Friday, June 11th, 2010

NARS Lipgloss Sephora Exclusives
NARS Lipgloss: Albatross, Angelika, Luster, Super Orgasm, Oasis

Preview: NARS Sephora Exclusive Lip Glosses

On July 29th, NARS will roll out five limited edition lip glosses at Sephora. Each will retail for $24 and is named after one of their best-selling blushes. The shades include: Albatross (luminous glow), Angelika (cotton candy pink with gold and silver sparkle), Oasis (sparkling pink champagne), Super Orgasm (peachy pink with gold glitter), and Luster (sheer golden apricot).

  • Albatross is a sheer white-gold with pale gold shimmer.
  • Angelika is a semi-sheer brightened blue-based pink with very subtle silver shimmer.
  • Luster is a sheer muted tangerine-peach with copper-gold shimmer.
  • Super Orgasm is a sheer played down pink with gold shimmer.
  • Oasis is a plummy mauve with gold shimmer.

NARS Lip Gloss has a thin, slightly tacky texture.  I found these a little stickier than the average NARS Lip Gloss.  Though I’ve only tried Albatross on my lips, they seemed on the sheerer side (which is standard for the brand’s glosses), so don’t expect a big pop of pigment.  They’re all easy-to-wear, everyday kind of shades.  Angelika is the brightest, but it sheers out quite a bit–it has a creamier, jelly-ish look in comparison to the other four, which definitely have more of a shimmer finish.

(I would happily do lip swatches for you, but these photos were taken at a NARS preview event that I attended in San Francisco yesterday, so all I got are swatches for now! Apologies!)

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Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Le Metier de Beaute Traviata Blushing Bronze Duet

My New Favorite Summer Blush:  Le Metier de Beaute Echo

Le Metier de Beaute Traviata Blushing Bronzed Duet ($65.00 for 0.49 oz.) is a blush-bronzer duo that includes Echo Radiance Rouge Blush (delicate coral-pink) and Sun Kissed Bronzer (sheer, light bronze powder). Normally, the blush retails for $30 and the bronzer retails for $55. I don’t own either (and couldn’t find it via googling), so I’m not sure of the size of each individually. All I know is that 0.49 oz. of product is a good deal of product no matter how you slice it. (The average blush is around 0.15 oz.!)

Traviata is part of Le Metier de Beaute’s Endless Summer Collection for the summer season. They also have Romeo & Juliet (which I will review soon as well!). The collection includes Bella Bronze Liquid Illuminator ($85); Canvas, Spicy, Jade, Sequoia True Color Eyeshadows ($30 each); Tamarack Dualistic Eye Pencil ($36); San TropezManhattan Color Core Moisture Stain Lipstick ($32); Lip Creme Lip Gloss ($36).

Echo is pure gorgeousness swatched and applied. Warm-toned beauties will love this shade in particular–it has the depth and dimension and sophistication that every blush should have. It’s smooth, soft, and wickedly pigmented but easy to use. It’s buildable, but it’s a richly pigmented product if you want it to be. It has a lovely soft, subtle shimmer-sheen of gold over a coral-pink base. I wore it lightly in this look. This is definitely a very “me” color, so I’m obviously a bit biased/partial to it! I love that it gives my cheeks a warmed-over glow but doesn’t emphasize pores with frostiness.

Sun Kissed is nice, but I was a little gaga for Echo that Sun Kissed didn’t leave much of an impression on me! It has the same soft, smooth texture of Echo, but it’s not quite as pigmented. It’s a nice subtle bronzer that doesn’t turn orange nor pull too red, which makes it a nice, universally appealing shade. There is a slight golden sheen but very little shimmer.

Even though the duo may give you more product for your money, Echo is really the star in this product for me. If you’re as sold on it as me, luckily you can buy it on its own for $30 rather than $65. I like that, to be honest, just because you aren’t roped into buying one product you’re so-so on and one you’re dying for simultaneously! (Hello, most palettes, I’m talking to you!)

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Echo is to-die-for if you’re a coral blush fiend like myself. Truly a gorgeous, stunning shade that looks every bit as beautiful on as it does in the pan. Sun Kissed is a nice bronzer, and if you’re a regular bronzer wearer, the duo is certainly something worth looking into.

WHERE TO BUY: Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus

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Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Beach Collection Shadows

Bobbi Brown Beach Collection: Long-Wear Cream Shadows

For summer, Bobbi Brown’s collection includes Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadows ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) in four new shades: Moonstone (pale shimmering green), Opal (opalescent pink), Pink Oyster (shimmering pink), and Surf (pale shimmering blue), as well as Long-Wear Cream Shadow ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) in Shore (pale nude).

  • Opal is an opalescent pinky-purple. It’s very sheer and light–it’s nice as an all-over wash on the lid. It could possibly be used as an eyeshadow base, too, since it’s more on the neutral side. Since the base almost feels and goes on clear, it looks glittery on the lid.
  • Surf is a cool-toned baby blue with a silver-white sparkle-sheen. It has a soft colored base, so it looks smoother on the lid compared to Opal and more metallic and less glittery. It’s not a deep blue, but it’s a lot more representative of the color it looks like in the pot, so it’s the color I would expect!
  • Shore is a creamy, matte beige. This is not an exciting color, but it’s incredibly versatile. It can be used to brighten up lids a bit, but it can be used as an eyeshadow base, too. It’s neutral and easy-to-use, particularly because of the matte finish.

I’m actually not a huge fan of Bobbi Brown’s Metallic Long-Wear Eyeshadows — they’re just incredibly sheer and more glittery than metallic. I reviewed a few shades earlier, when they first launched. I still wish they had more of a metallic finish, because they do feel more on the glittery side. The Metallics have an almost wet feel to them–it’s a thinner creamy consistency with a wet feel and applies very smoothly and evenly without any trouble (better than the other three I tried!). They also last all day without creasing or budging or fading.

I prefer the texture, feel, and color pay off of the original Long-Wear Eyeshadows for sure. I think having a couple of the Metallics can be fun, but they’re not as versatile as the more opaque ones. Like the Metallics, the original Long-Wear Eyeshadows last all day without budging, smudging, or fading.  I just don’t think the Metallics are nearly as versatile or as multi-tasking as the original ones, which are more pigmented and very, very smooth.

Because these are two different products, I’m not going to give out an overall rating for all three.  Instead, I’m going to break it down between the two — for Metallics, they work really well in terms of staying power and not creasing, but the color payoff is sheer and not buildable as purported, so they’re more of a B product for me.  They’re better than the first ones I tried, because I do think these have a smoother finish and are truer-to-color in the pot.  Shore, on the other hand, has excellent pay off and quality, so it’s much more of an A- product and shade.

RECOMMENDATION: Shore is an excellent neutral base that works well and looks great. It’s something that doesn’t inspire excitement, but it’s a very useable product. The Metallics don’t grab me and neither shade gets me any closer to loving them at the moment.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Illamasqua Furore Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Furore

Illamasqua Furore Pure Pigment ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a gorgeous shade of gilded, muted copper-bronze. It’s really a beautiful color that can be used as a loose highlighter dusted on cheeks or decolletage or used wet as an easy all-over lid color or as an eyeshadow base for neutral and bronzy looks.

I thought I had reviewed a Pure Pigment before, but apparently I never got around to it, other than this brief rant in a look I used it in originally. The first Pure Pigment I tried was Static, which was a gorgeous color, but the texture wasn’t very smooth (even when used wet) and the packaging drove me batty.

Furore has a much, much nicer texture. It’s almost like night and day! It’s smooth, soft, and really melts together when used wet. The packaging is still the same — very bulky and it’s easy for the pigment to poof out, but I definitely noticed less “poof” than I had previously. I didn’t end up with more on my counter than my eye with Furore.

The worst part about Pure Pigments is the size. It’s a mere 0.04 oz. That’s tiny. That’s almost ridiculous when compared with MAC Pigments (even with the size reduction, they’re still 0.15 oz–almost 4 times the size). Make Up For Ever’s pigments also vary between 0.07 and 0.09 oz. No, you don’t need a lot, so it’s hard to imagine really going through even the 0.04 oz. particularly quickly, but I really can’t believe how little you get.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t mind the small quantity you get, then Furore is a fantastic neutral shade. It’s not too bronzy or frosty–it’s kind of like a cross between a metallic and frost, but it’s not too much. I can see it working as a very versatile shade.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

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Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Fascination Lipstick
Dolce & Gabbana Fascination Lipstick

The Summer Season: Dolce & Gabbana Fascination Lipstick

Dolce & Gabbana Fascination (#165) Shine Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a creamy, semi-opaque shade of pinky-lilac. It’s not exactly purple, but it’s not a perfect, petal pink, either. It lies closer to pink than purple, but there’s a definite lilac edge. The color is very wearable, both on warm and cool skin tones, which isn’t always easy to find when a lipstick is naturally cooler toned. I get three to four hours of wear with Dolce & Gabbana’s lipsticks, which are rose-scented and taste-free (to me!).

Is this the right pink 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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Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Too Faced Glamour Gloss

Too Faced Glamour Gloss in Champagne Room & Tickle Me

Too Faced Glamour Gloss ($19.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a plumping lip gloss available in twelve shades–from beige to marshmallow pink to iced raspberry. It’s a non-sticky lip gloss that’s moisturizing with a cooling sensation (it’s what “plumps”) (like when you use a mint mouthwash). It’s definitely not a sting or burning sensation, but it’s noticeable for at least a half hour. In general, I’m actually quite sensitive to a lot of lip plumpers–a few have really brutalized my lips, even after only an hour of wear. I didn’t have any issues with my lips drying out or peeling post-wear with Glamour Gloss (thankfully!).

  • Champagne Room is a sheer, light tangerine base with champagne shimmer. It’s surprisingly not at all what I’d have imagined with a name like “Champagne Room,” though.
  • Tickle Me is a sheer, pinky-coral base with golden shimmer.

The gloss is scented with a strong vanilla-frosting kind of scent–it’s a very sweet, sugary vanilla. It’s a little cloying for me, but I don’t notice the scent when it’s on my lips–just when I sniff the tube (wow, that sounds like I need help!). It’s moisturizing, and it wears for about three to four hours on me. One thing I noticed is that neither shade is particularly glossy. They’re definitely more on the subdued side for a gloss.

Ingredients: Polyisobutene, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Octyldodecanol, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax/Cera Carnauba/Cire de carnauba, Polyethylene, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Aroma/Flavor, Alaria Esculenta Extract, Faex/Yeast Extract/ Extrait de levure, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Lipids, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Menthoxypropanediol, Menthol, Silica, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Phenoxyethanol, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Red 6 (CI 15850), Red 30 Lake (CI 73360).

I like the gloss–neither shade spoke to me, but the formula itself was nice–but I am really not digging the quantity they give you. Based on price per ounce, Glamour Gloss ($158/oz.) is more expensive than Chanel ($142/oz.), Guerlain ($145/oz.), and YSL ($145/oz.) lip gloss. It’s also significantly less of a value as compared to similar high-end brands like MAC ($82/oz.), Tarte ($105/oz.), and Benefit ($105/oz.). For the $19 price tag, they don’t give you as much as I’d expect.  If you’re someone who goes through a tube of lip gloss, it’s not the best gloss for your money, but if you rarely finish one, then you probably won’t notice the smaller quantity in these.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION:  If you’re looking for a gloss that lightly plumps lips without the bee-sting sensation, you may find the cooling sensation of Too Faced’s Glamour Gloss easier to tolerate.  I’ve only tested two shades, but of those two, both of them are on the sheerer side.  If you like your gloss less glossy, these are also a good option.  Their biggest downside is the value.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

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