Category Archives: Highlighter

NARS Olympia Contour Blush Review & Swatches

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NARS Olympia Contour Blush

NARS Olympia Contour Blush

Good morning! I saw this morning that NARS has released information about their new Contour blushes. There are three shades, and each retails for $42; they’re currently available for pre-order at Nordstrom. Here’s a little collage of the shades so you can see them side by side (images from Nordstrom).

NARS contour blush

click to enlarge

I was lucky enough to recieve Olympia at The Makeup Show – I’ve actually been waiting to hear more about the product before posting this – and have swatches and a review for you today! Continue reading

Essence Beauty Beats (Justin Bieber) Collection Blush & Highlighter Review, Swatches

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Essence Beauty Beats collection

Essence releases a ton of collections is some countries, but just a few in the the US. They recently released a Justin Bieber themed collection called Beauty Beats. I am not a Bieber fan (Baby is catchy, I guess? I can’t name any of his other songs), but I am an Essence fan, so I bought three items – the blush, highlighter, and one of the glosses. Unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced the gloss in my recent move, so I don’t have swatches of it today. It’s pretty much clear with sparkles, though – not the most exciting thing to swatch, though it looks great (and green!) in the tube. I do have this picture from my Instagram which includes the gloss.

The blush is named Groupie at Heart, and is a gorgeous watermelon pink. It is imprinted with the word boyfriend – I have absolutely no idea why – and it blends easily, but does kick up some powder.  It has a really lovely almost-satin finish – it’s basically matte, but not a flat matte. I would highly recommend this if you can find it – and at around $3, it’s a total steal.

Essence Beauty Beats 2-2

Essence Groupie At Heart

Essence Beauty Beats Groupie At Heart blush swatch

Essence Groupie At Heart: unblended // blended

The highlighter is named Swaaag and imprinted with the word swag. Again, no idea why.  I was very excited about it because it looks gorgeous in the pan, but I was disappointed to find out that it has large flecks of glitter in it. If it didn’t have the glitter, it would be great – the texture is nice and I like the soft shimmer – but as is, I don’t find it useable as a highlighter for me.

Essence Beauty Beats 2

Essence Swaag

Essence Beauty Beats Swaaag highlighter swatch

Essence Swaaag in natural light: unblended // blended

Essence Beauty Beats Swaaag highlighter swatch-2

Essence Swaaag with blur to show sparkle: unblended // blended

In my region of the US., Essence is only available at Ulta. I am jealous of those of you who have access to more of Essence’s collections!

Revlon Bare Light Skinlights Review, Swatches, Comparison

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Revlon Skinlights Review

Revlon recently re-released their discontinued popular liquid highlighter / illuminator from the early 2000s, Skinlights, as part of the Photoready line.  There are four shades available – Bare Light (golden), Pink Light (pale pink; there was a tester of this one in the display), Peach Light, and Bronze Light.

The Photoready Skinlights are a thin, easily blendable liquid. The packaging is works fairly well – a squeeze tube means it’s easy to dispense just a little. I recommend putting a drop on the back of your hand and working from there.

It’s a bit difficult to photograph highlighters; hopefully these photos will give you an idea of the texture and type of shimmer.   Continue reading

Essence Cherry Blossom Girl Blush – Swatch of the Day

Giveaway Prize
Essence Cherry Blossom Girl Blush, Lashes

Essence Cherry Blossom Girl Blush, Lashes


I really love the brand Essence – it surprised me when I just checked and realized I’ve only reviewed a few products from the brand! I have about 20 Essence nail polishes (so easy when they’re so inexpensive), and several makeup items yet-unreviewed.  But, one thing that I don’t like about Essence is how hard it is for me to obtain their products! Ulta has some items, and gets some limited edition products, but only a tiny fraction of what other countries get.  And, this is all a long-winded way of tell you all how very excited I was to win Liz the Beauty Reductionista‘s giveaway of two limited edition Essence items from the Cherry Blossom Girl collection! I haven’t tried the paper lashes yet – what does one wear them to? – but I have swatches of the blush for you! Continue reading

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Review, Swatches, Photos

hourglass ambient light powders - diffused light, mood light

Diffused Light, Mood Light

It’s not like me to buy high end makeup without waiting for reviews first, but the early murmurings I heard about Hourglass’s new Ambient Lighting Powders was all positive, so I decided to take the plunge! Please note that these powders just arrived in the mail today, so this post is swatches and first impressions – if my thoughts on the powders change significantly, I’ll either update this post or write up a new one.

Update! After swatching all the powders, I bought Dim Light, which is by far my favorite. Review of that one is here.

The Hourglass Ambient lighting powders come in six shades (photos from / text from / not quite symmetrical collage by yours truly):

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders

I couldn’t decide between Mood Light (lavender) & Diffused Light (yellow), so I purchased both. Hourglass also has a new brush specifically for the Ambient Lighting Powders, but since I have a variety of brushes of different materials, sizes, shapes, and densities, I decided to just go with what I have for now.

Hourglass Ambient Light Powders - Packaging

The Ambient Lighting powders are packaged in a very reflective plastic compact that does (unfortunately) hold fingerprints.   It’s a fairly solid feeling compact, and I like the aesthetics of it.

Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Diffused Light

Diffused Light is, as described, a pale yellow.  Applied heavily, it’s a very pale yellow-white that is difficult to see on my skin – blending it out makes the color, though not the shimmer, virtually invisible on me. Diffused Light does have visible flecks of shimmer in sunlight. However, it was very difficult to photograph – you’ll have to look quite closely to see anything at all!

Hourglass Diffused Light Swatch

Diffused Light – heavy swatch, blended swatch (in natural light)

Hourglass Diffused Light Swatch

Diffused Light – heavy swatch, blended swatch (in full sun)

Hourglass Mood Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Mood Light

Mood Light is described as a lavender-pink, but I see more of a pink-brown color; I don’t really see the lavender in the pan. I cannot see visible flecks of shimmer in Mood Light – just a sheen.  Well actually, if I get about an inch away in full sunlight, I can maybe detect little flecks of shimmer, but maybe not – but does anyone really examine your face that closely?

Mood Light is easier to see when applied heavily on my skin, and also visible when semi-blended (when fully blended out, it is not intended to have visible color; no one has a lavender face).

Hourglass Mood Light Swatch

Mood Light – heavy swatch, blended swatch (in natural light)

Hourglass Mood Light Swatch

Mood Light – heavy swatch, blended swatch (in full sun)

I also tried each powder on my face.  In the “before” photo, I’m wearing foundation and powder, as well as other makeup – but no face makeup with any hint of shimmer. In the “after” photo, I’ve applied the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder with a clean fluffy brush (I used the ELF Complexion brush, because I have two of them and both were clean). I did remove my makeup and reapply between the photos. I did no retouching of these photos at all.

Wearing Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder - Diffused Light

Before / After – Diffused Light

Wearing Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder - Mood Light

Before / After – Mood Light

I see a difference with each powder, but Mood Light seems to do a better job of softening imperfections and generally improving the look of my skin. Do you see a difference between no powder, Diffused Light, and Mood Light? I’m curious to hear your thoughts!

Overall, I’m really excited about these powders, and I think I prefer Mood Light thus far – it seems to do a better job overall, and it doesn’t have the visible flecks of shimmer that Diffused Light has.  Once the Sephora stores near me have all the shades in stock, I’m definitely going to go swatch all of the shades!

If you’re interested in the other shades, reviews are starting to pop up:
The Beauty Sample has a review & swatches of Radient Light.
The Non-Blonde has a review & swatches of Radient Light.
Beauty Reflections has a review & swatches of Dim Light.
Makeup & Beauty Blog has a review & swatches of Dim Light, Luminous Light, & Radient Light.

And again, my review of Dim Light is here.

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