Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Black Eyeliner Comparison
Black is Black is Black?

Black Eyeliner Comparisons

Are there shades of black? Indeed there are! Not every black eyeliner is the same. There are soft blacks, medium blacks, and deep blacks (and of course, variations within those categories). To try and make some sense of it all, I’m going to assign numerical ratings based on how black each liner is, with 10 being deep, dark black, 1 meaning so light that it’s almost no longer black, and 5 meaning a medium black.

  • Shiseido Black Noir (BK 901) Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil has an amazing creaminess to it, and it is almost a true, deep black. (Review) 9
  • MAC Black Black Chromagraphic Pencil some creaminess but has some hardness (but not in a bad way–it’s not rough on eyes at all), and it is a true dark black — leans on the warm side. (Review) 10
  • MAC Feline Kohl Power is a rich, deep dark black that’s easy to smudge. It is a limited edition product, so it’s not currently available but is often repromoted. (Review) 10
  • Urban Decay Perversion 24/7 Liner is a rich, deep dark black–creamy without being runny. (Review) 10
  • Urban Decay Zero 24/7 Liner is a softened, medium black. It is a slightly warmer black on me. (Review) 4
  • MAC Engraved Powerpoint Eye Pencil is a darkened medium black. 6
  • MAC Smolder Eye Kohl is a dark black with cool leanings. 8
  • MAC Graphblack Technakohl is a medium black. 5
  • Milani Black Liquif’Eye Liner is a dark black with a cool pull. (Review) 8
  • Stila Stingray Smudge Stick is a dark black with neutral to cool undertones. (Review) 8
  • YSL #1 Eye Pencil is a rich black, almost ultra black, with a very matte finish.  (Review) 9
  • Bobbi Brown Black Kohl Eye Liner is a rich, glossy black. The glossiness makes it look less inky, though. (Review) 8
  • Benefit BADgal Liner is a creamy, dark black with warm leanings. (Review) 8

I included review links when I had them to share, but I had some wear issues with YSL’s #1 Eyeliner, Bobbi Brown’s Black Kohl Eyeliner, and Benefit’s BADgal.

The darkest: MAC Black Black Chromagraphic Pencil, MAC Feline Kohl Power, Urban Decay Perversion 24/7 Liner

Dark: Shiseido Black Noir Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil, YSL #1 Eye Pencil

Medium-dark: MAC Smolder Eye Kohl, Milani Black Liquif’Eye Liner, Stila Stingray Smudge Stick, Bobbi Brown Black Kohl Eye Liner, Benefit BADgal Liner

Medium: MAC Engraved Powerpoint Eye Pencil, MAC Graphblack Technakohl

The lightest: Urban Decay Zero 24/7 Liner

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Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Modern Classic Lip & Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Goes Modern for the Holidays

Bobbi Brown Modern Classic Lip & Eye Palette ($75.00) contains ten eyeshadows and four lip glosses all housed in a sleek palette for the holidays.

It includes: Ivory (creamy white), Oyster Grey (silvery beige), Antique Pink (muted rose), Quarry (steely grey with golden flecks), Taffeta (pale pink bronze), Birch (soft brown), Heather Rose (golden plum), Navy Charcoal (navy charcoal grey), Gold Thread (deep golden copper), and Espresso (dark chocolate brown) eyeshadows; along with Grape (deep plum), Pink Bouquet (bright pink), Golden Topaz (golden bronze), and Paisley Rose (warm pink rose) lip glosses.

  • Ivory is a creamy muted white–it’s not too stark, but it’s not what I’d describe as beige, either. I’ve mentioned it before, but this color is routinely in Bobbi Brown’s palettes. This is a matte eyeshadow. It is also part of the permanent range.
  • Oyster Grey is a pale, frosted champagne. This is a metallic eyeshadow.
  • Antique Pink is a sheer, pink champagne.  I found the pigmentation on this shade to be underwhelming–it could use a boost.   This is a shimmer wash eyeshadow.
  • Quarry is a cool-toned muted brown with a white shimmer-sheen. This is a shimmer wash eyeshadow.
  • Taffeta is a softened bronze with golden sheen. This is a metallic eyeshadow.
  • Birch is a muted medium-dark brown–it has very subtle red undertones. This is a matte eyeshadow. It is also part of the permanent range.
  • Heather Rose is a plummy rose with bronze shimmer.  It is a touch sheer but only negligibly. This is a shimmer wash eyeshadow.
  • Navy Charcoal is a muted navy blue matte base with blue flecks of sparkle.
  • Gold Thread is a browned gold with a bright gold sheen. This is a metallic eyeshadow.
  • Espresso is a cool-toned, smoldering black-brown. This is a matte eyeshadow. It is also part of the permanent range.
  • Grape is a sheer plummy pink with plum and gold shimmer. This is a glitter lip gloss.
  • Pink Bouquet is a sheer medium rose pink. This is a glitter lip gloss.
  • Golden Topaz is a sheer beige nude with champagne shimmer. This is a glitter lip gloss.
  • Paisley Rose is a sheer peach-coral nude with faint champagne shimmer. This is a shimmer lip gloss.

Each regular eyeshadow is 0.02 oz.; metallic eyeshadow is 0.02 oz.; each shimmer wash eyeshadow is 0.02 oz.; shimmer lip gloss is 0.03 oz.; and glitter lip gloss is 0.03 oz. In sum, you are getting 0.08 oz. worth of regular eyeshadow ($20.00 value), 0.06 oz. of metallic eyeshadow ($12.00 value), and 0.06 oz. of shimmer wash eyeshadow ($15.00 value). For the gloss, you are getting 0.03 oz. worth of shimmer lip gloss ($4.30 value) and 0.09 oz. worth of glitter lip gloss ($12.86 value). There is also a lip brush and an eyeshadow brush, both functional and not too scratchy (nowhere near as soft as full-sized Bobbi Brown brushes, but they are decent), which I’d put at $10 of value. The palette contains $74.16 worth of product, but you do get 10 eyeshadows and 4 lip glosses (three lip glosses or three eyeshadows would run you right around ~$60 alone).

I really love that Bobbi Brown separates her eyeshadows and lip glosses; it’s not something we always see in palettes, but this brand often does it, and I can appreciate that. It’s just nice not having to worry about powder getting into your gloss products. I also like the inclusion of brushes over sponge-tipped applicators and wish more brands would do the same.

This is the kind of color palette I would expect from Bobbi Brown, and I think it does suit its name. If you’re after bright colors, this is obviously something quite different. However, this palette is excellent for creating work-safe looks as well as some heavier, smokier looks–but lighter, “safer” shades dominate and make it an easy palette for those needing work-friendly options on-the-go or all in one place. I did find that the pigmentation was a bit sheer in a few of the shades (indicated above), but overall, it’s a nice palette.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: At $75, I would want to make sure to purchase it (or gift it) to someone who would really enjoy and use the majority of the palette–not just for one or two shades, you know?

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Glitter Eyeliner
Bobbi Brown Glitter Eyeliner: Silver, Gold

Haven’t We Met Before?

Bobbi Brown Glitter Liquid Eyeliner ($20.00 for 0.05 oz.) are felt-tipped liquid liners available in both Silver (bright silver) and Gold (bright gold).

These have a thin, almost watery consistency that’s been soaked into a long, narrowed pen. As I’ve mentioned a few times now (ha, ha!), I like the liner for its long-wearing capabilities, but the applicator is also very easy to use. It’s flexible without being all over the place, and it’s thin enough to allow for precision. (For a more in-depth review, you may want to consider my MAC Superslick Liquid Eyeliners Review).

The liner reminds me of tube mascara, because when you use remover on it, it flakes off, rather than just simply dissolving. I did find that taking a shower (heat and humidity) made it easy for these to flake off IF you rubbed your eyes, but they would stay put otherwise. It does stay tacky for a few minutes, so while you can’t do much if you make a mistake other than starting again, it will feel tacky to the touch.

It’s a good liner, but this is the third time I’ve seen it in the past six months, so it has me raising my eyebrows halfway off my forehead. MAC’s still comes in as the cheapest ($17.50, and it’s actually 0.06 oz.), and they are also permanent.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: This liner formula that seems to have a lot of brands on board is certainly worth checking out, but what brand you choose is really more about personal preference as I have not observed any noticeable differences across the three brands I’ve tested thus far.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Smoldering Eyeshadow Palette
Bobbi Brown Smoldering Eyeshadow Palette

Choose Your Glam with Bobbi Brown: Smoldering

Bobbi Brown Smoldering Eyeshadow Palette ($45.00 for 0.15 oz.) includes three eyeshadows and one long-wear eye paint. It features: Ivory (creamy white), Heather Lilac (pink heather), Charcoal (dark grey), and Port (deep plum).

The Long-Wear Eye Paints are new and featured in the three palettes from Bobbi Brown’s Smoky, Sultry, Smoldering Collection. According to Bobbi Brown, they are “high-pigment metallic eyeshadow that can be worn wet or dry.” She recommends “[applying] them with a damp Cream Shadow Brush for a strong, luminous and long-lasting pop of shimmering color that won’t crease.”

  • Ivory is a creamy neutral white with a hint of beige–it’s not a stark white. This shade seems like it’s in the majority of Bobbi Brown’s palettes, though, so you probably have at least one! It is a permanent shade.
  • Heather Lilac is a pink mauve with a frosted metallic finish. It’s nicely pigmented and very smooth. This is exclusive to this palette.  It reminded me of NARS’ Night Rider, sans glitter; NARS Ondine is close, too, but leans brown.
  • Charcoal is a dark black with a matte finish. This is a permanent shade.
  • Port is a blackened burgundy with ruby and bright burgundy sparkle. It reminded me of a less black-based MAC Young Punk. From what I can tell, the Long-Wear Eye Paints are very similar to baked/mineralize eyeshadows–it has a small dome, the same sheer texture when applied dry, and it intensifies ten-fold when applied damp.  The shade is all reminiscent of a shadow from LORAC’s Private Affair palette.

Each of the eyeshadows is 0.04 oz. (full-sized are 0.08 oz. for $20.00; 0.10 oz. for $20.00 for metallic eyeshadow), while the Long-Wear Eye Paint is 0.03 oz. (not currently available on its lonesome; but for valuation purposes, we’ll assume 0.08 oz. for $20.00). In this palette, you receive $20.00 worth of regular Eyeshadow, $8 worth of Metallic Eyeshadow, and $7.50 worth of Long-Wear Eye Paint. This totals to $35.50 worth of product. You do also receive a double-ended brush in the palette, which is usable (and one of the better brushes included in palettes)– we’ll say it’s $7 worth–bringing us to $42.50. It’s not a value-packed palette, but I don’t think you’re losing out.

I see a lot of these shades working together, though I really wish Bobbi Brown would vary the lightest shade–Ivory is permanent and too often included in her limited edition palettes. The packaging is sleek and compact, and I love that they have an actual brush applicator included, rather than sponge-tipped ones!  It is a bit basic, with both a matte white and black eyeshadow, so it might not be the best holiday palette to pick up if you have a sizable stash.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: This would be excellent on cooler skin tones in particular, though warmer ones should be able to use it, too. You may want to opt elsewhere for a highlighter if you are medium to dark in skin tone, as Ivory may look stark.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Raisin Lip Color

The Sultry Season: Bobbi Brown Raisin Lip Color

Bobbi Brown Raisin Lip Color ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a muted rusted red-brown. It’s described as a “rich plum brown,” but it’s so hard for me to see the plum in shades like this. Once you tell me, I feel like maybe I can see it, but then maybe I’m just trying too hard! Raisin is an opaque shade with excellent color coverage and feel–very smooth and clings without pulling moisture out of lips. It has a slight glossiness to it but no real shimmer.  It’s also scent- and taste-free!

Oh, and psst, it’s a dead ringer for Chanel’s Imperial Rouge Allure Laque in color (doesn’t have the fine gold shimmer, but color-wise…)!

Is this the right “plum” for you? Would you wear it?

The Sultry Season is a series of posts featuring deep, rich shades of brown, berry, plum, and wine lipsticks and lipglosses — just right for autumn — that runs through November 2010.

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Monday, November 15th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Sparkle Eyeshadow Quad

When Things Get Too Glamorous

Bobbi Brown Sparkle Glamour Quad ($40.00 for 0.40 oz.) looks prettier in promos than it does in real life, and it’s prettier in the pan than it is on the eyes. This palette requires some practice in addition to patience, because the glitter will get everywhere–you may even find some in your hair… or in your nose!

These work best with a tackier base, like a sticky cream eyeshadow that takes longer to dry down. You could also use this with something like MAC’s Water-Based Mixing Medium, which has a little tackiness to it. No matter what method you use, some tackiness in the method will allow the glitter to stay on better and minimize fall out. I’d also recommend applying your eye makeup first and then using a makeup remover wipe or tape (lightly!) to remove any excess glitter that’s fallen from your lids. Press, rather than sweep, the product against the lid to further reduce fall out.

All of these shades are sheer; if you want any sort of color pay off, your best bet is to use them wet (water, Fix+, mixing medium, etc.). The “purple” shade looks more like a semi-sheer taupe; the lightest beige is a white-beige with large chunks of glitter; the darker beige is a champagne; and the “black” shade is a soft charcoal that almost looks brown if it is used dry. There is a gold trim that surrounds each “pan” of eyeshadow, and it is hard to use alone, but it just looks like a sheer white gold sparkle.

I wasn’t sure how deep each color went through, since there is the surrounding gold trim, but after digging through the black pan of color, it seems to go quite deep. The palette contains: Pink Glitter Sparkle Eye Shadow, Smoky Sparkle Eye Shadow, Moonlight Sparkle Eye Shadow and Sandy Sparkle Eye Shadow–but honestly, I have no idea which shades are what. I imagine “Smoky” is the black shade. I’m not sure about the rest, and the palette doesn’t indicate any shade names on the back.

When I have to write a full paragraph on how to minimize fall out and make the product worth using, there is definitely something wrong! I was really impressed with fall’s Sparkle Eyeshadows, but I found these too sheer and dry–the ones from fall almost felt wet upon use and held together better when applied.

Sparkle Eyeshadows retail for $24/0.13 oz., while this palette of four Sparkle Eyeshadows retails for $40/0.40 oz. This translates to $184.62/oz. and $100.00/oz. respectively–which does mean you’re getting quite the steal in terms of quantity! Keep in mind that the rating system takes value into account, and the value aspect is particularly strong here, which bolsters the overall grade significantly.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 18/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t have patience or keen on glittery bits, I’d skip this palette.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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