Friday, February 4th, 2011

MAC Obey Me Nail Lacquer
MAC Obey Me Nail Lacquer

MAC Wonder Woman: Obey Me

MAC Obey Me Nail Lacquer ($15.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) is a creamy, blue-based red. One of the easiest ways to determine the undertones of a red is to use it sheerly; blue-based reds often look a little pink. MAC describes this shade as a “true red,” and I think it is certainly close, because it doesn’t read cool (and certainly not warm, since it has no orange in its base), but it does have an inkling of blue in it at the very least. This shade has excellent pigmentation, almost a one-coat masterpiece, though I did two. The formula also was insanely fluid and creamy–one of MAC’s bests–it wasn’t too thick or thin, and it applied smoothly and evenly.  It does dry down to an interesting finish–it’s not that glossy on its own; instead, it almost looks like pleather.

my thoughts on the formula: Historically, MAC doesn’t have a great reputation for their nail lacquers; in fact, some of the feedback I’ve seen on MAC’s nail lacquers mirror Chanel’s! Often interesting and different colors, but many complain of chipping or poor wear. I haven’t experienced this with MAC’s nail lacquers (or Chanel’s). MAC polishes always wear a full week for me, with no chipping, and minor tip wear. Sometimes the formula itself doesn’t lend itself to the most beautiful application, but their creams are most consistent. Obey Me, however, is an exemplary shade from MAC’s polish range.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: Excellent pigmentation, lovely formula, and the color is certainly something many could wear. It is, however, a red cream, and as such, if you are a nail polish collector, I don’t doubt you have something similar.

where to buy: MAC

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Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

theBalm Jealous Jordana Eyeshadow
theBalm Jealous Jordana Eyeshadow

theBalm Shady Lady Eyeshadow: Jealous Jordana

theBalm Jealous Jordana Eyeshadow ($16.00 for 0.12 oz.) is described as a “rich shimmering green.” I would say it is deep, dark blackened forest green with teal and emerald green micro-shimmer in a soft frost finish. It’s not quite as deep as Urban Decay Loaded, but the colors are similar–Loaded just has a blacker base, while NARS Rajasthan is bluer.

The packaging is simple cardboard, which makes these easy to stack and store, plus a little more eco-friendly than plastic, though it may not stand up to wear and tear as prettily as plastic.  I think the cardboard is plenty durable, but you may get a couple dents and scratches over the months/years.

my thoughts on the formula: theBalm’s eyeshadows are soft, silky smooth, and packed with pigment. They apply evenly, blend out beautifully, and aren’t powdery at all (sometimes a side effect of really soft eyeshadows). I find they are so easy to use, because they apply without fall out and blend with other shadows effortlessly. Worth noting, too, is individual eyeshadows come with 0.12 oz., which is just over double the average eyeshdaow–and at a rather affordable price tag.

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

final thoughts: Definitely worth the price, and you’ll find it will take you quite awhile to hit pan on one of theBalm’s eyeshadows–but even better is that you don’t really end up paying for that privilege. The beautiful, deep dark green-teal will work well on all skin tones.

where to buy: Sephora

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Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Platinum Nail Lacquer
Dolce & Gabbana Platinum Nail Lacquer

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2011: Platinum

Dolce & Gabbana Platinum Nail Lacquer ($20.00 for 0.37 fl. oz.) is a pale, metallic pewter-gold that’s almost neutral with silver shimmer strewn through the metallic base.  I only needed two coats to get opaque color coverage, but as is common in metallic finished polishes, Platinum does show some.  It was easier to even out the brush strokes, though, so it has more of a brushed metal finish.  It is warmer than MAC Very Important Platinum, but it has just as many brush strokes.  Dolce & Gabbana’s formula isn’t as thick nor as troublesome, though, which is a definite plus.  Similarly, Dior Timeless Gold is even warmer and has a less metallic finish (it is more like a part glitter, part metallic finish).

my thoughts on the formula: I found the applicator a bit bothersome, as the brush itself is larger and thicker than average; it allows quite a bit of the lacquer to absorb into the brush, so it’s easy to overdo it if you’re not especially careful. If you have very narrow nail beds, you may also find the brush too wide to use with ease. The lacquer wore just fine with Zoya’s Color Lock System with tip wear but no chips after a week.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: As long as you don’t mind brush strokes, I think it’s a gorgeous shade.  If you have really small nail beds, you may find the brush more difficult to work with.  The formula went on smoothly, evenly, and only required two coats for opaque color coverage.

where to buy: Saks, February 2011

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Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Estee Lauder Wild Fire Pure Color Lipstick
Estee Lauder Wild Fire Pure Color Lipstick

Estee Lauder Spring 2011: Wild Fire

Estee Lauder Wild Fire Pure Color Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a deep orange with a hint of coral; it’s not your typical orange–it has more depth and interest to it.  It’s not a neon orange, but this shade is certainly vibrant.  It’s opaque in color coverage with a slight glossy finish.  It really has impeccable coverage, though; very rich and requires no layering–one swipe and voila!

my thoughts on the formula: The coverage is excellent, and it feels lightweight despite its pigmentation. It’s also more moisturizing than your average lipstick, which makes it comfortable to wear. I get about five hours of wear with this shade in particular, because it is more pigmented. Estee Lauder’s lipsticks are scented with a lightly sweetened fig but are taste-free to me.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: This will be flattering on medium-to-dark complexions with warm undertones, because it does lean warm and the vibrancy makes it most suitable to deeper skin tones.  I do think that lighter skin tones can pull it off, but the importance of balance in the look will increase.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

MAC Capricious Lipstick
MAC Capricious Lipstick

The Sultry Season: MAC Capricious Lipstick

MAC Capricious Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.) is a rosy plum with subtle gold shimmer. MAC describes it as a “fanciful rose plum,” and it has a lustre finish. Lustre finishes are “demi-sheer with wet-look lustre finish … Very slick … Makes lips look soft, smooth, ultra-moist.”

If you can’t tell by the photo, Capricious has been a long-time favorite, and I’ve always found it an infinitely flattering shade. It’s got that pop of natural color that enhances lips but never overwhelms a look. It has a cool-tone edge to it but the play of gold shimmer works well to make it very wearable for both cool and warm undertones.

my thoughts on the formula: MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free. I typically get four hours of wear, but some of the lighter lustre and glaze finishes tend to disappear by hour three. Amplified cremes and amplified finishes, however, tend to go beyond four. I find the formula comfortable to wear and not drying (but not moisturizing–a couple of the matte and lustre shades can be drying).

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: Capricious is such a great way to wear plum without being too dark or bold.  It is as pretty in springtime as it is in fall.  It was one of my first MAC lipsticks and still a favorite.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

MAC Wonder Woman Look Experiment: Lady Justice

This quad was a pain in the behind to use–the colors just didn’t want to stick or blend together. Very, very finnicky and difficult to work through; this was attempt number two, as well. I would have scrapped this look and never posted, because it looks awful, but I thought perhaps it would show just why I was so disappointed in these quads.

Lady Justice was a disaster–fall out everywhere and it did not want to apply smoothly whatsoever.  Bold Babe was stiff and did not want to blend out.  I tried adding Deep Truth towards the end, in hopes that the more pigmented shadow would help this look along but no luck.  The fall out you see is after I cleaned underneath the eye–twenty minutes after.

I was going to do a subtler lip to pair with this look, but I loathed the eyes and at the very least wanted to try a fun lip combo.

You will need the following…

For eyes, start by applying Smudgeproof as your eyeshadow base all over the eye area with the 249. Using the 239, apply Insurmountable eyeshadow on the lower lid. Lightly blend Bold Babe eyeshadow above the crease with the 222. Apply Deep Truth eyeshadow in the crease with the 239 held horizontally.   Use Lady Justice eyeshadow on the inner tear duct to brighten.  Blend Trench eyeshadow with the crease shade and highlight the brow bone. Bring everything together by applying Dime on the lower lash line. Finish by sweeping lashes with Themyscira Opulash mascara.

For cheeks, apply Amazon Princess blush on the apples of the cheeks and sweep upwards towards the temple with the 116.

For lips, apply Marquise d’ lipstick first, then layer Athena’s Kiss lipglass for a complementing lip.

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