Saturday, April 17th, 2010

NYX Jumbo Pencils
Hot Pink (621), Yellow (622), Horse Raddish (607), Oyster (610), Yogurt (611)

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil ($4.00) are oversized (hence the jumbo!) pencils that can be used as eyeliners or shadows, according to NYX. It’s available in twenty-four shades, ranging from black to blue to yellow.

I like them best as an eyeshadow base–I find that it’s easier to blend on top of it than it is to blend it with other Jumbo Eye Pencils. They work great used alone as a base or layered on top of your favorite eyeshadow base (like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance). I used them as a base alone and didn’t experience any creasing or fading.

  • Hot Pink (621) is a slightly blue-based medium pink with no shimmer or frost.
  • Yellow (622) is a paled sunny yellow with no shimmer or frost.
  • Horse Raddish (607) is a frosted leafy green with silver sheen.
  • Oyster (610) is an iridescent purple with red undertones and icy sheen. It was the sheerest of the five I tried–you can see that it doesn’t quite go opaque.
  • Yogurt (611) is a frosted copper brown with a gilded champagne sheen.

I like that they have so many shades available, and they’re an incredibly affordable option for those looking for a product to help their eyeshadows stay on longer and appear more vibrant. I’ve always found colored bases can make colors really pop, and these are a great way to add some colored bases into your stash without breaking the bank.

The only downside is that it’s a pain in the butt to sharpen these with anything but NYX’s Sharpener. Luckily, NYX’s Sharpener is only $4, so it won’t set you back an arm and a leg. I also find these a little difficult to line with unless they’re freshly sharpened, just because they are oversized.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you’re on a budget and looking for a new eyeshadow base, NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils may fit the bill!

Availability: NYX Cosmetics

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Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Chanel Genial Rouge Allure Lipstick
Chanel Genial Rouge Allure Lipstick

Les Pop-Up de Chanel:  Genial Rouge Allure

Chanel Genial Rouge Allure Lipstick ($29.00) is a brightened pinky-coral with a slightly glossy sheen. It’s a creamy, nearly opaque lipstick that offers lips in full-color coverage without a hint of shimmer. It’s creamy without being slippery and despite the bold color, lip lines aren’t emphasized. It’s a fun pop of color with the lovely texture of a Rouge Allure lipstick. It’s new and limited edition as part of Chanel’s summer collection, which debuted online this week.

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: If you love bright colors and the Rouge Allure formula, you should check out Genial to see if it’s the right coral for you.

Availability: Chanel

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Friday, April 16th, 2010

MAC Girl About Town Lipstick
MAC Girl About Town Lipstick

The Summer Season: MAC Girl About Town Lipstick

MAC Girl About Town Lipstick ($14.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a vibrant shade of darkened, bright fuchsia pink. It has an amplified creme finish, which makes it a very creamy, opaque shade. Girl About Town is a classic pink from MAC, and it’s always been a favorite of mine. I love the full-color coverage it provides while giving just a slightly glossy sheen without shimmer.

Is this the right pink lipstick for you? Would you wear it?

The Summer Season is a series of posts featuring bright, vibrant shades of coral, orange, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for a summer of fun — that runs through July 2010.

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Friday, April 16th, 2010

Tarina Tarantino Hypershadow

Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hypershadow ($19.00 for 0.09 oz.) is a range of twenty-four eyeshadows from neutral to bold and everything in-between. I was particularly impressed with the size of the range, just because it seemed quite large for a first launch.

Available shades: Amulet (deep moss green with green micro glitter), Baby Sparkle (pale pink with silver glitter), Bangle (bronzed gold shimmer), Beaded (dark maroon shimmer), Bow (matte hot pink), Brooch (dark chocolate with gold and green micro glitter), Butterfly Black (matte black), Chain (smoky gray shimmer), Cord (warm cocoa with gold micro glitter), Crimp (matte ivory), Cuff (light golden shimmer), Facet (peachy beige with iridescent glitter), Headband (pink beige shimmer), Hoop (bright yellow gold shimmer), Memento (dark lapis blue with blue micro glitter), Organza (mother of pearl shimmer), Pave (dark purple with iridescent glitter), Peacock Pearl (bright turquoise shimmer), Ribbon (intense lavender with magenta micro glitter), Rivet (rich plum shimmer), Stick Pin (golden beige shimmer), Sweetzer (bright jade with silver glitter), Trim (light brown with gold micro glitter), and Trinket (pale gray with iridescent glitter).

I’ve been hanging onto this review for about two months. I did all my pre-review work for Ribbon all the way in early February, but I was unimpressed with the shade, and I wasn’t sure if perhaps it was just a dud in the line-up, since there were so many. I tried Stickpin at the end of March, and it gave me a little hope, but since the Sephora V.I.B. sale as right around the corner, I figured I’d try two more shades. I think it’s kind of obvious that I really wanted to like these, ha!

  • Ribbon is a matte, darkened lavender/lilac. It’s supposed to have magenta micro glitter, but I didn’t see it translate when swatched. I could see it in the pan, but it never transferred when I used it. It’s a dusty, chalky matte shade that doesn’t blend easily. It kind of just sits there.
  • Stick Pin is a yellowed golden peach with a frosty shimmer sheen. This one felt a little dusty, but it was only slightly. Overall, it had a smooth feel and look while still being pigmented. Way better than Ribbon!
  • Peacock Pearl is a bright blue. I’m not sure why it seems like companies are calling things turquoise/teal when they’re really not so much. This has the same texture and finish as Stick Pin, so it was smooth, soft, and had a lightly frosted sheen. It wasn’t as pigmented as I’d like or expect, though. It took a little layering to get truly bright color.
  • Sweetzer is a medium grassy green with silver glitter. It’s more like a matte green base topped with an overlay of silver micro glitter. The glitter isn’t overdone, but it doesn’t stick too well in the shadow, so there is some fall out.

After trying four different shades, I won’t be buying any more myself. Two of the shades I tried (Ribbon and Sweetzer) have a more matte finish with glitter on top, while the other two shades I tried (Stick Pin and Peacock Pearl) had a more frosty/shimmery finish. The more shimmery the finish, the better the eyeshadow seemed to be, overall–it was smoother, not chalky or powdery, and it had decent pigmentation.

However, these eyeshadows are advertised to utilize “the maximum pigment load, 20-50% more pigment with less binder.” They’re less pigmented than other mainstream brands known for their brights (e.g. MAC, Make Up For Ever, and Urban Decay), and their texture doesn’t make them any more desirable.

They’re difficult to blend–even the shimmers, not as difficult as the more matte shades, but noticeably off–and I found that they seemed to fade. I had to pack on the color to get it vibrant, but I felt like it just kept disappearing on me after several minutes passed.  (You can see the look I did with Peacock Pearl & Sweetzer here.)  I had no troubles with them wearing for hours without creasing (over a base, of course!), but the fading was really a huge disappointment. Again, the shimmery finishes held up better and faded less than the more matte shades.

It’s such a shame, because they are beautifully packaged and you do get a lot for your money (these are a little cheaper than Make Up For Ever by the ounce). I also love how each eyeshadow comes in a pink satchet with an “intro to my line” card by Tarina. They’re just nice details to see done. You’re better off grabbing some Make Up For Ever Eyeshadows, since they’re the same price (you get 0.08 oz. instead, though) and the quality is much, much better.

I feel like they’re almost a poor quality eyeshadow you find at the drugstore, rather than a high-end eyeshadow that costs $19 a pop.  It’s not the worst eyeshadow I’ve tried, but it’s nowhere near a high-quality eyeshadow, particularly for high-end.  What saves the overall rating from falling into D/F range is that they are a good value (in terms of quantity/price) and the packaging is adorable–but the product itself is an D-.

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

  • Product: 18/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: I would swatch in-store before buying, if it’s possible. Otherwise, stick to the shades with “shimmer” as the finish, rather than matte or anything with “micro glitter,” for your best bet. If you want a Tarina Tarantino piece of makeup in your stash, I’d recommend the Eye Dream Hyperliners instead.

Availability: Sephora

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Friday, April 16th, 2010

tokidoki Brilliant Glitter Eyeliner

tokidoki Brillante Glitter Eyeliner ($14.00) are fun, glittery shades of eyeliner that come in pencil form.

Available in fourteen shades: Carina (pink beige with gold glitter), Peperoncino (bright candy pink with silver glitter), Unicorno (pale yellow with gold glitter), SANDy (grass green with gold glitter), Liberty (teal with gold glitter), Rondine (turquoise with silver glitter), Rosetta (lilac with gold glitter), Skeletro (navy with silver glitter), Adios Apple (violet with silver glitter), Savana (bronzed chocolate with gold glitter), Marrone (dark brown with gold glitter), Diamante (deep silver with silver glitter), Melodia (dark gunmetal gray with gold glitter), and Mozzarella (black with silver glitter).

I bought three shades to try out from Sephora’s VIB sale: Rondine, Unicorno, and SANDy. All three shades were very pigmented and quite sparkly!

  • Rondine is a sky blue with silver glitter. (I don’t know why it’s listed as “teal” because it’s not teal at all on me.)
  • Unicorno is a pale white gold with darker gold glitter.
  • SANDy is a medium grass green with yellow-gold flecks of glitter.

I loved the pigmentation and look of the eyeliners, and they reminded me a lot of MAC’s Softsparkle Pencils of the past. They also don’t budge, smudge, or fade, and even better–there is very little movement of the glitter. Sometimes the glitter in a glitter eyeliner will end up migrating and falling everywhere but where you applied it, but the glitter in the tokidoki liner stays in place for the most part (negligible fall out).

My issue with these is that they’re a little hard/rough on the lash line–I find they’re noticeably gritty and have a tendency to tug a bit, too. They could just be a much, much softer pencil so they applied more smoothly without tugging.

The packaging is cute with classic tokidoki patterns on the pencil itself, plus each pencil is color coordinated to its shade. They’re affordable and work well, other than the hardness of the pencil itself. They’re good enough that I’ll keep the three shades I have and possibly pick up one or two more, but since the hardness is a little much for my lash line, I don’t see myself buying every single one.  I am totally in love with Unicorno, though — so pretty!

Have you tried these?

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: 4/5

Recommendation: Though they stay really well once they’re on, I found them a little rough on the lash line. If you’re used to the softness of Urban Decay 24/7 Liners, you may find this too hard.

Availability: Sephora

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Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Urban Decay Urban Defense

The Tinted Moisturizer Challenge:  Urban Decay Urban Defense

Urban Decay Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 ($32.00 for 1 oz.) is new for summer from Urban Decay. It’s a sheer, lightweight tinted moisturizer that provides a touch of color to even out the skin tone with a slightly dewy finish.

Active Ingredients: Octocrylene (8.0%), Octinoxate (7.5%)

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-40 Castor Oil, Glycerin, Silica, Dimethicone, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Litchi Chinesis Pericarp Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Montmorillonite, Butylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyenthanal. May contain CI77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI7749/77492/77499 (Iron Oxides).

On the SPF front, octocrylene is a chemical sunscreen that covers the UVB spectrum and short UVA (but not long UVA). The formula also contains dimethicone, so those who are sensitive to silicone-based ingredients may find it irritating. It’s high enough on the list that I was a bit concerned for myself, but I didn’t notice any skin issues (well, no more than usual!) after using this for a full week.

Urban Defense feels and looks natural and doesn’t feel greasy. It absorbs and dries down quite fast, and if you have very, very dry skin, you’ll still want to use a moisturizer first before layering this on. However, even though it feels lovely on, it does have a bit of a dewy finish. In real life, I think it reads dewy, but in photos, I found it made me look oily. Either way, I still preferred it with a dusting of translucent setting powder on top! (Check out the before and after photos at the end of the post!) It also lasted me six hours or so without ever looking greasy or fading (I never seemed to wear it longer than that while I was testing it!), which was definitely nice!

There are four shades, and while none seemed overly warm-toned to me, they did seem a little more yellow based. I think those with redder or cooler undertones may find that these aren’t perfect matches. I would recommend trying in-store (or buying from a retailer with a good return policy) if you have particularly red, pink, or cool undertones.

  • Halo is the lightest and I think is neutral enough to work on both cool and warm toned skin, but it may not be light enough for our ultra pale friends.  I think if you fit into MAC’s NC/NW15-20 range, this would be the best fit for you.
  • Bodyguard is the next lightest, described by Urban Decay as “medium light,” and it’s the shade I use. I’m NC25 in MAC, and I find Body Guard to be a decent match, if a little light. Ideally, I’d probably mix a bit of Bodyguard and Bulletproof together, but since the pump is such an issue, it’s not really possible.
  • Bulletproof is a medium shade, but it’s actually a big step from Bodyguard. It didn’t work for me as NC25, so I’d imagine it’s more around those at the NC/NW30-40 level.
  • Forcefield is described as medium dark, and it’s not too much darker than Bulletproof. It’s noticeably darker, but it doesn’t seem as big of a leap as from Bodyguard to Bulletproof. I would say this would suit shades around the NC/NW40-45 level.

But the biggest issue and problem with this product is the packaging. It is a pump packaging that dispenses about 10 times too much product with a single pump. It takes a very gentle hand and patience to pump out just enough (and still, often a bit too much) for your needs. I did one solid pump and it was tinted moisturizer for DAYS… enough to cover my body.

This was a pretty big deal to me, because it squeezes out a ridiculous amount. I think this product would have been much better in a tube or in a pump that doesn’t squeeze out a week’s worth at once.  (Personally, I also don’t dig the label–seems like the printer was low on ink!)

I’d also love to see a more expansive shade range, because fitting so many varieties in skin tone shades and undertones into just four is a bit frustrating for some.

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: 2/5

Recommendation:   The feel and coverage of Urban Defense is right on, but the packaging is such a disappointment that it really takes away from the product itself.

AvailabilityUrban Decay

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