Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Milani Infinite Liquid Liner

Long-wearing Liquid Liner with Milani Infinite

Milani Infinite Liquid Liner ($5.99 for 0.17 fl. oz.) is a long-wearing liquid liner that is available in five shades (and new for spring): Infinite (blue), Endless (purple), Eternal (green), Forever (brown), and Everlast (black). I test drove three of the five shades (but I’ll be reviewing the other two later down the line, not to worry!) over the past few weeks, and I gotta say, these hold up to their name!

  • Eternal is a medium grassy-green with yellow undertones, gold sheen, and a metallic finish. It reminded me of MAC Lucky Green Eyeshadow, but in a liquid liner format. It’s just a smidgen greener than MAC Greenplay Liquidlast.
  • Infinite is a bright medium blue with a slightly metallic finish/sheen. It’s a dead ringer for MAC Blue Herizon Liquidlast–total dupe.
  • Everlast is a matte, flat black. It’ll apply quite glossy initially, but once it dries down, it will be a flat, but intense, black. I don’t own MAC Point Black Liquidlast, but from the swatches I’ve done of it in the past, the two should be incredibly interchangeable.

The good: These will wear and wear and wear. They won’t budge or smudge until you’re ready to take them off. They’re also water-resistant and crease-proof, so they’re perfect for summer days spent at the beach, ocean, or pool. The shade range has two more everyday/wearable shades (Forever and Everlast) and three “fun” shades (Endless, Eternal, and Infinite), so it’s a nice mix. I, of course, would love to see Milani expand the color range–I want to see some teals, pinks, duochrome kind of colors.

The bad: They can take awhile to dry if you apply too heavily. If you apply a thin layer, drying time is around twenty to thirty seconds, but if you go thicker, you’re looking at over a minute. I found they stayed wet a little long for my personal preference, but once I was aware of it, it wasn’t an actual issue when I used them. The brush itself is a little on the large side, which made it difficult to apply straight from the tube, so I did opt to use a thin, angled brush to apply it instead.

Taking them off can be a challenge if you’re not used to incredibly long-wearing makeup, but I found that a good oil-based remover like Lancome’s Bi-Facil or shu uemura’s cleansing oil did the trick. I like Bi-Facil on a cotton swab, because it allows me to get everything off in just one swipe.

These are very, very similar to MAC’s Liquidlast Liners–from the shades themselves to how well they wear. Liquidlast Liners run a bit thicker (but not actually thick) than Milani’s Infinite, which feels kind of thin, but the pigmentation is the same on both. Liquidlast Liners retail for $17.50 a pop for 0.085 fl. oz. while Infinites retail for $5.99 a pop for 0.17 fl. oz. (That’s a third of the cost for twice the product!)

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

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

Recommendation: If you love liquid liner and want one that keeps on going long after the sun goes down, Milani offers a truly long-wearing product. Oh, and if you love MAC Liquidlast Liners, then I think you’d love these, too!

Availability: Milani

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

EcoTools Bronzer Brush

Cruelty-Free Brushes:  EcoTools Bronzer Brush

EcoTools Bronzer Brush ($9.99) is a large, dome-shaped bronzer brush that’s really more of a multi-tasking face brush than specifically a bronzer brush.

It’s great for pressed or loose powder, buffing, bronzer, and even liquid foundation if you don’t mind washing it often! The brush is so dense that it feels more like a kabuki brush, actually. I personally liked to use it for buffing and application of loose powder to set my makeup. It’s easy to clean and wash (and no funky smell or bleeding dye!), though expect a longer drying time with such a densely-packed brush (much like any kabuki!). Your best bet is to wash it after you use it, so it’s ready for the next day.

I appreciate the earth-friendly packaging, but I do feel like the handle is a little too thick. I could go for a slightly thinned out handle so it doesn’t feel chunky in my hand. Otherwise, I can’t think of any complaints about the brush itself! The softness and density of the brush itself make it nearly fool-proof to use to apply your favorite powder products.

EcoTools makes their brushes with sustainably grown bamboo for the handles, recycled aluminum for the ferrules, and Taklon bristles, which makes them 100% cruelty-free.

Celebrity makeup artist Meredith Baraf uses the bronzer brush in this video…

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: 5/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve been wanting a kabuki/buffer brush but haven’t wanted to shell out $40+ for one, EcoTools makes an excellent, affordable alternative.

Availability: Drugstore.com

See more photos! Continue reading →

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Urban Decay Chronic Eyeshadow

Going Green with Urban Decay, Part 1

Urban Decay Chronic Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a near-matte grass green shade.  What’s interesting about the matte formula is that you can see little specks of shimmer/glitter, but when you use it (whether just to swatch or on the lid), none of the shimmer/glitter shows up.   It’s almost like a very, very near-matte eyeshadow with perhaps the slightest pearl sheen.   I used it a couple of weeks ago in my St. Patrick’s Day look, and I really found it surprisingly easy to work with.  It blended nicely, and it didn’t look chalky at all (which is often an issue with matte textures) nor was it dusty.  I also got a good level of color intensity without having to pack on the eyeshadow, and with a color like that, I’m definitely looking for that richness of color.

I actually think the packaging is well-done, too.  I feel like the case goes above and beyond the typical eyeshadow compact, because Urban Decay makes it uniquely theirs.  It’s functional without being flimsy or cheap, but it still looks fun and totally fits with the brand’s image.  Of course, I’d love Urban Decay to sell empty palettes and allow you to customize your own, but they do put out eyeshadow palettes throughout the year, so there is always that, I suppose!

I do want to say that I haven’t tried any of the other shades in this formulation, so my review is truly for this shade only! The Matte Eyeshadow formula is also available in: ABC Gum (pale peach), Cult (eggplant), Electric (electric blue), Foxy (light neutral), Heist (dusty purple), Illegal (smoky rose), Naked (buff nude), Narcotic (bright turquoise), Perversion (jet black), Purple Haze (bright purple), Revolver (stone gray), Secret Service (medium brown), Shakedown (taupe), and Yeyo (powder white).

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: 5/5

Recommendation:  If you love colorful, matte textures for your eyeshadows, Urban Decay’s Chronic was a pleasant surprise!

Availability: Urban Decay

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

MAC Myth Lipstick
MAC Myth Lipstick

The Spring Season: MAC Myth Lipstick

MAC Myth Lipstick ($14.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a pale, flesh-toned slightly peach-pink tinged nude. Myth has a satin finish, which means it has a very creamy, opaque look with a low-level sheen and on shimmer. It gives my lips incredibly full coverage color, and the creaminess gives it a nice, defined look without the aid of a lip liner, too–always a nice bonus! It’s similar to Fleshpot, but it’s not quite as fleshy or as light.  It’s lighter and not as peachy as Peachstock, as well.  They’re in the same family, though!

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

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Laura Mercier Zen Palette

Going Zen with Laura Mercier for Spring

Laura Mercier Zen Face Palette ($60.00) is a new-for-spring (into summer!) palette that includes one blush, four eyeshadows, and four lip glazes housed in a metal-rimmed palette with a cushy, dusty blue cover.

I was surprised at how much I liked the palette packaging, but I thought it was cute without being cheesy. It’s definitely apropos for spring! The palette also feels sturdy, weighty, but it doesn’t feel bulky, so I like the slimness and overall shape of it. I also LOVED! that they included a little plastic sheet with the names printed on top so you knew what product was what. Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out in a palette!

Eyeshadows

  • Willow is a soft, pastel green with yellow undertones and a silvery shimmer. It has a bit of a frostier finish. It almost seemed un-Laura Mercier-like to me, just because it was such a nice pop of color, though it is a light pop of color!
  • Haze is a powder blue with silver shimmer. It’s more of a satin finish, less frost, in comparison to Willow.
  • Wisteria is a browned plum with a frosty sheen. It’s quite pigmented and smooth.
  • Midnight Jade is a darkened, grayed teal with a pearly sheen and just a light dusting of shimmer. I found this shade to be the least pigmented out of the four, but it still had decent pigmentation.

Blush

  • Plum is a very rosy plum shade. It’s less purple plum as it is red-plum. It has a low-level pearly sheen that’s very, very subtle. There’s no obvious shimmer here!

Lip Glazes

  • Black Currant is a brownish red that goes on very sheerly and has a glossy sheen.
  • Lotus Bloom is a sheer tinge of pinky-red with flecks of red shimmer.
  • Stone Beige is a creamier, semi-sheer nude beige with subtle gold shimmer.
  • Peach Blossom is an orange-y peach cream with a high gloss finish.

The good: It’s a fun palette with a good range of eye colors to give you a few new looks for spring. The pigmentation is pretty good (Midnight Jade needs to be layered for better pigmentation, though), and the texture is smooth, soft, and applies evenly. I like that there’s a good variety of colors in the lip glazes as well, because it gives you a lot of ways you can mix and match. I also think the packaging is fun, travel-friendly, and classy.

The bad: Palettes that mix powders and creams (or glazes, in this particular case) are not my favorite, because sometimes the powder finds its way into the creams, which is kind of gross. For most, it’s probably not a deal-breaker, but it’s something I thought I should mention. I don’t think the Plum blush is the most suitable for the palette–it almost seems too dark for this palette. I think it could work, but I’m not totally sold on it being the best match here.

There’s one thing I noticed right at end: there are no brushes!  It’s almost curious and yet I’m not displeased that they didn’t include them.  I know some think for the price that they should have, but I never find myself using those brushes that are included in palettes.  I always find them so inferior to my normal brushes and much prefer to take my brushes with me when I travel (even if it’s just a few), so it’s more of a neutral to me.  It just depends on your preference!

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you like Laura Mercier’s eyeshadows and have always wanted a little more color, you might enjoy the way she’s played with color in this spring palette. I think cooler skin tones will find this especially flattering, as most of the shades tend to be on the cooler end of the spectrum.

Availability: Nordstrom

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

YSL Eye Event

YSL Eye Event for Spring/Summer 2010

Ombre Solo Lasting Radiance Eyeshadow ($30.00)

Easy to apply, with a silky soft and rich texture, the colour remains vibrant and pure for hours. Blending is effortless; colour and intensity are easy to adjust to your desired concentration. Set in a luxurious gold compact, this eye shadow allows for easy application with both a sponge tip and a brush applicator. A soft and long-lasting eye colour for a truly professional result.

  • #01 Midnight Black
  • #02 Cashmere Brown
  • #03 Persian Blue
  • #04 Midnight Purple
  • #05 Slate Green
  • #06 Pink Nude
  • #07 Smoky Grey
  • #08 Fawn
  • #09 Mogador Blue
  • #10 Lunar Purple
  • #11 Garden of Eden
  • #12 Parisienne Pink

Dessin du Regard Eye Pencil ($28.00)

YSL’s EYE PENCIL has been updated with a new formula, with highly pigmented colour for a deep impact and long-lasting finish. The texture glides onto the skin effortlessly, and Jojoba Oil makes the finish on the skin smooth and comfortable. A wax adhesive acts as a fixing agent to reinforce the intensity of the pigment for hours. With its blending tip and soft, silky texture, the pencil allows you to achieve multiple effects: from precise lines to blurred shadow, or a kohl effect. Each pencil is equipped with an applicator-blender and a sharpener.

  • #01 Velvet Black
  • #02 Leather Brown
  • #03 Oriental Blue
  • #04 Smoky Purple
  • #05 Deepest Green
  • #06 Hazelnut Brown
  • #07 Charcoal Grey
  • #08 Amber Brown
  • #09 Turquoise
  • #10 Purple Silk
  • #11 Stellar Green
  • #12 Silky Pink

Availability: Nordstrom

See more photos! Continue reading →