Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

MAC Cherish Lipstick
MAC Cherish Lipstick

The Spring Season: MAC Cherish Lipstick

MAC Cherish Lipstick ($14.00) is a rich, creamy beige nude. It has an incredibly smooth and creamy feel with a light glossy sheen. I love it, because it’s well-pigmented and gives me nearly full coverage on my lips. Cherish is one of my go-to nude lipsticks for whenever I wear a really dramatic, smoky eye. It works well to complement the look without competing with it or washing it out.  Like all MAC lipsticks, it’s vanilla-scented (but not too sweet or cloying–one of the best lipstick scents of all-time, in my humble opinion!), comes in a black bullet, and lasts a good four hours or so on me.

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 →

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

NARS Kuala Lumpur Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Spring 2010:  Kuala Lumpur Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Kuala Lumpur Eyeshadow Duo ($32.00) is a newly-released eyeshadow duo from NARS Spring 2010 Collection.

On one side, it’s a melon-y peach kind of shade with a shimmery, slightly frosted finish–it would appear that this is just one of those shades for the spring season (like Benefit Nice Melons, MAC Flip, Urban Decay Muchness; or even MAC Melon Pigment).  The other side is a reddened burgundy with a softer frost finish and sheen.

I don’t love this eyeshadow duo, and I really thought I’d be all over it, given the way it looks.  However, this is an eyeshadow duo one really needs to use wet, because the color pay off is not up to my expectations for a brand like NARS when they’re used dry.  When used dry, particularly on the lid, they tend to look incredibly sheer and have a good deal of fall out (primarily of the shimmer).  I didn’t expect to have any fall out troubles with this, considering they’re pressed powder shadows with shimmer, rather than glittery bits!

The texture of Kuala Lumpur is very soft–the shadows are smooth and soft to the touch but powdery, and when swatched, they look nicer than it was when I attempted to use the colors dry in a look.  In order to make the look come together better, I ended up using the colors wet, which definitely helped quite a bit.  I didn’t love it even wet, though, because once it dries, it does fade back a bit.  It’s like, when you use the eyeshadow wet, it doesn’t remain looking like it does when wet, but it doesn’t completely become how it looks when dry.  Instead, it settles somewhere in between.  (You can see me wearing this duo in this look.)  I also found that when used dry, it just didn’t seem to apply evenly and I really had to pack on the color to get an even (though sheer) application.

For $32, I want an eyeshadow I can truly use wet or dry, not just wet.  I also don’t want to have to work too hard to make it work for me, either.  I can get down with having to experiment a bit for just the right application method when we’re talking about a $2 eyeshadow, but if you’re going to buy high-end, it should work right outta the compact, you know?

The good news, for those concerned with the $32 price tag, is you get plenty for your money.  The math works out to NARS eyeshadow duos being cheaper by the ounce than both MAC and Make Up For Ever.  But maybe you’re better off picking up a different duo…

Oh, p.s. if you dig these colors, you may find that layering them over a more metallic base will help enhance their colors.  Like say MAC Rubenesque Paint Pot.  I always find poor performing shadows seem to work better when layered over colored and shimmery/metallic bases.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you like your colors soft, I think you’ll still enjoy this new shade for spring.

Availability: BlueMercury

See photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Cle de Peau #124 Extra Silky Lipstick
Cle de Peau #124 Extra Silky Lipstick

The Spring Season: Cle de Peau #124 Extra Silky Lipstick

Cle de Peau #124 Extra Silky Lipstick ($52.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a petal pink with yellow undertones and soft pink shimmer. This is a gently warmed up pink, which isn’t always the easiest kind of pink to find, and it looks glossy and pretty-in-pink on the lips. Extra Silky Lipsticks are creamy, smooth, glossy, and decently pigmented (I haven’t tried the full range, but the ones I’ve tried have good pigmentation).

Cle de Peau’s Extra Silky Lipsticks really have an exceptional formula–check out my first post on them here for my full rave review–with an exceptional price tag, of course.  I will also have to reiterate that I really think and wish they would give you a little bit more (say 0.12 oz.) for your money as well–at least to stay in line with the average lipstick size.

I’m a firm believer in that, for some, Extra Silky Lipsticks are worth every penny of the $52 (which is a recent price increase of $2, by the by). Often, this is the kind of lipstick you may find your holy grail color in.  I have heard from so many who aren’t lipstick lovers but have fallen in love with the feel and texture of these. Certainly extravagant, but if you can afford it, no shame in that game!

Is this the right pink 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 →

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Victoria's Secret Spring 2010 Preview

Victoria’s Secret Beauty: Spring 2010 Preview

One of the fun parts about blogging is when a beauty brand puts on an event and invites bloggers to it–and being on the west coast, it doesn’t happen with great frequency (everything is in NYC, boo!), so it is always a real thrill to attend one! Last Thursday, I attended Victoria’s Secret Beauty’s Spring 2010 Press Preview event in San Francisco, held at the Four Seasons.  They had displays set up of their current and upcoming spring collections/products along with promotional posters with coordinating collection imagery.

From playing with some of the products from the VS Makeup line, I have to tell you, the Sparkling Lipsticks seem amazing. I only swatched them on my hand, but they’re wickedly glittery–and in a good way–with good pigmentation. They actually reminded me a lot of Guerlain’s new Kiss Kiss Strass Lipsticks (but they’re half the price–just $14 a pop). Their Lip Glosses ($12) also seemed really fun and sparkly. I’m definitely going to have to start paying more attention to their recently revamped VS Makeup collection!

Beyond the makeup, the event covered many of their upcoming scent-related releases. Lots and lots of scents–so many, my nose was all scented-out by the time I left!

One of the launches I liked were the new scents for the Victoria’s Secret Pink — the Life is Pink Collection. It includes three scents: Wish Pink, Live Pink, and Hope Pink. Each scent is available in eau de parfum ($32), body lotion ($12), sheer fragrance mist ($15), and rollerball ($10). I personally liked the rollerball form, and I’m currently digging Hope Pink. It’s lightly sweetened floral, easy to wear, and very subtle. It lasted a good eight hours on me before fading away. I haven’t had much experience with rollerball perfumes, but now I understand the hype–so convenient.

For Valentine’s Day, there’s the Love Rocks collection, which includes the Love Rocks scent (a sweetened vanilla with violet and amber) available in eau de parfum, scented lotion, scented mist, and bath & shower cream. There’s also a black tote bag with “Love Rocks” sprawled across if you’re in need for a kind of edgy earth-friendly bag. Also for Valentine’s Day, there’s Tease for Two, which is a line of edible body treats, ranging from whipped body creme to massage oil.

The Very Sexy Now eau de parfum ($49), sheer sexy mist ($24), and shimmering body lotion ($20) were recently released for the spring. The packaging has leopard print on it, which is kind of cute. Next to Very Sexy Now was a new scent for the Parfums Intimes collection titled Chiffon (peony freesia), due to launch in April, available in eau de parfum ($45), fragrance mist ($28), and fragrance lotion ($24). Parfums Intimes is a collection of scents inspired by the different fabrics of Victoria’s Secret (I dig back stories!).

Also in April, we’ll see the debut of Secret Moments, which is a collection of scents created from five different secret moments. The scents include: Girls’ Night (pink peony and waterlily), Island Escape (coconut and sugarcane), At First Sight (romantic violet and bergamot), Room 504 (amber and passionfruit), and Good Day Sunshine (peach and blue freesia). I’m all over Room 504 (I love amber), and Island Escape definitely reminded me of the beach. Each scent is available in a body lotion ($10), sheer fragrance mist ($12), body wash ($10), and body cream ($12).

Finally, just in time for Mother’s Day, the Heavenly Flowers Collection will debut. It’s a new scent available between April and June. The top notes are juicy mandarin, watermelon sorbet, sparkling pear, and guava; the middle notes are blooming gardenia, lily of the valley; and the dry-down notes are creamy musk and blonde woods. it’s available in eau de parfum ($49), sheer fragrance mist ($22), softening body lotion ($20), and solid fragrance bracelet ($20).

The event was fun to attend!  Lots of pretty spring-y scents coming ‘atcha from VS Beauty this year.

See photos of the event! Continue reading →

Monday, February 8th, 2010

100,000 Years of Beauty

Beauty and the Brain:  100,000 Years of Beauty

100,000 Years of Beauty ($295.00, currently listed at $239) is a set of five books designed to be an extremely comprehensive study of the evolution and history of beauty. 100,000 Years of Beauty was commissioned by the L’Oreal Corporate Foundation (to celebrate their 100th anniversary!), but it is a wonderful set of books to go through if you’re a knowledge-hungry beauty addict.

100,000 Years of Beauty is the culmination of a study which identifies many approaches to beauty in all civilizations throughout the ages, including a look into the future. A major editorial endeavor, uniting contributions from 300 writers of 35 different nationalities and 20 different disciplines, 100,000 Years of Beauty brings original insights into the quest for beauty. At the heart of the book is a central theme that throughout all civilizations the quest for beauty is universal. Through this initiative, the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation hopes to share knowledge and encourage the emergence of new perspectives about beauty.

The books come in a “pyramid” with each book sized differently (the first being the smallest, the fifth being the largest) and stacked inside the book “holder.” The first book is titled “Prehistory” and goes through the early history of beauty in various societies. The second book is titled “Antiquity,” which takes a look at the changes that have changed the “pursuit of beauyt.” The third book is titled “Classical Age” and goes through beauty in both the medieval and early modern periods. The fourth book is titled “Globalization” and explores beauty through the modern era. The fifth book is titled “The Future,” and it looks at how the digital age and technology-driven period will change the way we look at beauty going forward.

One of the details I really liked about the set is that there are a variety of topics and voices. You’re not reading just one perspective, but hundreds; you get to read so many different authors with varying backgrounds–from historians to anthropologists. The other detail I like is that these are real books. These are not flimsy paperbacks with nothing to them. These are nicely weighted, thick pages with color-rich images and presented in style.

This set of books is a bit overwhelming–there are over 1,500 pages to go through–but it’s done exquisitely (and rightly so, given the price tag). These are the kind of books that you flip through, admire the images, and read over a long period of time. If I didn’t also eat dinner on my coffee table, I’d love to keep these right in the middle. I’m still working my way through it, page by page, but if you’ve ever wondered just how far back beauty has dated or what kind of beauty “rituals” were performed hundreds of years ago and how they’ve shaped beauty as it stands today–this is something to put on your wish list.

See photos of the inside! Continue reading →

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Physician's Formula Bronze Brown Eyes Shimmerstrips

9 Eyeshadows for the Price of $11: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips

Physicians Formula Bronze Brown Eyes Shimmer Strips ($10.95 for 0.26 oz.) is a strip of nine different shades designed to complement brown eyes specifically. Bronze Brown Eyes includes: a neutral lilac, soft bronze brown, coppery bronze, golden champagne, soft copper, bronze, light copper, plummy brown, and burgundy brown. All nine shades apply smoothly, give good color pay off, and have a frosty finish. (If you’re into matte textures, Shimmer Strips are not the way to go.) Physicians Formula describes the shades as “three blendable trios perfectly paired to color, contour, and line your eyes.” Sort of handy if you’re not quite sure how to pair your shades yet.

Physicians Formula’s Shimmer Strips line-up always reminds me of Bobbi Brown’s Shimmerbricks. They’re not-so-elegantly packaged in comparison, as they come in a clear, slightly glossy plastic packaging. Shimmer Strips come in a slim compact that skinny and long that snaps open and includes an angled sponge-tip applicator (which is as good as sponge applicators are, which is not very). Otherwise, they do have a very similar feel and look–soft, not ultra intense in pigmentation but not sheer, and frosty.

I found these worked just fine using regular makeup brushes, though less is more–piling too much on the brush can lead to excess fall out. Overall, I found fall out to be minimal and the color to stay on fairly well with just some fading after the eighth hour of wear. Physicians Formula also designed Shimmer Strips for Hazel, Blue, and Green eyes, if you’ve been looking for a how-to on how to make your [insert color here] eyes.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve been looking for easy-to-use eyeshadows on a budget, Physicians Formula’s Shimmer Strips give you nine all in one!

Availability: Physicians Formula

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →