Benefit Cosmetics Boi-ing Concealer in #5: The Rundown

Concealer is a beauty product I discovered was indispensable for ‘erasing’ my sleep-deprived caused dark circles under my eyes from too many all-nighters as an Engineering student in college. It’s also been a godsend for covering my acne scars and any evidence of late night partying.  So as soon as I got word from The Muse that her highly-recommedned Boi-ing concealer from Benefit Cosmetics was being produced in darker shades, I was on it in picoseconds. Obviously other gals had gotten wind of this because I had to go to two Sephoras and three Ultas before I finally found one to take home with me.

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Benefit’s Boi-ing Concealer in Shade #5

Benefit Cosmetics has released three new shades of their Boi-ing Concealer in #3, #4 and #5. #3 is a medium neutral, #4 a medium-deep with yellow undertones and #5 a medium-dark with red undertones. Their pitch wording on the product reads as follows:

“You name it, boi-ing hides it! This industrial-strength concealer camouflages dark circles, shadows and discoloration for a seamless, natural-looking finish without creasing or fading. it’s the concealer that goes the distance.”

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Yeah, this is as dark as it gets for now.

Weighing in at a hefty 3.0 grams (0.1 ounces), it comes in a black screw-top shallow plastic pot encased in a paper ‘peep’ box. The cream is slightly stiff to the initial swipe of a finger, but warms to your body heat and spreads nicely when using your finger. If you use a concealer brush the stiffness takes a bit longer to go away as the product warms to your skin. I noticed no product ‘drag’ as I do with my MAC Studio Finish concealer but it wasn’t as smooth going on as my NARS concealer. Unfortunately this product did crease on me (and perhaps because I have very oily skin) and I had to use a little bit of MUFE HD translucent powder to set it and discourage any further creasing. The pigmentation is very good and I was able to cover my light acne scars as well as I have been with my MAC Studio Finish concealer or my MUFE Full Coverage concealer. It is a shade lighter than my MAC Studio Finish concealer and about two shades lighter than my NARS concealer.

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Benefit’s Boi-ing Concealer swatch in #5 (deep) no flash/HDR
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Benefit’s Boi-ing Concealer in #5 (deep).

One of my biggest peeves with Benefit is that their concealers did not come in darker shades for beauties of color. It seems they’ve finally listened to this market. I am dissappointed that there wasn’t a deep color with yellow undertones and a darker espresso-like color for deeper undertones. #4 color is best suited for those NC42 and under while #5 for NW 45 and under. My second pet-peeve is this product contains mineral oil (paraffinum liquidium). While not the first ingredient, if you have sensitive skin and want to try this, I highly suggest purchasing from a retail establishment that takes returns like Sephora or Ulta. I have sensitive skin and haven’t had a reaction to this product so far after almost two weeks of use but I took a chance. Overall I am pleased with this concealer but it is only because Benefit made one that fits my skintone. Were I an NW45 – 47 this may work best as a color corrector rather than a concealer.

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There’s Mineral Oil in this?!? Why?!?

An interesting point to note is this product is made in France, not the US. I find French-made cosmetics to be of very high quality so I believe that has a lot to do with the very nice performance of this product. Benefit’s Boi-ing concealer retails for $19 USD and is available at Sephora, Ulta and other upscale retailers.

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Benefit’s Boi-ing Concealer in #5 (deep)
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Clockwise: Benefit’s Boi-ing concealer in #5 (deep), no flash, no flash/HDR
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Preview: Guerlain by Emilio Pucci [Summer 2012]

I love Guerlain.  And I love Pucci.  Put them both together and it rockets right to the top of my Summer 2102 beauty shopping list.

Natalia Vodianova--the face of Guerlain looking gorgeous for the Emilio Pucci Summer 2012 collection (Source; British Beauty Blogger)

Les Meteorites Pearls D'Azur tricked out with the Pucci art on the tin for Summer 2012 (Source: British Beauty Blogger)

Terra Azzura blush/bronzer with Emilio Pucci motif--amazing! (Source: British Beauty Blogger)

There are eleven (11) pieces in this special collection.  According to ChicProfile.com, here’s a breakdown of what’s included:

Terra Azzura Bronzing Powder & Blush

Formed with the iconic Emilio Pucci logo, it has separate bronzer, blush and possible highlighter strips that when all used together provides a bronzy blush glow to the skin.  I’m a fan of the Terracotta bronzer so I’ll more than likely pass on this.

Meteorites Perles d’Azur

The world-famous meteorites highlighters that are more than worthy of their reputation.  I own the Cruel Gardenia highlighter and the color is amazing on dark skin.  If you’ve ever wondered if this would work for you definitely give it a try!

Terra Azzura Brush 

This is in pretty Pucci print case!  More than likely I’ll get it because it’s Pucci, my mom wore Pucci in the late 70’s so I’m programmed to want it.

Ecrin 4 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette

  • #13 Capri (consists of a cream, pink, coral and brown shades)

Mascara Le 2 de Guerlain by Emilio Pucci

  • Indigo (dark indigo blue mascara)

Terracota Khol Kajal

I first saw this last year in the Guerlain boutique at the France Pavillion in EPCOT center in Disney World.  The creamy smoothness of how this applied to my eye and the pigmentation really impressed me. Turns out this product had been out of the Guerlain product line for several decades but was being reintroduced to consumers.  It is offered regularly in a dark black but for this collection it comes in a beautiful cobalt blue.  Definitely picking this up.

Terracotta Kohl Kajal (source: ATime4Beauty)

Terra Azzura Vernis

I don’t remember Guerlain ever having nail polish before so this is a first.

  • #01 Paradisio (coral pink with a dazzling brilliant finish)
  • #02 Riviera (electric blue indigo with a metallic finish)

Terra Azzura Gloss

  • #10 Porto Fino (Coral pink)
  • #11 Porto Ercole (Chocolate)
  • #12 Porto Azzuro (Indigo blue)

The international release date is scheduled for  3 June 2012.  In North America (more specifically the United States) It is possible that it could be released earlier by online retailers such as Nordstrom.com, NeimanMarcus.com and Bloomingdales.com.  I will keep you posted if anything changes. Lemming for swatches?  Then check out ATimeForBeauty’s website for more!  The website is in Russian but if you’re using Google Chrome as a browser you can easily get a ‘close to English’ translation.

Preview: Illamasqua’s Human Fundamentalism [Spring/Summer 2012]

Yes, fellow makeup addicts, Illamasqua, the edgy cosmetics house which sponsors your ‘alter ego’, has rolled out a collection that is truly spectacular for Spring/Summer 2012.

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Stunning photography to herald Illamasqua's Human Fundamentalism Spring/Summer 2012 collection. This is what my Alter Ego would look like.

Following on the heels of the equally-stunning Theatre of the Nameless Autumn/Winter 2011 collection, the Spring/Summer 2012 Human Fundamentalism collection is scheduled to launch at Illamasqua.com on 15 March 2012 and on Sephora.com on 20 March 2012. Would you like to know more? Of course you do…and Illamasqua is happy to oblige with an explanation of concept of this collection:

Get ready for a startling celebration of humanity’s connection with colour. Introducing the Human Fundamentalism collection, where blinding flashes of pigment provide a sharp contrast to neutral tones, creating a saturated palette that catapults your alter ego to new levels of self-expression. Mix contrasting textures to express your true self, spiraling from rich metallic to pale matt shades. This is nonconformity at its most fundamental. At its unpredictable best. — Illamasqua

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Illamasqua's Human Fundamentalism Spring/Summer 2012 collection

This extensive collection is a stunning mix of bolds and neutral colors to use in whatever combination suits you. My eye is totally drawn to the neutral 4-color eye shadow palette and the teal and yellow eye shadow singles.  The nail polishes look nice and definitely look dupeable but what isn’t dupeable is Illamasqua’s amazing nail polish formula.  I’ll definitely be hauling the polishes as soon as I get the eye shadows.

Just so you know, the teal lipstick is an EU (European Union) only product.  That means it can only be sold in the EU.  No they cannot ship it to you if you live outside the EU.  Yes, I have asked Illamasqua.

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My haul picks from this collection

A few bloggers were lucky enough to get a first look at the items from this collection. Check out the swag photos here, here, and especially here.

Illamasqua is one of my favorite cosmetic brands due to their attitude, diversity of colors and textures, and the artistry of their collections and photography. In my opinion this is their best campaign to date and another quote about this collection sums it all up for me:

Human Fundamentalism is an explosion of your alter ego. It’s becoming who you are and not who you’re told to be. Beauty isn’t conformity, but the fundamental human desire to express your inner self on the outside. To rise above mainstream limitations and exist in a world where individuality is received with celebration not derision, and breaking the mould is a sign of strength not instability. We stand for freedom of expression, embracing our glorious imperfections and showing the world we’re not ordinary but extraordinary, even if society refuses to accept it. We’re beyond conformity. Beyond control. Beyond hiding who we really are. We are not a religion, but the singular opposite. We are Illamasqua.

Werd.

And with that, enjoy the promo photo picspam and let your ‘alter ego’ set up her shopping list from this collection.

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This model looks very 'Jody Watley' and she's posed with a tricked-out ghetto blaster? Haven't seen one of these in years!

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This is without a doubt a perfect example of the makeup artistry and stellar photography Illamasqua is famous for.

The eye makeup is fierce! This reminds me of 'The Girlie Show' Madonna from back in the day!

Teal hair to match the teal lips--I SO wish the lipstick was going to be sold in the US.

Urban Decay’s Friends and Family Sale: 20% OFF!!!

Urban Decay's Spring Friends & Family Sale: 20% OFF!

Urban Decay's Spring Friends & Family Sale: 20% OFF!

Greetings readers!

Are you ready to haul some Urban Decay cosmetics at 20% off?!?  Ready or not, UrbanDecay.com is offering 20% off almost all regular and sale priced items using the code: FFSPRING12.  Only the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette cannot have this discount applied to it.

Here are my recommended picks to haul during the sale:

24/7 Eye  Shadow Pencil

I love how smooth and pigmented these shadow pencils are!  The color is easy to build up and the range goes from neutral to full-on trendy.  Create a gorgeous eye look even if you’re still a makeup noob.

24/7 Shadow Pencil Stash

I reviewed this set a few weeks back and absolutely fell in love with it.  Currently sale priced at $12, the discount knocks it down to less than $10!! Go get one!

Supercurl Curling Mascara

This is my 2nd favorite mascara next to Givenchy’s Phenomen’Eyes only because it doesn’t come in a waterproof formula.  This mascara is no joke as it quickly builds up and curls your lashes.  I have yet to Florida Test it (I will in April) but when I can’t find my Givenchy mascara, I gladly grab this one.

Primer Potion

With the vastly-improved design and larger size, this is a good deal if you do not have oily to severely oily lids.

UrbanDecay.com offers free domestic shipping on all overs $50 or more.  The sale ends 3/10/12.

Planning to haul from the sale?  Share your finds in the Comments!

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Polynesia: The Rundown

Yes, dear readers, I am finally ready to give you the scoop on the once-postponed but now finally released tinted moisturizer from NARS! Cue the Super Bowl-like cheering….

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Finally! NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer has been released! (Polynesia shade)

Exclusively released first at Nordstrom and scheduled for release at NARSCosmetics.com on 15 February 2012, NARS Pure Radiant tinted moisturizer boasts beneficial skin ingredients (including some from Francois Nars beloved French Polynesia), an SPF of 30/ PA+++ and is available in nine (9) shades.

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Colors

1 Finland – Lightest with a neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones
2 Alaska – Light with a neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones
3 St. Moritz – Medium with a neutral yellow undertone
4 Annapurna – Medium with a neutral peachy undertone
5 Cuba – Medium with a neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones
6 Malaga – Medium dark with warm caramel undertones
7 Seychelles – Medium dark with golden olive undertones
8 Martinique – Medium dark with warm red undertones
9 Polynesia – Dark with warm chocolate undertones

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From left: Malaga, Seychelles, Martinique, Polynesia (w/ flash)

Going by the promotional swatch shots NARS released to the press, it looked like my skintone (MAC NW43) was between Polynesia and Martinique. Usually I am ‘Dark 1’ in NARS foundations so that was another reason I went with Polynesia. While mine was en route to my house from Nordstrom.com, a blogger named Micheleista managed to get swatches of Cuba and Martinique along with Polynesia and going from her swatches, my ideal color would be between Cuba and Polynesia. [UPDATE> My local Sephora just got these in stock and I was color matched with Martinique which turned out perfect for my winter skintone. Will review within the next week or so]

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Swatches of NARS Pure Radiant tinted moisturizer in Polynesia (no flash/HDR)

One thing I noticed right away is how the tube actually feels in my hand. Perhaps it’s ergonomic design, perhaps its art but I like how it fits the natural grip of my hand unlike the longer tube of my Laura Mercier Oil-Free tinted moisturizer. Unlike with Laura Mercier, you can see the color of the product without having to remove the cap. And speaking of the cap, I really like the flip-top design. It is much more convenient and easier to access than the screw-top of other brands of tinted moisturizer.

The color itself is sheer yet the pigments are translucent enough not to show up ashy on dark skin. It blends easily and dries down quickly–an important feature for my oily skin. After it dries down on your skin, it leaves a semi-glow look that is very natural. Not as made up as when I use my NARS Sheer Matte foundation but more ‘my skin but better’. I’m not a fan of the ‘dewy’ look as I already have oily skin so using a pressed powder like NARS’ Pressed Powder in Solei, or MAC’s Careblend powder gives a beautiful matte finish the face. I found myself using this mostly on Saturdays and Sundays where I want to have great looking skin but not necessarily look more formally made up.

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Full face look with NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Polynesia (NARS Kuala Lumpur eye shadow duo on eyes, Matte Velvet lip pencil in Damned on lips/ outside natural light)

When it came to performance, NARS Pure Radiant tinted moisturizer did not disappoint. The texture of the moisturizer is very lightweight and it is not an exaggeration to say it feels like you have nothing on your face as it dries down. Some people like to apply tinted moisturizer with their fingers and that method would definitely work with this product, but I prefer to use either a stippling brush by MAC or the Sonia Kashuk flat-top face brush from Target for more controlled and precise blending. I wouldn’t call this tinted moisturizer waterproof but I did find it to be somewhat water-resistant. During a very hard workout I blotted the sweat off of my face with a towel (blot, don’t wipe or everything will come off no matter what brand it is) and hardly any of the tinted moisturizer came off. I will be Florida testing this when I go to Disney World for Easter so we’ll see how NARS Pure Radiant tinted moisturizer hangs with the likes of high humidity, Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids.

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Polynesia swatch blended in (no flash/HDR)

NARS claims to want to cover a wide range of skintones with this product. And for the most part that is true. Polynesia definitely makes me look more like my summer NW45 skintone and it definitely makes my NW43 winter skin look like I’ve gotten some sun. As I mentioned earlier, the pigments in this formula are translucent and I can see women approaching NW/NC50 range being able to wear this as it will enhance your skintone. In addition to the top-shelf SPF 30/PA+++, there are good-for-your-skin botanicals and ingredients that claim to help reduce the appearance of discoloration and dark spots caused by hyperpigmentation. Women of color are very prone to hyperpigmentation due to such things as acne scars (I’m very familiar with this one) and other factors so this is a very nice benefit.

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Clockwise from top:NARS Promo shot of model wearing Polynesia, Me wearing Polynesia (natural outside lighting), back of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer tube in Polynesia, Me wearing Polynesia (indoor lighting, no flash)

NARS Pure Radiant tinted moisturizer retails for $42 for 1.9 ounces of product. When compared to my Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer which only has 1.7 ounces of product and is SPF 20 and has the same price, it is a very good value for the money. If you have super-oily skin as I do, and find the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer to take too long to dry down (which was very annoying when I Florida tested it), it’s worth it to give NARS tinted moisturizer a chance. I am very pleased with this product and plan to use it more extensively when my skin gets darker in warmer weather here in the Philadelphia suburbs.

So are you sold? Are you planning on buying this? Let me know in the comments section!

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From left: MakeUpForEver Velvet Mat+ in #75, NARS Polynesia, MAC Matchmaster 8.0, NARS Polynesia, Laura Mercier Oil-Free Moisturizer in Mocha, NARS Polynesia, MAC Studio Fix Fluid NW45 (flash)

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From bottom: MakeUpForEver Velvet Mat+ in #75, NARS Polynesia, MAC Matchmaster 8.0, NARS Polynesia, Laura Mercier Oil-Free Moisturizer in Mocha, NARS Polynesia, MAC Studio Fix Fluid NW45 (flash)

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From top: NARS Polynesia, NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in New Guinea, NARS Polynesia, NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in Trinidad

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Love the bottle, the formula and this shade. Definitely pick one up!

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NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer box, instructions and ingredient list

MAC Viva Glam Niki Minaj Lipstick: The Rundown

You know you’ve ordered too much MAC when you get a ‘private’ invitation to purchase this:

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MAC's Niki Minaj for Viva Glam lipstick

Described as a bright yellow-pink, this Satin finish lipstick is hip-hop artist Niki Minaj’s second collaboration with MAC (the first was the uber-fail hot mess known as Pink Friday). Benefiting those living with AIDS, this particular collaboration is part of the latest Viva Glam offering along with a lip conditioner ‘signed’ by Ricky Martin. Little side note: I went to junior high school w/ his stepsister when he was in Menudo. Yes, I know I am dating myself but I digress.

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Closeup of MAC Niki Minaj for Viva Glam (no flash)

Niki Minaj for Viva Glam is a very bright color which I feel is not easily wearable. It is definitely an ‘impact’ color so if you are looking for something daring, or if bright lipstick is already your style (I’m firmly in both camps) this color is right up your alley. On warmer skintones this color wouldn’t stand out as much as it would on cooler skintones. Compared to the closest lipsticks in color that I own, Niki Minaj for Viva Glam is more yellow than the porn-star pink of Pink Friday (Satin), which is cooler, and is lighter but still on the yellow side as compared to Chatterbox (Amplified).

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From left: MAC Chatterbox, Niki Minaj for Viva Glam, Niki Minaj Pink Friday (flash)

While I do like the color of this lipstick, as with most Satin finish lipsticks by MAC, I absolutely loathe the formula. Like with matte lipsticks if my lips are not completely smooth this stuff will wedge itself into every groove, crack and flake on my lips. It doesn’t feel very moisturizing and the wear time is much less than those of my beloved Amplified finish lipsticks. The use of a lip primer like MAC’s Prep + Prime or Too Faced’s Lip Insurance is a must before applying this lipstick. Using a lip pencil wouldn’t hurt either. This isn’t a must-have and I do think MAC has better bright yellow-pink lipsticks (Impassioned, Chatterbox) but the color is very nice and the proceeds go to a great cause.

Niki Minaj for Viva Glam retails for $14.50 is scheduled to go on sale to the general public on February 14th in most MAC locations and on MacCosmetics.com. All proceeds from the sale of this lipstick goes to the MAC AIDS Fund to support men, women, and children living with HIV and AIDS.

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From left: MAC Chatterbox, Niki Minaj for Viva Glam, Niki Minaj Pink Friday (no flash/HDR)

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MAC's Niki Minaj Viva Glam lipstick--not for the faint of heart!

NARS Valparaiso Pure Matte Lipstick: The Rundown

I used to think I’d rather rub a dry stick on my lips rather than use a matte lipstick.  And then I met NARS’ Pure Matte lipstick in Valapariso and fell totally, utterly and deeply in love with it.

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Sporting NARS Valparaiso on lips with Lhasa and Mekong eye shadow on eyes.

Launched in the NARS Spring 2012 line, this is a matte berry lipstick that it is very pigmented and goes on smooth without any skipping whatsoever.  It feels a bit tacky going on (in a good way and probably due to the wild mango butter in it) but the finish is still matte.  Color payoff is very good and the color goes on opaque and nicely without lipliner.  I got a good six hours worth of wear with this.  Even after having coffee in the morning and lunch, the color faded somewhat but not so much that I had to immediately apply more of this.  When I did touch it up I needed very little to refresh the color.

The closest color I own that looks like this, interestingly enough, NARS Damned Velvet Matte lip pencil.  Both look very similar but the lipstick has more tackiness while the pencil is more dry.  Guerlain Rouge G in Greta looks more red next to it but you can tell it still belongs in the ‘berry’ family.

Valparaiso Pure Matte lipstick retails for $24 and is currently available at most upscale retailers such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus Sephora and Beauty.com.

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Close-up of NARS Valparaiso full matte lippie--so smooth!

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From top: NARS Damned Velvet Matte pencil,NARS Valparaiso Pure Matte lipstick, Guerlain Rouge G in Greta, NARS Valparaiso Pure Matte Lipstick (no flash HDR)

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From top: NARS Damned Velvet Matte pencil, NARS Valparaiso, Guerlain Rouge G in Greta, NARS Valparaiso (flash)

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NARS Valparaiso Pure Matte lipstick and Paramaribo eye shadow duo--so pretty for Spring 2012