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.


The Sparkle to End All Sparkle: CHANEL Illusion D'Ombre in New Moon

I have a few of the CHANEL Illusion D'Ombre Eyeshadows, and while I've always liked them, I've finally fallen head over heels in love with one particular shade. 
CHANEL Illusion D'Ombre in New Moon is a rosy bronze with amazing multicolored sparkle. When I say it's stunning, I mean ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUSLY STUNNING. It basically took all the willpower I had to not allow myself to wear this during the work week (it's a bit over the top in a conservative office environment, in my opinion), and the best part of last weekend was being able to whip it out again. I know; I'm a sad human being.

It's quite pigmented on its own as well, but I still prefer using it as an eyeshadow topper. Here, I have on one of the shades from the BECCA Ombre Rouge Palette all over the lid, and I used my ring finger to tap New Moon on top. Compared to using a brush, applying New Moon with fingers helps retain the most pigment and maximizes the sparkle factor. I swear I heard angels sing when I applied it for the first time.
New Moon was repromoted for the Fall 2015 collection, but it's still available online and in-store at Nordstrom. I cannot stress how much you need this eyeshadow. Yes, I know I'm dramatic....but also, you must buy this and put it on your eyelids as soon as possible. You're welcome.

See you on Saturday, New Moon.


Too Faced Love Flush Blush Wardrobe

I'm usually not drawn to a lot of Too Faced products because of their cutesy and sometimes bulky packaging; however, receiving a Sephora gift card for Christmas was all it took for the packaging of a certain blush palette to instantly seem more bearable (not to mention, I needed another blush like I needed another leg, but if it's a gift....). Aesthetics aside, I absolutely cannot fault the Too Faced Love Flush Long-Lasting 16-Hour Blush Wardrobe ($36) for what's on the inside. I'll just say now, though, that if blushes typically don't last 16 hours on you, neither will these. Across the board, these are well pigmented and have a good, but not exceptional, wear time (8-10 hours for me). There is a stunning range of wearable blush shades in varying finishes from matte to satin to soft shimmer. I could not agree more with the term 'blush wardrobe.' This palette truly has all you need, in terms of cheek color.

L to R: Love Hangover, Baby Love, I Will Always Love You, How Deep Is Your Love, Justify My Love, Your Love Is King
I'd ummmed and ahhhed over Baby Love for several months but could never justify the purchase of another nude blush. Unsurprisingly, it's one of my favorites in the palette. What came as a surprise to me, however, was how much I adore the other shades, too. Justify My Love, a shade I quickly deemed obviously too cool-toned for me, warms up beautifully on my cheeks and doesn't look too pale or stark against my complexion. Your Love Is King is like the plum blush for beginners. It's pigmented without being overly so, so it's still easy to apply and blend out with much less risk of going overboard. My other favorite in the palette is I Will Always Love You, which is probably also the shade most unique to my collection. It's a shimmery peachy-orange that livens up my complexion in an instant.

Wearing I Will Always Love You
I'm always a sucker for anything that's a good value for money, and seeing as how this palette contains as much product as two full-sized blushes but costs only $10 more than one blush and provides you with all six shades in the range, I think it's a no-brainer. I've been loving incorporating it into my routine each morning, and it's pretty exciting opening up the palette and seeing so many gorgeous shades to choose from, each so different from the next. 


My Top 10 Makeup Products of 2015

My apologies for the spotty blogging schedule lately. I haven't been buying tons of new makeup lately (so not a ton to review), and other times, I've just lacked inspiration/motivation. I hope to get back on track soon, and I wanted to thank you all for sticking around :) I didn't want to put up any new posts until I got my 2015 yearly favorites up, so here they are:

1 :: Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel Luxury Palette :: review here
This palette can do no wrong, in my eyes. The taupe and bronze shades are gorgeous all over lid shades, on their own and when paired together, and the black is perfect for darkening up the outer corner or lash line. It's the perfect day-to-night palette.

2 :: IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream :: review here
The one pictured is their Illumination version, but I also love the original formula. With a hydrating, skincare-like formula and healthy, dewy finish that offers medium to full coverage that doesn't look cakey, what more could you ask for?

3 :: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Luminous Bronze Light :: review here
When I heard about these bronzers being released, I quickly brushed them off, thinking they'd be too shimmery and I was more of  a matte bronzer kind of girl. I TAKE IT ALL BACK. This bronzer is utter perfection. No other bronzer in my collection can give me quite the same sun-kissed glow. I sometimes try to rotate out my products so I can use them up equally, but so far, I haven't managed to be successful at NOT using my Hourglass bronzer.

4 :: Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara :: review here
This is the year I finally learned how to do my brows. In the past, I'd dabbled in powders, pencils, gels...you name it. After giving this brow mascara a try, my brow routine was forever changed for the better. The perfect combination for my faint and sparse brows is to fill them in with a pencil first (I swear by the Shu Uemura one, but the Hourglass Arch Brow comes in a close second) and finish off by brushing a brow mascara through to give them noticeable texture, as well as to feather out the pencil a bit, creating a brow that looks defined but still natural.

5 :: BECCA Ultimate Coverage Concealing Creme :: review here
This concealer is a staple in my makeup bag. It's one of those products that would be panic-inducing it were to ever go missing. Its texture has the perfect balance of creaminess and tackiness, so it blends well but has incredible longevity, and its high coverage hides a multitude of sins. I use it on blemishes, redness, and even under-eyes when I'm looking especially haggard.

6 :: By Terry Cover Expert Perfecting Fluid Foundation :: review here
I have quite a few foundations that I love, but this one is my go-to for special occasions and nights out. It offers medium to full coverage, a long-wearing, soft matte finish, and it photographs beautifully in flash photography. Perhaps too heavy for those who prefer very light and natural bases, but for me, I can't resist the flawless canvas it creates for the rest of my makeup and how it lasts for hours on end.

7 :: Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder :: review here
2015 was definitely the year of the contour products, and although I can't say it's a step I've incorporated into my everyday routine, when the opportunity arises and my cheekbones need chiseling, this sculpting powder has always risen up to the challenge. It's the most natural contour shade I've tried (neither too brown nor too grey), and it blends easily. 

8 :: BUXOM Big & Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick in Rebel Rose :: review here
At any given point in time, you'll find at least 8 lip products in my handbag. I love my lipsticks, what can i say? Narrowing down my lipsticks down to one favorite was no easy feat, but I'm confident in saying this one was my favorite of the year. Bulky packaging and cringey name aside, Rebel Rose is a gorgeous mauve-rose that smells yummy and is hydrating and impressively long-wearing, especially considering it's not a matte formulation.

9 :: CoverGirl The Super Sizer Waterproof Mascara :: review here
Last year was the year my holy grail mascara of several years finally got dethroned, and by a drugstore mascara, at that. Although the removal process of The Super Sizer Waterproof is a pain, the volume, definition and curl-preservation it provides my lashes are second to none.

10 :: Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk :: review here
Charlotte Tilbury is the only brand to have two products in my yearly favorites, and it's well-deserved. Pillow Talk is a great, goes-with-everything pink nude shade, but that's not why it's on this list - it's the Lip Cheat formula that sets it apart. It's creamy, pigmented and insanely long-wearing without drying out my lips. I'm definitely looking to add more shades to my collection this year.

Disclosure: The IT Cosmetics CC Cream was 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 experience with the products.
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