Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Test-driving Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall Collection:  Attempt #1

Don’t let that preview image fool you, this look did not make it past my front door.  I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well, why bother showing us?” Because inevitably, I’ll be reviewing the products I used in this look, and it’s proof positive of my experience.  Loved the lips, but the eyeshadows just weren’t working.  They didn’t seem sheer, and they felt soft and smooth, but I couldn’t get them to stick for the life of me.  I packed on three or four layers in a futile attempt to get the colors to look true-to-the-pan.  A tackier base (like a creamy eyeshadow) helps, but you’ll need to get creative to get these to work.

I will also admit fully to giving up at a certain point and not even bothering to fully blend it out–everything just kept blending away into a faded, slightly muddied mess.  But you know what’s funny?  In reality, few people would really notice anything was amiss, especially since your eyes remain open for longer intervals than closed.

This my process when I review products, even product types I may have tried before, even from brands I enjoy.  I may not always share the process (I often wear a mash up of all sorts of products in disarray, so it’s not exactly pretty, LOL!), but I had originally aimed to create and share a look around the collection in addition to testing wear and application.  It didn’t work out as a look, but perhaps sharing the process will also help (and help you understand my review, which will follow shortly).

What I used…

  • Eyes: NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base (neutral eyeshadow base), Dolce & Gabbana Divine Eyeshadow Quad (soft nude, medium beige, medium pink, dark purple), Dolce & Gabbana #11 Eyeliner (silvery gray), Bare Escentuals Buxom Mascara
  • Face: MAC Pro Longwear Foundation (NC30), Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder (translucent)
  • Cheeks: Korres #15 Natural Blush (pink-nude)
  • Lips: Dolce & Gabbana Orchid Lipstick (fuchsia-purple), Dolce & Gabbana Vibrant Lipgloss (fuchsia)
  • Brushes: 249 (flat, firm brush), 239 (fluffy shadow brush), 226 (fluffy crease brush), 219 (pointed crease brush), 116 (dense blush brush)

For eyes, start by applying Smudgeproof as your eyeshadow base all over the eye area with the 249. Using the 239, apply the pink on the inner half of the lid and pull upwards along the inner crease. Lightly blend the medium beige eyeshadow on the outer half of the lid with the 239. Next, apply the dark purple eyeshadow into the crease with the 226, lightly blending onto the outer lid. Blend the nude eyeshadow with the crease shade and highlight the brow bone. Bring everything together by applying #11 eyeliner on the lower lash line. Finish by sweeping lashes with Buxom mascara.

For cheeks, apply #15 Natural blush on the apples of the cheeks and sweep upwards towards the temple with the 116.

For lips, apply Orchid lipstick first, and then layer Vibrant lipgloss for a complementing lip.

Check out more photos! Continue reading →

Monday, September 20th, 2010

MAC Venomous Villains Cheat Sheet

With so many products, some shades with very obvious dupes, and price increases (just for this launch as far as I know), I thought a compilation might help.  All of the descriptions of each shade are mine–they are taken directly from the reviews I did.  You can check off items you’re interested in, write your own notes in the provided section, and be reminded of potential dupes, repromotes, or permanent shades in the launch.  I kept it simple in black and white to make it printer-friendly!

You can grab my Venomous Villains “cheat sheet” HERE AT THIS LINK! :)

MAC Venomous Villains Reviews & Swatches

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Guerlain 2 Place Vendome Eyeshadow Palette
Guerlain 2 Place Vendome Eyeshadow Palette

Is this palette worth $84?

I know that it probably sounds funny, but after reviewing and being disappointed by Guerlain’s Rue de Francs Bourgeois Eyeshadow Palette, I felt the need to determine whether the palettes were a miss in general or perhaps just that particular combination was underwhelming. I decided to go with Guerlain’s 2 Place Vendome Eyeshadow Palette ($84.00 for 0.25 oz.), which is one variation that seemed to stand out more than the others (to me).

The palette includes six eyeshadows in varying shapes and sizes.  It’s housed in a beautiful compact with a filigree pattern on the cover that’s actually see-through.  There’s a black plastic piece that lifts open to reveal the eyeshadows themselves (and on the inside, there is a mirror).  A dual-ended miniaturized brush is also included, and while not something I’d use under regular circumstances, is nicer than many other palette applicators I’ve come across.

This is a rather cool-toned palette, which would make it most suitable for those who lean cool, but it’s still wearable on warmer skin tones, since they’re closer to neutral than very cool.  There is a pale white-beige with a satin finish, muted gray-brown with a satin finish, medium-dark ocean blue with soft sheen, antique gold with a hint of taupe base and frosted shimmer, cool-toned charcoal brown with a semi-matte finish, and darkened purple-black with flecks of violet shimmer over a semi-matte color base.

I think the pigmentation on the eyeshadows is nice overall, but it’s not rich and intense and luxe to me.  I really don’t get the luxury feel from the texture, but these shades are more impressive in their subtle nuances than in Rue de Francs Bourgeois.  I’m not keen on the level of pigmentation in the lighter brown shade, which is a little sheer; though the charcoal-brown shade appears sheer when swatched, it applies just fine with a brush on the eyes (say in the crease).

I’m still not as wow-ed as I’d like to be with these palettes, and while the palette’s case is most assuredly gorgeous, the eyeshadows don’t quite match it.  The texture could be finer, richer — I think this is what makes me go, “Hmm, I want to like you, but it’s not quite there,” because they don’t feel as buttery as Guerlain’s singles, duos, and quads’ eyeshadows do.  I do like that these have nearly no fall out, and they do apply very smoothly and evenly.

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: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION:

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Burberry Spring/Summer 2011 @ London

The show will livestream starting 4PM (London time)!

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Make Up For Ever #1C Lip Liner
Make Up For Ever #1C Aqua Lip Liner

Long-wearing, Waterproof Lip Liner

Make Up For Ever #1C Aqua Lip Liner ($17.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a long-wearing lip liner that really does not budge until you take your best makeup remover to it. This is the area it most excels in–the wear is phenomenal, and the liner itself stayed on through drinking water and coffee with no problems at all. It can be layered underneath lipstick/gloss or used to define the lips. It’s soft enough that it’s easy to apply the liner on the lips, but it’s not so creamy that it becomes more like a lipstick pencil than a liner. It doesn’t impart much moisture, but it doesn’t leave lips feeling dry nor dry them out as it wears.

#1C is an interesting shade, because it’s described as a “light neutral beige,” but it almost looks a bit orange when you first swatch it, and then on lips, the natural rosiness of lips (even if you have lesser pigmented lips) seems to bring it down a notch. I like this shade underneath sheerer lipglosses and nude lipsticks best. I think for those with more pigmented lips, it can also help to mute the natural pigmentation of your lips in a more savory way than using concealer/foundation.

The only downside–for some, not all–is that it is a pencil liner, so it may need to be sharpened more frequently in order to get a precise edge. I didn’t have issues using the edge, and I don’t, personally, sharpen every use, to get a precise outline on my lips, but I use the slant more so than the tip itself. I don’t see it as a downside myself, but I could see those who prefer the thinner point of automatic lip liners finding fault here.

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: Maybe not this color, but Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Lip Liners are certainly worth a peek if you’re in the market for a long-wearing lip liner.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Shiseido RD 613 Lipstick
Shiseido Mystery RD 613 Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Shiseido RD 613 Lipstick

Shiseido Mystery (RD613) Perfect Rouge Lipstick ($25.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a rich, opaque brick red with a subtle glossy sheen and creamy finish. It kind of reminds me of MAC Dubonnet

Is this the right red for you? Would you wear it?

The Sultry Season is a series of posts featuring deep, rich shades of brown, berry, plum, and wine lipsticks and lipglosses — just right for autumn — that runs through October 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →