Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Clarins Barocco Eyeshadow Palette
Clarins Barocco Eyeshadow Palette

Clarins Holiday 2010: Barocco Eyeshadow Palette

Clarins Barocco Eyeshadow Palette ($40.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a new and limited edition palette for the holidays. It contains three eyeshadows and is housed in an elegant gold-lidded case with a black “scroll’ on the left side. The packaging, though, is extremely prone to capturing fingerprints.

The palette contains a matte charcoal black; antique-gold bronze (almost flashes green); and gilded peach-champagne with a metallic sheen. The first two shade really need to be used wet to get smooth, even color that’s true-to-pan. The peachy shade can be used dry and still provides nice color pay off. These feel very much like a mineralize or baked shadow, but more like Chanel’s than MAC’s. The texture doesn’t feel as silky smooth as Chanel eyeshadows, but the results when applied are similar.

I love the packaging, even though it does hold fingerprints, but I think it’s very elegant and luxurious. I think the inclusion of the double-sided sponge-tip applicator brings it down a bit, though. I’m also concerned over the amount of eyeshadow here — 0.05 oz. I double-checked the box and the palette, and it lists “net weight” of 0.05 oz. There is no “3 x 0.05 oz.” written. What? Are you serious?

It’s a lovely palette with three shades that work well together for a gold-themed smoky eye–perfect for the holidays–and it looks beautiful from the packaging to the shadows themselves. I don’t love the eyeshadows, though; they could be a little more intense (even when they are used wet) and smoother. But I’m really not digging the itty bitty amount of product you are getting. Even for high-end, it falls below average.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If quantity isn’t important to you, the product itself is more of a B product. It’s nice–not the greatest palette ever–and worth a look-see if you favor bronzes and golds.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Smashbox Wish For the Perfect Pencils
Onyx, 14K, Orchid, Graphite

Holiday Wishes with Smashbox

Smashbox Wish For The Perfect Pencils (2010) ($16.00 for 4 x 0.03 oz.) are one of my favorite holiday sets, after discovering their great deal last year. This year’s set is actually a better deal, even though they are smaller in size. In this set, you receive four shades, each 0.03 oz., for a total of 0.12 oz. — but for the less than the cost of a single eyeliner (by most other high-end brands). (Last year’s set retailed for $32 for 0.20 oz. of product.) I love this set as a stocking stuffer or affordable gift to give to pals for the holidays.

  • Onyx is a matte, dark black. It’s your standard black eyeliner; there is nothing bad to say about it, but there is nothing different that makes it stand out.
  • 14K is a pale yellow gold with a metallic finish. Make Up For Ever’s #23L is similar–a touch peachier.
  • Orchid is a muted, deep purple. The closest dupe I could think of was Make Up For Ever’s #11L Aqua Eyes, but it’s a little more violet and has shimmer in its finish.
  • Graphite is a silvered charcoal with a metallic finish. This shade is a lot like Urban Decay’s Gunmetal.

These eyeliners are smooth and easy to apply, because they don’t drag or pull. They last all day on me, though they do not wear all day on the water line. They are soft without being fragile–their hardness lies between Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners and Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Eyes.

Just to be clear, since it seemed like there was some confusion, this set IS different than last year’s – these are Smashbox’s Limitless Liner formula (last year’s wasn’t part of their permanent liner formula).  I don’t think I said they were the same, but just to clear up any questions! :)

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

RECOMMENDATION: I do — if the colors are up your alley!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Clarins Blackberry Rouge Prodige Lipstick
Clarins Blackberry Rouge Prodige Lipstick

First Look at Clarins Rouge Prodige

Clarins Blackberry Rouge Prodige Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.10 oz.) is Clarins’ latest in lipstick formulas–it’s supposed to be a long-wearing lipstick with intense color that smooths away lip lines with high shine. Blackberry is an opaque, muted, pinked plum with a glossy shine. It’s actually a lovely shade for fall and winter that’s perfect for the season without being overwhelming.

It does have that shiny, glossy finish the description boasts, and it doesn’t feel like the traditional long-wearing lipstick does. There is nothing drying about it when you apply it, because it applies like a thin gloss or a gloss/lipstick hybrid. The color pay off is excellent, though, and really delivers opaque color with a lightweight feel. I only get four hours of wear with this shade, and for me, that’s the average time a lipstick wears on me–it’s just not that long-wearing. It doesn’t transfer much when drinking from a glass, but for whatever reason, it just doesn’t extend past four hours.

The Rouge Prodige is a comfortable lipstick to wear, because it doesn’t cling or dry lips out (but while it has a glossy feel when applied, I do not find it moisturizing).  There is a faint sweetened berry scent that is detectable but not overpowering (and doesn’t read synthetic or syrupy sweet), and there was no noticeable taste.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I always welcome a new line with opaque lip color (because it’s easier to sheer out an opaque color than it is to build up the color of a sheer shade!), and Rouge Prodige is a nice lipstick overall–it just falls short of its long-wearing claims for me.  If it didn’t have that claim, I would have given it a higher score.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Caramel Lipstick
Dolce & Gabbana Caramel Lipstick

Have you tried Dolce & Gabbana’s Caramel?

Dolce & Gabbana Caramel Classic Cream Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a tanned nude with a subtle golden sheen. It’s semi-opaque–it can be a touch streaky–but it’s opaque in most places.  The streakiness is bothersome, if only because the majority of the range doesn’t suffer from that issue. Like other Dolce & Gabbana lip products, it is heavily rose scented.  I get an average of four hours of wear with Dolce & Gabbana’s Classic Cream Lipsticks; they’re not overly moisturizing, but I don’t find them drying.  They just… are.

At first glance, it seems like a shade that would really work for warmer skin tones. After wearing it, though, I’m not so sure. I’m not sure who this would flatter–it made my skin tone look almost green! On me, it’s probably one of the least flattering lip colors I’ve tried in recent memory. I’m actually really curious to see if anyone else has picked this up and found it to work really well (if so, please tell me what your skin tone is!).

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I haven’t had a lip color do such weird things to my skin tone before, so I would recommend trying it before buying it.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Estee Lauder Night Bloom Pure Color Gloss Stick
Estee Lauder Night Bloom Pure Color Gloss Stick

Estee Lauder Gloss Sticks: Night Bloom

Estee Lauder Night Bloom Pure Color Gloss Stick ($18.50 for 0.08 oz.) is the warmer sister of Mauve Mirage. It’s a warmer pink with soft golden shimmer with a glossy finish. The color itself is semi-opaque (very close to being opaque, actually) but still looks soft and elegant.

The Pure Color Gloss Stick formula is very creamy–it’s very much gloss-meets-lipstick in terms of the texture and feel on lips. I love that the color is semi-opaque without feeling heavy, and even though it has plenty of shine, it still lasts three to four hours and keeps lips soft. Like many other Estee Lauder lip products, it does have that sweet fig scent but no taste.

I think for those who were disappointed when MAC discontinued their Slimshines, you will find Estee Lauder’s Gloss Sticks to be a nice alternative. (And given that they’re all owned by the same company, may be closer in formula than you think!) The only criticism I have is regarding how little product they give you–0.08 oz. is rather undersized relative to Estee Lauder’s Lipsticks (0.13 oz.).

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love creamy lip color that still delivers on color while providing high-shine, these Gloss Sticks might be what you’re looking for.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Estee Lauder Mauve Mirage Pure Color Gloss Stick
Estee Lauder Mauve Mirage Pure Color Gloss Stick

Estee Lauder Gloss Sticks:  Mauve Mirage

Estee Lauder Mauve Mirage Pure Color Gloss Stick ($18.50 for 0.08 oz.) was a little surprise! It swatched a little sheer, almost streakily, but it was absolutely gorgeous applied. It’s a lovely shade of subdued cotton candy pink with a blue-base and subtle gold shimmer.

The Pure Color Gloss Stick formula is very creamy–it’s very much gloss-meets-lipstick in terms of the texture and feel on lips. I love that the color is semi-opaque without feeling heavy, and even though it has plenty of shine, it still lasts three to four hours and keeps lips soft. Like many other Estee Lauder lip products, it does have that sweet fig scent but no taste.

I think for those who were disappointed when MAC discontinued their Slimshines, you will find Estee Lauder’s Gloss Sticks to be a nice alternative. (And given that they’re all owned by the same company, may be closer in formula than you think!) The only criticism I have is regarding how little product they give you–0.08 oz. is rather undersized relative to Estee Lauder’s Lipsticks (0.13 oz.).

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love creamy lip color that still delivers on color while providing high-shine, these Gloss Sticks might be what you’re looking for.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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