Saturday, August 24th, 2013

Reader Maha requested my top five picks for bronze eyeshadows, and here we go! :) This was a tough one–there are SO many fantastic bronze eyeshadows on the market. You can see a few more shades that didn’t quite make the cut here.

  1. Maybelline Downtown Brown — golden bronze
  2. MAC Bronze — red-toned bronze brown
  3. Giorgio Armani #6 — deep, golden bronze
  4. Inglot #409 — medium-dark bronze
  5. bareminerals Cognac — metallic bronze

What’s your favorite bronze eyeshadow?

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation
Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation

Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation ($62.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a lightweight foundation with buildable coverage and a natural finish. Giorgio Armani Beauty really pushes that it is about getting the least amount of product with the most amount of bang; it’s supposed to “[look] invisible and [make] skin appear luminous.” It’s available in twelve shades. The brand says #2, 3, and 4 are best for fair skin tones; #4.5, 5, 5.5, 6.5, 7, and 8 for medium complexions; and #10, 11.5, and 12 for darker skin tones.

I’ve used up an entire bottle of #5.5, having first used it around late November/early December, and recently finished it about a week ago. It usually takes me quite awhile to really determine if I love or just like a foundation. #5.5 is slightly light on me (but forgiving enough to be worn), while #7 is definitely too dark.  There are some I fall in love with right away; others I never want to wear again, but usually I fall in the middle and waffle. Maestro had a unique texture (to me), because it almost felt like a silicone primer and foundation in one; it has that velvety-smooth, mostly matte finish and feel once applied to the skin. The actual texture is thin and very liquid, so it is easy to apply a very sheer layer of coverage or build up without getting too much coverage (if undesired). It feels a bit like a dry oil, so synthetic brushes, sponges, and fingertips tended to be best for application in my experience. It is lightly scented with something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it; I did not notice the scent when applied or as I wore it, but it’s not scent-free in the bottle.

The brand recommends applying three drops in the palm of your hand, though I’m not certain what constitutes a drop, because you can fill the entire stem with product and really get all of it out, or you can do small squeezes and get small drops out. Three drops is half of what I need, and a whole stem-full is more than enough–so don’t be afraid if you’re bewildered and find yourself needing more than three drops! I’m not keen on the droplet applicator. I’d rather a pump or an open bottle, as the cap with the stem attached to it wobbles around if you just want to get some directly out of the bottle, so you can get bits of foundation on the surface it’s lying on. Dropping it directly on the face was also a 50/50 proposition where it would dribble down my face and land on my shirt. So, most of the time, I filled the stem and then squeezed it on the back of my hand. I would have much preferred a pump, though. I haven’t traveled with mine at all, but I have heard some people have had issues with the packaging surviving travel.

The coverage is light to light-medium, with almost medium coverage possible with layering, but overall, light to light-medium coverage, and it had a semi-matte finish. It wasn’t a totally flat, dull matte finish, but it was still quite matte. Between the finish and texture, I felt this was most appropriate for normal to oily skin. On drier skin, especially if you have any visible signs dryness, it can accentuate dry patches or flakiness. I only experienced this when my skin was at its driest and did not find it a problem for most of the time I wore it. The other thing to note is that when I did have some visible dry patches, while initially accentuated, after twenty to thirty minutes, they were less noticeable than they were initially, so there appeared to be some hydration coming from the formula itself. It has alcohol denat. as the fourth ingredient, which is drying in high concentrations (it is often used as an antiseptic and a solvent), but in my experience, appeared to be offset by the other ingredients as my skin did not get drier, so your mileage may vary and consider your skin and what it is/isn’t affected by (note: I am not a chemist, esthetician, or scientist!).

It’s a comfortable, long-wearing foundation, too, and you don’t always get supreme comfort with a longer-wearing product (which are often tight-feeling). With Maestro, it typically lasts me between eight and ten hours, without a primer or setting powder. With setting or finishing powder, the wear is usually more consistent and closer to ten hours with no patchiness or visible fading. Maestro photographs very well for me, and it performed well at evening out the complexion, hiding mild to moderate post-acne marks or scars, and refraining from settling into fine lines.  I would not recommend using this as your sole source of SPF; you’re not going to get the protection needed based on amount applied.

Ingredients

Active Ingredient: Octinoxate 3%

Cyclohexasiloxane, dimethicone, isododecane, alcohol denat, vinyl dimethicone/methicone silsesquioxane crosspolymer, phenyl trimethicone, acrylates/polytrimethylsiloxymethacrylate copolymer, peg-10 dimethicone, disteardimonium hectorite, fragrance, nelumbium speciosum flower extract, limonene, benzyl salicylate, synthetic fluorphlogopite, linalool, benzyl alcohol, propylene carbonate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, disodium stearoyl glutamate, water, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) flower oil, butylphenyl methylpropional, aluminium hydroxide, hexyl cinnamal; may contain: iron oxides, titanium dioxide

The Glossover

product

Maestro Foundation

A

For normal to oily skin types, this could be a nice foundation, as it has a natural matte finish (not too flat, but not too luminous) with light-medium coverage that wears well. For drier skin types, it can emphasize dry patches or flaking.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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Tuesday, August 20th, 2013


With Rouge Ecstasy, the Giorgio Armani laboratories push the boundaries of the exceptional even further with the first “CC” lipstick, an incomparable skincare lipstick that combines high-impact color with the ultimate comfort of a moisturizing balm.

Rouge Ecstasy is a unique, multi-purpose lipstick. It offers the comfort and softness of a balm combined with exceptional color intensity. This velvety soft, everyday lipstick coats the lips in saturated, ultra-luminous shades with impeccable hold.

The lips are repaired and beautifully enhanced day after day, hydrated and adorned in fresh vibrant colors with a perfectly defined outline.

Ultimately it is the quintessence of a lipstick, balm and lip pencil all in one.

Beiges & Browns

  • 100 Androgino
  • 102 Essenza
  • 203 Code
  • 204 Caffé
  • 200 Mineral
  • 201 Cashmere
  • 103 Incognito
  • 202 Milano
  • 104 Skin
  • 105 Ambiguous
  • 306 Amber
  • 508 Daybreak

Reds & Purples

  • 400 Four Hundred
  • 401 Hot
  • 402 Teatro
  • 403 Downtown
  • 600 Mania
  • 601 Attitude
  • 602 Night Viper
  • 510 Dolci

Corals & Pinks

  • 300 Pop
  • 301 Gio
  • 502 Scarlatto
  • 503 Diva
  • 302 Tokyo
  • 303 Dragée
  • 504 Flesh
  • 505 Orchid
  • 304 Heat
  • 305 Brick
  • 506 Blush
  • 507 Lotus
  • 500 Eccentrico
  • 307 Tangerine
  • 509 Boudoir
  • 501 Peony

Availability: $34.00 each; now at Giorgio Armani Beauty (officially September 2013 at all other Giorgio Armani Beauty counters/retailers)

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Monday, August 12th, 2013

Giorgio Armani Scarabeo Face & Eye Palette
Giorgio Armani Scarabeo Face & Eye Palette

Giorgio Armani Scarabeo Face & Eye Palette ($88.00 for 0.44 oz.) is a new and limited edition palette for fall. Overall, I found the pigmentation of this palette to vary from decent to good, but the texture was on the dry side (except for the blush, which had a very lovely consistency) and somewhat powdery. The colors didn’t blend as easily on the lid as other Giorgio Armani eyeshadows have for me (many of them blend effortlessly). If you have drier eyelids, I would definitely stay away from this palette. When I wore the three eyeshadows, they looked noticeably faded after seven hours, and they had almost disappeared by ten hours (no primer); with a primer, they lasted slightly longer until eight and a half hours before starting to fade. The blush lasted well for eight hours and showed slight signs of fading after nine hours. It’s not a terrible palette–it’s decent, but at $88, it should be much better than that.

Light Pink Blush is a rosy plum with a frosted finish. It had fantastic color payoff and a soft, finely-milled texture that applied evenly and was easy to blend out on the skin. The finish is rather shimmery, so it does emphasize pores ever-so-slightly. NARS Oasis is pinker. NARS Lovejoy is darker. Chanel Plum Attraction is darker, less warm. bareMinerals The Indecent Proposal is darker, less shimmery. See comparison swatches.

Copper Wood is a cool-toned, dark brown with green and bronze flecks of shimmer. It had fairly good color payoff, but the texture was somewhat dry and powdery–and I felt like this translated on the lid, too. Chanel Mystere #4 is more matte, lighter. theBalm Sophisticated is similar. Dior Golden Savannah 5 is warmer. See comparison swatches.

Iridescent Jade is a cool-toned, medium-dark green with a pale gold shimmer-sheen. This shade has an overlay, so it appears like a springy green in the pan, but it is much darker underneath. It had good pigmentation, but the texture was a little dry. Sephora Walk on the Wild Side is warmer, greener. Tom Ford Emerald Lust #2 is lighter, more metallic. Chanel Metamorphose #1 is lighter. MAC Shimmermoss is lighter, bluer. MAC Aquadisiac is lighter, less shimmery. MAC Spruced is bluer. Make Up For Ever #302 is lighter. See comparison swatches.

Sea Green is a muted, smoky green with cool undertones and a bluish tint. It had a soft, frosted finish. The color payoff was decent, but the texture was a little dry here, too. Giorgio Armani Black Pearl #3 is bluer. Dior Garden Pastels #5 is slightly greener. Make Up For Ever #302 is brighter. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

palette

Scarabeo

B-

The quality of the blush really helped to keep the overall rating from sinking below a B-, as it had a lovely texture and wore well (though it emphasized pores slightly). The eyeshadows were disappointing, as they had a drier, powdery texture that didn't lie well on the skin.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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LE
product

Light Rose

A-

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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LE
product

Copper Wood

B-

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

7.5/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Dupes
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Sunday, August 11th, 2013

For me, summer and juicy, sweet watermelon go hand-in-hand.  This post is inspired by that connection and my personal love for watermelon!  These are five lovely shades of pink and red-coral!

  1. Giorgio Armani No. 06 Fluid Sheer — a luminous watermelon pink for your cheeks
  2. Revlon Wild Watermelon — a gllosy coral-red for lips
  3. Givenchy Rose Dressing — a warm, luminous pink
  4. Chanel Elixir — glossy coral-red for nails
  5. Giorgio Armani #519 — ultra-glossy coral-pink

What’s your favorite pink-coral?

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

These are five eyeshadows that I think are worth splurging on! They’ll all set you back $20 or more, but over time, these are shades that have stuck with me.

If you could recommend someone splurge on one eyeshadow, what shade would you recommend?