Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Essie Winter 2010 Collection
Essie Nail Lacquer: Going Incognito, Hot Coco, Luxedo

Essie Winter 2010 Collection

Though on the way out, here are long overdue swatches for Essie’s winter collection, which includes: Going Incognito (deep emerald green), Hot Coco (tawny sepia), Luxedo (deepest plum), Masquerade Belle (black ruby), Silken Cord (risque red), and Smokin’ Hot (stone-cold fox gray). Each bottle retails at $8 a pop, and I spotted them online still at Apothica.

  • Going Incognito is a deep emerald green cream–almost a blue-tinged green (not quite into teal territory). It’s opaque in two coats. ORLY Enchanted Forest is the closest dupe I can think of, though it is greener (less blue).
  • Hot Coco is a pink-tinged mid-tone taupe cream. I can totally see the sepia in this. If you wanted to get into nude nails but found nudes too pale and washed you out, this is a nice take on it. Two coats. It seems a little similar to China Glaze Heirloom Organza.
  • Luxedo is a blackened plum cream. It’s very inky and barely stays purple in low light conditions as it turns nearly black. It’s nearly opaque in one coat, though I did two here. Itl ooks a lot like Essie’s Velvet Voyeur (from fall).
  • Masquerade Belle is a deep, velvety red-brown cream. Two coats. It’s darker and redder then MAC Dance All Night.
  • Silken Cord is a bright coral-red cream. It’s a surprisingly bright shade for winter–feels like something for a summer launch. I used two coats. It’s a lighter version of Zoya’s Maura.
  • Smokin’ Hot is a purpled gray cream. I used two coats, though I noticed a touch of drag with this one. The base color is reminiscent of Chanel’s Paradoxal. It is a darker version of Essie’s Merino Cool (from fall).

my thoughts on the formula: The formula was really nice on these; not too thin, not too thick, and the majority were pigmented enough to use just two coats of polish. The only shade I had any issues with was Smokin’ Hot, wihch seemed a little thin in places.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: This collection actually looks similar to Essie’s fall collection, but the shades are different, some more so than others.  The formula was easy to work with, and Essie really does do creams well, so they are in their element with these six.

where to buy: Apothica

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Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Dior Pinky Mauve (460) Serum de Rouge
Dior Pinky Mauve (460) Serum de Rouge

Dior Spring 2011: Pinky Mauve

Dior Pinky Mauve (460) Serum de Rouge ($32.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a semi-opaque petal pink with soft white shimmer and slight yellow undertones. It’s a very wearable, ultra flattering shade that’s perfect for everyday or paired with a smoky eye.  I have absolutely no idea why this is called “pinky mauve” though.

my thoughts on the formula: Everything about the Serum de Rouge formula is incredibly nice–except the wear. These creamy, glossy lipsticks slide off my lips in under two hours (usually just over an hour). Given the small amount of product you get (about half the size of your average lipstick), frequent reapplication can run you through one of these a lot faster than you’d think!

The Serum de Rouge formula is soft, creamy, and very lightweight. It feels like a lipstick, but it has the glossiness of a gloss without feeling like one. Not totally opaque, but pretty rich and typically not very sheer. The formula is comparable to Cle de Peau’s Extra Silky Lipstick, but not as stellar–but very close (and $20 less!).

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: I do like Dior’s Serum de Rouge formula quite a bit, but I really get frustrated with how quickly it wears off (between one and two hours, while I average four hours on most lipsticks).  I’m not keen on needing to reapply every hour or so, especially when the product is 40% less than most lipsticks.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

NARS Calanque Eyeshadow Trio
NARS Calanque Eyeshadow Trio

NARS Spring 2011: Calanque

NARS Calanque Eyeshadow Trio ($45.00 for 0.17 oz.) is described as a mix of gold infused platinum with silver flecks, light matte caramel, and rich antique bronze infused with gold. NARS does an admirable job describing their shades, because the official descriptions are quite apt.

The largest shade is a part-shimmer, part-glitter sheer overlay of a pale white-gold color. In all honesty, I do not like it at all–it applies unevenly, makes a mess, and the “silver flecks” aka silver glitter get everywhere. To make this shade manageable, try using it over a sticky base and wet, because dry, it proves to have far more fall out than it is worth. It’s more of a layering shade, too, because there isn’t much of a base color so much as a dusting of shimmer and glitter.

In the middle, there is a soft beige-tan with a subtle sheen; it’s not exactly matte–seems more like a satin to me, because of the sateen finish. This shade had a beautiful finish, very smooth and silky, with nice color pay off, too. The thinnest shade is a dark bronze brown with soft bronze shimmer. It has a softened frost sheen; it’s not a true frost finish, but it is a little more than a satin.

my thoughts on the formula: NARS states that you can use their eyeshadows wet or dry, though. The texture is soft, smooth, and very blendable, with the colors being nicely pigmented more often than not.   Here, two of the three shades are true to the NARS formula, but the largest and lightest shade is more difficult to work with than one would expect.  A NARS Eyeshadow Duo contains 0.14 oz. of product and retails for $32, which makes the trio more per ounce (but a better value than the single eyeshadows).

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: Given that the largest shade is also the most difficult one to work with, I’m hard-pressed to recommend this trio, because I only think two shades are worth having.  The amount of glitter fall out from the lightest shade is quite bothersome.

where to buy: NARS

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Tuesday, February 8th, 2011


Guava, Old Hollywood, Sweet Nectar, Soft Coral, Bikini Pink

Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color SPF 12 Sneak Peek

For spring, Bobbi Brown is putting out a new lip color formula called Rich Lip Color ($22.00 for 0.13 oz.) with twelve shades in the range. The formula is designed to feel lightweight, yield lots and lots of color, with a creamy and emollient texture to moisturize and condition lips–plus it has SPF 12. I will be testing these out over the next week or so and working through lip swatches, but I thought I’d give you this swatch post for now. There are a few shades missing (Cosmic Raspberry and Crimson), but the majority of the shade range is here. :)

I have not tested these at all yet, so please hold questions until I have had a chance to do so–thank you!  I will be sure to do my usual detail review as soon as I’ve finished testing these.

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Monday, February 7th, 2011

Estee Lauder Untamed Violet Eyeliner
Estee Lauder Untamed Violet Eyeliner

Estee Lauder Wild Violet: Untamed Violet

Estee Lauder Untamed Violet Double Wear Eye Pencil ($19.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a deep dark violet with iridescent purple shimmer strewn through the colored base. It applies smoothly and goes on opaque without having to layer, and it lasts all day on my lower lash line (since it has shimmer, I didn’t wear it on my water line). I wouldn’t describe it as particularly creamy, even though it had a good glide. The formula is comparable to Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eye Pencils, though.  It is a darker purple with less iridescence than Urban Decay Ransom, but it is comparable to Urban Decay Lust, which is slightly bluer and doesn’t have as much sheen.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: The cooler undertones of this shade help to brighten eyes, so it is a nice shade to wear alone for a less-is-more kind of look, because it will brighten the whites of your eyes.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Monday, February 7th, 2011

Shiseido RD 734 Rouge Perfect Lipstick
Shiseido Roseate RD 734 Rouge Perfect Lipstick

Shiesido Perfect Rouge Lipstick: Roseate

Shiseido Roseate (RD734) Perfect Rouge Lipstick ($25.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a rosy brown with a creamy finish and opaque color coverage. It has a naturally glossy finish that doesn’t yield a lot of shine but creates dimension on the lips. This is a shade that just works–it’s not a nude but an everyday shade that adds color to the complexion but never competes with your features.

my thoughts on the formula: It’s moisturizing and applies evenly, while it wears for about four hours before beginning to fade. It is also scent- and taste-free. Perfect Rouge has a really beautiful color range and ranges from semi-opaque to opaque in color.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: It’s not necessarily a shade that would stop you in your tracks but one that you would find works with so many looks and appropriate for many occasions.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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