Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Giorgio Armani #1 Madreperla Face & Eye Palette
Giorgio Armani #1 Madreperla Face & Eye Palette

Giorgio Armani Holiday 2011: #1 Madreperla Face & Eye Palette

Giorgio Armani #1 Madreperla Face & Eye Palette ($59.00 for 0.28 oz.) is a new and limited edition holiday compact that includes a “beige pearl, metallic gold, [and] light green pearl.” You can use this on the face or on the eyes–it’s more like a highlighter for the face, and then the eyeshadows can be used to create a soft look.

The compact first includes a small portion of a pale, muted beige with gold shimmer. It has a soft, smooth texture and applies with good color payoff. It’s a little less peach compared to Urban Decay Booty Call. MAC Baby It’s Cold is similar, perhaps a touch lighter. Shades like Urban Decay Skimp, MAC Butternutty, and Bare Escentuals Serendipitous are a few more that look similar.

In the middle, which is the largest section, is a warm, yellow gold with a frosted finish. The color payoff is a bit sheer, but the texture is fairly soft. There is a lot of similarity in this hue to shades like theBalm Snobby, Chanel Blazing Gold, Urban Decay Eldorado, and Urban Decay Blunt.

The bottom shade, also a small portion (same size as the top shade), is a muted, almost antique-like, gold with a more metallic finish. Like the middle shade, this is a little on the sheer side but still feels smooth and soft. Tarina Tarantino Dreamy has a hue that’s a bit lighter. I think MAC Retrospeck comes rather close, perhaps a little darker.

Applied as a highlighter, it results in a muted champagne-gold shimmer-sheen. It’s more gold than not, but it’s not yellow or orange–it has more of a hint of antique gold without being too dark. It works as a highlighter, but it did emphasize my skin’s texture just slightly. The wear was good, though, with the highlighter mostly intact after eight hours.  I swirled over the entire compact, but you could swirl more towards the upper or lower half to get a lighter or darker golden shade–the middle color will dominate, just because of how large its surface is. Whether you look at it as a highlighter or eyeshadow palette, it comes with a good amount of product.

The Glossover

palette

Giorgio Armani #1 Madreperla Face & Eye Palette Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
I like it but don't love it; of all the holiday highlighters we've seen, this one isn't the best on the market, so if that's your aim, you might consider this season's other releases. I think it performs better as a highlighter than as a set of eyeshadows, just because the underlying sheerness gives it more of a faded look when applied. If you have really fair skin, it might work, but light-medium and deeper may find this doesn't show up as well.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Giorgio Armani #604 Plum Gloss d'Armani
Giorgio Armani #604 Plum Gloss d’Armani

Giorgio Armani #604 Plum Gloss d’Armani

Giorgio Armani #604 Plum Gloss d’Armani ($28.00 for 0.22 fl. oz.) is described as “bold amethyst.” It’s a sheer grape purple, and when applied to lips, it looks like a cool-toned plum-purple. It reminded me of Illamasqua Fierce when it swatched, but they’re nothing alike on the lips. I couldn’t think of any other potential gloss dupes.

It doesn’t look nearly as purple applied as it does swatched, because the natural pinkness of my lips (which are already rather corpse-like to begin with) peeks through and makes this shade more wearable than it appears. It looks super, super dark in the tube, but don’t let it fool you–it’s a sheer gloss. Giorgio Armani described it as “vivid yet so translucent on application that it matches any skin tone,” and it’s true; there’s definite color, plenty of pop and oomph, but there’s a translucency there that makes the gloss look a bit different from person to person, depending on their natural lip color. I’m torn; I kind of dig the way the color looks on lips from afar, but my lips almost look diseased up close, because it does not apply evenly and the color has a tendency to settle into lip lines.

Though you’ll see disappointing marks for longevity, it’s only because the brand claims eight hours of wear (without fading!), and I’ve never managed to hit that marker; I get to around six with darker shades, five or so with lighter shades. Don’t get me wrong–it’s excellent wear for lipgloss (because this is really lipgloss, it’s not a liquid lipstick), but it does fall short of their claim. The texture feels like a gel, and while it feels non-sticky initially, I find it gets tackier as you wear it.

The Glossover

P
product

#604

B-
The unevenness and settling into lip lines can be deal-breakers for some; they're certainly not characteristics that sell this gloss. It wears for five hours and stays glossy for three. The pigmentation is right where Giorgio Armani described it!

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Giorgio Armani #19 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow
Giorgio Armani #19 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Giorgio Armani #19 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Giorgio Armani #19 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is exactly as it sounds–it’s #17 and #18 mixed together. Even in the pot, you can see the pale yellowy gold with the grayish silver intertwined. Together, they create a metallic pewter that reads more silver than it does gold. When applied dry, it’s almost opaque, and when it’s applied damp, it’s more opaque with a more obvious metallic sheen. I thought it was just the tiniest bit sheer, but when I applied it to my lid (no base), it was opaque in one go. This was the best of the three new and limited edition shades released for the holidays. I couldn’t think of a dupe for it; it’s in the same color family as Urban Decay Maui Wowie and Wet ‘n’ Wild Dancing in the Clouds but is much, much lighter. MAC Dalliance is more golden.

Eyes to Kill Intense feels and looks like compacted powder (which means it can be loosened, but it’s relatively solid and becomes more solid if you press on it, whether with a brush or the included presser). Giorgio Armani describes it as a hybrid, not a powder but not a cream–it feels more like a cream but looks like a powder. It’s a long-wearing eyeshadow whether you use it with or without a base (I achieved 24 hours of wear with #14 and over 12 hours of wear with numerous other shades). I tested out this shade for 12 hours, and it held up without creasing or fading.

The Glossover

LE
product

#19

A
The most unique shade out of the three, and it's the best performing one, too! If you combine #17 and #18, you do get something similar to #19, but it depends on how you layer and intensify (since these are almost blended from the get-go, as compared to layering them individually).

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

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Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Giorgio Armani #18 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow
Giorgio Armani #18 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Giorgio Armani #18 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Giorgio Armani #18 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a pale yellowy gold with a metallic sheen. This would work well to brighten the lower lash line and on the inner tear duct to open up eyes. It is similar to Bobbi Brown Gold, which is a bit yellower; Bare Escentuals Standing O and MAC Buried Treasure are more opaque and a touch darker. theBalm Wild Child is similar in hue but has a frosted finish instead of a metallic one. MAC Nylon is lighter.

Like #17, this one isn’t as intense as other shades from the range. It can be built up, but it doesn’t have the one pass pigmentation you’d expect from the line or from a pigmented eyeshadow. It swatches about the same whether used dry or damp–it has a more metallic sheen when it is applied damp.

Eyes to Kill Intense feels and looks like compacted powder (which means it can be loosened, but it’s relatively solid and becomes more solid if you press on it, whether with a brush or the included presser). Giorgio Armani describes it as a hybrid, not a powder but not a cream–it feels more like a cream but looks like a powder. It’s a long-wearing eyeshadow whether you use it with or without a base (I achieved 24 hours of wear with #14 and over 12 hours of wear with numerous other shades).

The Glossover

LE
product

#18

B+
It's surprisingly sheer, though I will say it is buildable. The texture is still smooth and finely-milled (so no fall out like #17). This is one of the more dupeable shades from the range, so you may want to splurge on other shades first!

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Giorgio Armani #17 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow
Giorgio Armani #17 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Giorgio Armani #17 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Giorgio Armani #17 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a silvered gray with darker gray sparkle. I was worried that it would resemble #12 too much, and while they’re similar (and unless you wear a lot of silver, you don’t need both), they’re not dupes. #12 is bluer, lighter, and much more metallic (go figure), while #17 is more neutral and gray with a subtler silver sheen and shimmer. It almost looks pink-tinted in comparison. MAC Misty was the closest shade I could think of, but it’s pinker and lighter.

The pigmentation was good but not great with this shade; when it’s applied dry, it’s semi-sheer and definitely has some silver sparkle fall out, while when it’s applied damp, it’s smoother and holds together better with more color payoff, there’s still a smidgen of fall out.  Even though it’s not a dupe for #12, I would have loved to have seen a shade they hadn’t done before instead!

Eyes to Kill Intense feels and looks like compacted powder (which means it can be loosened, but it’s relatively solid and becomes more solid if you press on it, whether with a brush or the included presser). Giorgio Armani describes it as a hybrid, not a powder but not a cream–it feels more like a cream but looks like a powder. It’s a long-wearing eyeshadow whether you use it with or without a base (I achieved 24 hours of wear with #14 and over 12 hours of wear with numerous other shades).

The Glossover

LE
product

#17

B
This is one of my least favorites from the Eyes to Kill Intense range; it just doesn't have the same oomph as many other shades do. The sheerness in both the dry and damp swatches is not what you'd expect from this formula, and the fall out, though fairly minor, is a drawback, too.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011


Holiday Gift Guide: Must-Have Beauty Products for Lips

One of the things I am most thankful for is that by becoming a beauty blogger and having the opportunity to try so may different products is that it’s opened up my eyes to how many fantastic brands and formulas there are. Not every brand does everything perfectly, and there are a lot of great formulas that are just varying degrees of great. Picking a favorite really comes down to a less quantifiable factor, I think. It might be the color range, packaging, scent, or the overall feel. These are all lip products I personally recommend from brands’ permanent ranges.

Lip Balms/Treatments

  • Kiehl’s #1 Lip Balm ($7.00) is nice for those who prefer a thinner balm with no shine. It’s very, very slick and thin on the lips, but it does a good job at moisturizing.
  • Jack Black Lip Therapy Lip Balm ($7.50) is my all-time favorite lip balm, and I have them all over the house–at my desk, purse, pocket, nightstand–and a stock pile of them in reserve. So, so hydrating and comfortable to wear. My favorite flavor is Lemon & Chamomile, with Original as a runner-up.
  • Philosophy Lip Shines ($10.00) are kind of a balm, kind of a lip balm; because they tend to run so sheer and have the thicker feel of a balm, I’m going to go with it as a lip balm! I like that they’re fragranced with Philosophy’s signature scents plus have some shimmer and shine.
  • Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($22.50) is a decadent balm that works well but wears away quickly–I like the product, not so much the price tag and how quickly it finishes, though! They do have tinted versions, though, and they’re some of the better lip stains because they’re more hydrating, but they are prone to uneven fading.
  • Sara Happ The Lip Scrub ($24.00) is my favorite lip scrub, because it holds together well, exfoliates lips, and leaves them feeling soft and moisturized.
  • Guerlain Terracotta Baume Au Couer Lip Balm ($30.00) is tinted and feels like butter on lips; it wears for a few hours before disappearing, but it’s moisturizing the entire time.
  • La Mer The Lip Balm ($45.00) is probably the priciest lip balm I’ve ever used, but it really does work well. It hydrates lips while still wearing well (you won’t have to reapply every hour).

Lipsticks

  • CoverGirl Lip Perfection ($6.99) is really rich in color, glides on easily, and wears for hours. The downside is the scent, so if you’re super sensitive to smells, you might look elsewhere, but these perform well overall.
  • Maybelline ColorSensational Lipsticks ($8.29) is a good go-to for a more affordable lipstick brand, and of course, like other drugstore brands, you can catch it on sale for much less than $8 a pop. I find the creamier shades are the best!
  • MAC Lipsticks ($14.50) straddle that price point that doesn’t quite break the bank, feels a little more high-end than some drugstore brands, and is an all-around good formula. Their range is one of the most extensive that I know of, and with that, does come some inconsistency–not every single shade is as great as the last, but they do have several favorites. Some of these include Angel, Russian Red, Girl About Town, Crosswires, Sweetie, Cosmo, Plumful, and Media–just to scratch the surface.
  • Korres Mango Butter Lipsticks ($18.00) are lightweight, comfortable to wear, and come with a fairly glossy finish and semi-sheer color. Shades like Natural Pink and Natural Purple are really easy to wear.
  • Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Colors ($23.00) are long-wearing, opaque, and comfortable to wear. For cooler skin tones, try Bare Pink, Cosmic Raspberry, and Mod Pink. For warmer skin tones, try Cosmic Raspberry, Soft Coral, and Sweet Nectar.
  • Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Lipsticks ($30.00) are creamy, moisturizing, and long-wearing while delivering good color coverage in over forty different shades. Shades like #400, 402, 501, and 506 are really easy to wear on most skin tones.
  • Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipsticks ($30.00) are rich in color and long on wear. For cooler complexions, I think shades like Ballet, Edition, and Fresco would work. For warmer complexions, try Edition, Muse, and Whisper.
  • Dior Rouge Dior Lip Colors ($32.00) is long-wearing and moisturizing with a wide range of shades. For warmer complexions, I recommend shades like Pink Songe, Andalouse, and Red Muse. For cooler complexions, I recommend Pink Caprice, Devilish Pink, and Daisy Plum.
  • Guerlain Rouge Automatique Lipsticks ($35.00) come really close to the Rouge G formula, but they are slightly less creamy, sometimes less opaque, and a smidgen less hydrating. They are really close but there is a noticeable difference on lips. I still really love the formula, though! For cooler complexions, I recommend Samsara, Cherry Blossom, and Champs Elysees. For warmer complexions, I recommend Violette de Mad, Rouge d’Enfer, and Coque d’Or.
  • Guerlain Rouge G Lipsticks ($47.00) is my all-time favorite lipstick formula, because it’s long-wearing, opaque, moisturizing, and the color range is really nuanced. For cooler complexions, I like Galia, Greta, Gabrielle, and Grenade. For warmer complexions, I like Galante, Gala, Gipsy, and Ginger.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Extra Silky Lipstick ($52.00) feels like glossy silk on the lips; it’s super moisturizing and has a glossy shine. It wears well on me, too, despite how creamy it is. The shade range is really wearable and mostly universal, too.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Extra Rich Lipstick ($60.00) is a decadent formula that’s rich in color, comfortable to wear, long-wearing, and has a formula that helps to plump and fill lip lines giving lips a smoother look. It’s totally over the top, but it’s an excellent formula, so you’re not just paying for brand name/packaging here.

Lipglosses

  • Revlon Super Lustrous Lipglosses ($6.99) is a budget-friendly shimmery gloss that’s mostly sheer but delivers a fair amount of sparkle and dazzle. Like other sheer formulas, the range should work across skin tones.
  • Korres Cherry Oil Lipglosses ($17.00) are hydrating and comfortable tow ear, and about half the range delivers richer color, while others are sheerer (and are described as such). My favorites are #52, #52, and #22.
  • Make Up For Ever Lab Shine Lipglosses ($18.00) is a really wide range of glosses with three different finishes. I really like how Make Up For Ever has expansive color options for most of their products, and the lipgloss range is no exception.
  • Illamasqua Intense Lipglosses ($20.00) are a total must if you or someone you know loves opaque lipglosses–these are really rich in pigment, comfortable wear, long-wearing, and have a beautiful glossy shine. I recommend virtually all of them, but a few of my favorites are Belladonna, Hermetic, and Move.
  • Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lipglosses ($23.00) are a new favorite for me; they’re very reminiscent of Chanel Glossimers but more affordable. Sheerer color with lots of dazzling sparkle! Because they’re on the sheerer side, the shade range is fairly universal.
  • Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lipglosses ($28.00) are super slick, comfortable to wear, and moisturizing. Some shades are sheer, some are more pigmented. Shades like Siren are beautiful and opaque with a really interesting metallic finish. Fortune is a great shade for everyone because it’s sheer and peachy-pink.
  • Giorgio Armani Gloss d’Armanis ($28.00) may not be as long-wearing as the brand claims, but a gloss that wears six hours without drying lips out while delivering good color coverage is rare. I really love this formula, despite the shortfall in wear (relative to their claim). I love shades like #401, 402, 404, and 505.
  • Chanel Glossimers ($28.50) are a classic gloss for someone who loves lots of shimmer and glossiness. These took me awhile to appreciate, but they really do shine and sparkle. These days, most shades are sheer, so they should flatter the full spectrum of skin tones. I really like shades such as Aurore, Coral Love, Futile, Meteore, Spark, and Sundress.
  • Le Metier de Beaute Lip Cremes ($36.00) are extremely creamy, non-sticky, and hydrating. It was one of my first high-end glosses (and probably high-end purchases in general)–who knew that $36 would become “normal” to me one day–and I absolutely love shades like Fraise Creme, Framboise Creme, and Papaye Creme.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Lipglosses ($48.00) wear longer than the average gloss, have a great shimmer and shine, and are moisturizing. May I recommend #2? It’s a total staple for me.

What are your favorite permanent lip products?