pores, but it didn't do much to blur/hide them either.

On my oily skin, it lasted for a good 5 hours before fading away, which is definitely on the higher side. The shade was also more orange-coral than pink coral, and I would say that this is more on the warm-toned side. I imagine that the color it looks on your skin depends very much on what coloring you are and what undertones you have.



This has become one of my favorite daily blushes because it's so easy to use and adds just the right amount of color to prevent you from looking flat. I'd compare this to Tarte's Amazonian Clay blush in Exposed, except I like this one so much better.

I'd say this is better suited to light and medium skin tones. Anyone over NC45 might want to try it before buying!

BGMM Rating: A

Monday, May 26, 2014

MAC Alluring Aquatic Extra Dimension Eyeshadow Review

I was highly tempted by the MAC Alluring Aquatic eyeshadows (since, of course, they are my absolute weakness and I must own them all) but I was surprisingly restrained and picked up only two shades, both of which I felt I did not already have similar shades of, and those that I thought were workable and wearable.

Now that everything's sold out, however, I of course regret that I didn't get every last shade.


Not going to talk about the packaging, because I've hashed over it several times (see here) but suffice to say it's so cute and adorable, and only someone not in their right mind would want to depot the shadow and throw away the packaging. For serious, though.



As you can see, I picked up one 'everyday appropriate' shade and one 'this is a real date night, honey' shade. I'm pleased with my choices.

Again, the embossing on the surface is similar to the blushes and the bronzers, since, of course, these are also the same Extra Dimension finish.

The shades I have are:
- Sea Worship
- Soul Serenade


Sea Worship is a shimmery, almost frosty khaki - dirty olive shade that looks absolutely lovely on brown skins. I would say this is pretty much a metallic finish, if it weren't for the teeny flecks of glitter present. It is soft and satiny to the touch, and has excellent payoff. It applies like butter and blends very smoothly. Depending on where you work, this may or may not be appropriate - this has more to do with the finish than with the shade itself. I do recommend softening the shade with a neutral matte, just to make this more work-appropriate; I've worn this as an all-over lid shade and with UD Buck in the crease, and both look very suitable for daytime.

My only gripe with this shade is the very mild fallout it can produce.


Soul Serenade is a shimmery, frosty,  warm, blackened taupe with purple tones. This is something I would consider metallic - especially if you use it with a damp brush. Similar to Sea Worship, this has tiny flecks of silver glitter that can lead to some fallout. It is soft and satiny to the touch, and has excellent payoff. It applies like butter and blends very smoothly. It is highly pigmented, a single swipe gives about 90% opacity, but this can be built up or sheered out, depending on how you want to wear it. It makes for a lovely smokey eye; for the day, I've worn it in the outer V, and also as a liner (used wet for this purpose; it looks gorgeous with gold wash all over the lid!).

Personally, I think this is quite a unique shade, and worth getting your hands on.


Over primer, these lasted well over 8 hours; I got 10 hours with minimal fading before I took off my makeup. They are extremely long wearing, have a texture that is absolutely lovely to work with, and their pigmentation is great.

While I'm not certain you need all the shades - certainly, some of them seem dupeable enough - the finish, and the texture are lovely, so it's worth picking up one or two!

BGMM Rating: A-

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Weekly Favorites #10



L'Oreal True Match Powder in W5 - A nice powder for setting foundation or tinted moisturizer (on the occasion I do wear foundation) but more often than not I wear this over sunscreen. It gives me a little bit of coverage and leaves me matte. It doesn't control oil, but over the course of the day I end up looking more dewy than oily!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat - I love this blush. I cannot begin to tell you how amazing and natural it looks on me. I've been using it every single day. That has to tell you something, because I usually switch up my blushes on a daily basis! It's the perfect coral shade, and just brightens up my face. 5 minute routine? Yep, this is part of that routine!

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire and Ice - I know that Cherries in the Snow is the cult classic from the super lustrous line, and I will admit that I picked this up by accident (I meant to get Cherries in the Snow) but I'm glad I picked it up. It's a great orangey-red that brightens up my complexion. You can wear it as a stain, sheered out, or completely opaque. It makes for a great blush in a pinch!

L'oreal Infalliable Eyeshadow in Bronzed Taupe - I have mad love for all the L'oreal Infalliable eyeshadows. They are a gorgeous formula, and look great on everyone. Bronzed Taupe is a fantastic everyday neutral shade. I like wearing it on the lid with a matte brown in the crease, but when I'm restricted for time, I'll wear this alone, with a nice, bright lip stain or a muted MLBB shade, and both looks are really great.

MAC Fluidline in Phlox Garden - Now that summer's officially here, I'm all about the brights, baby!. We've started a mini garden on our balcony (dubbed the 'urban oasis', but I digress) and I've been wearing this fluidline in honor of the splash of green at home. It's smooth and opaque, and applies very easily. It also lasts a good 8 hours on me, oily lids and all!

What are some of your summer favorites? Comment below and let me know!

Friday, May 23, 2014

MAC Alluring Aquatic Extra Dimension Bronzer Review

Ever since Shrutilaya introduced me to the possibilities of bronzers for brown girls, I've kinda, sorta been obsessed. I love the subtle glow they can add, or the fact that I can amp up the drama with some serious contouring if I so desire.

Now, when I heard MAC were releasing bronzers in the Extra Dimension formula, I knew I had to have them. I love the Extra Dimension formula, and I love bronzers! So, a win-win, right?


I've already spoken about how adorable and beautiful the packaging is when I reviewed the blushes, so I'll skip it here. Suffice to say the bronzers are larger than the blushes, but have similar packaging.



The bronzers in this collection are:
- Aphrodite's Shell
- Delphic

(apologies for the differences in the photos below; the sun kept playing peek a boo all day, which affected the natural lighting at home)



Aphrodite's Shell is a slightly cool toned, medium brown bronzer with a satin sheen finish. The quality of this, unfortunately, wasn't as good as the blush. Added to the fact that it is just visible on my skin (barely so) means that I would not recommend this for anyone over NC35. If, however, you are looking for a bronzer that's more subtle, that adds a light glow to your face, then this might be the one for you. Fair skins will have no issues whatsoever with using this as a bronzer.

The pigmentation is great, and the powder is finely milled. It does take a little bit of work getting the payoff, though, because the surface seems to be harder than the product underneath. Using a stiffer brush for the first use will help, and subsequent applications become easier.

Application and blending is easily achieved, but as I mentioned previously, this is more for a subtle look than anything else. Frankly, I rather like it, and have been using it almost daily, especially on days when I want to look subtly sunkissed (as opposed to suntanned!),



Delphic is a medium rust-y brown bronzer with warm undertones. It has a satin sheen finish that does not emphasize pores, similar to the Aphrodite's Shell bronzer. The quality of this was better than Aphrodite's Shell, akin to the blushes. It was easier to achieve the payoff, and this is what I would consider a true bronzer. However, while it is suitable for medium to medium-deep skins, I fear that it would not be suitable for deep skintones.

The pigmentation is great, and it is easy to build up the intensity. There isn't any difficulty in loading up your brush with the product. Application and blending are easily done, and this is definitely for those wanting an "I've been out in the sun and look fabulous" look.

It can be used for contouring, but I would be wary of it, because of the strong warm undertones it has. If not used carefully, it could easily appear muddy on your face (as I found out the hard way!).

I rather like the soft, satin sheen it gives; there's no noticeable shimmer, and you don't resemble a disco ball once you go into the sun, but it just makes you look healthy and, well, alive.




I've worn these both on bare skin and over foundation. On bare skin, they last 5 hours on me with noticeable fading. Wearing these over foundation I get closer to 6.5 hours with fading. Definitely some of the longer-wearing bronzers I own. Normal and dry skins will see these wearing much longer.

To sum up - Aphrodite's Shell is more finicky than Delphic, and more suited for fairer skins. Delphic is easier to use, and more suitable for warmer skins. I'm not sure I would recommend either for contouring unless you're careful with application and blend well. I would also recommend Delphic if you're a brown girl. The finish is just lovely!

BGMM Rating: B- (Aphrodite's Shell)
                    A- (Delphic)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Review - Radiant Magenta

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes are an interesting concept - they combine a traditional blush with a traditional setting/finishing powder. I have previously reviewed Luminous Flush and Diffused Heat. Today I'll be reviewed the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta.



The Hourglass Ambient Blushes are housed in a gun metal colored, metallic packaging that, while looking absolutely lovely, is a magnet for fingerprints like none other. I had to wipe these down several times while photographing them because even the slightest adjustment would leave fingerprints all over.

They are very sturdy, and would be easy to travel with. However they do weigh a little bit on the heavy side for a typical blush, and so if you're trying to keep your travel kit light while having a variety, you might not be able to do that with these blushes. (I wouldn't travel with them because I'd be too terrified of having something happen to them!)


Radiant Magenta is a vibrant fuchsia pink with warm undertones. This shade is deeper than both Diffused Heat and Luminous Flush; in fact, I would consider it to be the brightest shade in the collection. It combines the blush with the Ambient Lighting Powder in Radiant Light. The blush is marbled, as a result of which no two blushes will look the same. In order to use the blush, one has to swirl a blush brush to combine the two shades.


The powder is finely milled, and soft an silky to the touch. It applies effortlessly, and is very easy to blend. It is on the pigmented side, so if you are fair, you might want to use a lighter touch. For medium to deep skintones, the color can be built up. The resulting blush, whatever intensity you choose, is very natural and looks like it comes from within your skin.

There isn't any glitter/sparkles, but the finish is a soft, satin-like sheen that gave the skin a glow. It did not emphasize pores, but it didn't do much to blur/hide them either.

On my oily skin, it lasted for a good 5 hours before fading away, which is definitely on the higher side. The shade was also more orange-coral than pink coral, and I would say that this is more on the warm-toned side. I imagine that the color it looks on your skin depends very much on what coloring you are and what undertones you have.



This is a great blush for all skin tones, Deeper skin tones can build this up, while lighter skins might want to use a more gentle touch or a less dense/duofibre/stippling brush.

This is another great blush for spring and summer. I can't describe the fresh, healthy flush it imparts. Of all the blushes I own, the Hourglass blushes are the ones that truly give me a very natural-looking flush.

BGMM Rating: A

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

MAC Alluring Aquatic Extra Dimension Blush Review

MAC Alluring Aquatic has been the biggest MAC release this year - the packaging being one of the most innovative I've seen so far!

I was lucky enough to get the blushes, and I'm glad for that. The Extra Dimension blushes are some of my favorite MAC blushes, and with good reason.


The packaging is extraordinary - a lovely, shiny aqua with little 'drops' of water - it really does fit in with the theme beautifully, and is gorgeous to look at. It reminds me of something that the citizens of Atlantis would use; maybe Ariel had these in her vanity!

Packaging is typical MAC plastic, fairly sturdy, but not something you can drop. It's probablt safe for travel, provided you store it well.



The blushes have very aqua-themed names too, something that I think is adorable. They have MAC embossed on the surface, and that will undoubtedly wear off after a few uses. It also has a wave-like print. The surface embossements are found on all Extra Dimension blushes, but I think the wave pattern works very well with this particular collection!

The blush shades in this collection are:
- Seduced At Sea
- Sea Me, Hear Me


Seduced At Sea is described as a mid-tone neutral plum, something I'm only mentioning because it confused the beejesus out of me. This is NOT plum. It has no plum in it at all. Look at it! What it is is a lovely medium burnt orange with hints of brown and pink. I'm averse to calling it coral, because it isn't really a coral. It has a lovely soft satin sheen finish that doesn't emphasize pores.

The powder is finely milled, and applies and blends quite effortlessly. It is quite pigmented, and lighter skins might want to go easy on application. Deeper skins can build up the color without too much work.

This is a great shade for deeper skintones, and is best worn without a bronzer, as it has a bit of a brown hint to it.


Sea Me, Hear Me is described as a beige pink. Seriously, MAC, whoever describes your blush shades isn't getting it right. Where is the beige? Yeesh. It's a mid-toned rosy pink with a tiny hint of plum. (Hey, maybe the people at MAC got the shades mixed up!). This also has a satin sheen finish that doesn't emphasize pores.

The powder is finely milled, and applies and blends quite effortlessly. It is quite pigmented, and lighter skins might want to go easy on application. Deeper skins can build up the color without too much work.

This is also a great blush for deeper skintones, and something that's appropriate for use all year round. I've used this with bronzer and it really does make a great combination.



I've worn these both on bare skin and over foundation. On bare skin, they last about 4 hours on me, which isn't bad at all. Over foundation, they last close to 6 hours with some fading. Those with normal to dry skins will see these lasting much longer.

Both the shades are great for warm toned people, and will work on a range of skins, from fair to deep. Personally, I wouldn't recommend Seduced At Sea to lighter skins with cool tones, because of the brown in it - I can see it looking rather muddy on them, unless you take the effort to really blend it out and maybe use a brighter shade on the apples of the cheeks. Sea Me, Hear Me is a more universal shade, and I can see this being worn by everybody.

BGMM Rating: A- (for both)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sneak Peek - MAC Alluring Aquatic Collection!

The MAC Alluring Aquatic Collection was released online on the 15th of this month, whereupon it sold out in 5 minutes flat (I wish I were making this up). I managed to snag most of what I wanted, with the exception of two lipsticks (Enchanted One and Mystical - they disappeared from my cart!) and one eyeshadow (Lorelei). Still, I'm fairly happy with what I have, and thought I'd put up some teaser photos.

I've been testing these over the weekend and I'll be putting out the reviews this week. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures!