Second Time's a Charm: RMS Beauty Master Mixer

I had a sample of the cult-favorite RMS Beauty Living Luminizer a few years ago and remember not being incredibly impressed with it, despite all the raves. The pearly white highlight just wasn't the best match for my warm complexion. Fast forward a few years, and RMS has just released their newest highlight, Master Mixer, and it is a MUST. HAVE.
Master Mixer ($38) is a beigey, rose-gold cream highlighter. It's housed in the standard RMS Beauty glass pot that is tiny and perfect for throwing in your makeup bag. I use my ring finger to dab this goodness onto the tops of my cheekbones and anywhere else I feel like could use a boost of luminescence, and the effect is beautiful.

The texture is creamy, but not greasy, and it wears well on the skin throughout the day, while still maintaining its dewy finish. It makes the skin look so incredibly healthy and luminous without being dramatic or over-the-top, and the shade is so much more complementary on my skin tone than Living Luminizer.

RMS Beauty Master Mixer
I mean...seriously, right? Gorgeous.
Wearing RMS Beauty Master Mixer
Master Mixer is actually marketed as a multi-purpose product that can be mixed with other products and used on the lips and eyes too, although I have yet to use it for any other purpose besides highlighting the skin. I'm planning on putting it to the test on my lids soon, though. Glossy lids, come to mama.


NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint Does Matte Skin the Right Way

Despite some of their base products having a cult following, I've never fallen in love with any of NARS' foundation offerings in the past. My skin got very shiny with Sheer Glow (although this was years back when my skin was much oilier than it is now) and All Day Luminous clung to dry patches I didn't even know I had. I'd been meaning to try their Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, but when I saw NARS' newest release, Velvet Matte Skin Tint, it had my name written all over it.
After studying swatches online, I was afraid I might not be able to find the perfect match for me within the shade range, however, Alaska turned out to be a great match, in both depth of shade and undertone. 

Although marketed as more of a tinted moisturizer type of product than a true foundation, Velvet Matte Skin Tint has a thicker consistency with solid, medium coverage that is more reminiscent of a foundation. Because of this, I don't prefer to apply it with fingers, as you often can with tinted moisturizers, because I think the product really benefits from, and almost requires, a brush and/or damp beauty blender to thoroughly buff the product into the skin.

NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Alaska
Below, I'm wearing just one layer of product. You can gauge the coverage of it by the redness around my nose and the monstrosity on my chin. I really don't need much concealer when I wear this base. Despite the higher pigmentation, Velvet Matte Skin Tint doesn't look heavy or cakey on the skin, and the finish is more of a soft matte than a powdery, true matte. It has excellent oil-controlling properties that allow me to get away with being able to blot less often than usual, and at the end of the day, I notice the product doesn't break down in my oilier areas like most foundations do.

Bare skin (left) and with NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Alaska
On this particular day, I skipped the powder altogether and I applied a touch of highlighter on my cheekbones. The shine on my nose is all me (that has always been my oiliest area). I think you can really appreciate the true finish of the Velvet Matte Skin Tint here. It's a soft, natural looking matte that doesn't make the skin look flat or weighed down. It's a pretty fantastic base, and I've been using it exclusively since it came home with me.

I have to say, my love for the Velvet Matte Skin Tint more than makes up for my disappointment following the All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation. For those who have normal to oily skin types and favor products with a respectable amount of coverage, this will be right up your alley. Prepare to be impressed by how well this wears throughout the day. I know I was.


A Couple of First Aid Beauty Treats

I've tried a handful of products from the First Aid Beauty line, including their Facial Radiance Pads and Ultra Repair Lotion, and I've had great experiences with them all. I decided to pick up a couple things that I'd had my eye on for quite some time, and they've quickly become staples in my beauty routine.
The Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm ($20) is the reason I made a pitstop at Sephora. A lot of people rave about the Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm, but unfortunately, it made my lips peel, so I had to stop using it. This FAB balm has the same thicker texture and ability to lock in my lips' hydration for hours on end as the Nuxe, except my lips remain smooth and supple when I use them. One of the things I think drew people to the Nuxe balm, as well, was that it has a matte finish, unlike a lot of other balms on the market, and this FAB balm also maintains that quality. It's great on its own, during the daytime or overnight, and it works brilliantly under lipstick because it doesn't have much slip to it.

The other product I picked up was the Eye Duty Triple Remedy ($36). It's an eye treatment that I've incorporated into my morning routine, applying it before under eye concealer. I tap the product on with my finger and take my time smoothing it in using the metal applicator before buffing it all in with a concealer brush. It's a product that aims to brighten, depuff and smooth, and I can honestly say it does all three. 

The salmon tint counteracts dark circles to an extent where additional concealer likely wouldn't even be necessary for those with just a bit of darkness under their eyes. For me, I appreciate that it gives an extra, much needed dose of brightness and coverage under my usual concealer. It immediately reminded me of a lighter, more subtle version of the salmon Armani Master Corrector. The metal applicator is responsible for a lot of why I love the product so much, too. It feels incredibly cooling and soothing against the skin (reminiscent of the  old cold-spoon-on-your-eyes-after-a-good-cry trick), and it helps to increase circulation and depuff the area. It instantly makes me look more revitalized and awake than I often feel when I'm applying my makeup at the wee hours of the morning.
I love the no-fuss simplicity behind First Aid Beauty's range, and I couldn't be more impressed with this pair of products. It kind of makes me wonder what other gems must be lurking on the FAB shelves at Sephora...


New to the Ambient Family: Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder + Sculptor

This post contains PR samples
Hourglass makes some of my most cherished powder products in my collection, so forgive me for drooling a lot bit when I saw they had released their new Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders ($38) and Ambient Strobe Light Sculptor ($22) to apply them with. The new range includes four shades, and I am featuring two in today's post: Brilliant and Iridescent.
Brilliant is a pale, beigey yellow gold and Iridescent is a peachy, soft pink. I was afraid that these were going to perform just like any other highlighter, but leave it up to Hourglass to create a product that goes above and beyond. Unlike most highlighters on the market, the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders have a sheerer base with a combination of fine shimmer and an incredibly sparse amount of micro-glitter particles. Because the base shade has only soft pigmentation, when applied dry, these powders impart the most delicate glow upon the skin - "lit from within," if you will. The unique formula also allows the powders to be used wet, and when a bit of moisture is added into the mix, the pigmentation is turned up a few notches and the overall effect is more dramatic and reflective, yet still very refined. For comparison purposes, when applied wet, these are about as glowy as what was previously the most natural and subtle highlighter in my stash, Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder in Candlelight.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders in Brilliant (L) and Iridescent, pictured with the Ambient Strobe Light Sculptor
Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Brilliant

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Iridescent

Ambient Strobe Light Sculptor
I like the Ambient Strobe Light Sculptor, but I don't think it's a must-have. The slanted end is meant to contour the high points of the face better, and the bottom  edge has an interesting velvety surface meant for softly blending out the powders (it can be seen in the second photo from the top; the velvety edge looks like a white line at the bottom of the sponge). The sponge comes in handy when applying these powders wet, but I prefer using my usual highlighter brushes for dry application.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders in Brilliant (dry, wet) and Iridescent (dry, wet)

Wearing Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders in Brilliant (top) and Iridescent (applied dry in both photos)
These new strobing powders are the same size as their blushes and have the same finely milled, silky smooth texture as the original Ambient Lighting Powders. I thought for certain Brilliant would be my favorite of the two I have, but after having given them both a fair shot, Iridescent is the one that comes in just a touch ahead. The peachy undertone keeps the primarily pink shade from leaning too cool, and I find that because it has a pink tone to it, it actually looks more cohesive with more of my blush shades and almost elevates the appearance of my cheekbones because it acts as a glowy extension of my cheek color. I'm contemplating adding Euphoric to my collection, as that was the shade that initially struck a chord with me, however, I'm not sure if it will be too dark for my skin tone, so I'll most likely wait for the range to hit stores before making a final decision. 

For now, I can say that Hourglass did not disappoint with these babies. If you've been a fan of the original finishing powders, their bronzers and blushes, then I have no doubt in my mind you'll fall in love with these just the same. If you're looking for a subtle and refined, lit-from-within-glow that allows you to adjust the degree of drama it imparts, I haven't tried a powder that can achieve it quite as effortlessly as these Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders.

Disclosure: These products were sent to me for consideration for a review. I am not affiliated with the company, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experiences with the products.


glo minerals Takes On Valentine's Day

I'm a firm believer that any look can be suitable for Valentine's Day, and after years and years of trial and way too much error, I've finally come to accept that primarily pink-focused looks don't suit me and never will (I'll pass on the pink eyeshadow, thanks). With a selection of some glo minerals products at my fingertips, I'm sharing with you a daytime look that can easily be amped up for nighttime in a pinch, whether you'll be spending Valentine's Day out on a date or just drinking wine with your girlfriends.
I recommend opting for a base with medium coverage so that it doesn't look too heavy in natural daylight but still offers enough coverage to transition into going out. I dusted on just a touch of bronzer to warm up my complexion and added the Blush in Sweet on my cheeks. This peachy-pink shade is shimmer city (surprisingly doesn't emphasize pores though), so it easily handles the job of both cheek color and highlight. On the lips, I decided to keep it natural for day time and applied the Lip Gloss in Taffy, a gorgeous milky peach - LOVE. The formula is moisturizing and completely non-sticky, but it also wears and lasts well and has fantastic pigmentation.

For eyes, I used the Cream Stay Shadow Stick in Gold Blush as a base. These shadow sticks have lighter pigmentation that can be built up to an extent (but not to full opacity), and on my eyelids, they definitely need a primer to stay put. I much prefer using them as a base for my eyeshadow, rather than as a stand-alone eye color. Gold Blush is in the same vein as something like Laura Mercier African Violet, a light-medium purple with golden shimmer; so gorgeous. Then, I used the top row of lighter and warmer neutrals in the Elemental Eye Collection to layer on top, and the hint of purple undertone peeking through paired beautifully with my shimmery brown winged liner. 

I finished off the eyes with the Volumizing Mascara, a product that really surprised me. It has a natural bristle brush that adds volume and doesn't clump, smudge or flake. Although not quite as dramatic as the mascaras I tend to go for, I still the love the more natural, yet defined, lashes it gives me. 

glo minerals Elemental Eye Collection
L to R: Sweet, Gold Blush, Crimson, Taffy
To transform this daytime date look into an evening one that packed a bit more punch, I removed the gloss and applied the Suede Matte Crayon in Crimson, a stunning deep red. These are my favorite matte lip pencils on the market right now. They're pigmented, creamy, non-drying and last for ages. (Case in point: I drank wine and ate cheese, crackers, greasy fries, and a brussel sprout and bacon dish and Crimson did. not. budge.) The shade range is beautiful as well. To finish off the look, I grabbed a highlighter and went to town on my cheeks, inner corner, cupid's bow, and even added a touch onto the center of my lips. Easy peasy.

I like softly smokey eye looks that can be the focus of the look when paired with a natural lip color like Taffy but can also play more of a background role when a va-va-voom lip like Crimson is introduced into the mix. I often think of day-to-night looks as just adding more eyeliner, mascara and maybe a bit of sparkly shadow, but with a kick-ass red lipstick on hand, nothing can transform a look quite as quickly, or with as much drama. 

My favorite products of the bunch are the lip products, by far. This was my first time trying out glo minerals' lip gloss formula, and I'm very impressed. The eyeshadow palette isn't incredibly unique in terms of shade selection, but the shadows are good quality, contain a versatile mix of cool and warmer tones, and the packaging is small and sturdy - perfect for travel.

All in all, I'd say glo minerals has Valentine's Day in the bag.

Disclosure: These products were sent to me for consideration for a review. I am not affiliated with the company, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experiences with the products.
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