Friday, January 9, 2009

Makeup Musts, pt. 1

My three absolute makeup brands are NARS, Bobbi Brown, and that order. Once upon a time, MAC was my number one, but some of the more disappointing recent launches have demoted it to number three. I also have some specific favourites, which I'll elaborate on later, but I decided that I would give a little review of my favourite brands; what I love most, specific recommendations, and any other little tidbits I want to share. Keep in mind that my main love is neutrals and classic makeup looks, so my recommendations will be mainly centered around those.

Let's start off with Bobbi. Many people dismiss this brand as simply a boring and bland line, but I personally adore Bobbi Brown's offerings, especially those that have to do with sets or assortments.

The thing that I love most about Bobbi Brown is pretty much anything relating to palettes. Her ready-made palettes are brilliant; I especially love her Lip and Eye palette, which includes some of her beautiful metallic shadows. I would also suggest trying out her Mauve Face isn't exactly the newest of products any more, but all the products in it are lovely; the reason why I specifically suggest trying it out is that it could be a flop if the colours don't work with your skintone, but a total success if they do. A recent release which I definitely won't be getting but that some more colour-friendly people might enjoy is the "Brights" palette. While this is no Coastal Scents extravaganza, as the pans are incredibly tiny, if I wanted to try out bright colours this is definitely how I'd do it. The shadows are all matte, which might be boring to some, but I love the idea of miniature pans (for those who don't use super-bright shadows as an everyday staple). I will say that it was definitely a strange marketing strategy to say that people should use the shadows by themselves and not mixed together, as many women find hours of joy in preparing new eyeshadow colour combos. I'm guessing that what the BB team envisioned was not necessarily a whole lot of blending and combining, but more allover colours or even pops of colour as a liner.

I also love her palette system with shadows, glosses, and blushes. Though it is more expensive than MAC's system of shadow pans, I love Bobbi Brown's option of buying palettes and individual shadows/blushes/glosses and then popping them in at your will. That way, you can buy a 4-pan palette, a bunch of individual items, and then pop whatever you'll need for the day into a palette.

My personal palette recipe?

1 empty 4-pan palette

1 blush in Apricot Pink

1 gloss in Cherry Pink

2 metallic eyeshadows, 1 in Champagne Quartz (gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous) and 1 in Burnt Sugar

Another well-renowned product from Bobbi Brown is the Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner. I absolutely love this product; the staying power is great and the colours are beautiful. I wouldn't say that this is leaps and bounds better than most typical gel liners (MAC Fluidline, etc.) but I think that the colours in this line, specifically the Shimmer Ink ones, are particularly gorgeous. My personal favourites are the Granite Shimmer Ink, either for smokey eyes or for a pretty alternative to plain black, Bronze Shimmer Ink, which brings out blue eyes beautifully and is a nice naturally metallic liner for tan skin, and Black Mauve Shimmer Ink, which is a beautiful black-but-not-quite-black liner.

This may seem like a random product, but I happen to really enjoy Bobbi Brown's tinted lip balm. I wear it in Rose Petal, which looks scarily pigmented in both the online picture and in real life. It turns out to be a nice, refreshing lip balm that has a pretty good amount of pigmentation, making it great to slip in your purse for touch-ups during the day. I like it because my lips tend to look sort of pale and ghostly as the day wears on, so this is something I can apply even without a mirror to make sure that I still look nice and alive.

Some extra notes: I would definitely say that Pot Rouge deserves a nice mention in this blog post...while it isn't a revolutionarily long-wearing creme blush, I happen to love the colour selection and the large amount of product you get in one of these pots. Calypso Coral is a beautiful peachy-pink colour that works on pretty much any skintone, and Raspberry is a lovely change from typical blush colours. The reason I didn't mention this product earlier is that I don't think that it's something totally unique to Bobbi Brown; in fact, a lot of makeup lines carry creme blushes very similar to this one. However, Calypso Coral and Raspberry do merit a mention.

I also didn't really get to one of Bobbi Brown's signature products, her Shimmer Bricks. While I myself am a highlighter junkie, like I said above with the Pot Rouges, I don't think that Shimmer Bricks are monumentally different from most highlighters. They are quite pretty, but similar highlighters can be found at many other makeup brands. Plus, you can't use them on your eyes because of the extreme fallout, which is unfortunate for people on the go that can't carry tons of products around with them.

Stay tuned for the next episode of Makeup Musts! I'll be covering MAC next.

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