Monday, November 1st, 2010

Bobbi Brown Crystal Eye Palette
Bobbi Brown Crystal Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Holiday: Crystal Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Crystal Eye Palette ($45.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a newly released, limited edition holiday palette featuring four shades of eyeshadow:  Amethyst (deep violet), Diamond (light purple silver), Star (white silver), and Peacock (aqua green).

  • Amethyst is a deep reddened violet with soft sheen. It has a metallic finish. It had an incredibly soft, smooth texture, and it applied very opaquely.
  • Diamond is a purple-tinged silvery white with a frosted shimmer sheen. It has a shimmer wash finish. Like Amethyst, it was very smooth and packed a good amount of pigment.
  • Star is a semi-sheer silvery white–it is more white than silver. It has a sparkle finish. Though it has a glittery finish, it is still quite smooth, and I didn’t experience any fall out.
  • Peacock is a pop of aqua-green teal with flashes of green-gold shimmer-sheen. It has a metallic finish. It was pretty smooth, but a touch powdery. The pigmentation level was good but not as nice as Amethyst.

When it comes to value, it’s a wash–you get almost what you would expect based on a price/ounce comparison against full-sized, individual shades, but you do get to have four different shades for the price of about two individual shades. Bobbi Brown’s Metallic Eyeshadows go for $20.00 for 0.10 oz., Sparkle Eyeshadows for $24.00 for 0.13 oz., and Shimmer Wash Eyeshadows for $20.00 for 0.08 oz. This palette contains 0.20 oz. in total, but it’s not broken down per shade, so we’ll just assume it’s 0.05 oz. each. You’re getting $20.00 worth of Metallic Eyeshadows, $9.23 worth of Sparkle Eyeshadow, and $12.50 worth of Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow, for a total of $41.73–plus a miniaturized bristle-based brush.

I’m much more impressed by this palette than I was the Beauty Rules Palette.  The consistency of these eyeshadows is soft, smooth, and almost buttery with good pigmentation in nearly all four.  I also think these work together to create wintry cool-toned looks.  I would also like to give props to Bobbi Brown for including a real eyeshadow brush that’s usable!

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: I think it’s definitely a worthy item for your holiday wish list — especially if you like the texture and quality of Bobbi Brown’s eyeshadows but have always wanted a little more zip in the color department.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules Palette
Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules Palette

Beauty Rules?!

Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules Face Palette ($45.00) has me at odds! I do and don’t like this palette. I do LOVE the new and exclusive Pot Rouge shades to this palette. I also adore the packaging–I just think it’s cute and fits so well with the theme. I absolutely do not like the eyeshadows included in the palette, and I really disliked both of the sparkle eyeshadows.

My dislike of those two eyeshadows actually overwhelmed me for awhile, because I kept giving this palette a look of disdain. Once I sat down to write the review, though, I realized that only two of ten products weren’t so hot. I do think the Pot Rouges are really the highlight out of this palette, because they are wearable, flattering shades. Both shades are exclusive to the palette, as are the two lip glosses and Eclipse eyeshadow. (Ivory is permanent; Lightning, Orchid, and Crystal Gold have been in previous palettes.)

  • Ivory is a matte white ivory. If you have a few Bobbi Brown palettes, you probably have this shade somewhere! It’s similar to MAC’s Blanc Type.
  • Lightning is a sheer, softened gray taupe with silver shimmer and has a sparkle finish. It was in Bobbi Brown’s Aquamarine Palette.
    Orchid is sheer, sparkly lilac with a sparkle finish. This was in Bobbi Brown’s Orchid Palette, and I disliked it as much then as I do now. It’s just a mess to apply–fall out everywhere.
  • Eclipse is a matte, stormy black. It’s a nice black, but it doesn’t stand out strongly against other matte blacks available.
  • Baby Pink is a rosy pink with cool, blue undertones. It can be built up for a more intense look or blended out for a rosy flush. I was reminded a bit of Benefit’s Posietint, but Posietint is not as buildable.
  • Homecoming Pink is a medium pink with neutral undertones. It’s as wearable and buildable as Baby Pink, just darker and neutral. Fun find: Pale Pink from the Orchid Palette is a mix of Baby Pink and Homecoming Pink!
  • Air Kiss is a sheer, pale milky pink. It lightened my natural lip color a bit–essentially washed out my lip color.
  • Rum is a sheer rosy brown. It has a little milkiness to it, but it’s not as milky or as pale as Air Kiss.
  • Crystal Gold is a sheer glossy base with metallic bronze and copper shimmer. This is a Glitter Lip Balm, but I’d like this more layered over a lipstick. It’s a little streaky on its own.
  • Jet is a creamy, jet black eyeliner.  It wore well, and it wasn’t too soft or hard, though swatching it lightly on the back of your hand initially is recommended, just to wear down the sharpened point.

The palette contains 0.02 oz. Creamy Eye Pencil, 0.04 oz. x4 Eyeshadows, 0.07 oz. x2 Pot Rouges, 0.04 oz. x2 of Lip Gloss, and 0.04 oz. Glitter Lip Balm. After going through the math, the palette is a good deal. It’s not a fantastic deal, but it’s not a rip off. You get about $10 worth of Eyeliner, $20 worth of Eyeshadows, $15 worth of Sparkle Eyeshadows, $10 worth of Pot Rouge, $10 worth of Lip Gloss, and $5 worth of Glitter Lip Balm–so somewhere around $65 to 70 in value.

I don’t feel like this is a great palette for teenagers. Even though sparkle is fun and they always say it’s for the young (pfft!), both shades are prone to fall out, and I think the last thing a makeup newcomer should have to deal with is that. The Pot Rouges are forgiving, because they’re so blendable, and the lip colors are natural and wear with most looks–but it’s the eyeshadows that seem out of place for a palette geared towards teenagers.

P.S. — Though I am not a fan of lip palettes, particularly when lip colors are mixed with powder products, I did not let that personal bias influence the rating or grading of this palette, but I do still feel that way about them–haven’t changed my mind!

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: My gut says to pass on this, but if you’re a Pot Rouge fan like me, those pinks are hard to pass up.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Saturday, October 9th, 2010


Lipstick Comparisons: $13 to $25 (Part 1)

In this price range, lipsticks tend to be more pigmented, have less synthetic scents, and wear an average of four hours. I’m not typically disappointed beyond belief with a lipstick formula in this price range. Brands from MAC to NARS to Smashbox fall into this price tier, while designer brands like Chanel, Dior, and YSL are in the next tier. There are really SO many brands and formulas to choose from in this category that I had to split this post into two parts!

Benefit Full Finish Lipstick ($18.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, opaque, glossy, wears for 3 to 4 hours, moisturizing
  • NEUTRAL: 0.10 oz., slight sweet scent
  • CONS: Very limited shade range
  • MY REC: These aren’t quite as glossy or as creamy as the Silky Finish line, but they’re more opaque. I still find them rather creamy and moisturizing, though. Some of mine seem to have a very subtle sweetened scent while others have none.

Benefit Silky Finish Lipstick ($18.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, moisturizing, glossy, wears for 3 to 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.10 oz., shades range from sheer to semi-opaque, slight sweet scent
  • CONS: Short shade range centered around pinks
  • MY REC: The Silky Finish is a much glossier, often shimmered lipstick compared to Benefit’s Full Finish range. These actually remind me quite a bit of Laura Mercier’s Stick Gloss. They’re more moisturizing than the average lipstick and have a slicker texture, too. Some of mine seem to have a very subtle sweetened scent while others have none.

Bobbi Brown Lip Color Lipstick ($22.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, slightly glossy, wears 4-6 hours, opaque
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., scent-free, more neutral/pink based shade range
  • CONS: One finish (semi-matte)
  • MY REC: I like the pigmentation and creaminess in the texture of Bobbi Brown’s Lip Color. Sometimes I get caught in thinking that Bobbi Brown is all about sheers, but then the Lip Color line always reminds me that it’s not always the case. Despite their creaminess, they’re not moisturizing; not drying either, but not particularly moisturizing.

Clinique Long Last Soft Shine Lipstick ($14.00)

  • PROS: Wearable shade range, creamy, moisturizing, semi-opaque
  • NEUTRAL: 0.14 oz., more neutral/pink based shade range, scent-free
  • CONS: Wears 2 to 3 hours (despite being touted as long-wearing)
  • MY REC: I think Clinique makeup often gets overlooked, but I like how much of their makeup is scent-free. I also think they’re worth more than just a glance given the price tag.

Illamasqua Lipstick ($22.00)

  • PROS: Opaque, true-to-tube color, wears 5 to 7 hours, lots of fun shades
  • NEUTRAL: 0.14 oz., scent-free
  • CONS: Mostly matte finishes, dry
  • MY REC: It’s important to note that while the texture itself seems a little dry, these lipsticks don’t suck the moisture out of your lips, but they definitely don’t impart any either. With an abundance of matte shades with drier finishes, these are not ideal for those with dry to ultra dry lips.

Korres Guava Lipstick ($22.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, opaque, moisturizing, wears 3 to 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL:  Guava-scented
  • CONS: 0.06 oz., limited shade range
  • MY REC: My biggest issue with these is how little you get; they’re half the size of Korres’ Mango Butter Lipsticks and $4 more. The Guava lipsticks are more opaque and not as glossy in the finish, but they’re a little less moisturizing than the Mango Butters.

Korres Mango Butter Lipstick ($18.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, moisturizing, semi-sheer, wears 3 to 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., mango-scented
  • CONS: Name/numbering system doesn’t always match tube color, limited shade range
  • MY REC: I find these very moisturizing, and I love the glossiness of the finish, because it almost looks like you’re just wearing a gloss. If you have dry lips and haven’t tried these, you might want to give ‘em a shot.

Laura Mercier Creme Lip Colour ($22.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, semi-opaque, wears 3 to 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.14 oz., scent-free
  • CONS: Limited shade range
  • MY REC: I’ve found these to be very creamy, and they’re often more on the opaque side of color. They impart some moisture but I wouldn’t consider it a moisturizing lipstick.

Laura Mercier Stick Gloss ($20.00)

  • PROS: Moisturizing, glossy, semi-sheer, wears 3 to 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., Berry-scented
  • CONS: Very limited shade range
  • MY REC: It’s very comfortable to wear and feels incredibly moisturizing–it’s just a shame that there are so few shades available.

The Lipstick Comparisons series is designed to provide a quick reference summary sheet for some of the many available lipstick formulas. It seems like most brands have at least a couple of formulas, if not half a dozen, and it can be difficult to find the formulas that will work best for your budget, coloring, style, or taste.

This is not necessarily a best of list, and it’s not exhaustive–it is based on actual lipsticks that I’ve tried; they are all, however, decent to excellent lipsticks. (And perhaps, some day, it will be an exhaustive list.) I have summarized my experience based on pros and cons, but also some “neutral” factors that may be pros or cons, depending on your preferences. I will update this series as I try new lipstick formulas.


Friday, October 8th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Holiday 2010 Collection

Bobbi Brown Holiday 2010 Collection

So many people on your list, so little time. Not to worry: Bobbi’s holiday lineup of beautiful gift sets and perfect palettes has everyone covered from your best friend to your boss. (While you’re at it, why not treat yourself?)

Day to Night Palette (Cool) ($45.00) (Limited Edition)

Includes: Ivory, Flint, Charcoal, Pearl (Shimmer), Rockstar (Metallic), Gunmetal (Shimmer) Eyeshadows

Day to Night Palette (Warm) ($45.00) (Limited Edition)

Includes: Ivory, Oat, Espresso, Burnt Sugar (Metallic), Velvet Bronze (Metallic), and Black Plum (Shimmer) Eyeshadows

Pink & Gold Lip Palette ($45.00) (Limited Edition)

Includes: Roseberry Lip Color, Kir Metallic Lip Color, Pretty Pink Metallic Lip Color, Sunset Nude Creamy Lip Color, Italian Rose Creamy Lip Color, Brownie Lip Color

Sparkle Glamour Quad ($40.00) (Limited Edition)

She’s the first to hit the dance floor and has the uncanny ability to pull together an evening look in the back of a cab. From palest pink to deep slate, these glittering shades are made for New Year’s Eve.

Modern Classic Lip & Eye Palette ($75.00) (Limited Edition) (November)

Includes: Ivory Eyeshadow, Oyster Grey Metallic Eyeshadow, Antique Pink Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow, Quarry Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow, Taffeta Metallic Eyeshadow, Birch Eyeshadow, Heather Rose Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow, Navy Charcoal Eyeshadow, Gold Thread Metallic Eyeshadow, Espresso Eyeshadow, Grape Glitter Lip Gloss, Pink Bouquet Glitter Lip Gloss, Golden Topaz Glitter Lip Gloss, Paisley Rose Shimmer Lip Gloss

Lip Gloss Trio ($40.00) (Limited Edition)

Includes: Bright Pink Lip Gloss, Gold Glitter Lip Gloss, Kir Sugar Shimmer Lip Gloss

Crystal Eye Palette ($45.00) (Limited Edition)

Includes: Amethyst Metallic Eyeshadow, Diamond Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow, Star Sparkle Eyeshadow, Marine Metallic Eyeshadow

Deluxe Travel Kit ($115.00) (Limited Edition)

Remember the days when traveling was a chic adventure? Neither do we. This travel kit, which has compartments for every last beauty essential, makes the worst red-eye seem glam again.

Smoldering Eye Palette ($45.00) (Limited Edition)

Each palette features a base and an eyeliner color plus a bold metallic and a dramatic shade of Bobbi’s NEW Long Wear Eye Paint. Includes: White Eyeshadow, Tin Metallic Eyeshadow, Storm Eyeshadow, Onyx Long Wear Eye Paint

Sultry Eye Palette ($45.00) (Limited Edition)

Each palette features a base and an eyeliner color plus a bold metallic and a dramatic shade of Bobbi’s NEW Long Wear Eye Paint. Includes: Bone Eyeshadow, Antique Gold Metallic Eyeshadow, Caviar Eyeshadow, Brandy Long Wear Eye Paint

Smoky Eye Pa3lette ($45.00) (Limited Edition)

Each palette features a base and an eyeliner color plus a bold metallic and a dramatic shade of Bobbi’s NEW Long Wear Eye Paint. Includes: Ivory Eyeshadow, Heather Lilac Metallic Eyeshadow, Charcoal Eyeshadow, Port Long Wear Eye Paint

Availability: October 2010; spotted everything up at Neiman Marcus already and most everything at Nordstrom!

See more photos! Continue reading →

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Bobbi Brown Eye Couture

Bobbi Brown Eye Couture Collection

Exclusively available at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, this limited edition collection includes a twelve-pan eyeshadow palette and four travel sized brushes (with case).

Eye Couture Collection ($220.00)

Like a jewelry box for your eyes. Bobbi’s ultraluxe, gemstone-inspired 12 pan eye shadow palette has everything you need to dress your eyes for the season—including four travel size brushes.

Eye Couture Palette:

  • Star Sparkle Eye Shadow
  • Diamond Shimmer Wash Eye Shadow
  • Peacock Metallic Eye Shadow
  • Onyx Sparkle Eye Shadow
  • Amethyst Metallic Eye Shadow
  • Emerald Sparkle Eye Shadow
  • Bonfire Metallic Eye Shadow
  • Topaz Metallic Eye Shadow
  • Bash Metallic Eye Shadow
  • Volcano Sparkle Eye Shadow
  • Lapis Sparkle Eye Shadow
  • Garnet Shimmer Wash Eye Shadow

Also includes:

  • Travel Size Eye Sweep Brush
  • Travel Size Angle Eye Shadow Brush
  • Travel Size Eye Contour Brush
  • Travel Size Eye Liner Brush
  • Black Brush Carrying Case

Availability: October 2010

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Black Sparkle Eyeshadow
Bobbi Brown Black Sparkle Eyeshadow

More Glitter Fun with Bobbi Brown!

Bobbi Brown Black Sparkle Eyeshadow ($24.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a gray-black color base with layers of teal shimmer, lilac and silver glitter, and wet finish. I think the coolest characteristic about Bobbi Brown’s Sparkle Eyeshadows (or this breed of glitter eyeshadows in general) is how they look slick and wet.

The glitter eyeshadows of yesteryear were just powder eyeshadows with glittery bits in them (think MAC Lustres), but this newer breed has a creamier consistency–everything clings together and then smooths out when applied. There is significantly less fall out with these creamier glitter shades (but they are not cream eyeshadows!)–there is a bit, but nothing undue given how dark the shade is.

Upon first swatching, I thought it was exactly like Black Velvet, but swatched side-by-side, the differences are easily seen! (I actually went back and double-checked the shade name, and I thought maybe mine was mislabeled–that’s how close they seemed at first glance!) Black has a soft black color base with multi-colored glitter that flashes blue, teal, purple, and silver. It looks very blue when swatched next to Black Velvet.

It’s richer and multi-faceted compared to Stila’s Black Diamond, which is just a gray black base with silver glitter. Similarly, Urban Decay’s Void is grayer and sheerer than Stila’s Black Diamond, so that doesn’t really compare either.

Do you rock the glitter eyeshadow or is it too much bling for you?

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Bobbi Brown’s Sparkle Eyeshadows are some of the better glitter eyeshadows on the market–they’re pigmented, smooth, and hold together really well.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →