Kiehl's Skin Tone Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream Review, Photos, Tutorial

The Kiehl's Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream with SPF 50, $37 USD, is my favorite BB. The formula is noncomedogenic! It is also free of parabens and silicones, which is perfect for those with sensitive skin. This is one of the dewiest BB Cream formulas I have ever encountered, but it smoothes out pores beautifully considering it does not contain any silicones. It is very hydrating so I do not use a separate moisturizer underneath. I, however, must set with a mattifying powder to ensure longer lasting results and a shine-free finish. This BB Cream is best fot those with normal to dry skin, and the SPF 50 is perfect for those that are serious about protecting the skin from aging and/or preventing acne scars from discoloring further. 

The one concern that some have is the natural scent of the product, though it is fragrance-free. This BB Cream has a faint Vitamin C scent that is not masked by any artificial citrus fragrance which is more commonplace today. I personally do not smell it unless I take a close whiff of the bottle and cannot smell it at all when it is applied, but I recommend smelling it for yourself at a counter if you have a sensitive nose.
The shade Light is a great match for my skin tone, considering the colors offered are a bit limited at four. It could have been a bit more yellow in tone, but the neutral color helps to brighten up the center of my face. FYI: The jump between Light and Medium is much more significant than the jump between Fair and Fair/Light. The illustration below shows swatches that are fairly true to color. I thought Medium might have been my match at first, but it is noticeably too deep and olive-toned against my neck.

Now check out this BB Cream in action!

Makeup Used/Worn
--Kiehl's BB Cream in Light [Available in Fair, Fair/Light, Light, Medium]
      Available at Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Ave, Neiman Marcus, and Bergdorf Goodman
--Le Metier de Beaute Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer in Shade 1 Light/Medium
--Cle de Peau Eyebrow Pencil in 204 with Pencil Holder
--Lancôme Translucence Mattifying Silky Pressed Powder in 300 Bisque 
--Dollywink Eyelashes in No. 1 Dolly Sweet
--Lancôme Hypnose Star Waterproof Mascara in Black
--Lancôme Summer 2013 Aquatic Essence Eyeshadow Palette
--Armani Summer 2013 Bronze All Over Face & Eye Palette
--Lancome Rouge in Love in Corail in Love 322M

--Deborah Lippmann Supermodel

--House of Harlow Sunburst Earrings in White 
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Lancôme Summer 2013 Color Design Palette in Aquatic Essence Review, Photos, Swatches

The Lancôme Color Design Palette in Aquatic Essence ($49.50 USD) is a quintessential selection of summer eyeshadows. The shades in this palette are vibrant yet wearable, and these six beauties create some of the most beautiful poolside looks. Aquatic Essence was launched several months ago but is officially sold out online. Call your local counters now to see if any are still in stock because this palette is positively worth the effort. Check out the swatches after the jump!


Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream Review, Photos, Video Application

Smashbox recently released the Camera Ready CC Cream, $42 USD, and it is by far the best base makeup product from the brand that I have ever used. I generally prefer Smashbox's powder makeup to the liquid and cream foundations because I have experienced major oxidation issues in the past. This CC Cream, however, is top notch. I love how easily and smoothly it blends and how lightweight it feels on the skin. It does oxidize, but only by half a shade darker (if that).

The SPF 30 is ideal for use during the day, especially if you are in a rush or tend to avoid sunscreen because of the greasiness. The formula is just moisturizing enough for my normal skin and keeps my T-zone free of shine. Those with very oily skin may have to blot mid-day, but this CC Cream is much better than any BB cream I have tried in terms of lasting power and oil control. Redness and pores are much less noticeable with the product on, but most importantly, it does not cake up. Do keep in mind if you have any dry patches, though, that this CC Cream will accentuate them.

Setting the Smashbox CC Cream is not a required step on normal skin like mine, since it is very natural in finish (never too matte or too dewy), but I had to manipulate the final color of the base makeup with the darker Halo powder because the CC Cream in Fair is obviously too pale on me. You can wear this CC Cream alone or with liquid foundation on top, but I wanted to to stay true to how I would actually wear this product in my day to day life. The video demonstrates how pale the Fair shade is on my light to medium yellow-toned skin, but it is also intended to show that life isn't over just because you purchased the wrong base makeup color! I enjoy the texture and wear of the Smashbox CC Cream enough to purchase my proper shade match, so I will update you in the upcoming weeks with how it looks on its own without powder to correct it.

The Smashbox CC Cream is more affordable than the Chanel's, which is $55. Both are lightweight and can be layered, but the Chanel CC has a higher silicone content. I reviewed the Chanel CC Cream HERE if you are interested in learning more about my favorite, but the Smashbox is slightly different in that its primary skin care claim is to reduce dark spots. As I stated in the video below, I have not used this consistently enough to determine how effectively the Smashbox CC Cream works on this level but others have seen results.

Bottom Line: Though Chanel's yellow-toned CC Cream is a better color match for the undertones of my complexion, I find that the wider shade range and more affordable price tag of the Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream give it a leg up on the competition.

Now watch the Smashbox CC Cream in action here!

Makeup Worn:
Smashbox CC Cream in Fair 
     -- Again, I should use Light or Light/Medium but I only had Fair to show, sorry!
    -- I normally use Light, but I used Light/Medium today to boost the color of the Fair CC Cream
Outerbeauty Pink Clay Konjac Sponge and Premium Makeup Sponge in Blue
Clè de Peau Eyebrow Pencil in 204 [Tutorial and Review HERE]
Le Metier de Beaute Peau Vierge Concealer in Light/Medium
Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Khaki
Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara in Black
Lancôme Artliner in Noir/Black
Tom Ford Lip Color in Spanish Pink
Velour Lashes in Lash in the City

Forever 21 [very old]

Lululemon No Limits [discontinued color]

Deborah Lippmann Supermodel
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The Best Makeup for Your Wedding Day -- Top 5 Bridal Beauty Picks

Wedding season is my favorite time of year. I love the aura of whimsy and romance that the bridal industry manages to reinvent seasons after season. After searching for color palettes on my favorite wedding photographer's blog and browsing some of the latest gown trends on DressFirst and The Knot, however, I was inspired to share a list of classic wedding makeup must-haves.
Photo Credit: Jasmine Star, Sephora, Neiman Marcus, Stylelist


Blush does a world of wonder for the bridal party since the stress of wedding planning can drain the color from the cheeks. Not only does blush brighten up the complexion, it makes any face light up with youth and happiness. These Tom Ford and NARS cheek colors are ideal for weddings since pigmented, long lasting color is required. I love Wicked (pictured left) and Flush by Tom Ford, $56, and Orgasm (pictured right) and Taj Mahal by NARS, $29.

Brow pencils give the most natural brow appearance and are the easiest to use. They also fit into a clutch easily, and my favorite two by Cle de Peau, $25 for cartridge and $35 for holder, and Anastasia, $21, come equipped with soft spoolies for a perfectly blended look. If the bride generally does not wear brow products, there will be a remarkable difference in the photos. Make sure not to focus only on the eyeshadow, for refined and polished brows will frame the eyes better and help bring the entire makeup look together.
Check out my Clé de Peau Eyebrow Tutorial HERE!

Happy tears usually make their appearance at most bridal functions, so waterproof mascara is essential. It is worth the extra effort even as a preventative measure. The Chanel Inimitable WP, $30, and Lancôme Hypnose Star WP, $28, formulas add volume with length and hold curl beautifully without resulting in smudging. I highly recommend eyelash extensions on the day of the wedding because it is a hassle to glue back on strip or individual false eyelashes that have lifted. Instead of regretting wonky eye photos, top lash extensions with waterproof mascara for a lush and fool-proof eye look!

To achieve the longest lasting makeup, start with the base. Both of the primers pictured above help foundation photograph flawlessly. The Hourglass No. 28 Serum primer, $65, is ideal for very dry to slightly dry skin because it nourishes and rejuvenates while evening out pores. On the other hand, the Smashbox Photo Finish Blend primer in Apricot, $38, is ideal for prepping and correcting pigmentation issues like sunspots and veins. It is best on normal to combination skin, so try Photo Finish Light on oily skin.

I highly recommend touching up with blotting sheets for the most beautiful photo results. Both of the blotting papers pictured above are dusted lightly with powder to help remove excess oil and sweat and refresh the complexion without disrupting makeup. Just press gently into the skin without wiping or pulling the sheet across the face. The Tachta Evening papers in black, $15, are all-natural leaflets sized perfectly for a clutch. The Shisiedo Pureness papers, $18.50, are better for oily skin since the product contains more powerful oil-absorbing ingredients.
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Giorgio Armani Flash Lacquer in Pink 519 Lip Gloss Review, Photos, Swatches

Earlier this year, Giorgio Armani premiered "the newest generation in lip gloss" with the gorgeous Flash Lacquers. This lip gloss formula is claimed to provide the highest reflection ever achieved, even after blotting the lips. Flash Lacquers' shape and shine technology apparently causes light to reflect off of every point of surface for a pure pop of color, but whatever the reason, this gloss shines like crystal. I splurged for a brighter shade than I normally would because it is free of shimmer. Check out the swatches of this richly pigmented, warm raspberry stunner after the jump!


Giorgio Armani BRONZE Summer 2013 Makeup Tutorial + Video Details

I love Giorgio Armani makeup. Their products are always top-notch in texture and performance, and though this Summer's collection was tiny, it packed a punch. I cannot wait to try more of the Flash Lacquers, since they are like less sticky and more fluid versions of my beloved Chanel Glossimers. 519 does not have any shimmer, so I will report once I am able to see if the shimmery editions cause any peeling. For now, do check out the makeup tutorial below to see the gorgeous Bronze palette in action and get it before it's gone!

Makeup Used:
Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation in 5.5
Jouer Matte Moisture Tint in Linen
Le Metier de Beaute Peau Vierge Concealer in Light/Medium
Koh Gen Do Triple Lighting Powder in OC-2
Cle de Peau Eyebrow Pencil in 204
By Terry Eye Primer in 02 Neutral
Giorgio Armani 'Bronze' Summer Palette for Face & Eyes [review and all swatches HERE]
     --Bobbi Brown Angled Eyeshadow and MAC 252 Large Shader Brushes, discontinued Chanel Powder Brush
Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Waterproof Pencil in Black
     --The pencil is labeled Smooth Silk WP but the website still refers to it as Eyes to Kill WP
Lancôme Hypnose Star Waterproof Mascara
Dollywink No. 1 Sweet Dolly False Eyelashes
Giorgio Armani Flash Lacquer Lipgloss in 519 [review and swatches HERE]

Flowered Top:
Yumi Kim Liz Silk Romper

Deborah Lippmann Supermodel

House of Harlow Sunburst Earrings in White

Kerastase Cristalliste Dual Sculpting Serum
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Ellis Faas Light in E303 and E304 Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Swatches

Ellis Faas is a makeup artist that has worked with some of the most world acclaimed fashion design houses such as Armani, Chanel, and Yves Saint Laurent. Her makeup line reflects her vast experiences with color and texture. I love her military inspired sleek and innovative pen packaging, which is striking on a vanity but truly practical for traveling. The twist mechanism provides more control than does a plain squeeze tube, but I found I had to turn it about two dozen times to dispense product with the first use. Thereafter, one to three twists dispenses just enough product for each eye. Light, however, is a different kind of eyeshadow for many reasons. Find out more and view the swatches after the jump!


Laura Mercier Fall 2013 Bewitched Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

Laura Mercier Fall 2013 Dark Spell collection boasts two repackaged Nail Lacquers. The new look is more sophisticated with added height and thinner glass. The addition of an outer shell to reveal the screw-top brush handle of the nail polish underneath mimics the likes of Chanel and Dior Le Vernis. I was quite fond of the chunkier bottle, but Fall is the perfect time to year to mix things up. 

Bewitched, a forest green, is the first of Laura Mercier's Dark Spell collection that I purchased ($18 USD). I reach for darker nail polishes most often in the Fall, so I know I will be wearing Bewitched often in the upcoming months. Check out more swatches and comparisons after the jump!


Giorgio Armani Summer 2013 'Bronze' Face & Eye Palette Review, Photos, Swatches, Comparisons

The Summer 2013 Face & Eye Palette by Armani ($88 USD), also called the Bronze All-Over Palette, is a double-decker product housed in an oval black compact with a nifty magnetic closure. Armani is forever chic, so it comes as no surprise that this palette managed to capture my heart. The beauty of the bronzer has caused plenty of palpitations since its launch a couple months ago, but product itself performs well. Check out the swatches and bronzer comparisons after the jump!


NEW IN: Makeup, Skincare , Fashion, and Fitness Haul

There is a little bit of something for everyone in this haul! Instead of focusing on just one category of product, I figured I would combine all the beauty and clothing items I've accumulated in the last month here. There is a brief fitness update with a couple new Lululemon pieces at the end for those who are as addicted as I am! As usual, these are mostly 'first impression' thoughts since I have yet to fully test all the makeup and skin care products. I will get to reviewing everything here on the blog or in upcoming Favorites episodes, so make sure to stay tuned.

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Koh Gen Do Giveaway HERE! The winner will be selected next week and KGD will ship the prize directly to the winner :)

Lululemon Track and Train Tank in Groovy Stripe
Lululemon Run Inspire Crop II in Black/Frangipani Green

Makeup Worn:
Dior Airflash CC Primer and Airflash Foundation in 300
Smashbox Halo Powder in Fair
Illamasqua Blush in Katie
Bobbi Brown Bronzer in Natural
Hourglass Arch Brow Pencil in Soft Brunette
Dior Eyeshadow Palette in Bonne Etoile
Le Metier Precision Liquid Eyliner
Velour Lashes in Doll Me Up
Lancome Intense Fuchsia Lipstick
Chanel Glossimer in Jupiter [old]

DailyLook [see video]

Dior Fall 2013 Destin 
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Chanel Fall 2013 Le Vernis in Alchimie 591 Nail Polish Review, Photos, Swatches

Chanel has never failed to innovate green, but khaki green is back in a shimmery new way this Fall. I reviewed the Khaki Précieux Waterproof Eyeliner last week, and today I present Alchimie ($27 USD). This stunning mossy green with ultra smooth and rich sparkle is pretty yet office appropriate. The hint of gold prevents it from aging my tan hands. The other two nail polish offerings in the Fall 2013 collection -- Mysterious and Elixir -- did not strike me as special so Alchimie was the only one that came home with me. Check out all the details and comparison swatches after the jump!


Tom Ford Eye Brush Guide -- Eye Shadow, Shadow/Concealer, Contour, Blend, Smoky Brushes Review, Photos, Comparisons

Tom Ford Beauty is undeniably one of my favorite brands. I have most recently fallen head over heels for his brush range, so I will be reviewing 5 out of 6 total eye brushes today. The missing brush is the Eyeliner and Definer, which I hope to review at a later date. The weight distribution on these brushes is quite even, so they feel perfectly balanced and steady in the hand. See the individual details for each brush as well as photos with comparisons after the jump!



Left to Right: Triple Lighting Powder, Aqua Liquid Foundation, Spa Water Cleansing Cloths
I was introduced to Koh Gen Do by Sabrina of The Beauty Look Book a couple years ago. On my visit to New York shortly thereafter, I made it a point to stop by the Koh Gen Do counter. I have tried much of their makeup and skin care since then, so I will share with you the three products that I feel are the best of Koh Gen Do.

I discovered last year that all the cleansing wipes I had been using were breaking out my skin. I resorted to Bioderma Sensibio H20 and Koh Gen Do Spa Water cleaning waters, but my skin has become even more sensitive recently. The once-effective Bioderma causes painful acne. I can no longer leave the product on my skin, so I reserve it only to remove light eye makeup. This is where the Koh Gen Do Spa cleansing cloths come in.. they do not cause my skin to react. The cotton cloths are dense but smooth, and the cleansing water leaves my skin feeling hydrated and supple. These 10-cloth packs are ideal for travel as well as pre- and post-workout sessions.

The Aqua Foundation SPF of 15++ is a high definition, smooth finish foundation with lasting medium coverage. It might have been the first, but it is still one of the best Koh Gen Do products I own because of its consistent performance. This base makeup manages to brighten to complexion and reduce the look of hyper-pigmentation but does not feel heavy. It is fragrance free and ideal for those with sensitive skin, but it does oxidize to one shade up. I highly recommend wearing a primer before applying this foundation with your fingertips. The finish leans more dewy, so I always set with powder though that is personal preference. I own this in OC-2 and wear it exclusively when I am most tan. I require OC-1 to mix for a perfect match during the majority of the year when I am fairer.

The Triple Lighting Foundation SPF of 22++ is a versatile powder with light to medium coverage. This is the most supremely natural powder foundation I have ever encountered. It does appear more satin matte in the first hour of wear, but it warms up and looks like real skin. Apparently, that is due to the moisturizing treatment that penetrates the top layer of the skin. This makes it ideal for dry to combination skin types. It does not oxidize in color and does not cake when touched up or fade in patches throughout the day. With a hint of concealer on dark spots, the complexion is made flawless. I like to wear it alone as a powder foundation, but I use it as a setting powder when filming. The color OC-2 is the perfect match for my summer tan. I do have to blot my nose after 5 hours of wear, but that is a quick fix.
Note: This product has a low shimmer content, but it is virtually undetectable when worn on the skin.

Though Koh Gen Do products may have been created for film, they are perfect for everyday wear since they are able to minimize pores and imperfections.

Now for a giveaway! Koh Gen Do has generously offered to provide an Oriental Plants Trial Set to one lucky reader. 

This trial size collection of the Oriental Plants skincare series contains five colors of the 36 different types of Asian Botanicals. Awaken the five natural forces that lie within the skin and help counteract environmental stress that leads to again. Experience our products for the first time or use it as a travel kit. (Size: 6.4"l x 4.24"w x 0.24"h)

-- Oriental Plants Cleansing Cream 
-- Oriental Plants Clean Foam
-- Oriental Plants Soap
-- Oriental Plants Essence
-- Oriental Plants Skin Lotion
-- Whipping Net (Mini)

I generally use Refresh or Macro Vintage KGD skin care, so this was my first experience with the Oriental Plants range. Below are my thoughts on the prize contents. 

The black case is stunning. It is reusable and ideal for traveling. The red wax paper held all the products neatly together to give the trial set a very luxurious feel.

This was my first experience with traditional Koh Gen Do cleansers. The Cleansing Cream is intended for makeup removal, the first step in your night time routine. The Clean Foam can be used morning or night and leaves the most squeaky clean finish of the three, so I recommend following up the Cleansing Cream with the Clean Foam. I really love the Soap! I did not expect to, since most facial soaps dry out the skin excessively, but it left my skin feeling balanced and smooth to the touch. I use it as instructed, in the morning, but it can also be used after the Clean Foam. The Whipping Net above is used to create a foam with the Soap, which is then applied and left on the face for several seconds to help remove more deeply set impurities. I personally just run the soap under a bit of lukewarm water since it lathers well enough on its own. 

The Essence, Skin Lotion, and Emollient Cream can all be used day or night. The Essence is a rich transparent serum is the prep step after cleansing that supports the moisture of the skin. This is ideal for dehydrated or dry skin, and it dries down beautifully. The Skin Lotion helps to retain more moisture to help the skin look clear and supple. And last but not least, the Emollient Cream is a light moisturizing cream that protects the ski with a rich and nourishing veil. 

My favorites from this Trial Set are the Soap (I swear I was not swayed by the corresponding soap holder, which is the most sculpturally stunning one ever made) and the Essence. Check out the full size products in the carousel below!


Finally, I present the GIVEAWAY! The winner will be announced here on the blog after ten days, and Koh Gen Do will ship your prize directly to you. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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