Saturday, November 7th, 2009

MAC Russian Red Lipstick
MAC Russian Red Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: MAC Russian Red Lipstick

MAC Russian Red Lipstick ($14.00 for 0.10 oz.) is one of the brand’s classic reds–and by classic, I mean, it’s been around forever, worn by numerous celebrities, and embraced as as an iconic shade of true red. It’s a vibrant red with a slight blue-base, but on me, it doesn’t run too cool and almost ends up neutral (not too blue, not too orange) on my lips. It has a matte finish, but it does have a slight sheen when applied. It’s creamy, applies opaque with ease, and it stays put for hours (partially due to the fact that it is a matte). Even though the finish is matte, it’s creamy enough not to be drying (which is a huge plus, as some of MAC’s mattes can be). This is really one of those shades that I feel must be tried at some point in your lifetime, whether you’re a fan of red lips or not!

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See more swatches and comparison photosContinue reading →

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

NARS Mousson Cream Eyeshadow
NARS Mousson Cream Eyeshadow from Holiday 2009

NARS Mousson Cream Eyeshadow ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a new shade of cream-to-powder eyeshadow from NARS’ Holiday Collection. NARS describes this shade as “[a] shimmering, spicy pine named for the monsoon – natural and unpredictable … [i]t has richness and depth, yet allows for a surprising range of intensity.” They later describe the color as “silver sage.”

Mousson is is an antique gold with a green tarnish and silver sparkle. It’s creamy, dries to a mostly powder finish fairly quickly (but not so fast you don’t have time to work with it), and I’ve found it fairly crease-resistant. I would say it’s much better and doesn’t crease easily when set with a powder base or layered over an eyeshadow base like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance. The shade itself is exactly something I’d wear and a color I’d feel compelled to own–you know me and (antique) golds!

NARS’ Cream Eyeshadows aren’t my absolute favorite cream formula to work with (Benefit’s are my current favorite), but I do like it. I just find it does have a slight tendency to crease if you apply too much or you don’t set it with an eyeshadow. For me, I rarely wear cream shadows alone anyway, so it’s not a big deal to use it in conjunction with powder eyeshadow.

Bottom Line: For a fun, sparkly shade of antique gold with a green cast, Mousson might be something you’d like. If you’re not normally a cream eyeshadow fan, while it’s still worth taking a peek at your local NARS’ counter, I’m not sure these will persuade you otherwise at the end of the day.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love NARS’ Cream Eyeshadows, I do think you’ll like Mousson!

Availability: NARS

See swatchesContinue reading →

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Cargo Cherry Bliss Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Cargo Cherry Bliss Lipstick

CARGO PlantLove Cherry Bliss Lipstick ($20.00 for 0.14 oz.) is an earth-friendly lipstick (tube is made out of corn) that also does good, too.  For their celeb-designed lipsticks, $2 from the purchase price goes to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research.   Even the box it comes with can be planted and you’ll see some nice flowers grow.  Cherry Bliss was designed by celebrity Kim Raver, and it is a glossy, opaque cherry red. It’s a bright pop of red with a really glossy finish (but no real shimmer). The formula itself is creamy and moisturizing while it wears really well (about five to six hours).

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See more swatches and comparison photosContinue reading →

Friday, November 6th, 2009

NARS Luxor Multiple

NARS Luxor Multiple ($37.00 for 0.50 oz.) is the newest Multiple to debut as part of NARS’ Holiday Collection. NARS describes it as, “[a]n iridescent pink to be used on eyes, cheeks, lips and body.”

Luxor is an icy pink that almost runs a little lilac on me because it is definite cool undertones. It has a slight iridescence that’s noticeable without being over the top; it’s about the right about of shimmer I’d expect from a product best used as a highlighter. It’s surprisingly pigmented and can definitely be layered for a more opaque look. It does blend easily once warmed against the skin.

I personally prefer to use Luxor in a way that might be considered a little unconventional. I like to pat a little on the areas I want to highlight just before I apply my moisturizer. Once I’ve done that, then I apply my facial moisturizer as usual (which I do apply with my hands and slather all over). I find that it gives the highlighted areas this very soft, refined highlight and lends a certain glow to my face overall (because some, of course, does get mixed up in the moisturizer). It’s an interesting effect, nonetheless. I was inspired to try it this way because of how I use MAC’s Strobe Cream. Luxor reminds me a bit of it, only amped up–like if you took the Cream part out of Strobe Cream and just left the Strobe!

You can also take a fluffy brush and lightly dab on Luxor onto lids to give eyes a more awake look, or you can lightly dust it on your lips before layering on a gloss for some extra sparkle. The more traditional use of this as a highlighter would be to dot it along the areas you’d want to highlight, blend with a stippling brush, and then set with loose/translucent powder. You can definitely do this with Luxor, so have at it — after all, it isn’t called The Multiple for nothing!

My only big issue with The Multiples, in general, is that they’re pretty pricey. I don’t actually feel like you get a ton of product for your money, because I think these can be used up quicker than you’d think. They can be very emollient, so you may end up wearing more than you necessarily need (if you use a brush to apply, it helps to mitigate any potential over-use). I don’t think they’re a rip-off, but they do feel a little overpriced.

My secondary issue is I do find I need to use a translucent powder to set these in place to prevent them from fading too much throughout the day (I then get about four to six hours of good wear before it starts to fade).  Since I’ve found a way to combat fading, it’s not a biggie, and I tend to set my makeup anyway, so it’s not adding an extra, otherwise unnecessary step either.

Bottom Line: I think Multiple fans will enjoy Luxor. I still haven’t found a Multiple that really turns my head as others have, but I am eagerly awaiting the day it happens!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve been looking for a cream-to-powder cool-toned highlighter, Luxor may be your new best friend.

Availability: NARS

See more photos and swatchesContinue reading →

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

MAC Mischief Makers Collection:  Pigment/Glitter Sets

Alongside the lipglass/lustreglass sets are three pigment sets. Each set includes four vials of pigments and one vial of glitter. MAC has them priced at $32.50 a pop, but they denote the value of the set as $39. Again, each set is housed inside a holiday box, so they’re easy to give away as gifts.

I always like the holiday pigment sets, because I think they give people a chance to try out pigments without investing $19.50 per shade (not to mention, you’re very unlikely to ever finish a jar–I never have… not even have I come close!). The only part I don’t love is the vial of glitter, as none of MAC’s glitters are eye-safe, so I just never find myself using them often. However, people do ask what can you do if not use them on the eyes, and my answer is: try them in your hair (e.g. mix with hair spray), mix into a nail polish, dust on your body, or pat onto your lips. Each vial is smaller than a full-size jar, but I really think you get more than you’ll probably need–certainly enough to last you years.

My favorite set was 5 Cool Capers, because I think they brought together some very bold, but perfect for fall/winter, shades. Running a close second was 5 Haute High Jinks, because I am always a sucker for earth tones. I think they’re flattering on a variety of skin tones and they tend to be easy to use (particularly the shades they chose–they all have excellent texture). 5 Sexpot is so-so, but it consists of mostly permanent shades, and I think I’d have liked to see the addition of a gray or silver in it, just for a little more kick.

See swatches and shade breakdownsContinue reading →

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

MAC Mischief Makers Collection:  Lipglass/Lustreglass Sets

Every year, MAC offers up holiday kits and sets for giving and receiving.  This year, there are three lipglass/lustreglass sets, each with three lipglasses and two lustreglasses, and all of them are in miniature sizes.  MAC has them priced at $29.50 a pop, and they denote the value of the set as $35.  (Yay, they did the math for me!)  Each set is housed in cute, giftable packaging (as pictured above), so they’re incredibly easy to give as holiday gifts.

The majority of the sets contain a mix of permanently available shades, repromoted shades, and the occasional brand-spankin’-new shade.   Long-time collectors may want to take a quick glance at their stash to see if they already own a lot of the shades (or need to replace some of their old favorites).  I did notice that they repromoted quite a few shades from 2005, which is about four years ago, and I imagine some of those lipglasses may be in need of an update.

Don’t forget — if you like one of the shades that’s permanent but aren’t sure about the rest, consider purchasing it by itself and in full-size! ;)

Overall, I really did like the way these came together. My favorite set was the 5 Models Misbehaving, but I’m also often attracted to bolder lip colors, even if I seldom wear them!  5 Sexy Shenanigans was the lightest/sheerest of the three sets, while 5 Frisky Business was a good mix of soft, medium, and bold.

See swatches and shade breakdowns Continue reading →