Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Today, CoverGirl is doing a pre-sale for their two new additions to the Blast line-up with Smoky ShadowBlast ($8.49) and ShineBlast Lip Gloss ($8.49). For those who purchase by visiting Drugstore.com, they’ll save $5 and earn free shipping while supplies last. For those who purchase by visiting CVS, they will receive free shipping. I found the pre-sale site forced me to “build a look,” when I just wanted to see where to buy, so you can just go to drugstore.com directly and search for it by name and it’ll show up.  Drugstore.com is also showing all of the shades shipping in “one to two weeks.”  Curious!

Smoky ShadowBlast is available for pre-sale in four shades: Silver Sky, Onyx Smoke, Bronze Fire, and Purple Plume. ShineBlast Lip Gloss is available for pre-sale in four shades: Dazzle, Flare, Ablaze, and Firecracker.

When these officially hit stores in January 2010, we’ll see an addition of Citrus Flair and Tempest Blue ShadowBlasts, and we’ll see a whole slew of additional glosses come the new year. The additional gloss shades are: Aglow, Beam, Ember, Fire, Gleam, Glimmer, Glow, Heat, Ignite, Radiate, Smolder, and Sparkler.

I just played around with two shades of ShadowBlast this weekend, because I wanted to be able to share a little more insight than just marketing blitz as the pre-sale got underway…

First, an obvious point of contention with this product is the lack of labeling on the product itself.  The original packaging does tell you the shade names, but once you take ‘em out of the packaging and toss it away, there’s nothing to tell you what you have.

First, I tried Citrus Flaire ShadowBlast, which was a duo of shimmery chartreuse green and a rich, shimmery copper. The chartreuse side is “step one,” designed to be use as a lid color, while the copper side is “step two,” meant to be used as a liner or crease shade. The second one I tried was Silver Sky ShadowBlast, which was a duo of a shimmery, light silver (“step one”) and a smoky purple with lighter shimmer (“step two”). Both ShadowBlasts were pigmented, smooth, and creamy without being overly so–just enough slip to glide along the lid without tugging or pulling.

After playing around with these this weekend, I’d say that they’re best layered over a base like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance or else set well with powder eyeshadow for best results. I found when worn alone, it was hard to get just the right amount so it didn’t crease or look faded. If you just want to use them as a liner, I didn’t have migration issues, but the tip of the product is a little bulky, so it’s not super easy to use as a liner.

These reminded me a lot of MAC’s shadesticks, actually – just a little softer and smoother and with less staying power (on their own). When I used it alone the first time around, it creased within fifteen minutes–I threw a layer of the chartreuse shade all over my lid for a quick and dirty crease-test, and by the time I finished photographing and swatching the other ShadowBlast, it had definitely creased.

Bottom Line: It’s really great to see CoverGirl step up their game with these pigmented cream eyeshadows. I think if you’re looking for a way to boost up eyeshadow colors, these make a great way to add an extra level of dimension underneath your regular eyeshadows.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: For a more budget-friendly alternative to pigmented cream shadows and ways to enhance your eyeshadow, these are worth checking out.

Availability: CoverGirl

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Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Bobbi Brown Chrome Palette ($75.00) is the stunning eye and lip palette include with Bobbi Brown’s Chrome Collection, and it is also limited edition (of course!). The palette includes ten shades of eyeshadow and four shades of lip glosses.

For Eyes

  • White Eyeshadow is just that, a matte snowy white. It’s slightly cool, but it isn’t frosty or cold.
  • Polar Ice Eyeshadow is a soft, light gray with a blue tinge and silver shimmer. It goes on a bit sheer, but it can be layered for a slightly more solid look.
  • Storm Cloud Eyeshadow is a sparkly medium dark brown. It doesn’t really have anything special about it to make it unique, but it still looks pretty (you just may already have something similar in your stash).
  • Iron Eyeshadow is a matte slate gray. It didn’t go on as smoothly as the White eyeshadow, and it felt a little more dusty.
  • Thunder Eyeshadow is a glittery dark gray with a touch of black and silver shimmer. This reminded me of MAC’s Knight Divine, though not quite as glittery or gritty.
  • Moonlight Eyeshadow is a glittery soft pink with a little champagne tone. Bobbi Brown describes it as a cool purple sparkle, which is clearly not. The back of my palette shows that this is where Moonlight is supposed to be, but I really feel like this and Foil were misplaced/mislabeled.
  • Cyber Grey Eyeshadow is a slightly purple tinged smoky silver shimmer shade.
  • Foil Eyeshadow is a glittery soft purple-gray — very similar to Cyber Grey, but it has more of a glittery texture. As I mentioned earlier, I think this is really Moonlight and Foil is the other one… as Bobbi Brown describes Foil as “a pale bronze.” Again, I’m just going off the back of my palette (and Bobbi Brown’s website).
  • Chrome Eyeshadow is a silver with a little brown thrown in – kind of reminds me of Pewter Chrome Eyeshadow, but not nearly as pretty. (Sorry, I *love* that eyeshadow, so not much can compare.)
  • Charcoal Haze Eyeshadow is a matte medium gray-black. This one had the same texture as Iron, but it did seem a little smoother.

For Lips

  • Pink Mist Lip Gloss is a medium yellow-pink with multi-colored sparkle. It’s pretty sheer, but I found I could actually see some color when I swatched it on my skin (which I barely could with the Earth Metal palette).
  • Winter Bronze Lip Gloss is a copper sparkled bronze shade. On lips, it looks a bit burnished, but it’s not ultra pigmented so it’s more wearable than it looks.
  • Berry Lip Gloss is a muted plum-berry with soft sparkle. I liked this shade the most, as it seemed opaque enough to add color to lips, but still soft as I’d expect from Bobbi Brown.
  • Chrome Pink Lip Gloss is beige-rose with gold sparkle. It’s pretty, and it’s a shade I could see people loving for everyday.

You know me — I don’t like lip palettes. I don’t like them alone, and I don’t like them when attached to eyeshadow palettes, either. They’re just a no-go for me. I will say that the gloss in these are more pigmented than in Bobbi Brown’s Earth Metal Eye & Lip Palette, which is a plus.  I’m not going to drop points on this product because of that personal bias, so I’m judging on the product included itself, which is better than a lot of lip palettes I’ve tried.

In the palette, you get 10 eyeshadows, each weighing 0.02 oz. (total weight of 0.20 oz.), and you also get four lipglosses, each weighing 0.03 oz. (total weight of 0.12 oz.). A single Bobbi Brown eyeshadow retails for $22 for 0.10 oz. and a single lip gloss retails for $20 for 0.14 oz. The reason for all these conversions is to see exactly how much you’re paying for what and whether it’s worth buying a palette if you like a few shades or if you should look towards Bobbi Brown’s permanent line-up instead. The eyeshadows (by weight) would yield about $44 in value, while the lip glosses yield about $17 — which gives you a total “value” of $61. The palette is priced at $75, so I do think it’s a bit steep, even when you consider the fact that you’re getting a variety of shades all housed in a pretty chrome palette.

I also don’t think there’s quite enough variety between the ten shades of eyeshadows — a few are quite similar (like Cyber Grey and Foil). This is definitely a cool smoky eye palette with a little purple kick. I like that they included three different matte shades in the palette, because I think mattes are often missed in palettes. I do wish they had included a highlighter shade, as I think the White eyeshadow will be too garish on bolder skin tones to work well as a highlighter. In a palette of this size, I’d expect a really obvious highlighter shade.

For me, this palette is just okay. It’s not the best value, and I think Bobbi Brown has better shades (or the equivalent) available in her permanent range. In fact, I definitely recommend her Chrome Eyeshadows (and duh, my #1 recommendation would be for Pewter!) if you’re not liking the majority of the shades in this palette. The eyeshadows are soft, have a smooth texture, and they’re all pigmented. There is nothing wrong with them, but I’m just not loving the color combination overall. Nice but not amazing, you know?

Bottom Line: for those who DO love the majority of the shades in the palette and don’t mind lipgloss in pan form, I think you may like this. It’s housed in chromed-out package (which does hold fingerprints, FYI!), offers plenty of smoky eyeshadow combinations, and is appropriate for the upcoming holiday season.  I also think Bobbi Brown fans may enjoy this more than I did, and I think it’s worth at least a peek next time you’re near a Bobbi Brown counter to see for yourself.

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

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:

Availability: Bobbi Brown, Nordstrom

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Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Trish McEvoy Gorgeous Red Gorgeous Lip Color ($25.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a blue-based fuchsia-red. It applies semi-opaquely and definitely has a distinctive pinkness to it, so it’s not really a true red. However, the pink makes it less intense and thereby makes it more wearable for some who are a little shy of truer reds. I found the formula to be hydrating, and it felt more like a lip stain than a lipstick. I wouldn’t describe it as a creamy red, but more of a sheer red with a higher color threshold than expected out of a sheerer shade. It’s also a buildable shade, which means that it took a few layers to get a mostly solid look, but on the same token, you can go sheerer if you like (or the occasion calls for it) with the same shade.

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:  For fans of sheerer, softer reds, Gorgeous Red gives you sheer-to-buildable pinky red.

Availability: BlueMercury.com

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!

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Friday, October 30th, 2009


Guerlain: Perle de Lune KissKiss Gloss

Guerlain Perle de Lune KissKiss Gloss ($29.00 for 0.17 oz.) is one of three new, limited edition shades of KissKiss Gloss from Guerlain’s Holiday Collection.

Perle de Lune is a sheer, milky pale pink (it’s almost colorless, so soft the pink is!) with a large dose of pink, gold, and bronze shimmer. This is a particularly glittery shade of KissKiss Gloss, but it doesn’t feel gritty, so I do like that. I’d also say that this is definitely a shade you’d layer on a lipstick rather than wear alone, but for some, it’s a nice way to add sparkle without adding a lot of color.

KissKiss Gloss is a non-sticky, moisturizing gloss that lasts about four hours or so on me. I love the way it sparkles and glitters on my lips, and they always look fantastic layered over lipsticks. The scent is sort of a sweet rose, which isn’t always loved by lipgloss fans alike, so you may want to give it a whiff before making the leap for this shade. This particular holiday shade reminded me a lot of Chanel’s Holiday Aqualumieres, which also very sheer but had lots of sparkle–almost a mix of Canari and Colibri.

Bottom Line: If you’re a fan of sparkly glosses and don’t need a lot of color in your gloss, Perle de Lune may be right up your alley. It’s a bit of a splurge at $29 and you only get 0.17 oz., so it’s not the cheapest gloss around.  The packaging of this limited edition shade is also very pretty.

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

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

Recommendation: For a fun, ridiculously sparkly gloss that doesn’t feel gritty, Perle de Lune makes a great shade for layering.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Friday, October 30th, 2009

Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick

Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a vibrant, true red with a creamy texture, glossy finish, and goes on opaque with little fuss. It applies surprisingly smooth and easily, without any feathering or bleeding from the get-go (but as with any red lipstick or gloss, I always recommend a lip liner for secure color). This is a shade that doesn’t run too blue or too orange, though if pressed, I’d consider it a blue-red. I love the glossiness of the finish, because it almost looks like you’ve already topped it with clear gloss.

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, October 30th, 2009

Build a Quad: “Soft Fire”

Dubbed Soft Fire, this eyeshadow quad features four permanent shades of MAC eyeshadow: Amber Lights (a coppery frost), Antiqued (a reddened brown frost), Bronze (a rich bronze frost), and Grain (a lightly shimmered beige highlighter). All of these shades have warmer tones, so I would consider this to be a warm quad. (I say this to caution you if you dislike warm shades, this is probably not the one for you!) All four shades are colors I’ve been using for years without fail, because they’re pigmented, smooth, and easy to work with. Grain is more of a neutral highlighter, and I like the way it accents the rest of the quad’s stronger warm tones–it helps to balance everything out.

A few combinations to try with this…

  • Amber Lights all over the lid, Bronze in the crease, Grain to highlight
  • Amber Lights all over the lid, Antiqued on the outer lid, Bronze in the crease, Grain to highlight
  • Grain all over the lid, Bronze in the crease
  • Grain on the inner lid, Amber Lights on the outer lid, Antiqued in the crease

Build a Quad is a feature focusing on creating different eyeshadow palettes that are both beautiful and functional using permanent shades of eyeshadow.  We invite readers to suggest their own build-a-quads — just leave your ideas in the comments!

P.S. – As this is a new feature… tell me if you love it or hate it so I know whether to continue it! :)