Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

OCC Isherwood Nail Lacquer
OCC Isherwood Nail Lacquer

OCC Isherwood Nail Lacquer ($10.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “metallic tobacco ebony.” It’s a deep, dark, rich mahogany brown with copper and bronze micro-shimmer and warm, red undertones. It was fully opaque in two coats and had a natural shine when dry. The consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin. It had a more metallic finish, so there were some minor, though visible, brush strokes depending on the lighting/angle. I can’t recall reviewing anything quite like this shade. MAC Chestnut (LE, $16.00) has a similar coloring but is a cream, so it’s quite different at the end of the day. See comparison swatches.

Man by Man Nail Lacquer ($10.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “pearlescent teal green.” It’s a vibrant, sparkling green-ish teal with green-teal sparkle and an almost metallic finish. It was semi-opaque after two coats, so I would recommend three coats for fully opaque color. The consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin, so it spread well across the nail. It had a naturally shiny finish when it dried down. Zoya Giovanna (P, $8.00) is darker, less sparkly. Dior Samba (794) (LE, $24.00) is similar–finer shimmer. Urban Decay Mars (LE) is darker. Butter London Thames (P, $15.00) is darker. See comparison swatches.

Sebastian Nail Lacquer ($10.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “metallic, plum-toned taupe.” It’s a light-medium, cool-toned beige-brown with subtle metallic shimmer. It had slightly visible brush strokes, though from a normal viewing distance, I really couldn’t detect them. The color was very nearly opaque after two coats, and the consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin. Dior Destin (382) (LE, $24.00) is slightly darker and more metallic. Rescue Beauty Lounge Be Humble (LE, $20.00) is purpler. MAC Endless Night (LE, $16.00) has no shimmer. Chanel Frenzy (P, $27.00) is slightly grayer. Cult Nails Let’s Get Dirty (P, $12.00) is a touch less brown, has a rubber finish (with a top coat, they’re more similar). See comparison swatches.  As a note, I had a couple of splayed bristles on the brush of this shade, but I can’t recall that happening on any other of my OCC polishes.

I typically get seven days of wear with no chipping and only minor tip wear with OCC’s formula.

The Glossover

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product

Isherwood

A-

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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product

Man by Man

A-

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
P
product

Sebastian

A-

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Saturday, December 14th, 2013

What is a holiday season without highlighting some of my current set of favorite ruby red-hued beauty products? I’m always on the hunt for more metallic reds, so I look forward to reading your favorites!

  1. OCC Black Metal Dahlia — a deep, dark burgundy-red with ruby red metallic shimmer
  2. Hourglass Siren — no list is complete without Siren, a fiercely metallic, opaque gloss
  3. OCC Role Play — a ruby red with a metallic finish and cool undertones
  4. Inglot #450 — a deepened, cool-toned reddish-berry with a metallic sheen
  5. Milani Cherry Crave — a warm, metallic red

What are your personal favorites?

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Reader Rashmi requested a top five of burgundy lipsticks, and I have to say, finding a really lovely burgundy lip color that’s permanent is difficult. It seems to be a favorite hue to go-to for limited edition collections, though.

  1. OCC Black Dahlia — is a deep, dark burgundy with a hint of brown that lasts and lasts
  2. MAC Endless Drama — a deepened, semi-opaque burgundy red with a soft, frosted finish
  3. Giorgio Armani #408 — is a muted, reddish burgundy with a pearly shimmer
  4. Buxom Menace — a brightened, berry-ish burgundy with a shimmery finish
  5. Laura Mercier Merlot — a lightened, muted berry-burgundy with a natural finish

What’s your favorite burgundy lipstick?

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

OCC Little Black Dress Lip Tar Stained Gloss
OCC Little Black Dress Lip Tar Stained Gloss

OCC Little Black Dress Lip Tar Stained Gloss ($18.00 for 0.33 fl. oz.) is described as a “sheer veil of black pigment.” It may look like a medium black when squeezed out of the tube, but applied, it’s exactly as described: a sheer wash of black–it gives lips a gray-cast, takes my natural color and gives it a cooler tone, and then a glossy shine. Even though it’s rather sheer, there was some settling into lip lines. Urban Decay Oil Slick (DC, $22.00) is similar in its sheer, gray-tinge. MAC also had Blackware eons ago, which was similar. See comparison swatches.

Alone, the glossiness and subtle gray-ish tint seems to last around four hours on me. It has a very gel-like consistency, wasn’t tacky, and was comfortable to wear. The backbone of Lip Tars is really their versatility and mixability, so naturally, I layered this over a red lipstick (Marc Jacobs Showstopper), and it’s a quick way to instantly vamp-up your favorite lip color. It darkens, cools down, and adds a high-shine, glossy finish. Because it is sheerer, it doesn’t overwhelm the color. It does take careful blending to ensure an even layer of color.

This color will be available beginning Black Friday (the 29th) and will be added to the permanent range at occmakeup.com. It will also be available as a gift with purchase on $75+ orders placed between 11/29 and 12/2.

The Glossover

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product

Little Black Dress

B+

It's better as a layering product, because it does settle into lip lines when worn on its own. Layered, it darkens, cools down, and adds a high-shine, glossy finish. Because it is sheerer, it doesn't overwhelm the color.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Thursday, November 21st, 2013

OCC Little Black Dress Stained Gloss
OCC Little Black Dress Stained Gloss

‘LITTLE BLACK DRESS’ Stained Gloss, OCC’s newest colour innovation, imparts high-impact shine and subtly defines lips with a sheer veil of black pigment. This unexpectedly wearable shade creates the perfect neutral lip colour, that hydrates and softens lips, while maintaining a slick, glossy finish that lasts throughout the day.

Debuting right in time for Black Friday and continuing through Cyber Monday, all orders $50.00 USD and over will receive complimentary domestic shipping within the contiguous United States. Want more? All orders over $75.00 USD and over will receive a free ‘LITTLE BLACK DRESS’ Stained Gloss (limit one per customer) in addition to complimentary ground shipping. ‘LITTLE BLACK DRESS’ will also be available permanently future forward at OCCMAKEUP.COM.

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Must-Have Eye Brushes
Must-Have Eye Brushes

It’s been a long time coming, so I’m so excited to share with you my favorite, must-have eye brushes! I’ve categorized them into a few different groupings, and when it comes to eye brushes, well, one can never have too many duplicates. Though you can definitely use one brush with multiple shades, if given the chance, I prefer to use one brush per color. I tried to include brushes that had high quality duplicates, too, so that you could see a few options for a given style (that is my must-have), because the shape tends to dictate whether a brush is one I’ll reach for often.

I would LOVE to hear about your must-have eye brushes, if you would be so kind as to share below!

Note, I have about 30 brush reviews I’ve yet to post, so some brushes mentioned here will eventually have fully fleshed out reviews, complete with individual photos. Stay tuned!

Blending Brushes

The classic may be MAC 217, but Hakuhodo J5523 is my new favorite–so much so that I bought a second one to add to my stash.

  1. Sephora Pro Blending Brush #27 ($20.00) is a soft, lightly fluffed-up brush that works well for blending powder products together, applying highlighters to the brow bone, or dusting a sheer color all-over the lid.
  2. MAC 217 ($24.00) is a long-time favorite for myself as well as readers as a go-to brush for blending eyeshadows together, softening edges, and applying brow bone highlighters. It’s a solid choice and readily accessible for most.
  3. Hakuhodo J5523 ($18.00) is incredibly soft, lightly fluffy, and a dream to use. It outshines both the brushes mentioned above, and even better? it’s the cheapest of the bunch.

Crease Brushes

If you’ve been a reader for awhile, you’ll know that I’ve often raved about MAC’s 226 brush, which was a limited edition medium-sized, tapered crease brush (I think I have four or five of them). So long 226, for I’ve found four replacements that I love even more (who knew!). Hakuhodo J142 wins this one for quality, shape/size, and price.

  1. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Tapered Blending Brush ($22.00) is a slightly shorter, nicely rounded and tapered brush that works well for depositing color into the crease and then blending and diffusing that color. It’s incredibly soft, works well, and is synthetic, so it’s what I usually reach for when I’m using liquid or cream products.
  2. Tom Ford Eyeshadow Blend (13) Brush ($55.00) is the perfect shape, density, size, and softness for depositing color into the crease with good color deposit and blends and softens the color easily. It’s a real workhorse of a brush for me. That being said…
  3. Hakuhodo J142 ($18.00) is a near-exact dupe of Tom Ford’s crease brush and a third of the cost–and because it’s nearly the same, this is my top pick. I reach for this one often, so I recently purchased a second one of these to have on-hand.
  4. Hakuhodo G5522 ($28.00) is slightly larger and a bit more tapered than the other three brushes, so it works well for really diffusing and softening color. I also like using it to lay down a mid-tone color that I’ll put in the crease first and really blend well past the crease before adding a darker color to define the crease (with a more precise brush).

Eyeshadow Brushes

Sorry, there’s only one that is the holy grail for me, and that’s MAC 239 ($25.00). It is the perfect brush for applying eyeshadow, and frankly, if I could only have one brush to do my eye makeup, I’d pick this. Over every single brush mentioned in this post. There’s a reason why I have six of them. (I’m pretty sure I have two more hiding from me.) I have tried two Hakuhodo brushes (J242 and J004) and neither are quite right to me–though I am still testing the J004 so we’ll see. The shape of the 239 is square-ish, and it’s quite dense but still has a slight fluffiness to it, so it blends out colors if desired. It deposits eyeshadow nicely onto the lid, and it can be swept on or patted and packed on.

Cream Eyeshadow Brushes

When it comes to cream (or liquid) eyeshadows and products, I like firmer, flatter brushes for application. My favorite is MAC 242, because it’s firm, flat, but not too big or too small, so it is good for laying down a lot of color at once, blending out edges, and is a versatile choice.

  1. Tom Ford Eyeshadow Brush ($55.00) is a larger, slightly fluffy, flat eyeshadow brush with a tapered edge. It’s nice for applying eyeshadow all-over the lid, so I like it a lot for creams (but it does work well with powders). The fluffy edge makes this brush work for blending the edges of cream eyeshadow, too, so you can that diffused, softened edge.
  2. MAC 242 ($25.00) is a smaller, flat and firm brush with a slightly domed edge. It’s great for applying cream products to the inner corner of the lid, and it also works well for packing out any eyeshadow (powder or cream) and helps minimize fall out.
  3. MAC 252 ($32.00) is a large, flat brush with a slightly domed/rounded edge. It’s excellent for applying cream eyeshadow all over the lid and still having enough edge to blend out the edges. It’s not as fluffy as the Tom Ford brush but is similar in size.
  4. MAC 249 ($27.00) is a firm, flat brush that gives the most streak-free finish even with more emollient products. I, of course, just learned it has been discontinued when attempting to find the current price on. I guess I’ll have to go about finding a dupe for it now!
  5. Hakuhodo J242 ($17.00) is similar in shape to the MAC 242, but it is softer and a bit fluffier, so it doesn’t pack on color as intensely, but it is softer to use on the lid and blends out color even better. It also does a nice job of applying cream products with minimal streaks.  This brush also works well for applying powder eyeshadow, but I find it a little too narrow personally so I don’t often use it for powder.

Detail Brushes

These are smaller, more precise brushes that I don’t reach for as often as the brushes above, but they’re ones used enough that they’re still worth mentioning. These may also be helpful for someone with less lid space or who needs smaller brushes for their eyes.  MAC 266 is the only one I use every day from this grouping, as the others tend to be used if the application calls for it.

  1. MAC 266 ($20.00) is my go-to for filling in my brows, which I fill in with powder eyeshadow. It has a nice slanted edge, is firm enough to apply thin, precise lines, but has enough thickness that it can gently soften those lines as necessary.
  2. Hakuhodo G5513 ($16.00) is a small, flat, dome-shaped brush that works well for patting, packing, or sweeping eyeshadow onto very small areas. It is similar to Tom Ford Eyeliner & Definer (15) Brush but is slightly bigger.
  3. Tom Ford Eyeliner & Definer (15) Brush ($50.00) is a small, flat, dome-shaped brush for very, very precise eyeshadow application. I also like using it to pat on eyeshadow on the lower lash line or for blending out very small areas.
  4. MAC 208 ($20.00) is similar in shape and style to the 266, it’s just thinner. It’s great for applying cream, gel, and liquid eyeliner.
  5. MAC 228 ($24.00) is a small, dome-edged brush that’s lightly fluffy. It is a lot like the 239, just much, much smaller, so it works in a similar way: for applying eyeshadow, can blend out if necessary, and can be used in a sweeping or patting motion.

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