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While I am taking a little time being mom to a newborn again, our hard-working Panelists are filling in to keep you up-to-date on the latest products. This week I am pleased to feature Lisa and her report on summer beauty. You can learn more about Lisa here.
Take it away, Lisa!
Greetings fellow cosmetic junkies! Hope all of you have been enjoying the warmth and sunshine of the season (or, in the case of us Midwesterners, I sincerely hope you've managed to avoid the near-constant downpours!). Once again, the cosmetic companies have proffered up their new seasonal colors in hopes of tempting us to buy, and try a trendier look. How do these new colors and formulas stack up to tried and true favorites? Read on, sister!
First off, let's look at the trends for the season. Most of the new summer colors are bright, feminine shades; think coral, tangerine, pink, and other gilded "flower" colors, such as violet and lavender. However, unlike their earlier predecessors, these formulas have a new sheerness that is far more wearable and inviting. There is also an undercurrent trend of a really wearable "neutral face," (a la Bobbi Brown) but I think that is a recurrent summer look that speaks to our need for a simple look that doesn't turn into a disaster once exposed to summer's humidity and high temperatures. Bravo to Bobbi for reminding us that less can definitely be better.
Many of the stronger colors mentioned above are better suited to darker complexions, both "natural" and "tan-in-a-can" enhanced. For me, this was a bit of a problem. I am naturally quite pale, and while I do have good results with self-tanner, I don't always use it during the summer. I like my ice-princess skin, so I'm not concerned with staying constantly bronzed. Many of these colors were simply too strong for my milky complexion on their own, but being the industrious dame I am, I found a fairly easy solution a technique I refer to as "dulling." By that, I mean using another softer color to diffuse a shade's intensity. I like using soft matte shades, such as Stila's "Chamois," Revlon's "Skinlight," or Avon's "Seashell" duo, or soft, shimmering shades like Stila's "Kitten." You can mix these shades into another color, or simply work in layers to get the shade level that works well for you. By doing this, almost any shade becomes a wearable option for a variety of skintones.
With that being said, let's take a look at some of the specific offerings:
I hadn't had any previous experience with the newish Calvin Klein line, so I was excited to give this line a whirl. The CK cosmetics line was actually much better suited for my skin than I thought it would be, judging from the bronzed goddesses in the ad campaign. I especially liked their "Iris" lipstick. This golden-brown shade could easily be worn alone as a sheer layer, or mixed with other shades to give some richness. I mixed it with a true red lipstick, and it yielded a wonderful brick color that really flattered my red hair and green eyes. I also tried their Lip Color Wash in "Wine." While this deep cabernet-purple shade is very pretty, the formula was a bit too opaque and matte for my warm-weather taste. I would have liked it better if the formula were more of a glossy stain than true lipstick.
Their Eye Color Wash also pleasantly surprised me. As many of you know, I'm not a fan of an overly "dewy" look, or goopy cream shadows that don't last. Eye Color Wash is a very sheer formula that adds soft color and an attractive shimmer. While this formula could never be considered long-wearing, it will give you a good 4-5 hours of crease-free color, which is plenty for hot date or after-work cocktails. For even better wearability, layer over a good eyeshadow base. (I like Tony and Tina's Therapeutic Eye Base, which is mentioned later in Part 2). I tried "Violet" (a soft purple-lavender) and my personal favorite, "Citrine" (gold with a very slight greenish tint). If you want an easy summer look for eyes, this is a nice choice.
I also tried their Face Color Wash in "Crystalline." This shimmering gold liquid can be applied as you desire to add a golden glow to your complexion. I do, however, advise against using it like a tinted moisturizer or bronzer. The formula has a pretty dewy finish that can turn greasy instantly in heat and humidity. Instead, use it very sparingly on cheekbones, forehead, nose and temples for golden highlights. It also works especially well during the evening's low light and cooler temperature.
Calvin Klein Cosmetics are available at department stores or online at Sephora.com.
The next line I tried has been a favorite of mine for years; Avon constantly pushes the envelope to bring us great formulas at a very attractive price point. Avon floundered for awhile back in the 80's, but it has since proven itself a very viable source for modern looks, and products that truly perform.
I tried their powder eyeshadow in "Pink Fantasia," (a shimmery, medium toned rose-pink) "Grape," (a shimmering, slightly iridescent medium blue-purple) and their eyeshadow duo in "Seashell" (a wonderfully versatile neutral vanilla and soft beige-mauve combo). I liked using "Grape" with a wet eyeliner brush (and then securing it with a layer of Benefit's "She-Laq," which is the ultimate makeup sealer, hands down) for an edgier look. "Pink Fantasia" was a little bit too bright for me on its own; anything too pink around my eyes makes me look like a speed freak on a bad day. However, a little of the aforementioned "dulling," and I turned it into a very soft, pearly pink, which looked really lovely. I also was completely enamoured with the "Seashell" Duo. If you want an absolutely easy, idiot-proof neutral look, these shadows are a perfect choice. These soft, blendable eyeshadow formulas all have great pigment and good wearability definitely comparable to more expensive formulas. I can't recommend them enough!
I also really like Avon's Glazewear Nailcolor. I went through a long stint where I wasn't wearing anything except clear polish, but since my fabulous fiancé planted a very lovely platinum and diamond ring on my hand this past February, it was time to get serious about making my hands worthy of such an exceptional accessory. I tried "Charming," (deep, shimmery berry) "Chiffon," (a pale lilac perfect for understated nails a serious contender for my bridal polish) and "Divine" (a medium, oh-so eighties orchid shade perfect for toenails). All the colors were richly pigmented, and wore exceptionally. After OPI, Avon makes my very favorite nailcolor. Glazewear is a steal, too. You can easily get 2-3 bottles of Glazewear, compared to 1 bottle of a more expensive dept. store formula. So even the most budget-constrained diva can splurge on some new colors. Don't hesitate to start building your own "collection."
Lastly, I tried Avon's Powder Blush in "Divine." A deceptively bright rose-pink shade in the case, this blush is actually very sheer and fresh looking on face. It applied easily, (with your own brush those little in-case brushes are just too small to be useful), wore well throughout the day, and didn't cause breakouts another winner! They also have a great color selection, if you want something a little different.
Avon is available from a rep near you or online at Avon.com.
To round out my dabbling, I tried the always fierce and fun Urban Decay Summer Colors. This season, UD is all about pink! Everything is pink. I couldn't help but laugh at the irony; UD has always been about renegade makeup, and yet they do a completely pink line for this year. However, I would be remiss in not mentioning that these are not your grandmother's pinks. As usual, UD puts a grrl's spin on their colors.
I tried their Lip Gunk in "Hotpants" (a true, shimmering, rich, medium-pink) and "Asphyxia" (a sheer pink with a pronounced blue base). I adore Lip Gunk, in all its glossy, gaudy glory. These colors weren't perfect for me, but they were quirky enough to be wearable, if that makes sense. The formula is just slightly tacky, so it adheres well, and will give you better mileage than most glosses. Not to mention the yummy flavors, like Grape Kool-Aid, Cotton Candy, and Peach. If you like glossy lips, this is your product!
I also tried their Powder Eyeshadow in "Hotpants." This is a very pink, shimmery shade that, like Avon's Pink Fantasia, is just too dark for me. With slight modification, it works, but I have quite a few light pinks that I already like. If you have a darker complexion, I think it would work nicely, though. UD's eyeshadow has superb pigment, and a velvet-y feel, so they are truly a pleasure to use.
Lastly, I tried their nailcolor in "Hotpants." This is an absolutely cool, metallic light pink a cross between rose quartz and chrome. It wears well, and looks great, but I'm not fond of the bottle. It is pretty much designed to spill with little effort by being tall and narrow. It looks neat, but isn't terribly utilitarian. If UD would redesign the bottle, and it would be perfect!
Urban Decay is available at department stores and online at Sephora.com.
And that brings me to the end of part one of my summer makeup in-review. I'm still happily wading through all sorts of products from Stila, Tony and Tina, Clarins, and Maybelline. When I'm through all of it, you'll be the first to know! Keep an eye peeled for Part two, coming soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the warmth and beauty of summer by creating some great memories with friends and family.
- report by Lisa of the Cosmetic Connection Product Panel