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Friday
Oct202017

Chocolataria Equador 

Last fall I ran across Chocolataria Equador during a visit to Portugal. The gorgeously packaged chocolate bars caught my eye as I was rushing towards the Porto train station. Even though I was on a tight schedule I stopped and dashed inside. Any excuse to get souvenirs, right? 

The kind salesperson briefly delayed his lunch break for me, so this was clearly meant to happen. I snapped up several oversized bars without tasting anything, so imagine my surprise when I came home. Each handmade bar contains an exquisite truffle ganache filling. They also weren't nearly as sweet as other gourmet brands.

My favorites were the Milk Chocolate with Lemon and the Dark Chocolate with Port Wine. The Port, one of their bestsellers, will blow your mind. My biggest regret is that I didn't buy more flavors. I hope they will sell online soon for international customers. When I was in Tokyo earlier this year, I spied a few flavors at the depachika inside Mitsukoshi Ginza. 

Credit: LocalPorto.com

There are three retail locations in Porto and Lisbon. For more info: www.chocolatariaequador.com

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Wednesday
Oct042017

Fueguia 1833 Luz sin Freno

Argentinian niche perfume house Fueguia 1833 just launched their Fall 2017 collection. I'm intrigued by the fact that founder Julian Bedel uses sustainable and biodegradable ingredients. For example, the musk they use in their compositions is of plant origin. These limited edition perfumes are also free of dyes and synthetic preservatives. 

Of the seven new fragrances, I got to check out Luz sin Freno, which is described as a floral citrus blend. I was pleasantly surprised at how unisex this scent is—the warm, punchy spices seem to lift the vibrant lemon  up to a higher octave. It then quickly morphs into a dance with jasmine, showing its feminine side. It's not a predictable composition, which is a very good thing. As for sillage, I can still detect it many hours after initial application. 

Available in 15ml, 30ml and 100ml bottles ($132-$329) at fueguia.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Thursday
Sep282017

Beauty Pie Multiglow Strobing Stick & Pro-Strobe Luminizer

Lately I've been enjoying the usability and subtlety of the Beauty Pie highlighters. The Multiglow Strobing Stick ($3.12 member cost; $26 retail) is available in three shades: Day Glow, Santorini and Hot Tropic. I tried out Day Glow, a white pearlescent hue that brightens my complexion. The creamy texture blends easily and if you're doing a minimalist look, skip the blush and just use this to freshen your cheeks.

Multiglow Strobing Stick in Day Glow

Like the Strobing Sticks, the Pro-Strobe Luminizer ($5.73 member cost, retail $38) in Beaming is easy to blend and the results are exactly what I need. It's not super shimmery and the light golden rose adds just the right amount of luminosity to my cheekbones. You can also brush it across your eyelids or brow bone to add a wash of radiance. This also doesn't have any talc in it. Honestly, you can't go wrong with either product or shade.

Pro-Strobe Luminizer

Available at www.beautypie.com

 

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Friday
Sep222017

Elvis + Elvin Rosetta Treatment Masks

As we transition into fall my skin has been predictably fussy. To manage this I've been using the Elvis + Elvin Rosetta Rose Stem Cell Treatment Mask. Designed for sensitive skin, it contains soothing ingredients like rose extract, aloe leaf juice and rhododendron ferrugineum to soothe and calm red spots. 

The results were amazing. My pores shrunk instantly and fine lines were temporarily smoothed out. I looked a few years younger. That said, my skin was also a bit extra reactive, so if you're extremely sensitive you might not want to use this right before a night on the town. Instead, do it as a home spa treatment the night before. These masks are free of parabens, phthalates and sulfates. 

Available for $30 in a set of 4 masks (28 ml/0.95 oz each) at beauty.elvis-elvin.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Wednesday
Sep062017

Kevyn Aucoin The Expert Lip Color

There's a reason why the Kevyn Aucoin The Expert Lip Color Lipstick ($35) is so popular. The color range is flattering for many skin tones and the moisturizing formula is so comfortable on the lips. Seriously, it glides on like butter. 

The Expert Lip Color in Roserin.

The three shades I tried were all excellent. Thelmadora is a light pink nude that matched my natural lip color perfectly. Marzie is a bright raspberry. Roserin, a plum rose, is so pretty. I could wear that shade all the time. 

Marzie shade.

The only thing that holds me back is the scent. If you're not picky about it then this is the perfect luxury lipstick. 

Thelmadora, a pink nude.

Available at kevynaucoin.com

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Wednesday
Aug302017

Beauty Pie Fantasticolour Sculpting Lipstick

To the delight of beauty subscription fans, Beauty Pie seems to be introducing new items regularly. I got to try their Fantasticolour Sculpting Lipstick ($2.48 with membership; $22 retail), which is a recent launch. Each one is infused with orchid flower extract to provide antioxidant protection.

Fantasticolour Sculpting Lipstick in Guilty Pink.

Ever-so-slightly sheer with a non-glossy finish, the color stays put. It's also non-drying and I enjoyed the light vanilla scent. Guilty Pink is a warm light pink that enhances my natural lip color beautifully while Miss Behavior is a bright hot pink that's ideal for a wild night on the town. 

Miss Behaviour

Available at www.beautypie.com

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Wednesday
Aug232017

Clarins Graphik Fall 2017 Makeup

I always look forward to fall beauty launches, and this season Clarins is introducing their Graphik 2017 makeup collection. Featuring their Graphik Ink Liner as the star product, the colors and textures remain as pretty as ever. 

The Graphik Ink Liner Liquid Eyeliner Pen ($27) is easy to use, even for beginners. The precise tip can also create a thin line if you're not in the mood for a dramatic cat eye. The carbon pigment is solid black so it won't fade or result in a grayish sheer wash. Best of all, it's easy to clean off...because sometimes you don't want a heavy-duty eyeliner that takes forever to wash off. 

I love dark greens so the 4-Colour Eyeshadow Palette in 06 Forest ($43) is absolutely perfect for me. If you have brown eyes this is made for you. It makes a smoky eye easy to create and the color scheme (pearly pink, shimmery green, matte grey, dark green) is much more fun than just using black and white.  

Or, if you prefer blue, the Ombre Matte Eyeshadow ($25) is available in 09 Ivory and 10 Midnight Blue. The cream-to-powder formula blends easily and transforms into a matte finish. 

Three gorgeous shades of Joli Rouge Lipsticks ($29) are available: 755 Litchi (satin raspberry), 756 Guava (satin warm pink) and 754 Deep Red. I've been gushing about Clarins lipsticks from day one and these new ones don't disappoint. The Deep Red is a classic blue red that's ideal for all sorts of soirees and parties. 

756 Guava

755 Litchi

754 Deep Red

I'm pretty impressed with the staying power of the Lipliner Pencils ($25). They really stay put! It also contains jojoba and hyaluronic acid to keep lips soft. There are three fall-friendly shades: 04 Nude Mocha, 05 Roseberry, and 06 Red.

05 Roseberry

06 Red

The Graphik 2017 fall makeup collection is now available at all Clarins counters and www.clarinsusa.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Thursday
Aug172017

In Fiore Made in Japan

I'm already a big fan of In Fiore's body balms and face oils, but I got way excited when I first heard about the Made in Japan skincare line. The San Francisco-based beauty company teamed up with the prestigious Albion brand to create an ultra-luxurious six-piece collection. After premiering in Japan last year, it is now available stateside. 

Made in Japan combines In Fiore's use of precious floral essences with traditional Chinese plant pharmacology to create visible results. I'm smitten with the Raffermissant Fleur Essence Concentre ($125). This serum seems to smooth out my fine lines almost immediately after application and with subsequent use my skin looks way more vibrant. It contains ramanas flower (rosa rugosa), red algae, cucumber, sage and clove to boost collagen and reduce oxidative damage. As with all In Fiore products, it also smells plain amazing. The formula is 99% natural. 

The Energisant Oriental Cream Concentre ($225) is ideal for winter use, at least for me. It's too heavy for summertime but it's extra healing and rich for those who need it. Featuring Chinese litchi seed, osmanthus, hawthorn berry, iris root and jujuba fruit, the cream is inspired by the ancient Eight Treasures Tea elixir. This formula contains 85% natural ingredients. 

I also tried the Regenerant ($150) and Transparence ($130) botanical waters. These act like a toner and serum in one. The Transparence is ideal for those who want a light veil of hydration. Regenerant definitely has more skincare properties so it can easy act like a light moisturizer in itself. I'm so putting these on my beauty wish list!

The key players behind the Brillance Cleansing Balm ($135) consists of rice bran, sesame and camellia seed oils. No water is needed for this pre-cleansing step, but definitely follow up with your preferred cleanser. It will make your skin baby soft.

Last but not least, the cute Clarte Fleur Cleansing Bar ($55) is worth a splurge. The gentle bar soap is also small enough for travel. 

Available at www.infiore.net.

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Tuesday
Aug082017

Jan Marini Hyla3D HA Lip Complex

After the launch of their highly effective Hyla3D HA Activating Complex, Jan Marini now offers the Hyla3D HA Lip Complex to address the delicate lip area. 

Prone to showing the first signs of aging, the lips need extra TLC. Like the original treatment, this one also contains different kinds of hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump the skin. Peptides, retinol, and DMAE are also added to boost volume and soften vertical lip lines and wrinkles. 

Most users will likely notice results after 1-2 months. The cream soaks in right away so you can apply lipstick immediately. I love carrying it in my purse for touch ups and in a pinch I even use it for other parts of my face. 

Available for $65 (14 ml/.47 oz) at www.janmarini.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Wednesday
Aug022017

Antonym Cosmetics

Antonym Cosmetics, an organic makeup company, now has a much bigger presence by partnering with Sephora. Created by makeup artist Valerie Giraud, the products are housed in bamboo packaging and each one is vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and suitable for sensitive skin. 

Made of mineral pigments, the Certified Organic Baked Blush ($36) is generously sized so one should last a very long time, especially if you don't use it daily. I love how natural the Rose shade looks on me and the pigmentation isn't too dark so you can't over-apply. The texture is also silky and smooth, making application effortless and easy. And, it stays on for a long time.

The Certified Organic Quattro Eyeshadow ($39) in To the Moon and Black is a classic palette for smoky eyes. All the shades (silvery white, taupe, midnight blue, and black) were excellent and blended well together for a gorgeous, polished look. It's also pretty crease-resistant without primer. 

Last but not least, the Certified Natural Lipstick Pencil ($17) in Naturelle is a great basic staple for a nude lip. It has a slight pinkish sheen so it's great by itself or under a darker lip gloss. Sunflower oil, shea butter, rice bran wax and olive oil are added to nourish lips. 

Available at www.antonymcosmetics.com and Sephora. 

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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