September 2014 Favorites [Hits & Misses] feat. Gucci, Charlotte Tilbury, Louboutin, Tom Ford, etc.

September has been a whirlwind of a month! I visited London for the very first time, and I was so busy testing new product launches that I barely had time to reach for old faithfuls. I know lots of you have been curious about Charlotte Tilbury and Gucci, so I focused heavily on those two brands, but I also wanted to include new skin care goodies and updates on recently launched foundations. I know it's a bit of information overload, so I threw in a health and wellness tidbit with my new food obsession — juicing! I have been trying to lose weight slowly and efficiently without sacrificing my sanity, which is why I am loving Pressed Juicery. Last but not least, we can't forget my favorite new nail polishes from Christian Louboutin! I'll be placing an order for more soon, so you can expect swatches in October xo

Products Reviewed:
Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palettes in The Sophisticate + The Dolce Vita
Charlotte Tilbury Brow Lift Pencil in Cara D
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in High Society
Gucci Vibrant Lip Lacquer in Exposure
Gucci Moisture-Rich Lipstick in Exposure
Gucci Moisture-Rich Lipstick in Cipria [nude]
Gucci Luxe Finishing Powder in O20
Gucci Shadow Mono in Iconic Copper
Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide [Tutorial HERE]
Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation
Pressed Juicery Juice Cleanses + Juices
Louboutin Nail Colors in Lova and Batignolles

Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation
Gucci Luxe Finishing Powder in O20
Burberry Effortless Brow Pencil in Ash Brown
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow
EM Michelle Phan Scribble Eyeliner in Tattoo Black
Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara
Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palettes in The Sophisticate and The Dolce Vita
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in High Society
Velour Lashes in Extra Oomph
*Use code RAEVELOUR to get 15% OFF!


Nail Polish:
Gucci Siam Red
Gucci Rosette

Jacket and Tee:
Lululemon Athletica

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Gucci Beauty | First Impressions: Bronzer, Powder, Eyeshadow Mono, Lipstick + Lip Gloss Review

Most of my Gucci Beauty order arrived the other day, so I wanted to share my first impressions with you! I ordered via the Gucci site, but I recommend pre-ordering from Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue due to their superior return policies. Gucci only allows returns that are brand new (meaning unopened and in plastic wrapping), meaning that you cannot try or swatch and return. Usually, that would not bother me whatsoever, but considering my experience with some of my order, I will definitely order Gucci products from only Neiman Marcus or Saks moving forward.

The linen paper packaging reminds me of Giorgio Armani's, though the gilded gold lettering on the Gucci boxes has a more luxurious feel. I'm not a fan of the excessive brand labeling and monogramming — since I personally prefer more subtle packaging — but I do think the overall design is in tune with Gucci's designs, target demographic, and buyer preferences.

Let's start with the bad. I was most excited for the lipsticks and the lip gloss, but I was most disappointed by them. The Vibrant Demi-Glaze Lip Lacquer is the worst of my haul. I expected full-pigment color based on the description, but the product has a very sheer, watery formula. The signature 'Blue Chocolate' scent and taste are VILE. Yes, it is so incredibly awful that I had to use the caps lock. I have a terrible sense of smell from having endured a long bout of bronchopneumonia as a child, but I could smell this lip gloss on my lips for a couple hours after removal. I tried my best to leave it on for as long as possible to see if the scent would dissipate, but I could only bear it for a total of 15 minutes. The taste was almost worse than the scent. It felt as though I was drinking a very bad vanilla-based perfume.

The lipsticks are a little more tolerable since the fragrance is not as overpowering, but the taste is unacceptable. The Moisture-Rich formula itself is well executed (creamy and smoothing with moderate coverage), but what a pity.. as such, I will definitely not be ordering any Color-Rich lipsticks.

The bronzer and powder foundation are quite nice. I cannot say that either was a life-changing experience or love at first swipe, but I have only tried them once thus far. The Finishing Powder (pictured above) is more mattifying than I had anticipated, but it should perform well on oily skin. The half-moon brushes included in both powder and bronzer compacts is lovely. The dyed bristles are actually soft, and I would recommend using the brushes for touch-ups. The Golden Glow Bronzer is smooth but not quite as silky as the description boasted, though I love that Carribean Ochre (the lightest of four shades offered) is shimmer-free. I do think it is an affordable alternative to Tom Ford's bronzer, one of my Holy Grail favorites. The best of my haul is undoubtedly the Shadow Mono in Iconic Copper, which is one of the impressive 19 shade lineup. I love the shimmery, slightly metallic finish. It is creamy, semi-sheer yet easily buildable, and wears well on my normal lids even without a primer. I will definitely be ordering several more of these single eyeshadows!

I also ordered a couple Nail Lacquers, but they had to be shipped via ground and will arrive Friday. I will purchase more single eyeshadows as well as duos, so please stay tuned for additional details and swatches. I did not order the Lustrous Glow Foundation since I have been testing one too many liquid foundations recently, but I will do my best to try it sometime this Fall.

NOTE: Please do not remove my watermark and/or repost these copyrighted photos without
my permission. Be respectful of my time and effort in sharing these products. Many thanks.
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Equitance Hydrating Brightening Cream Review, Photos + Giveaway

The Equitance Hydrating Brightening Cream ($70 USD, 1.4 fl. oz.) is lightweight yet luxurious cream that keeps my skin soft and supple. I adore the subtlety of the fresh scent, and though I can use it day or night, I prefer to use this at night. The rich texture nourishes my skin without clogging my pores, so I layer it over my other Equitance Brightening products like the toning lotion and serum.

The formula contains patented technology that delivery a blend of brightening ingredients to the skin including Linoleic acid, a natural ingredient extracted from safflower seed oil that has a significant brightening effect. This cream also truly hydrates my skin. As I age, I notice that a basic moisturizer isn't enough. My skin dries out more and more easily, so I am always on the hunt for ultra-light yet luxurious and rich creams to keep my skin comfortable and plump. The Equitance Hydrating Brightening Cream is one of the best I have tried, and it is clinically proven to diminish the appearance of dark spots, so give this multi-tasker a try! 

My favorite Equitance Brightening products are the unique cleanser and toning lotion, with the cream rounding out my Top 3. As much as I enjoy the serum, I think the Hydrating Brightening Cream is just perfect as an evening cream during the hot summer season (plus warm fall for us here in S. California). The bonus is that it truly does make my skin look more even-toned and radiant!

Bottom Line: If you're on the market for a new moisturizer, give the lightweight and efficacious Equitance Hydrating Brightening Cream a try!

If you have a few extra minutes to spare, learn more about the complete Equitance Brightening range in this interview I did with the lovely Dr. Chiu of The Derm Institute. Also, if enter for your chance to win 1 of 10 Equitance Trial Sets. Enjoy! xo

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide Foundation Review, Photos, Complete Look

Display at Nordstrom
Laura Mercier is one of the very first makeup brands I ever experimented with as a teenager, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. The variety of primers and the color range of the famed Tinted Moisturizers have always impressed me, especially because they perform consistently. Though I have been a huge fan of her Silk Creme foundation for years, we will be discussing the new Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide Foundation today!

I discovered that the Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide foundation, a bi-phase serum texture formula, performs best when layered over the Radiance Primer and Tinted Moisturizer. I loved the Laura Mercier Radiance primer since it was first introduced. Of all the foundation primers I have tried since my skin transitioned from oily/combination to normal/dry, the Radiance still reigns supreme. It keeps my skin hydrated and actually makes a difference in the wear time of my foundations. The Tinted Moisturizer is lovely on low-maintenance days since it evens out my redness. Until recently, I never really reached for tinted moisturizers, but I adore Bisque because it is the perfect color match. The triple combination of the Radiance primer, Tinted Moisturizer, and Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide is ideal for those with normal to dry skin. The foundation looks so natural yet covers so well!

My ideal shade match in the Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide is Cashew, but I used Ivory for this review. I love that it blends into the skin easily and only oxidizes slightly during wear. With a slightly deeper powder — Laura Mercier's Mineral Powder in Real Sand — and some well-placed Mineral Bronzer, I was able to adjust the lighter color match to suit my complexion. This is easily achievable with lighter foundations (about one shade down from the natural skin tone), but the same does not apply to darker foundations.

Please watch my video below for all other details regarding the Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide foundation! It includes an application demo at 4:19 for those interested.

Since we cannot overlook color entirely, I wanted to share my new favorite Lip Glacé in Orchid. It is moisturizing but not obnoxiously shiny, making it a universally pleasing formula. I own several in my standard day-appropriate nude, pink, and peach ranges, but I decided to show you something different today. Orchid is a flattering berry with the perfect balance of red and purple. Vampy lips are all the rage again but this berry is wearable yet makes a statement. I highly recommend it!

Last but not least, the Caviar Stick Eye Colours are a perennial favorite of mine. They're the kind of eyeshadows you swipe on and blend out with a fingertip. I have been wearing rose gold alone or as an eyeshadow base. The cream formula really helps powders adhere for full coverage and all-day wear, but it is also feels luxuriously luminous and creates a dewy eye look that stays put! I wore them alone to show off the unique finish in my video above.


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Many thanks to Laura Mercier for sponsoring this review!


Sisley Phyto-Teint Expert Foundation Review, Photos + Giveaway

Sisley skin care and makeup is ultra luxe, but the new Phyto-Teint Expert redefines all expectations of a luxury foundation. This new skin care formula delivers on all fronts. I have not been so thoroughly impressed by a liquid-to-powder foundation before! This all-day long, flawless formula enhances the surface of my skin and provides a smoother, more even-toned complexion. Find out more after the jump!

Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate Review and Photos

Shiseido's new Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate is a one-of-a-kind, boosting, power-infusing face concentrate for youthful looking skin. In case you haven't heard, skincare boosters are the new generation of 'must-have' products because they supercharge your skin. Ultimune takes it one step further with a new preventative approach to skincare by focusing on immunity. 

With Ultimune, Shiseido embraces an Eastern holistic philosophy that aims to unleash the skin's potential power to become beautiful with a unique botanical cocktail. Gingko biloba leaf extract, perilla, and wild thyme, which are known for their strong anti-bacterical properties, will help maintain a healthy-looking skin surface. Ultimune is intended to resist, protect, restore, and strengthen, leaving skin feeling silky and nourished. The treatment enhances the skin's essential multi-defensive power against visible signs of aging, environmental factors, and daily stress.

Best of all, Ultimune is designed for all skin types and age groups, regardless of skin concerns. It can be introduced into any skin care regimen and will boost the performance and benefits of any serums and moisturizers that follow. I remove my makeup with a cleansing oil, wash my face with a liquid or cream cleanser, and then apply the Ultimune after toner. The consistency is light, so it absorbs quickly and does not leave any residue or glitter on the skin. 

After a couple weeks of use, my skin's texture was smoother and more consistently moisturized. I suffer from dry patches around my nose and near my eyes, and I can positively say Ultimune did help treat them. My skin looked clearer and more even toned as well, with my pores looking smaller than ever! I do not have wrinkles, but I do find that my skin feels more resilient. Also worth mentioning is that the scent is subtle — perfect for those with sensitive noses!

Shiseido claims that immunity is your skin's ultimate defense against damage. I always preach prevention, so this new Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate is a great place to begin or amp up your skin care journey. Never forget the sunscreen and unleash the #beautyinyou with Ultimune! Apply both day and night for best results.

Bottom Line: Not only will Shiseido's Ultimune enhance your skin's immunity and shrink the appearance of your pores, but it will also give you a boost of confidence!
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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Shiseido through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select.
While I was compensated to write a post about Shisiedo, all opinions are my own.


London Travel Photo Diary, Vlog + Haul [Burberry, SUQQU, Chanel, Dior, and more]

London is now officially my favorite travel destination. I love the architecture more than words can convey, and there is just so much history to explore! I spent the bulk of my 'tourist' time at Westminster Abbey, which was breathtakingly beautiful. We even got some very sneaky albeit shaky footage of the interior! Unfortunately, I do not have a vlogging camera, but I will look into purchasing one soon because lugging around my DSLR was pretty painful. For that reason alone, I was not able to capture as much footage of the city as I had hoped. That is why in addition to the vlog, I decided to create and share this London Photo Diary! 

The highlight of my trip was the Burberry runway experience. I finally got to meet and watch the incredibly down-to-earth, talented Wendy Rowe in action.. twice! At the Spring Summer 2015 Beauty Look Preview, she walked us through the new products. I am absolutely loving the Effortless Brow Pencil and Fresh Glow Powder Foundation, both which will likely launch in America in a few months or so. 

The 'Birds and The Bees' runway show was magical, with live music by James Bay. I was lucky enough to go backstage, so make sure to watch the vlog (at the end of this post) to see clips of Wendy Rowe and the gorgeous models!

The marvelous views in London took my breath away. I wish I could have taken better photos, but I hope these iPhone snaps will suffice! I plan to take a few days to visit more sites like Buckingham Palace next time. We passed the Trafalgar Square a couple times, but I alway seemed to miss my photo opportunities. I was so impressed by its grandeur! 

Now for the food journal.. many of you know how much I love to eat. First up is Amorino! Rose-sculpted gelato on a cone. Need I say more? Next up is Balthazar, where I had the yummiest escargot and seafood pasta! Definitely visit this romantic brasserie for dinner. Then we have Petrus. Have I ever mentioned how much I love Gordon Ramsay? My London trip was planned last-minute, so I was unable to book Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Petrus, however, was a pleasant surprise! Each course was plated to perfection, and every element was as tasty as it looked! Hawksmoor is another lovely restaurant you should visit when traveling to London, especially if you love steak.

All the buses stopped for a mile!
I am already planning another trip to London in 2015 — most likely for my birthday — and will do my best to shoot the entire adventure. Vlogging outdoors in front of strangers makes me feel awkward and super self-conscious, but I will try to walk/talk you through my days! Please let me know if you'd like to see more of these vlogs!

SUQQU Eyebrow Liquid Pen in Moss Green
Chanel Vitalumière Loose Powder Foundation
Shu Uemura Farfallina Flared Lashes
Dior Eyeshadow Palettes in Cuir Cannage, Versailles & Jardin
Burberry Runway Nail Collection in Blues
Burberry Runway Nail Collection in Pinks
Isabel Marant Bekett Wedges in Black 36
Ash Jude Booties in Black/Indigo 36
Chanel Flap Wallet in Black Caviar/Gold Hardware
Wittard Green Tea Taster Set
Wittard Milk Oolong Loose Tea

Nail Polish:
Burberry SS 2015 in Coral Red

Hot Tools Curling Iron in 1.5" (White)

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