Friday, August 27th, 2010

MAC Fabulous Felines: Video Review

As promised, here is my video review for the new MAC collection.  I tried to get through it as quickly as possible, and yet it still ended up being 32 minutes long.  Whew!  Grab lunch, coffee, carrot sticks… and maybe a merit badge if you actually watch the whole thing :)

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Illamasqua Precision Ink
Illamasqua Precision Ink

A Tale of Twin Liners

Illamasqua Precision Ink Liquid Eyeliner (£16.50 for 0.06 oz.) is a new eyeliner launching with Illamasqua’s Art of Darkness collection for fall. It’s a long-wearing and waterproof liner that should dry quickly.

It may look familiar. In fact, it may look very familiar. Illamasqua’s Precision Ink and MAC Superslick Liquid Eyeliners are exactly the same. Every part of the packaging is the same, from the bottom to the inside to the formula itself. MAC has sticker labels on the bottom, while Illamasqua has the label on the side of the eyeliner–which reveals a bit of an inset, and after peeling back the MAC label, the MAC liner has it, too.

Illamasqua has two shades (at least for now): Abyss, which is a rich black, and Alchemy, which is a metallic gold. (The MAC counterparts would be On the Hunt and Pure Show, for reference.) The shades are exactly the same as far as I can tell. There is no discernible difference, and I swatched both gold shades on my hand and kept them there for about 36 hours–I wanted to see them in all different lighting.  If there is any difference between them, I could not detect a single one.

This is a very easy review, because I’ve done it before: they are as long-wearing as they claim to be. They won’t smudge, budge, flake, or migrate whatsoever once they’re dry, though I find that drying time is around twenty to thirty seconds (not super fast, not agonizingly long). It is water-resistant, and it flakes off when you put makeup remover on it.

Whenever two brands, particularly such well-known brands as these, come out with exactly the same product, not just similar colors (which you could simply say are coincidence or going with the trends), I wonder what went on. I don’t know much about manufacturing and the behind-the-scenes aspect of beauty product creation, so I don’t have any insider knowledge to provide for you. My first experience with it was with all of the lip stain markers that released in the earlier half of this year–it seemed like every brand was putting out some kind of lip stain marker. Then MAC and Orly’s polish similarities, and now this… It just makes you wonder.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: Just depends on which brand you prefer, I’d say… It’s a very nice long-wearing liquid eyeliner that’s easier to use than your typical liquid eyeliner.

AVAILABILITY: Illamasqua

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Friday, August 27th, 2010

MAC Fabulous Felines Dupes
To Pamper vs. Call My Bluff

MAC Fabulous Felines: Comparisons & Dupes

Here are just some comparisons/dupes I did when I filmed the video review for the collection :) They’re really just the dupes I talked about in the reviews.  I wish I could do things like this more often, but it’s usually all about getting photos/swatches of the collection up as quickly as possible since I’m doing it either the afternoon before the launch or on launch day.

I figure it’s more important that you see everything swatched and reviewed, so at least you might be able to use it before everything sells out!  I try to call out possible dupes in the review itself and link to past swatches when they’re available instead–I just want everything to be done when the collection is relevant, not a week later when several things have sold out!  Trade-offs, trade-offs… sigh!  Wish it wasn’t so.

Ironically, to me, most of these aren’t dupes, but to me, a dupe is something about 99% similar, not 80 or 90%!  The term dupe definitely seems to mean something different depending on the person.  What does “dupe” mean to you?

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Thursday, August 26th, 2010

MAC Nail Trend F/W 2010
Nail Lacquers: Concubine, Imperial Flower, Earthly Harmony, Ming Blue, Jade Dragon, Rain of Flowers

MAC Nail Trend F/W 2010 Review, Photos, Swatches

Wait, you thought it was JUST Fabulous Felines today? You must be new to MAC ;) Indeed, MAC had a short and sweet launch of six nail lacquers (which might account for why there were none in Fabulous Felines!), all of which are Asian-inspired. nail expert Jin Soon was inspired by the “Forbidden City,” and she created shades inspired by the sculptures, architecture, fabrics, and decorative papers of Imperial China. Each shade has “pearl essences for subtle dimension.”

All of these need a top coat (but how many of us go sans top coat anyway?!), because they dry to a rather flat finish–a little shiny but not at all glossy; I used MAC’s Overlacquer top coat on all of these. The formula was on the thinner side overall, but the majority of shades were very rich in pigmentation. Having only purchased these this morning, I haven’t exactly been able to wear these long term, but I did notice that Jade Dragon and Rain of Flowers are shades that may stain (for sure Jade Dragon).

You can check out official information and promotional imagery as well.

Nail Lacquer ($13.00 U.S. / $15.50 CDN)

  • Concubine is a darkened red with ruby and scarlet shimmer flecks. I used two coats in the swatching, but there’s still a bit of nail line showing, so a third coat would probably be best. It’s pretty, but if you already have a lot of shimmered reds, you could easily skip this shade.
  • Imperial Flower is a brightened medium orange with flecks of gold and orange shimmer. This is one of my favorites out of the launch, because it practically glows on nails. It is similar to China Glaze’s Orange Pacific, though Orange Pacific has more obvious shimmer. Just two coats — it was nearly opaque in one coat.
  • Earthly Harmony is this concrete greige taupe shade. It is a difficult shade to describe! It has faint flecks of yellowed gold shimmer. I needed two coats here, and this is the kind of shade that made me think of Chanel’s Particuliere–but it’s not a dupe–just in that same vein of ugly shades that are rather pretty. I found the formula of this one to be on the watery side, and it made it a little harder to apply.
  • Ming Blue is a brightened medium-dark ocean blue with softer blue shimmer. I used just two coats in swatches, and there’s my nail line faintly visible, but a third coat would definitely eliminate that. I didn’t see any immediate staining, but I could see this staining after a few days of wear.
  • Jade Dragon is a deep forest green with flecks of green-teal shimmer. It’s quite pigmented and applied the nicest out of the bunch (but I only found Earthly Harmony troublesome)–two coats was perfect. This one, however, stained my nails just during the time I swatched it.
  • Rain of Flowers is a deep, darkened black-purple base with flecks of violet shimmer. Two coats and I had opaque results, and I suspect this one might stain a little bit as well. I originally thought it might be similar to Illamasqua’s Baptiste or NARS Purple Rain, but it’s a lot more violet and less fuchsia.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: I like ‘em, and some shades do seem different than the norm.  It’s a nice collection overall, and I haven’t had any issues with MAC polishes myself!

AVAILABILITY: MAC

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Thursday, August 26th, 2010

MAC Fabulous Felines

MAC Fabulous Felines: Overall Review & Recommendations

OVERALL, Fabulous Felines has a lot of tones and shades perfect for autumn and certainly a plethora of products to choose from. Despite some of the darker and deeper tones, the collection feels rather sheer, muted, and tame. It doesn’t feel like a bold, rich mix of colors once you actually start to swatch through some of the products. Burmese Beauty is a set of products that easily work for both cooler and warmer skin tones, while Palace Pedigreed complements cooler skin tones best and Leopard Luxe for warmer skin tones. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you can’t wear cooler-toned products on your warmer skin!

Edited @ 8/26All products have now been added with full reviews, swatches, and photos.

Product Photos, Swatches, & Reviews

The SUPERSLICK LIQUID EYE LINERS have a very watery, thin consistency that’s soaked into a long, narrow-tipped pen. The applicator is soft against the skin, and it has enough give to allow you to maneuver around the natural curves of the eye lid. With a light hand, you can get a very thin, precise line, but you can more easily get a thicker line. They’re incredibly smooth to apply, because the consistency is so thin, but it also makes for a very long drying time. The liner was still a bit sticky five minutes after application, though it wasn’t smudging or budging (just sticky to the touch). If you want to use these as a base, I would suggest using a brush or your finger to thin out application so it will dry faster–otherwise it will just crease and dry creased (and then not budge!).

See more of my thoughts on the liners, must-haves, recommendations, and the whole nine yards… Continue reading →

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Perfection Nail Lacquer

All About Nudes in Dolce & Gabbana’s Sicilian Lace Collection

Dolce & Gabbana Perfection (220) Intense Nail Lacquer ($20.00 for 0.37 fl. oz.) is a nearly neutral caramel nude with a cream finish.  It’s new for fall and part of the brand’s Sicilian Lace Collection, which certainly is all about barely there and nude shades.  This is a very subtle color, and it’s not a trend or shade for everyone.   I found two coats was plenty to get an opaque look, as the formula was very pigmented and on the thicker side.

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.

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: At $20 a pop, this might not be the shade to splurge on if you’re not quite sure how you feel about the nude on nude trend.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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