Friday, February 5th, 2010

Smashbox Liquid Pen Liner

Easy Liquid Lining with Liner Pens:  Version Smashbox

Smashbox Heartbreaker Jet Black Liquid Liner Pen ($24.00) is a felt-tipped pen that’s designed to look and feel like liquid liner, but with the control and precision that a pen can deliver. The pen is new and limited edition from Smashbox’s Heartbreaker Collection for the spring.

It’s actually kind of funny, because it seems like pen liners are the new thing to do, as several brands have put one out for the spring. I remember the first one I ever used was MAC’s Penultimate, which I still use on occasion. I like pen liners because they are easier to use than traditional liquid liners. I think I do personally prefer gel eyeliners for the upper lash line over liquid liners, but I do prefer pen liners over traditional liquid liners. You have a lot more control, and it is nice that the tip is always rich in color–you don’t have to worry about running out or product drying on you mid-lining.

Smashbox’s Liquid Liner Pen comes in just one shade, Jet Black, which is a rich black. It’s pretty intense and does go on as a slightly shiny black. I’ve noticed that a lot of black liquid liners seem to reflect more brown-black when swatched, but they really do appear quite black in real life–the same thing happened here. I urge you to check it out where I wore it in this look (on the right eye–your right, not mine–the left eye was done with Stila’s Pen Liner!)

If you like extremely tight/thin lines, I don’t think this is your best bet. It can give you a relatively thin line, but I had trouble getting and keeping it ultra thin. The tip is long enough to give you a nice, broad stroke, but it’s not so long that you lose control over the shape and direction of your line (nor does it kind of bend too much). This does have a very “liquid” feel when you use it, so don’t go over the line too much — once or twice should be plenty. This liquid liner does last a solid eight hours or longer on me (I avoid wearing my makeup for longer than eight hours a day!) and doesn’t fade, smudge, or migrate whatsoever while I’ve worn it.

It’s housed in a simple pen-shaped tube with a removeable cap that clicks back on. It’s very minimalist, but it’s slim and functional. The price tag seems a little higher than I’d have expected (Jet Set and Cream Eye Liner by Smashbox are both $22), but it’s not too out of the price range for Smashbox liners. The other downside is that this is a product that could become a staple in your routine, but it’s limited edition!

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve always wanted to try black liquid liner but don’t have the steadiest hand, a pen liner might be a good option!

Availability: Beauty.com, Nordstrom, Sephora

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Friday, February 5th, 2010

Illamasqua Katie Blush

The First Blush of Spring:  Illamasqua Katie Blush

Illamasqua Katie Blush ($23.00) is an ultra pale pastel pink with a matte finish. It has good color pay off, but it is extremely light in color. I don’t think it’s quite as pigmented as several of the other shade variastions I’ve tried in their powder blush line, though. Personally, I found it didn’t work on my skin tone; the paleness washed me out and made me look sickly. I think this is a shade very well suited for those with more porcelain complexions–could see it looking very spring-y and natural (and not sickly!).

Illamasqua’s blushes are nice for matte, pigmented color. The packaging isn’t my cup of tea (too bulky), but I like that the top is clear, so you can see the color without having to open the compact. Illamasqua brushes are a slightly cheaper investment ($23 to $25) than NARS blushes, though you get a little less (0.02 oz. to be precise). So far, all of the blushes I’ve tried by Illamasqua have had matte finishes, so it’s easy to wear them and have them turn out natural-looking. You can always brush on a highlighter if you want a shimmery look–but you don’t have to, which is nice. Everyone needs a few matte blushes in their life!

The Glossover

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Friday, February 5th, 2010

Guerlain Barbara Rouge G Le Brilliant Lipstick
Guerlain Barbara Rouge G Le Brilliant Lipstick

The Spring Season: Guerlain Barbara Rouge G Le Brilliant Lipstick

Guerlain Barbara (B02) Rouge G Le Brillant Lipstick ($46.00) is a browned down nude with a glossy sheen and subtle shimmer. Rouge G de Guerlain Le Brilliant Lipstick is a new kind of lipstick from Guerlain just launched this spring. The lipstick formula is a spin-off from the original Rouge G formula, and the twist is all about a glossier, shinier look that feels lighter but still creamy like the original formula.

Barbara is semi-opaque and truly glossy; it definitely feels like a mix between a lipstick and gloss. It also doesn’t pull moisture from my lips, so it keeps them feeling hydrated while I’m wearing the color. Because it is particularly glossy and creamy, it does have some slip to it.

In the past, I have found that more slippery lipsticks and glosses have a tendency to fade and wear off faster than drier or tackier lipsticks and glosses.With this particular formula, I found it did outlast many of the other lipsticks I’ve tried with similar formulas–about three to four hours–though not nearly as long as a typical Rouge G, which is four to six hours). The glossiness is what fades first, but the color does linger.

The price is wicked, so it’s definitely an indulgence!

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.

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Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Benefit Candy Store Lipstick

The Spring Season: Benefit Candy Store Lipstick

Benefit Candy Store Lipstick ($18.00) is a semi-sheer medium pink with golden shimmer and a glossy sheen. On my lips, it really deepens and emphasizes the natural rosy-pink of my lip color while adding golden shimmer and a reflective, glossy sheen. Benefit’s Silky Finish Lipsticks have this really moisturizing, glossy feel. It’s almost like lipstick and lipgloss had a baby and called it Silky Finish. It’s very wearable all on its own, partially because it does have such a nice sheen without having to add a gloss (which also makes it convenient to keep in your bag!).

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 →

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Smashbox Paradise Blush

The First Blush of Spring:  Smashbox Paradise Blush Rush

Smashbox Paradise Blush Rush ($24.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a lightly golden shimmered peach with just a smidgen of pink in it. It’s more like an orange-coral, perhaps, but the pink really is downplayed. Paradise isn’t the most unique shade, but Smashbox’s Blush Rush formula is particularly lovely. It’s smooth, soft to the touch, and applies beautifully to cheeks. The color always look natural and never overdone, but they offer buildable color for those who want a light cheek and others who want a more intense look. Paradise is just one of those shades that’s incredibly easy to wear with a variety of looks from the everyday to the bold and dramatic. If you like blushes like MAC Springsheen and NARS Orgasm, Paradise is right there with ‘em!

I’ve always liked Smashbox’s permanent product packaging — it’s functional and sleek.  Cute packaging is fun, but it’s gotta be functional, too.  It just has a very clean look to it, which I dig.  Price-wise, it’s a little more expensive than your average blush at $184/oz. (compared to MAC blushes at $88/oz. and NARS blushes at $156/oz.), but actual investment is in line with NARS ($25) and Illamasqua ($23).

You can see me wearing Paradise in this look! :)

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: If you love your peachy blushes, Paradise may be a good one to add to your stash!

Availability: Sephora

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Thursday, February 4th, 2010

NARS Purple Rain Nail Lacquer

Stunning Spring Nails with  NARS Purple Rain Nail Lacquer

NARS Purple Rain Nail Lacquer ($16.00) is a deep jewel-toned purple with red undertones shimmered with flecks of violet and wine red shimmer. It looks kind of like a dark grape purple when there’s no real light, but I like that it doesn’t look black in low light conditions. Of course, like many polishes, this one really shows off best in the light. Even just regular lighting will catch the shimmer in such a lovely way. This is a richly pigmented nail lacquer; it needs only one thick coat and it goes opaque, though I did two coats for good measure. It wears well (one week with just tip wear, no chipping), and it applies easily–doesn’t streak or drag. The formula is thick without being goopy, so it doesn’t require any experimentation in application–it’s just apply, dry, and enjoy!

I was surprised by how much I liked this shade, even though it doesn’t conjure up any spring images in my mind, I’m really glad NARS put it out, spring season or not!

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: If you love purple nails, Purple Rain is really one of those must-see shades!

Availability: BlueMercury

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