Monday, November 21st, 2011


Holiday Gift Guide: The Best of Holiday Color

As promised, here is the next installment of our most comprehensive gift guide to-date! This post features my top picks from various holiday color collections that have launched this year.  There are a few more holiday shades I haven’t reviewed or swatched, so there might be a few more of my favorites to come.

Eyes

Cheeks/Face

  • NARS Miss Liberty ($27) gives cheeks a really glistening glow, very apropos for the holidays.
  • Guerlain Parure de Nuit ($67) is the one product I’d recommend above all others for the holidays, and I say that because it’s a product I keep reaching for (to the point that I had to forcibly remove it from my reach).

Lips

  • MAC What Joy! ($15.50) is a berry-red with subtle micro-shimmer and healthy shine with good color coverage.
  • Illamasqua Belladonna ($20) is a fierce magenta pink with opaque color and lots of shine.
  • Bobbi Brown Party Alice ($24) — super pretty pink-coral, perhaps not seasonally appropriate but divine anyway.
  • NARS Joyous Red ($24) is a muted orange-red that’s workable on cool and warm-toned skin.
  • Chanel Triomphal ($32) is a pinky-red with great vibrancy and glossy shine; and Chanel Empire is perfect for those who love a brighter pink with yellow undertones.
  • Dior’s holiday lip colors ($32 each) were my surprise hit for lips this season–they’re so pretty on and wear well.

Nails

  • China Glaze Let It Snow ($3-4 each) is a perfectly festive set of twelve polishes, and all of them are available individually, so you can pick your particular poison.
  • Zoya Gems & Jewels ($8 each) is short and sweet with beautiful shimmers and extra-fun glitters (because they’re horizontal!).
  • Dior Merveille is a festive orange-red with golden shimmer that will work well on warmer skin tones.
Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Illamasqua Android Pure Pigment
Illamasqua Android Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Android Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Android Pure Pigment ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is described as a “charcoal with multi-colored shimmer.” It’s a cool color, because it changes depending on the angle and lighting situation. Mostly, it’s a dark, blue-toned charcoal gray base with a bluish-teal flash and multi-colored sparkle. The only shade similar to the general look and feel (and what you see in the swatch) but did not have the multi-colored shimmer of Android was Urban Decay Hijack, which is lighter and less intense.

Pure Pigments are a multi-purpose product that can be used on eyes, cheeks, face, or body (or even hair/nails). Illamasqua says that they can be applied dry or wet (“for bolder color payoff”), but I wouldn’t recommend using them dry. Android applies better dry than some shades, though, but it is very, very sheer and lacks the multi-dimensional shimmer effect. It appears almost brownish-gray with a subtle sheen. I had good luck with this particular shade staying put simply used wet and applied onto the lid, though it started to crease after five hours. I would typically use this with MAC’s Mixing Medium (or an adhesive base of your choice), which would help it bind and adhere and still have the intense look of the damp swatch.

The Glossover

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Android

B+
Illamasqua does some really interesting and complex hues in their Pure Pigment line, and as long as you're willing to use an adhesive base alongside it, they can be great additions to your collection.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Tuesday, November 8th, 2011


Illamasqua Queen of the Night Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Queen of the Night Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Queen of the Night Pure Pigment (£15.50 for 0.04 oz.) is a limited edition shade launched to celebrate the brand’s first fragrance, Freak. It’s described as a “blackened plum shimmer,” which is an apt description! It’s a dark plum with a hint of brown underlying all the plummy purple goodness wrapped in a frosted finish. It’s sheerer when applied dry–the brown is more prevalent–and much more intense (and better!) when applied damp. The product binds together better with a little liquid, which yields a much more opaque, smoother color result. Bare Escentuals Romp is lighter, less blackened, and frostier–that was the only shade I felt came close, but it’s not a dupe.

Pure Pigments are loose colors that can be applied on the eyes, cheeks, face, or body. It can be used dry or applied wet for a “bolder colour pay-off.” Illamasqua recommends using it over a cream texture to intensify the color and hold the color in place. Queen of the Night will hold in place dry, but it lacks a lot of the intensity, so I’d recommend using it wet to achieve true-to-pan color.

The Glossover

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Queen of the Night

B+
It's just different enough to stand out in a sea of eggplant and plummy purples. I like the softer, frosted finish, which gives it shimmer and sheen without being metallic.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Monday, November 7th, 2011

Illamasqua Facade Intense Lipgloss
Illamasqua Facade Intense Lipgloss

Illamasqua Theatre of the Nameless: Facade Intense Lipgloss

Illamasqua Facade Intense Lipgloss ($20.00 for 0.20 fl. oz.) is described as a “taupe beige.” It’s a medium-dark taupe–it’s a mix of beige, gray, and brown–with a cream finish. The glossiness of traditional gloss is very apparent, but it’s opaque in color like you’d expect from a full coverage lipstick. Like many Illamasqua colors, it’s not your typical “nude,” but it can work as such.  When I was trying to think of a dupe for it, nothing was coming to mind–not a gloss or a lipstick; MAC Our Pick was the closest, but it’s warmer.

In my experience, Illamasqua’s Intense Lipgloss is opaque, long-wearing, non-sticky, and scent- and taste-free. Facade doesn’t last as long as a lot of the other shades I’ve tried within the range, but it does last four hours (and it’s not marketed as a long-wearing gloss).

The Glossover

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Façade

A
It's a different color, but I think it's workable--especially on cooler skin tones. Against my warmer skin tone, it's not too flattering, but with a really heavy, smoky eye, I think it might work. I love the color coverage!

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Thursday, November 3rd, 2011


Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Vice, Taint, Kink, Faux Pas

Illamasqua Theatre of the Nameless: Nail Varnishes

Illamasqua’s fall/winter collection, Theatre of the Nameless, included four new shades of their Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.), and they’re described as: Vice (deep cerise), Taint (stone brown), Kink (bottle green), and Faux Pas (blue violet). They have a “rubber finish.”

  • Vice is a reddened berry with a rubber finish. I used two coats for opaque color. It reminded me of Rescue Beauty Lounge Bruised, which has a shiny finish.
  • Taint is a yellow-tinted brown with a rubber finish. I used two coats for opaque color. Barielle Cowl of the Wild is similar but cooler-toned. China Glaze Street Chic is a bit lighter and grayer, plus it has a shiny finish.
  • Kink is a deep forest green with a rubber finish. I used two coats for opaque color. It’s much bluer and cooler-toned than Rescue Beauty Lounge ORbis Non Sufficit, which also has a shiny finish. It’s greener and less blackened (and has that semi-matte finish) compared to MAC Jade Dragon.
  • Faux Pas is a blue-based violet with a rubber finish. I used two coats for opaque color. It is similar to Orly Purple Pleather but appears a bit more vibrant.

If you remember Orly’s Plastix Collection, then the finish to these may seem familiar. It’s a bit like vinyl; it’s not matte because there is a muted shine to the natural finish, but it’s not your traditional cream. This type of finish is tempermental; ensure that each coat is dry before applying the next one, and it’s best to wait as long as possible for the final coat to dry before doing anything else. These will pick up and show texture so, so much if you rush! They dry quicker than your standard polish but not as quickly as a matte finished shade.

The wear on this is less than the average Illamasqua Varnish, because in order to maintain the rubbery finish, you can’t use a top coat on top. I managed seven days with noticeable tip wear but no chips–I would have probably removed it after four or five days because of the tip wear, but I wanted to put it to the full week test.

The Glossover

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Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Vice, Taint, Kink, Faux Pas Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
Because of the reduced wear time (and Illamasqua's Nail Varnishes wear like iron on me with a base/top coat), these seem more like a novelty--like matte polishes, which work well for a certain look but are less durable than traditional nail lacquers.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Thursday, November 3rd, 2011


Illamasqua Belladonna Intense Lipgloss

Illamasqua Theatre of the Nameless: Belladonna Intense Lipgloss

Illamasqua Belladonna Intense Lipgloss ($20.00 for 0.20 fl. oz.) is described as a “vibrant magenta.” It’s a vibrant, medium-dark fuchsia pink with a creamy finish and glossy shine. It has full color coverage and goes on evenly with little fuss. MAC Full Speed Ahead is similar in color, slightly brighter and bluer-based.

Illamasqua’s Intense Lipgloss formula is one of my favorites, especially when you’re hunting for an opaque gloss. It delivers shine but full color coverage without feathering or bleeding. I typically get really good wear, too; when I sported Belladonna on its own, it wore for a full six hours and lasted until eight hours where I felt I needed to reapply. The glossiness fades quicker (mostly gone by the third hour), but the color lingers for much longer. It’s non-sticky, too, and I couldn’t detect any scent or taste.

The Glossover

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Belladonna

A
Loving the addition of a deeper pink that's still vibrant but not totally in-your-face to Illamasqua's Intense Lipgloss line-up! Full color coverage, six hour wear, and not drying for even a moment makes this formula a favorite.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

Results
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