Category Archives: Tried & Tested

Tried & Tested: LAYLA Softouch Effect Nail Polish

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LAYLA Cosmetics Softouch Effect Nail Polish is a new “soft textured” nail polish that lasts up to 10-15 days. This revolutionary formula is soft to the touch which makes application virtually goof-proof.

These fast-drying nail polishes do not need a top coat or base coat and come in 12 matte and shimmer colors: Marshmallow Twinkle, Golden Touch, Stone, Neon Pink, Cherry Diva, Limoncello, Fire it Up, Queen Bordeaux, Aqua Zen, Turquois Splash, Mudhattan and Noir Touch. The formula will not stain the nail and is free of toluene, camphor, formaldehyde and DBP.

Tried & Tested: Besides a shellac or minx manicure, (which I am not a fan - Read: HERE) this is the longest-lasting polish I have ever used. It dries almost like a gel and leaves a curious cushion/soft texture that instantly conceals any goofs and/or mistakes. Incredibly easy-to-apply, the polish seems to mold to the finger nail. The formula is opaque in just one coat, but perfect in two. I would not describe these polishes as matte. Most matte nail polishes are made with a powder substance, which is what gives them that slightly chalky look. LAYLA Softouch Effect contains a wax that creates more of a demi-matte finish.

A must-have for the girl painting her nails while running out of the house (me…sigh). LAYLA Softouch Effect dries almost instantly and any bumps or dings can be “massaged” back to new.

ABOUT LAYLA COSMETICS:

LAYLA Cosmetics is an Italian company based in Milan, the capital of fashion, and was the first to introduce nail polish in Italy. Now, the company features a wide range of nail polishes and makeup products. LAYLA Cosmetics can satisfy the nail polish needs and desires of every woman, from the sophisticated business woman to the young, artsy college student.

LAYLA Cosmetics is also one of the first brands to create magnetic nail polish. Their revolutionary Magneffect Nail Polish was formulated to react to the magnet on its cap, creating instant, three-dimensional designs in seconds. The quick drying, high-shine finish requires no base coat, and is easily removed with nail-polish remover. Basically, LAYLA Cosmetics created imaginative fun in a bottle.

Not only will your nails sparkle with spectacular shine and uniquely captivating colors, but all of LAYLA’s nail polishes are formulated without formaldehyde, toluene and DBP, and they’re never tested on animals. So, whether you’re looking for unique nail polishes or a fast-drying top coat, LAYLA Cosmetics has the perfect product for you!

Tried & Tested: Josie Maran Argan Hot Oil Self-Heating Hair Treatment

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Josie Maran’s Argan Hot Oil Self-Heating Hair Treatment is food for the hair. This innovative hair treatment comes with an advanced self-heating mechanism that allows the miniature argan ampules to warm up under the hot water of your shower or by simply rubbing between the palms of your hands. The oil heats to the ideal temperature to penetrate hair strands and help seal in moisture.

Self-heats? Yes… exactly what I said.

Unlike the days of the VO5 Hot Oil Treatments where a scalding cup of water was needed to heat the tube of oil, these self-heat. Simply run one of the ampules under the hot water in your shower or rub vigorously between the palms of your hands, and the oil heats to the perfect temperature.

This expert treatment repairs and restores hair in just one minute. Its gentle formula is infused with Maran’s signature argan oil, which contains a large amount of vitamin E to reverse damage caused by heat and over-styling, leaving hair smoother, shinier, and healthier. It also contains bergamot, jojoba and soybean oil to restore dull, lackluster hair.

Suitable for all hair types and color-treated hair, this is an intense, nourishing treatment. In the shower, I leave the oil in my hair for longer that one minute and sometimes add one ampule to my hair before a day at the beach. It really does a great job of protecting my hair from the sun and saltwater. After the treatment, my hair is noticeably smoother and holds an incredible shine. The individual ampules are great for travel and are resealable, so those with shorter or thinner hair can get 2 or more uses.

Tried & Tested: Laura Mercier Eye Basics in Eye Bright

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On a quick trip to Nordstrom-Fashion Island, I came across a lovely associate at the Laura Mercier counter, Christina. She was a wealth of knowledge, introducing me to new and old Laura Mercier items. She is also a makeup artist, introducing me to new and old tricks she uses on clients and brides. Here is one she shared with me.

Laura Mercier Eye Basics is a cream-based primer that camouflages eye imperfections and enhances the durability of eye makeup. Eye Basics are available in seven skin tone shades and one unique pale blue shade called Eye Bright.

Eye Bright is a universal shade that can be used on it’s own or mixed with other Eye Basics to instantly brighten the eye area. The creme evaporates to a dry finish, and leaves behind long-lasting, semi-matte color. Water-resistant and crease-proof, it corrects imperfections and discoloration on the lid.

Formulated with soothing botanicals, vitamins and antioxidants, Eye Bright offers anti-inflammatory and healing benefits, great for those with puffy lids and tired eyes.

Blend Eye Bright on the eyelid from lash line to crease. As the product smoothes over redness, veining and other imperfections, you will notice the whites of the eyes are instantly brighter and more awake. Add shadow over top or just enjoy the brightening effect on its own.

Questions about Laura Mercier? 

Contact:
Christina D. Torres
Business Manager
Cosmetics, Laura Mercier
T: 949/610-1420
E: christina.d.torres@nordstrom.com

Tried & Tested: Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35

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The newest BB Cream to hit our counters is Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35. Exclusive to Nordstroms, the formula combines moisturizer, skincare, foundation and SPF into one.

Features & Benefits: Water-attracting molecules boost hydration. Light-reflecting pearls brighten dull skin. Botanical extracts and caffeine reduce discoloration and redness. Pore-reducing peptides minimize fine lines. Broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and antioxidants fend off future damage.

Bobbi Brown’s BB Cream SPF 35 is available in five shades: Extra Light, Fair, Light, Medium and Medium to Dark. I was certainly intrigued by this, due to the fact that Bobbi Brown Cosmetics are primarily yellow-based shades. Many BB Cream (especially asian brands) are based on cooler-tones, such as pinks and greys.

As I sampled the different shades, I was persuaded by a sweet Bobbi Brown representative to try the darkest shade, Medium to Dark. This shade looks quite dark, almost bronzer-like. But, I took her advice and purchased.

APPLICATION: Smooth and easy to apply. Goes on quite dry, but feels nice and extremely light on the skin. (Unless you have very oily skin, a moisturizer is needed in addition to this BB Cream.)

COVERAGE: Sheer.

FINISH: Skin appears matte with a subtle sheen. Very healthy-looking. However, like most BB Creams, after a couple hours the oils will come-out and skin will look too glowing. A finishing powder is recommended.

COLOR: Initial application, the color appeared too dark. Let dry and after a couple minutes, the color adapts to the skin and the color is perfect. It might be a smidgen too dark – but I am loving the subtle-tan look for summer.

VERDICT: Like many of the US BB Creams, this is much like a tinted moisturizer. But, I love the finish it leaves on the skin and the feeling is remarkably lightweight. For a high-SPF product, this cream wears like you have nothing on. The shade choices are great and warm-up the complexion beautifully. Leaves skin looking fresh and healthy. A great option for the summer months – SPF, lightweight, easy.

(When testing these BB Creams, before deciding on a shade, I suggest waiting at least 5 minutes for the color to oxidize and adapt to your skin tone.)

For other BB Cream reviews:

Dior Hydra Life BB Cream

Boscia BB Cream

Tried & Tested: Dior Hydra Life BB Crème

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The BB Cream craze has officially arrived stateside. Prestige brands are now formulating their own versions of these “magical creams.”

To read more on the meaning and creation of the BB Cream, read my previous post, here.

I admit, I jumped on the BB Cream bandwagon a couple years ago. I starting with traditional Asian brands and have worked my way up to my current favorite, Dior.

The difference between traditional BB Creams and the BB Creams now available at your local counters, is color and consistency. The majority of the traditional brands offer a selection of only one or two shades, developed primarily for Asian skin tones. These shades are often very light and have greyish-undertones. Traditional BB Creams are thick in consistency and provide medium to full coverage as well as excellent sun protection, anti-aging benefits and skin-regenerating properties. The majority of the “new” BB Creams are no different than a tinted moisturizer with higher SPF. The coverage of these products can be very sheer, but most offer a better selection of shades.

Dior Hydra Life BB Crème has a thicker, full-coverage texture that is more in line with traditional BB Creams. Formulated with the Hydra Life skincare line, this cream is packed with moisturizing and age-defying benefits. The smooth velevety-texture has complexion-enhancing properties that produce a dewy, radiant glow. With SPF 30 PA+++ protection, this is a great product to reach for in the warmer months. The one caveat is, similar to traditional BB Creams, Dior Hydra Life BB Crème is available in one only shade. It is important to test this product before purchasing.

The BB Cream craze is confirmable, who wouldn’t want a single-step cream that will balance skin, correct the complexion and protect a youthful appearance?

Tried & Tested: The Battle of the Cleansing Conditioners

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A cleansing conditioner is a new approach to the way you clean your hair. These products cleanse and hydrate the hair in just one-step. Different from past “two-in-one” products, these cleansing conditioners do not contain any harsh detergents, chemicals, surfactants and/or sulfates that strip hair of it’s natural oils.

The three products up for review are: WEN Pomagranate Cleansing Conditioner, Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo and L’Oreal EverCreme Cleansing Conditioner. Each product claim the same purpose - a healthy alternative to cleansing hair – but perform differently using varied ingredients.

WEN Pomegranate Cleansing Conditioner

Company Description: WEN uses a combination of natural extracts and botanicals to hydrate and cleanse the hair without the use of detergents and chemicals. The perfect mixture and blend of it’s ingredients leave hair healthy, moisturized and cleansed. WEN Cleansing Conditioners replace shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler and leave-in conditioner giving you five products in one bottle.

Suggested Use: Rinse hair thoroughly. Apply product in 4 sections, crown, nape, ends on left side and ends on right side. For short hair 24 pumps is suggested, for longer thicker hair 48 pumps. Add a splash of water and massage into scalp. Use a wide-tooth comb to distribute the product and leave in for 3-5 minutes. Rinse. Product can then be used again as a detangler or leave-in treatment.

Review: WEN Pomegranate Cleansing Conditioner is truly a unique product. My first attempt trying the product was mediocre, due to the fact that I ignored the company’s directions and thought “I could not possibly need that amount of product.” After a bit of experimenting and following directions, WEN left my hair clean, extremely hydrated, bouncy and shiny. (Do I sound like the infomercial?… sorry.) When trying this product for the first time, the satisfaction level is a bit frustrating. With no lather or bubbles (it barely foams), it is hard to get used to, until you see the results.

Shu Uemura Hair Cleansing Oil Shampoo

Company Description: Delicate formula that transforms quickly into a rich thick foam that effectively draws out the impurities and build-up on the scalp without stripping the natural oils. Leaves hair naturally radiant, soft, and in a balanced state – volumized and moisturized. Paraben and silicone free.

Suggested Use: Formuated for daily use. massage through wet hair and rinse.

Review: Shu Uemura Hair Cleansing Oil Shampoo should be in a category of it’s own. Just like the company’s best selling oil-based facial cleanser, their philosophy is “oil removes oil.” Which is exactly what this product does. Formulated from deep-sea volcanic extracts, this revolutionary oil-to-foam cleanser gently washes away built-up impurities and leaves hair lightweight, lustrous and magically free from unwanted grease.  After application, I do use a separate conditioner but it is not necessary.

L’Oreal EverCreme Cleansing Conditioner

Company Description: This one-step wonder product is an ultra-gentle, yet powerful combination of 1/4 cleanser + 3/4 moisture. Its Low-Poo, or Low-Lather, cleansing reduces friction on the hair fiber to help minimize breakage. This innovative, ultra-concentrated triple action conditioning formula, with Omega-3 and 6, leaves hair super soft and nourished without weigh-down.

Suggested Use: Apply to wet hair and massage into a low later. Leave in 1-2 minutes. Rinse. No separate conditioner needed.

Review: L’Oreal EverCreme Cleansing Conditioner is the drugstore equivalent to WEN Haircare. The newest product of the three, this product produces much of the same results with varied ingredients. L’Oreal Cleansing Conditioner has a surfactant in it, a type of detergent. Although very mild, this product is really no different than any other “sulfate-free” shampoo – other than having added moisturizing properties. It does cleanse the hair and leave it soft and manageable and would be a great product to have in your gym bag for a quick shower.

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Conclusion: I have a hard time using one product for a long period of time, therefore, cannot review their long-term effect. But, this is what I have concluded: Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo might be the best shampoo I have ever used. Feels gentle and nourishing at the same time. WEN is truly a unique product and wins for best all-in-one product. L’Oreal EverCreme Cleansing Conditioner is a good drugstore option, but is not that much different than the line’s sulfate-free products.

Tried & Tested: Bare Escentuals Magic Wand Brushless Mascara

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Magic Wand Brushless Mascara

Curiosity was the culprit to testing Bare Escentuals Magic Wand Brushless Mascara.

According to Bare Escentuals, their mascara claims to coat the lashes, one by one, to achieve the look of false lashes. The unique design of the brushless wand has tiny ridges etched-in to capture each individual lash. The formula is pitch black with a satin finish, long-wearing and no flakes.

Application is where there is a learning curve. Technique and patience are strongly advised. Clumpy spider lashes will be the outcome of the preliminary trials. Revert back to directions which specifically state to use soft and slow strokes. Lashes will still clump together but notice the ridiculous length. Using a lash comb (Favorite: Tweezerman Metal Lash Comb) separate the lashes and finally you have applied one coat of mascara. Add second coat if needed.

To be honest, this is a great mascara. To be frank, do you really want to spend twenty minutes applying mascara?

Tried & Tested: MAC Paint Pot in Morning Frost

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MAC Morning Frost

This holiday season, MAC Cosmetics teamed up with ice skater Johnny Weir in creating it’s Glitter & Ice collection. Sparkles and frost are the constant in this collection, with shades that resemble a winter wonderland.

The Paint Pot in Morning Frost immediately caught my eye. The shimmering champagne taupe color is a beautiful hue that will accentuate any eye color. In different lights it manifests gold, bronze, taupe and pink shades.

MAC Paint Pots, in my opinion, are the best eye primers. They can be worn on their own or as a base for eyeshadow. They do not crease and provide eye-makeup with long-wear durability.

Tried & Tested: Susan Posnick COLORFLO

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Susan Posnick COLORFLO

One of the first mineral foundations ever created is Susan Posnick’s COLORFLO. After she was diagnosed with skin cancer, Susan Posnick (celebrity makeup artist) developed a mineral foundation with natural sun protection. She wanted a foundation that had coverage but felt invisible on the skin.

COLORFLO Mineral Foundation is made with all natural ingredients. It lets skin breath and won’t clog pores or irritate skin. It feels weightless on the skin and creates flawless radiant skin.

This sheer coverage foundation is buildable. By layering the product, one can create a medium coverage foundation or use directly as a concealer. COLORFLO provides powerful and natural sun protection and is extremely gentle on the skin.

Packaging is easy and simplified with a built-in application brush. The self-dispensing brush is perfect for on-the-go touchups and fits nicely in any bag.

Tried & Tested: They’re Real! Benefit Mascara

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They're Real! Benefit Mascara

Currently loving, Benefit’s new mascara, They’re Real!

Although the formula is nice, wet and smudge-proof, the reverence goes to the brush. This amazing rubber brush coats each lash beautifully, however, the tip of the brush is where the real magic happens.

Similiar to Givenchy Phenomen’eyes mascara, the round sphere of bristles at the top of the brush adds precision and definition. Every lash, even the tiniest hairs are coated, lengthened and plumped.

The formula and rubberized brush is similar to Cover Girl’s Lash Blast mascara, but the technology of Benefit’s brush is in a league of it’s own.

TIP: When the mascara bottle has dried-up, separate the brush and clean it. Dip it into your favorite formula or drugstore mascara.

Tried & Tested: Too Faced Primed & Poreless

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Too Faced Primed & Poreless

Too Faced Primed & Poreless is a makeup primer formulated to erase pores and imperfections, soften fine lines and help create a flawless face.

This primer aroused my curiosity with one ingredient, a powerful dose of retinol. Always a fan of multi-tasking, finally a primer formulated to prime the skin while restoring moisture, elasticity with anti-wrinkle fighting ingredients.

The primer slides onto the skin seamlessly, easy to blend and sets quickly. The nude tone becomes invisible once applied, so can be used on any skintone. Pores were airbrushed away and my combination skin felt less oily. Makeup lasted all day, no touch-ups needed.

The retinol in the product is quickly noticeable with a slight “itchy” feeling. Nothing to be discouraged about, but very sensitive skin might be fore-warned.

Too Faced Primed & Poreless is a great primer for oily and combination skintypes. Just remember to apply your sunscreen as retinol can make skin sensitive to the sun.

Tried & Tested: Laura Geller Balance & Bronze

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Laura Geller Balance & Bronze

Laura Geller Balance & Bronze is a dual compact providing foundation and bronzer in one.

The foundation is a baked formula with multiple veins of color-correcting properties. This powder provides a sheer veil of coverage that leaves skin balanced and glowing. Mineral oil and paraben-free, this foundation contains anti-aging and anti-oxidant protection.

The bronzer is also a baked formula with multiple veins of colors that provide a radiant, sun-kissed glow.

This is a great product for travel or to throw in your purse. The two items work nicely together but can also be used on their own. The Balance & Bronze is also a great item to try, if you are curious about the Laura Geller line, 2-in-1.

Tried & Tested: Le Métier de Beauté Magic Lustre Creme

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Le Metier de Beaute Magic Lustre Creme

Le Métier de Beauté (which translates to “the craft of beauty”) features stunning cosmetics and innovative products.

Become your very own alchemist with this line’s Magic Lustre Creme. This luxurious cream glaze is enriched in vitamin E and transforms any powder pigment into sheer stains and glosses for the cheeks, lips or eyes. Loose powder pigments can be difficult to work with, by adding a bit of Magic, the pigments metamorphoses into cream-based products. This makes application simple as well as enhancing color and texture.

Mix with multiple colors to find your perfect recipe or use on it’s own to create a dewy complexion.

Tried & Tested: Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector

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Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector is formulated to hydrate and enhance the lips, not hide them. These natural-colored lip products provide high gloss for a luscious-looking pout.

Clarins Lip Perfectors are extremely hydrating, apply beautifully and feel amazing. The colors are natural and light, used to enhance one’s lip color not erase it completely. It gives lips a soft, luminous glow sans any residue or stickiness.

The gel-like formula tastes sweet and pleasing like caramel and does not leave behind any strong scent. Available in three shades: rose shimmer, apricot shimmer and beige, these lip products are sheer and glowing.

A great lip option for those who like a natural – more subdued lip or for those with dry or chapped lips.

Tried & Tested: Micellar Cleansing Waters

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Micellar Cleansing Water is used to remove impurities, tone and hydrate the skin without the need of water. These delicate waters immediately eliminate makeup, dirt and oil from the skin with one sweep.

Based on a micelle principle, these technologically advanced products release softening agents to hydrate and calm the skin while effectively removing all traces of make-up on face, eyes and lips. Gentle enough for sensitive skin, (some brands provide a separate sensitive-skin formula) these refreshing waters cleanse and tone the skin without irritation.

The difference between Micellar Cleansing Water and simple makeup removers…

According to Bernard Pochic, Bioderma’s National Trainer, “Micellar Cleansers dissolve the bond between cosmetic pigments and your skin so you can wipe it off.” Doesn’t sound all that different, simple makeup removers primarily smear the cosmetic pigments allowing an easy removal when you wash your face. The Micellar Cleansers is a one-step process that eliminates the need for a second cleanse.

Simply apply product to cotton pad and wipe gently where needed. These products will dissolve even the most stubborn or waterproof product.

Primarily made by French skincare brands, Micellar Cleansers are now popping up everywhere. Here are a few of my favorites, all but one (Bioderma) can be found online, in drugstores or beauty supply.

Vichy – Purete Thermale Cleansing Micellar Lotion, Avene – Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Make-up Remover, Embryolisse – Micellar Lotion , La Roche-Posay – Physiological Micellar Solution, Bioderma – Sensibio H20 Micellar Solution

Tried & Tested: Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque

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Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque

Dermalogica Multivitamin Recovery Masque is a great remedy for dull, tired or irritated skin. The concentrated formula of vitamins, antioxidants and botanical extracts leave the skin glowing and healthy.

The formula consists of Vitamins A, C, E, F and Pro-Vitamin B5 which help repair and restore. Beta Glucan, a biological defense modifier, soothes irritated skin and enhances moisture barrier properties. Nutrient-rich Algae Extract moisurizes and softens skin and Licorice, Comfrey and Burdock soothe skin and decrease sensitivity.

When you rinse this masque off the face, you are instantly left with a fresh glow and healthy-looking skin. The face feels soft and smooth, free from irritation and redness.

This is the perfect treatment to use after a late night or when the skin needs a good pick-me-up. It brings the skin back to life and replenishes all the missing vitamins and nutrients.

Tried & Tested: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad

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Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad

To achieve a sun-kissed glow on the face, I opt for bronzing powders/creams or purchase darker foundations/tinted moisturizers. I cringe at the thought of applying faux-tanning products to the face. In past experience I have found they sink into pores, cause breakouts and never provide natural-looking results. That is until now, after discovering Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads, I am a frequenter of faux-face tanning.

Dr. Denis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads are pre-soaked towelettes that provide anti-aging benefits as well as a glowing complexion. These pads exfoliate the skin, tighten pores, eliminate blackheads and help fade existing sun damage. One small pad reveals natural radiant skin that provides a long-lasting tan and fades gracefully. This product is great all-year round, it effectively evens-out skintone which reduces the need for heavy foundations and concelers.

Tried & Tested: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush

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Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush is a nutrient-rich, fade-free, long-wearing cheek product.

The main ingredient, Amazonian clay, minimizes oil on the skin to keep the product in place. Its nutrient-rich formula, infused with Vitamins A, C and E fights free-radicals and protects from premature aging.

The Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush comes in an assortment of eight shades. From baby pink to strawberry red, the colors are strong and pigmented.  Some of the colors have a sparkly finish, while others take-on a more more matte finish. I have found that the matte finishes tend to be a bit chalky on the skin and prefer a more shimmery hue.

This blush is accurate in it’s 12-hour, long-wear promise. The color remained true throughout the day and survived in 75 degree heat.

Tried & Tested: Urban Decay All Nighter

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Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray is a must-have product for people who need their makeup to last.

In an exclusive partnership with SKINDINÄVIA, the originator of the makeup setting spray, All Nighter promises to keep makeup fresh for 16 hours. Originally used on movie sets in Hollywood, so makeup artists would have fewer touchups through long days of filming, setting sprays prevent makeup from melting, creasing, sliding or caking.

But does it work?

A night of dancing with the girls proved this product’s legitimacy. At the end of my makeup routine, I had sprayed the super fine-mist on my face, about three sprays. The product felt nice on the skin and there was an immediate cooling/setting sensation. Fast-forward to end-of-night, after dancing for about 2-3 hours, makeup was still intact and I was left with a “healthy glow.”

All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray is allergy tested, dermatologist tested, vegan, cruelty free, and free of oil, parabens and fragrance.

If you are planning on getting married, going to prom or out-on-the-town – pull an All Nighter.


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