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Illamasqua Harem Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Harem Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Harem Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Harem Nail Varnish ($17.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “bright mauve pink.” It’s a cool-toned, light-medium lavender-pink with blue undertones and a creamy finish (almost looks like a jelly, because it has a plush, squishy look to it). MAC Vagabondage is pinker and darker. MAC Saint Germain is pinker. MAC Pinkly Fresh is lighter, grayer. MAC Ice Cream Cake is darker and pinker. Essie French Affair is softer, pinker.

I was totally surprised that I couldn’t think of any dupes for Harem–it pulls very lavender/lilac, but there’s still quite a bit of pink in it, so it’s neither lavender nor your expected cotton candy pink. The formula is excellent; no streaking, pooling, or bubbling. It applied fluidly and evenly, and it was fully opaque after two coats of polish (nearly opaque in a single coat, actually). It dries to a glossy finish, and the consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin (just right). Illamasqua really nailed the formula of their latest shade releases–I continue to be impressed (but still sad over the recent price increase!). I typically get at least seven days of fantastic wear out of their formula, but I’ve worn many shades as long as fourteen days with minor tip wear but no chipping.

P.S. — The brush was splayed on this one, but I don’t remember having this issue on any of the other Nail Varnishes I’ve swatched (and there have been a fair number) so it’s either never happened or seldomly happened, so I think this is just a one-off.

Illamasqua Nail Varnish Harem
Harem
Harem
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
100%
Total

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Urban Decay Mushroom 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil

Urban Decay Mushroom 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil
Urban Decay Mushroom 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil

Urban Decay Mushroom 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil ($20.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “warm pale gray shimmer.” It’s a cool-toned taupe with a silver shimmer-sheen and brown base color. Urban Decay South is a powder product and warmer. Urban Decay Mushroom is very similar (in pressed form). bareMinerals Undercoveris less frosted and a powder product. Make Up For Ever #2 is cooler-toned and more frosted.

It had fairly good color payoff in a single stroke, and it is buildable to mostly opaque color.  I found that it looked somewhat patchy applied, though, so it would work better as a base or sheered out with a fluffy brush or finger tip (the warmth from your finger will help keep the product more emollient and movable).  The consistency was a little on the dry side, though it didn’t tug, but I think this contributed to the unevenness during application.  Mushroom lasted for ten hours without fading or creasing, which is an upside!

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil Mushroom
Mushroom
Mushroom
8.5
Product
9
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
90%
Total

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MAC RiRi Woo Lipstick Launches May 2nd, 2013

RiRi Loves MAC Lipstick
RiRi Loves MAC Lipstick

Rihanna loves M∙A∙C. The global superstar with style-blazing looks as diverse as her musical hits needs no introduction. Now, get ready for RiRi Woo – our cult classic shade Ruby Woo remixed by Rihanna herself. Exclusively online. It launches May 2nd exclusively online at MAC Cosmetics in North America; May 2013 (International). Also available at Barclays Center, M•A•C Pop-Up Store for concert ticket holders.

Lipstick ($15.00 U.S. / $18.00 CDN) (Limited Edition)

  • RiRi Woo Matte cool red (Retro Matte)

5/2 @ 8:50AM PST:  ONLINE NOW @ MAC COSMETICS! Big props to MAC for actually handling this launch really well. Launched on time (hey, 10 minutes early is close enough to on time for me!), streamlined checkout process, and doing their best to limit it to one per customer. FYI, only standard shipping was available for me!

MAC Refined Golden Bronzing Powder

MAC Refined Golden Bronzing Powder
MAC Refined Golden Bronzing Powder

MAC Refined Golden Bronzing Powder ($25.00 for 0.35 oz.) is described as a “finely spun gold with soft pearl finish.” When I swatched it, it was a medium-dark tan brown with a mostly matte finish–hardly any shimmer/sparkle, though I could see it in the pan. Guerlain Terra Nerolia is more orange and shimmery. Too Faced Bronzed & Poreless is more yellow-toned. Guerlain Moyen Brunettes is darker.

I had a very odd experience with this shade (as well as the other one, which I’ll be reviewing soon), which was it was nearly impossible to get color payoff out of it. It felt like plastic almost, not a powder; I almost thought it was a cream. I have, actually, once received a powder compact that was filled with a plastic “powder” pan instead of a real powder pan. I thought maybe it was twice lucky… No, it was a powder–I scraped at it with a metal spatula to dislodge enough product to swatch. It felt almost creamy but there was next to no color payoff. But lo and behold, after rubbing off a few layers with a paper towel, it seemed to be more like a powder. I was able to get it to show up on my cheeks. It lasted seven and a half hours on me, and then it was slightly faded after eight hours.

With all of that said, my version is a press sample, and though it was in regular retail packaging (so it wasn’t an early batch or a small-run of products, which just means it should be what you get), I’m so baffled by it, I’m not really sure. This is part of the permanent range, though, and I have had this shade previously without the odd texture issues. My rating is based on this being a one-off, odd occurrence (and rating based on the texture of my older compact) but recommend checking it out for yourself or buying the permanent version (cheaper and available in a black compact).  I’m still finding it a very, very bizarre event.

MAC Refined Golden Bronzing Powder

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MAC Temperature Rising Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Temperature Rising Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Temperature Rising Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Temperature Rising Eyeshadow Quad ($44.00 for 0.19 oz.) includes these shades: Performance Art (frosted gold mauve, Veluxe Pearl)), Temperature Rising (light warm tanned peach, Lustre), Swelter (mid-tone grey violet, Frost), and Beautymarked (charcoal black with red pearl, Velvet). Beautymarked is part of the permanent range. The quad will be available online on May 16th and in-stores May 23rd (of course, it usually is online earlier than the stated date). It is packaged in a matte bronze with a rubbery texture–if you’re familiar with NARS’ packaging, it’s very much like that, only bronze in color.

Performance Art is is a pinky mauve with a dusting of very fine gold shimmer. It had good color payoff and applied smooth overall, though it was a smidgen dry. MAC Smoky Mauve is purpler and darker. Jasmine Carpet is darker and purpler. Tarte Frozen Hot Chocolate is slightly darker. NARS 413 BLKR #1 appears cooler-toned. Wet ‘n’ Wild We’re Blasting Off #3 is cooler-toned.

Temperature Rising is copper-shimmered peach with a soft, frosted sheen. It was very stiff to work with, and it really needed to be layered and packed on to get visible, even color both swatched and on the eye. Estee Lauder Pink Zinc is lighter (and a cream product). Chanel Complice is lighter. MAC Seaside is more coppery. Chanel Emerveille is a cream product and is less coppery. MAC Expensive Pink is pinker, darker.

Swelter is a muted, medium-dark purple with subtle red undertones and a satiny sheen. It had decent to good color payoff, but it was a little stiff to work with. When I jabbed at it with a stiffer brush, I was able to get better color payoff. MAC Smoky Mauve is more frosted. Jasmine Carpet is very similar. NARS 413 BLKR #1 is grayer, cooler-toned. MAC Circa Plum is extremely similar.

Beautymarked is a blackened brown with burgundy and copper micro-shimmer. It was dry, somewhat chalky, and generally stiff and difficult to blend. Applied, it looks mostly like a matte black, but if you mix it or blend it with Swelter, you can bring out more of the shimmer in Beautymarked. Giorgio Armani #2 is similar in concept but has a much more pronounced shimmer/sparkle. L’Oreal Smoldering Plum is purpler. MAC Young Punk has more purple shimmer.

The real miss here was Beautymarked, which had a rather undesirable texture that made it a problematic shade to use. It’s also the kind of shade that looks incredibly complex in the pan but when used, it can be difficult to pull out those nuances and see the complexities. Performance Art was the best eyeshadow in this quad, because it had good pigmentation and a softer, smoother texture and application. Temperature Rising needs to be packed on for a smooth, even application. I wish it performed better overall, because the color combination works well together and would flatter a variety of skin tones. The eyeshadows did wear for eight hours with no creasing and only very minor fading with minor fading occurring after nine hours.

MAC Temperature Rising Eyeshadow Quad

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