Saturday, August 16th, 2014

It’s actually hard to find a cool-toned brown that’s permanent AND not only available in a palette. No wonder so many readers are waiting desperately for a brand to release a truly cool-toned set of neutrals! What are your favorites?

  1. MAC Mystery — a medium-dark, neutral-to-cool brown with a matte finish
  2. NARS Bali — a dark brown with subtle, cool undertones
  3. Inglot #363 — a plummy brown with cool undertones and a matte finish
  4. Inglot #326 — a burugundy brown with cool undertones and a matte finish
  5. Ulta Mink — a cool-toned brown with a satin finish

>> See side-by-side swatches! <<

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush
NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush ($55.00) is described as a “multi-functional tool designed for defining cheekbones, highlighting the complexion, and blending and diffusing color on or around the eye area.” It’s a slightly smaller-than-medium-sized blush brush that flares outwards from the base and then tapers gradually to a point at the tip. It’s 1.5 inches / 4 centimeters in length, 0.75 inches / 2.5 centimeters in width (at its widest) and thickness. It has a total length of 6.25 inches / just over 16 centimeters. It has a fair amount of spring and moderate density. I liked it best with under-pigmented blushes or blushes with stiffer, drier consistencies, because the bristles aren’t as soft, so they seem to disturb the surface of tougher powder blushes better, but it’s a brush that doesn’t feel as nice on the skin at times. When I use a feathery touch, I don’t notice that it’s lacking some softness and smoothness to the bristles, but if I try to buff or really blend and diffuse color, it’s less comfortable. I remember hearing a lot of raves for this brush over the years, so when I received it, I was disappointed by the texture and feel of the brushes. It actually prompted me to try Hakuhodo’s Large Yachiyo brush ($50), which is softer but not as soft as other face brushes.

NARS Mie Kabuki Brush ($55.00) is described as a “soft, allover face powder” brush that uses goat hair bristles. It’s a medium-large powder brush that flares from the bottom, rounds out in the middle, then gradually tapers to a soft point at the top. It’s nicely weighted with slightly more weight towards the brush head end, but it feels comfortable in the hand. The brush head is 1.75 inches / 5 centimeters in length, 1.25 inches / 3 centimeters in width (at its widest point) and thickness. It had a total length of 7 inches / 17.5 centimeters. The bottom half (towards the base) is dense, and as it moves up, it has more of a moderate density and moderate spring. The bristles are somewhat rough/scratchy against the skin, especially if you use any tapping or stippling motion, and it is less noticeable if you use slow, sweeping motions. It is about double the size of the Yachiyo with greater density, but it is similar in overall shape.

NARS Mizubake Kabuki Brush ($55.00) is described as a “contour and sculpt” brush with goat hair bristles that can be used with blush as well. It is a short-handled, flat-topped brush that flares out from the base. The brush head was just short of 1.25 inches / 3 centimeters in length, and 1.25 inches / 3 centimeters in width (at its widest point) and thickness. It had a total length of 4/5 inches / 11 centimeters. It could have a better cut–the bristles are a bit uneven, but it was significantly softer, smoother, and nicer to use on the skin compared to the other two brushes above. It had moderate density with light spring, so it worked well for buffing product into the skin, stippling, blending, and sweeping. Of the four, this was the only one I liked, though the shape itself isn’t one that I use in my regular routine, but it is a nice alternative to a buffer brush for someone looking for a longer handle (compared to most buffer brushes, that is!) and less density (it is easier to clean and dries faster than your typical buffer brush, since it is less dense).

NARS Kudoki Kabuki Brush ($40.00) is described as a “sable and pony hair” brush used to “contour the eye for impeccable crease definition.” It is a medium-large-sized, sharply angled eye brush. The brush head measured 0.5 inches / just over 1 centimeter in length, 0.4 inches / 9mm in width, 1/8 of an inch / 3mm in thickness. It had a total 6.5 length of inches / almost 17 centimeters. It’s a firmer, denser brush that is very precise, so if you like a soft, diffused crease, this isn’t an appropriate brush. This seems like a brush you’d use to create a cut crease look. It could be used to apply eyeliner as well, but it is a thicker angled brush, so it would be for a more specific look/application or perhaps smudging out eyeliner. The bristles were fairly soft, but the shape is “sharper” in a way, so use a light pressure when applying to find your comfort zone. The cut could be better, as the edge is noticeably uneven.

The Glossover

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Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

Moderate density, springy brush that is best for under-pigmented powder products as the bristles are scratchier/rougher and dislodge powder from stubborn pans of powder better, but it can be uncomfortable to use, especially when blending due to the scratchiness.
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product

Mie Kabuki Brush

A medium-large all-over face powder brush with rougher/scratchier bristles, which makes it more unpleasant to use as an all-over face brush. The lack of softness is more noticeable when tapping or patting the brush against the skin and slightly less apparent when doing a sweeping motion.
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Mizubake Kabuki Brush

Moderately dense, light springiness that made it work well for buffing and blending out powder products on the skin for a really diffused look. The bristles were fairly soft, and the brush is similar to how one might use a buffing brush but with a flatter edge and a longer handle (but it is a short handle compared to face brushes in general).
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Thursday, August 14th, 2014

NARS Catherine Audacious Lipstick
NARS Audacious Lipstick: Catherine, Juliette, Natalie, Grace, Geraldine

Today, I’m reviewing some of the more coral shades in the new NARS Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) range. The new formula is supposed to be richly pigmented, give lips a smoother appearance, and be moisturizing. So far, they are very pigmented and forgiving when applied as the formula doesn’t catch on any imperfections on the lips. The consistency is creamy, lightweight, but not too emollient, so it doesn’t slide around. I’ve been finding them to be longer-wearing as well. The formula isn’t moisturizing from my experience with them, and it doesn’t retain the same, ultra-flattering finish throughout wear, as it tends to look a bit dry during the last hour or two of wear. It appears to be scent- and taste-free. These launch September 1st, they’re now online at narscosmetics.com.

Catherine Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “sunny guava.” It’s a brightened, medium orange-coral with a satin finish. It had rich, opaque color coverage in one pass, and it looked beautiful on as it smoothed out the appearance of the lips. The color lasted for five hours on me and was neither drying nor hydrating. MAC Style Approved (LE, $22.00) is more muted. Givenchy Corail Signature (317) (P, $36.00) is darker. Bite Beauty Centifolia (LE, $28.00) is lighter. Sephora Collection Samba (LE, $12.50) is brighter. Too Faced Melted Coral (P, $21.00) is lighter. Tom Ford Beauty Sweet Spot (05) (LE, $49.00) is pinker. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Kimber (P, $18.00) is warmer. MAC Sweet Grenadine (LE, $17.00) is darker. Givenchy Croisiere Coral (310) (LE, $36.00) is pinker. NARS Lodhi (P, $25.00) is more matte. MAC Style Surge (P, $22.00) is pinker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Juliette Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “pink coral.” It’s a brightened, medium coral-pink with a satin finish. It had fully opaque coverage after one stroke, and it was really smooth and even–sometimes shades like will bunch up and create “lines” if you press your lips together, but this one doesn’t. It lasted four and a half hours on me and was neither drying nor hydrating. MAC Modern Wow! (LE, $16.00) is lighter. Kat Von D L’Ecole des Femmes (P, $21.00) is more matte, pinker. Bite Beauty Centifolia (LE, $28.00) is lighter. MAC Toying Around (LE, $16.00) is darker, pinker. Givenchy Brun Createur (103) (P, $36.00) is more matte, pinker, more muted. Too Faced Coral Fire (P, $22.00) is darker, more matte. Givenchy Croisiere Coral (310) (LE, $36.00) is slightly warmer. NARS Lodhi (P, $25.00) is warmer, more matte. MAC Style Surge (P, $22.00) is warmer. Buxom Two-Timer (P, $21.00) is more muted. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Natalie Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “flamingo.” It’s a brightened, medium pink-coral with a semi-matte finish and warm undertones. The formula was richly pigmented, and again, the consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin and applied with a really nice, smooth result. On me, the color wore well for five hours and was neither drying nor hydrating. MAC Love Temple (LE, $22.00) is glossier, slightly warmer. Kat Von D L’Ecole des Femmes (P, $21.00) is more matte. Marc Jacobs Beauty Wham (604) (P, $28.00) is darker, more matte. Revlon Snow Peach (LE, $7.99) is glossier, sheerer. Bite Beauty Crush (P, $28.00) is brighter, warmer. Marc Jacobs Beauty Shout (138) (LE, $30.00) is darker. YSL Rose Neillia (33) (P, $34.00) is glossier, pinker. Chanel Melodieuse (136) (P, $34.00) is pinker. Too Faced Bon Bon (P, $22.00) is glossier. Givenchy Rose Dressing (202) (P, $36.00) is slightly darker. MAC Watch Me Simmer (LE, $16.00) is more matte. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Grace Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “bright pink coral.” It’s a bright, medium-dark coral-red with warm undertones and a satiny finish. The pigmentation was on point with full color coverage in one stroke. It had a nice, creamy feel that glided across the lips and delivered even color. This shade wore for six hours and was a smidgen drying. NARS Kelly (P, $32.00) is more muted. Chanel La Malicieuse (46) (P, $34.00) is pinker. Maybelline Shocking Coral (P, $7.49) is glossier. Make Up For Ever #37 (P, $19.00) is lighter. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Geraldine Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “tangerine.” It’s a bright, medium orange with warm, yellow-orange undertones and a luminous finish. It had a glossier finish than a lot of the other shades in the range, but it didn’t seem to affect the coverage or wear. It still had really intense color payoff that went on smoothly, while the color itself wore well for five and a half hours and was neither drying nor hydrating. Givenchy Corail Signature (317) (P, $36.00) is lighter. Illamasqua Soaked (P, $26.00) is a touch darker. NARS Timanfaya (P, $25.00) is more matte, lighter. Milani Sweet Nectar (P, $5.49) is more matte. Maybelline Electric Orange (P, $7.49) is similar. MAC Fashion Nomad (LE, $16.00) is more matte, darker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Glossover

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Catherine

A

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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P
product

Juliette

A

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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Natalie

A

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

NARS Claudia Audacious Lipstick
NARS Audacious Lipstick: Claudia, Michiyo, Greta, Angela, Janet

NARS Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a new (and permanent) formula debuting September 1st, they’re now online at narscosmetics.com, with a total line-up of 40 shades. It’s supposed to be a highly pigmented formula (“full-coverage finish in a single stroke) while give lips a smoother appearance and be moisturizing. They’re also packaged in matte black metal cases with magnetic closures. I’m working my way through the shades, and I’ve found the range to be fairly consistent so far. These have excellent color payoff with most shades being opaque in a single stroke. They’re also very forgiving when applied; they don’t seem to catch on flakes or imperfections on the lips, and lips look smoother and slightly fuller due to the satiny finish that gives it just a little reflection/shine. The consistency is creamy, lightweight, and comfortable to wear for the most part. It’s not too thick or too thin–it doesn’t bunch up with most shades, even lighter ones, as there isn’t a lot of slip, but it doesn’t feel clingy. However, something I noticed was while this formula is really lovely to wear for the first three to five hours, but as the finish mattifies and wears down, which can sometimes look drier. I don’t find the formula moisturizing, unfortunately, but for the most part, the shades are more neither drying nor hydrating, but a couple were a little drying on me. They wear well and fade fairly evenly, while the formula appears to be scent- and taste-free. The formula also re-applied well, so you don’t have to worry about fully removing to get smooth color.

I checked in with NARS, and their regular Lipstick formula isn’t being replaced by the Audacious Lipstick formula, which is good news, because at $32 compared to their regular lipstick at $26, it’s a significant up tick in price. The regular Lipstick range contains 0.12 oz. in comparison, so you get slightly more in the new formula. To put it in perspective, the Audacious Lipstick formula costs $228.57/oz. and the regular Lipstick formula costs $216.67/oz. (Though, if you never finish a lipstick, the lower price, regardless of quantity, may be more important.)

Claudia Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “cool pink.” It’s a brightened, light-medium cotton candy pink with blue undertones and a satin finish. It had rich, opaque color coverage that applied smoothly and evenly. This shade wore well for five hours and was neither drying nor hydrating. Sephora Collection Cougar (P, $12.50) is brighter, darker. Bite Beauty Kumquat (LE, $24.00) is lighter. NARS Goodbye Emmanuelle (LE, $26.00) is darker. Maybelline Pink Pop (P, $7.49) is more shimmery, sheerer. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Narcissus (P, $18.00) is cooler-toned. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Michiyo Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “shocking pink.” It’s a brightened, medium-dark fuchsia pink with cool undertones and a semi-matte finish. It had full color coverage in a single stroke that went on well. The color wore well for six and a half hours, but it was a little drying towards the end (felt totally fine for five hours). Melt Cosmetics Shady Lady (P, $19.00) is more matte, brighter. Too Faced Melted Fuchsia (P, $21.00) is brighter. YSL Fuchsia Tourbillon (31) (P, $34.00) is warmer. NARS Full Frontal (LE, $26.00) is more magenta. MAC Flat Out Fabulous (P, $16.00) is more matte. Maybelline Hot Plum (P, $7.49) is similar. MAC Quick Sizzle (LE, $16.00) is more matte. MAC Pink Pigeon (P, $16.00) is cooler-toned. MAC Daddy’s Little Girl (LE, $16.00) is more magenta. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Greta Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “wild azalea.” It’s a brightened, coral-red with a slight pinkish tint and warm undertones. It had excellent color coverage that went on evenly and smoothly, and it made lips look plumper from the get-go. The color wore well for six and a half hours and was neither drying nor hydrating. Guerlain Insolence (144) (LE, $35.00) is more matte. Revlon Vivacious (120) (P, $8.99) is similar. Givenchy Magnolia Organza (301) (P, $36.00) is more muted, warmer, lighter. MAC All Fired Up (P, $16.00) is more matte. Maybelline Vivid Rose (P, $7.49) is glossier, redder. Guerlain Gourmandise (P, $49.50) is warmer. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Angela Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “pink orchid.” It’s a cool-toned, magenta pink with a slightly muted quality and a satin finish. It had rich, opaque pigmentation that went on fairly evenly–this one had a bit more slip and thickness to the consistency, so there’s a fine line between perfectly and over-applied (the latter may show “lines” if you press lips together, but it is pretty faint even when over-applied–it really is hard to detect except in a close-up photo!). It lasted well for five hours on me and was neither drying nor hydrating. MAC Lust Extract (LE, $17.00) is pinker. MAC Kelly Yum-Yum (LE, $16.00) is brighter. Bite Beauty Grape (LE, $24.00) is slightly brighter. NARS Full Frontal (LE, $26.00) is similar. Maybelline Brazen Berry (P, $7.49) is darker, sheerer. MAC Love Forever (P, $18.00) is more muted. MAC Night Blooming (LE, $16.00) is brighter. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Janet Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “deep magenta.” It’s a brightened, fuchsia-red with subtle, cool undertones and fuchsia micro-shimmer. It had mostly opaque color coverage, though it was less pigmented than the other four shades in this review. The color lasted for six hours and was neither drying nor hydrating. Too Faced Melted Berry (P, $21.00) is less shimmery, darker. Estee Lauder Tumultuous Pink (P, $30.00) is less shimmery, brighter. MAC So Good (P, $22.00) is glossier. Urban Decay Jilted (P, $22.00) is redder. Milani Raspberry Rush (P, $5.49) is more matte, more shimmery. Illamasqua Atomic (P, $24.00) is more matte. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Glossover

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product

Claudia

A

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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P
product

Michiyo

A

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
P
product

Greta

A

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Monday, August 11th, 2014

NARS Audacious Lipsticks
NARS Audacious Lipsticks

Here’s part two of the lip swatches sneak peek! :) (If you missed part one, check it out here.) I’ll have reviews up as soon as I can of the new NARS Audacious Lipstick formula. Hope you enjoy this sneak peek!

You can also see them in the Swatch Gallery :)

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, August 11th, 2014

NARS Audacious Lipsticks
NARS Audacious Lipsticks

I hope to kick off reviews soon, but knowing it will take time to work through them, here are lip swatches for twenty of the shades (working on the next set to post as well) of NARS Audacious Lipstick. It’s a new, upcoming formula that launches on September 1st they’re now online at narscosmetics.com.. They will retail for $32 each, are permanent, and contain 0.14 oz. a pop.

You can also see them in the Swatch Gallery :)

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