Wednesday, November 16th, 2011


Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Under $50

This part of the holiday gift guide shares my favorite just-for-the-holidays palettes and kits over $30 but $50 or less–not over-the-top indulgent gifts but we’re getting there. If you missed it, I already posted the under $30 guide! :)

Eyes: Long-time readers know I’m a huge fan of Aqua Eyes, and the Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Eyes Collection ($36.00) contains five travel-sized (I’m guessing 0.02 to 0.03 oz.) and one full-size (0.04 oz.) eyeliner; for the price of two full-sized eyeliners, you’re getting six shades to try of a fantastic formula. Urban Decay also has two Eyeliner Sets ($32.00 each) that contain five travel-sized 24/7 Eyeliners; there is also a Shadow Pencil Stash ($34.00). At this price point, you can find some excellent palettes that came out just in time for the holidays, like Urban Decay Mariposa Eyeshadow Palette ($39.00) and Bare Escentuals Ready 8.0 Eyeshadow Palette ($40.00).

Cheeks/Face: Too Faced In Your Dreams Makeup Collection ($39.00) is an eye, cheek, and lip palette that’s great for someone new to makeup; I like it because everything is presented in an easy-to-digest manner, and the colors coordinate with each other, so there is no guessing. Benefit Project Flawless ($32.00) is a cutely packaged set that contains a highlighter (Girl Meets Pearl), mascara, lipgloss (Foxy Lady), and blush (Bella Bamba). If that’s not quite to your taste, you could check out Romancing the Mirror ($39.00), which contains That Gal, Sugarbomb, and BADgal Lash.

Lips: I’ve been really digging Bobbi Brown’s High Shimmer Lip Gloss Trio ($38.00); they’re fairly sheer, but they had so much dazzle and shine without feeling gritty–I’ve been reaching for these (because I need to do lip swatches for them!) to layer on top of other lipsticks. Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Gloss to Go Set ($32.50) comes in a cute red faux leather zipper cylinder case with six holiday-appropriate glosses, and I like that it’s ready to give (there’s also a lipstick version).

Skin/Body: I love the way Estee Lauder set-up their skincare gift sets this year; they categorize them based on theme, like even skin tone or anti-wrinkle. Clinique has an excellent set for dry skin (Moisture Surge has saved my skin before!) called Total Moisture ($44.00). Consider giving a decadent, luxurious body cream in the form of this Laura Mercier Souffle Body Creme Sampler Set ($50.00 for 4×3 oz.).

Fragrance: Elegantly packaged, convenient to use, and full-sized, Tocca Beauty Rollerball Trio ($48.00 for 3×0.33 oz.) contains three different scents (Florence, Cleopatra, and Colette), which can be gifted as a set or easily broken up. Juicy Couture ($35.00 for 3×0.33 oz.) also has a trio of fragrance sprays of their signature scents. Fresh Sugar Obsessions Rollerball Trio ($35.00 for 3×0.34 oz.) contains popular Fresh scents, and if you have a foodie friend, this might be a good one for them. What’s really great about rollerballs is they’re easy to give, and they can be re-gifted, too–if you give your friend a kit, and they dislike one scent, it’s so easy for them to pass along to a friend/family member.

Do you have any suggestions for readers on the prowl for holiday gifts this year that came out just in time for holiday gift-giving?

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Make Up For Ever #1 Diamond Powder
Make Up For Ever #1 Diamond Powder

Make Up For Ever #1 Diamond Powder

Make Up For Ever #1 Diamond Powder ($24.00 for 0.07 oz.) is described as “white shimmer.” It’s the first shade of Make Up For Ever’s Diamond Powder range, which is a product line that interwines the finely milled texture of their Star Powders with the shimmering nature of glitter. It can be used for eyes, cheeks, lips, or body. This is the kind of product that’s meant to be mixed with other products. Make Up For Ever recommends using it over a creamy surface for “longer lasting hold.”

I wanted to check out this product for myself, because Nicholas Lujan used it on me when I visited the Make Up For Ever Boutique in Las Vegas. I loved the way it shimmered without being chunky or gritty–and, best of all, it stayed put! #1 is like a white-beige; it sparkles a warmer white when the light catches it and more of dark beige when it doesn’t–looks a bit like sand, I suppose. It’s a fine glitter that feels more like glitter than a powder, but it’s not gritty or chunky.

It works well with mixing mediums/bases/sealers (like their Eye Seal). Just dampen the brush, pick up the product, and pat gently where desired.  You can also pat them over Aqua Creams, while they’re still wet, and then lock them in with Eye Seal.  This is easy enough to work with for consumers, though I mentally categorize it as a more advanced or prosumer product overall.

 

Have you used Diamond Powders before? How do you use them?

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Cream Collection
Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Cream Collection

Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Cream Collection

Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Cream Collection ($175 for 10×0.21 oz.) is a limited edition set housed in a snake print metal tin. It contains these ten Aqua Creams: #1 Anthracite (silvery charcoal shimmer), #2 Steel (silver gray shimmer), #4 Snow (white pearl shimmer), #11 Gold (yellow gold shimmer), #12 Golden Copper (soft copper shimmer), #13 Warm Beige (champagne shimmer), #14 Satin Brown (warm brown shimmer), #15 Taupe (taupe brown shimmer), #16 Pink Beige (pinky beige shimmer), and #17 Plum (burgundy plum shimmer). It also includes #5N Brush. All of these products are available individually; each Aqua Cream retails for $22 and the #5N Brush is also $22. The set may retail for $175, which is a chunk of change to lay down, but the products inside would cost you $242 if you purchased them separately. The shades include in the collection are safe for eyes and cheeks (but not lips).

  • #1 Anthracite is a dark, charcoal gray with a silverish sheen. It has more of a brown base, which is more apparent when you use it as a wash. It’s similar to Bobbi Brown Gunmetal, Estee Lauder Black Chrome (less frosted), and Urban Decay Gunmetal (slightly cooler toned).
  • #2 Steel is a gray-tinted taupe brown with hints of warmth. It’s similar to Giorgio Armani #4.
  • #4 Snow is a bright frosted white. It’s not really cool-toned, but it isn’t overly warm (no yellow in it). It’s whiter and brighter than MAC Forgery. It is similar to Inglot #453.
  • #11 Gold is a medium-dark molten gold with a metallic finish. When it’s sheered out, it looks more like your usual yellow gold, but if you build it up, the darkness in the base gives it that molten look. I couldn’t think of similar shades for this particular hue of gold.
  • #12 Golden Copper is a rich copper with a heavy metallic sheen. Being a copper. it has a reddish orange tone to it, so it tends to suit warmer complexions more than cooler ones. It is similar to several shades: theBalm Meep Meep, Urban Decay Baked, MAC Amber Lights, and Giorgio Armani Gold Blitz.
  • #13 Warm Beige is a subtly warmed-over medium-dark beige. It’s frosted enough that it will add a fair amount of shimmer to any eyeshadows you apply over it, so it’s not my favorite neutral base color. It is really pretty as a wash of color, though. MAC Sweet Satisfaction is a bit browner.
  • #14 Satin Brown is a deep burnished brown with hints of copper. theBalm Tres Moi is similar in color but not as deep. Le Metier de Beaute Bordeaux is redder. MAC Antiqued is browner.
  • #15 Taupe dark chocolaty bronze with a lighter bronze sheen. It’s a bit similar to Bare Escentuals A-Ha and Urban Decay Lost.
  • #16 Pink Beige is a light-medium rosy pink with a hint of beige to neutralize it. It has a metallic-frost finish. It’s darker than shades like Urban Decay Sin. It’s pinker than Giorgio Armani #8.
  • #17 Plum is a reddened plum with red-brown undertones. It has a fairly metallic finish when it’s used more heavily. It reminded me of MAC Star Violet and Inglot #452.

I wish they had included a few of their brighter Aqua Creams in the kit; it’s a very neutral set overall, and it seems to align with their Wild & Chic theme, but I can’t help but feel like they chould have included at least one real pop of color (like #22 Emerald Green). Otherwise, these swatched and felt like the Aqua Creams I’ve reviewed individually.  None of my Aqua Creams have dried out since I’ve had them (and I’ve had 5-10 of them since they originally launched).  They come in plastic containers, which is nice for the lightweight and portability that provides.

Aqua Creams are creamy to the touch and apply easily with a flat, firm-bristled brush (like the included #5N, though mine was a bit frayed). They dry down quickly and stay put all day (12 hours) on the eyes. On cheeks, they work well and wear for eight hours, but you may find that some of the frostier finishes tend to accentuate pores if you use too much. None of these are listed as lip safe, and my experience in the past has been that these will wear for four to six hours, some staining the lips, but they get to be drying after a couple of hours.

P.S. — Sephora has 20% off with code VIBDREAM for VIBs, expires 11/14.

The Glossover

product

Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Cream Collection Review, Photos, Swatches

A
I'm a big fan of Aqua Creams, because they wear like iron on the eyes and do hold up fairly well on cheeks/lips. They're creamy enough to provide good, even coverage, but they dry quickly and set for the rest of the day.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Make Up For Ever #940 Star Powder
Make Up For Ever #940 Star Powder

Make Up For Ever #940 Star Powder

Make Up For Ever #940 Star Powder ($19.00 for 0.09 oz.) is a loose powder that shifts color at different angles and lighting situations. It moves from a cooler-toned beige-white to a coppery pink shimmer-sheen. It seems like it is similar to MAC’s Vanilla pigment but perhaps with a less pronounced sheen–more yellow in it than copper.

This is actually the shade that Nick Lujan patted onto the center of the lid in this look. The texture is very, very finely milled; it practically melts against the skin because of how silky smooth it is. #940 is particularly useful for layering over other eyeshadows to add more dimension to the shade, though it can be used alone just as easily.  It can be applied dry or damp, and the metallic sheen will be more pronounced if it applied damp.

The Glossover

P
product

#940 Star Powder

A-
Surprisingly, the silkiness of the loose powder doesn't give way to chalkiness or even lots of dusty flare-ups when you open the container. It settles just enough to be easy to use while still having a really soft feel.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Make Up For Ever #15 Aqua Cream
Make Up For Ever #15 Aqua Cream

Make Up For Ever #15 Aqua Cream

Make Up For Ever #15 Aqua Cream ($22.00 for 0.21 oz.) is described as a “taupe brown shimmer.” It’s too bronzy to be a true taupe–there’s a darker, chocolately bronze as the base color with a lighter bronze sheen. The sheen is almost taupe-like but not grayed out enough. It’s subtly warm-toned but doesn’t read orange or red. #15 has good color payoff and texture–very soft and smooth. It has a more metallic finish, which translates into smooth application. Bare Escentuals A-Ha is similar to the sheererd out version though a little grayer, while Urban Decay Lost resembles the heavier swatch.

Aqua Creams have a quick dry down, and once they have dried, they stay on all day long for me–no budging, smudging, creasing, or fading. They can be worn alone, as a base, or as eyeliner (and some shades can be worn on cheeks/lips, too; a few aren’t meant for eyes but for cheeks/lips entirely).

The Glossover

coming-soon

Make Up For Ever #15 Aqua Cream Review, Photos, Swatches

A
#15 has good color payoff and texture–very soft and smooth. It has a more metallic finish, which translates into smooth application.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Make Up For Ever #12 Aqua Cream
Make Up For Ever #12 Aqua Cream

Make Up For Ever #12 Aqua Cream

Make Up For Ever #12 Aqua Cream ($22.00 for 0.21 oz.) is described as a “soft copper shimmer.” It’s a rich copper with a heavy metallic sheen. Being a copper. it has a reddish orange tone to it, so it tends to suit warmer complexions more than cooler ones. Though it’s a cream, it is similar in color to these powder eyeshadows: theBalm Meep Meep, Urban Decay Baked, MAC Amber Lights, and Giorgio Armani Gold Blitz.

I’m a big fan of Aqua Creams, because they really stay on well. The formula is all about bringing “rich color payoff” with long-lasting wear that does not crease or smudge. These have a creamy consistency that applies easily and smoothes out beautifully, but they do have a quicker dry down time–and once they set, they’re set for the rest of the day. I’ve worn numerous shades since they originally launched, and I’m never disappointed. The wear is truly phenomenal!

The Glossover

coming-soon

Make Up For Ever #12 Aqua Cream Review, Photos, Swatches

A
I love this on warmer complexions, especially deeper ones, as a quick wash or to enhance bronzes and golds. It has a very smooth texture that makes it a great base for powder eyeshadows as well.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →