Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Long-wearing Liner:  NARS Eyeliner Stylo in Bayou Blue and Nuits Blances

NARS Eyeliner Stylo ($27.00 for 0.02 oz.) was recently released just in time for the fall/holiday seasons as a brand new product by NARS. It is touted to be a long-wearing, quick-drying liquid liner delivered via a felt-tip applicator. With the felt-tip applicator, you are supposed to be able to get precise lines–thin or thick–with “maximum control.” The Eyeliner Stylo is available in three shades: Blue Bayou (blue), Nuits Blanches (black), and Nabucco (brown).

I test drove two: Blue Bayou, which is not quite an electric blue, but much brighter and deeper than a sky blue–but there’s no teal or green in it for me; and Nuits Blanches, which is a very deep dark black.  Oddly enough, I’ve found a lot of black felt-tip liners do show up a bit brown when swatched on the skin, but on the eyes, looks black as it’s supposed to; this also happened here (for reference).  I wonder if, perhaps, it’s how close/magnified the photo is vs. viewing it in person at a real-life size.  Anyway, just something worth noting.

The formula is definitely long-wearing and it dries quickly but not too quickly, so you do have some time to work.  The formula itself is fairly water-resistant as well; I’m not sure I’d say entirely waterproof, but it doesn’t budge or smudge or flake throughout the day and takes a bit of elbow grease to remove.  To be honest, one of my biggest frustrations with this product had to do with Blue Bayou staining my eyelid for three days.  I don’t love products that stain overall, because I do find it annoying the next day, but having this slightly faded, residual blue liner on the outer edges of my eyes for three days was ridiculous.  I know in the past, readers have recommended Make Up For Ever’s makeup remover for staining products, but between my cleansers, olive oil, and Lancome’s Bi-Facil, the staining wasn’t budging.  I found the black didn’t stain nearly as much and seemed to fade away by the next day.

I will say that this the felt-tip applicator is very long and skinny, and those with smaller eyes may find this a little unwieldy.  On my eyes, I felt like I had enough control to create thin, precise lines.  I did find creating thicker lines to create a little more skill, just because the applicator is quite thin and more suited towards thin lines rather than thicker lines.  I think with enough practice you’d find that you could get thin or thick lines without much fuss or frustration, though!   The applicator distributes a good amount of product without it being too much or too little–there’s no drag nor is there excess that you have to worry about.

Bottom Line: I like and would recommend Nuit Blanches, because it works and functions quite well.  I do take an issue with something that stains so intensely as Blue Bayou did, which makes me hesitant to recommend it.  I didn’t take any points off for staining, but it’s something I think is worth noting as a potential problem for some (as it is for me).  I used Blue Bayou last week in a look, which you can view here, to see how it looks in action.

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

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

Recommendation:  If you don’t mind a product that may stain your eyelids temporarily, these are easy to use, quality felt-tipped pens to give you that liquid liner look.

Availability: NARS, NARS Eyeliner Stylo

See swatchesContinue reading →

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Philosophy Pumpkin Spice Muffin Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath Review

Philosophy Pumpkin Spice Muffin Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath ($16.00 for 16 oz.) is yet another fun, aromatic scent from Philosophy, just in time for the fall and holiday season. I already reviewed a few of their other holiday scents, but I knew I was going to fall in love with this one.

I am ALL about pumpkin spice. Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte… Pumpkin Spice Creamer (now I can use my beloved Nespresso to make the BEST at-home pumpkin spice lattes!)… Panera Pumpkin Muffins… you name it, if it has pumpkin spice in the title, I’m all over it. Seriously. LOVE IT. It’s so cozy and homey and autumn. Philosophy totally nailed this scent in a way that really blows me away. I was like, “How did they manage to get that pumpkin spice WITH just a touch of muffin in it?” It’s just so on point. It has the exact scent of pumpkin spice, but as you take a sniff, you can totally detect that it’s more of a pumpkin spice muffin you’re smelling. I was just particularly amazed as I was really dissecting the scent last night in the shower.

I love Philosophy’s 3-in-1 Shower Gels, because they lather up quickly and easily, and they smell so good. (If you aren’t feeling pumpkin spice–how could you not?!–they have a variety of scents, mostly food-related.) I personally also love that the scent fills the bathroom/shower, but it doesn’t linger on the skin. This allows me to wear any body cream/lotion or perfume post-shower and not worry about mixing and matching scents. One 16 oz. bottle lasts me about three or four months (for two, maybe more like a month and a half or two), so I’m satisfied with the cost-per-use value I get out of each bottle.

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 pumpkin spice, I think you’ll love this scent!

Availability: Beauty.com, Nordstrom, Philosophy, Sephora

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Illamasqua Encounter Lipstick
Illamasqua Encounter Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Illamasqua Encounter Lipstick

Illamasqua Encounter Lipstick ($20.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a matte, bright true-red with a slight touch of orange in its base. While some of Illamasqua’s lipsticks can be drying, Encounter is about as dry as I’d expect for something this matte–but I noticed it didn’t really dry my lips out after wearing it, which is something I do find can happen with some of the drier mattes I’ve tried (e.g. MAC’s Ruby Woo). It also applies very evenly, despite being a matte texture, and it goes opaque in just one layer. I’m personally not a big fan of matte lips, so I tend to gloss things up. This works really well with Illamasqua’s Lily Rose Sheer Lipgloss, as seen here.

What about you? Would you wear this red?

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See more swatches and comparison photosContinue reading →

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

MAC Cult of Cherry Lipglass

MAC Cult of Cherry Lipglass

The Scarlet Season: MAC Cult of Cherry Lipglass

MAC Cult of Cherry Lipglass ($14.00 for 0.17 oz.) is a semi-opaque ruby red with gold shimmer laced throughout. When worn alone (on my lips), it actually brings out the natural pink in my lips while adding some redness to it. It isn’t a bright, true red, though, even though it may look so in the tube. I love to layer Cult of Cherry over other red lipsticks, though, because it really makes the lipstick pop. For instance, one pairing I like a lot is Queen’s Sin + Cult of Cherry!  This was a limited edition shade available from the Cult of Cherry launch back in 2008, but you may be able to find it at a CCO or eBay.

What about you? Would you wear this red?

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See more swatches and comparison photosContinue reading →

Monday, November 16th, 2009

For the holidays, Kiehl’s has collaborated with New York artist KAWS to lend a helping hand to children in need. Through their partnership, they are raising awareness with Creme de Corps Holiday Collection, which is a limited edition launch where 100% of net profits from the sale of each product is donated to children’s charities worldwide.

Limited Edition Creme de Corps Holiday Collection

Considered the most hydrating, rich body moisturizer in the Kiehl’s line, this super-enriched, nurturing body treatment is formulated with Beta-Carotene, Squalane and nurturing oils derived from Sesame Seeds, Soybeans, Almonds and Avocados; ideal for extremely dry skin; leaves skin soft, smooth and elegantly hydrated; the original, classic formulation and customer favorite for decades. 8.4 oz. $26.50; 16.9 oz. with Pump $44.50; 1 liter $70.00

In the US, 100% of net profits will support RxArt, a non-profit national organization, committed to fostering artistic expression and awareness through the challenging, yet rewarding task of engaging young patients through contemporary art in pediatric hospitals.

Additionally, Kiehl’s has several holiday gift sets available for the season:

  • 40th Anniversary Lip Balm #1 Set Includes six Lip Balm #1 formulas in Coconut, Cranberry, Mango, Mint, Vanilla, and Original ($32.00)
  • Men’s Refueling Kit Includes Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash, Facial Fuel, Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap, White Eagle Shave Cream ($28.50)
  • Kiehl’s Delights Includes Creme de Corps, Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, Amino Acid Shampoo, Lip Balm #1 ($29.00)
  • World of Kiehl’s Includes Ultra Facial Cleanser, Lip Balm # 1, Ultra Facial Moisturizer, Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, Creme de Corps, Creme de Corps Nurturing Body Washing Cream, Amino Acid Shampoo, Amino Acid Conditioner ($45.00)
Monday, November 16th, 2009


China Glaze Ruby Pumps Nail Lacquer

China Glaze Wizard of Ohh Ahz Collection

China Glaze Wizard of Ohh Ahz Collection debuts this November, for the holiday season. The collection consists of six shades: Ruby Pumps (an all time red glitter favorite), The Ten Man (silver frost with specks of micro silver glitter), Cowardly Lyin’ (gold frost with specks of gold micro glitter), Good Witch (pink frost with specks of pink micro glitter), C-C-Courage (purple frost with specks of purple micro glitter), and Dorothy Who? (blue polish with massive amounts of silver and blue glitter).

It’s a re-release of a collection by the same name from 2001. I never owned the original set, so I couldn’t tell you if there’s any variance between the two. The materials I received said it was “very similar to the original version that was released in 2001,” so I imagine they may have revamped or improved their formula in the past eight years and that’s why they’re not identical.

  • Ruby Pumps is a gorgeous shade of ruby red with lots of deeper red shimmer particles laced throughout. It’s a shade that catches light well and just sparkles. Ruby Pumps has always been one of my favorite shades by China Glaze; it’s also included in the Love You Snow Much set for holiday. This applies opaquely with two medium-thick coats and goes on smoothly.
  • The Ten Man is a semi-sheer slightly silvered clear base with silver sparkle. I found this one was hard to make opaque, even with three medium-thick coats. The shimmer didn’t seem to apply as uniformly as the other five in this launch, but I like the shade itself. I’d probably wait longer between coats and do thicker coats as well, perhaps even use a silver or grayish base for a more opaque look.
  • Cowardly Lyin’ is a bright, yellow-based metallic gold base with gold shimmer. Like The Ten Man, I found this one was harder to get to be completely opaque (you can see the tip of my nail). It’s more opaque than The Ten Man, but I’d, personally, prefer a more opaque base. I really like the color, though – it’s a very true gold; it reminds me of lions, for sure, and it’s perfect for the holidays.
  • Good Witch is a slightly cool paled down rosy pink with pink sparkle. The pink sparkle in this one seemed a little chunkier than some of the others, which isn’t a problem for me, but just something I noted. This one went opaque in three medium-thick coats.
  • C-C-Courage is a deep, rich purple with a cool undertone. It’s a dark purple base with lighter icy purple and silver sparkle. This one only needed two medium-thick coats to look opaque (even one gets you close).
  • Dorothy Who? is an oceanic blue with lighter and deeper blue sparkle. I actually thought this one was particularly stunning in person! I wasn’t so sure at first, when I saw the bottle, but it really is lovely. It sparkles quite nicely when the light hits it. It takes at least three medium-thick coats to get an opaque look, perhaps even three thicker coats.

Overall, I really liked the formula, texture, and look of the shades included in this collection. I absolutely loved Ruby Pumps, Cowardly Lyin’, and Dorothy Who? — those would be my top three picks out of the six. While I normally love, love China Glaze and its formula, I do feel that a lot of these run on the sheerer side.  Ruby Pumps and C-C-Courage are the biggest exceptions to this, as they meet my expectations from China Glaze!

I have to say this, though: why is there no Emerald City? I know China Glaze has Emerald Sparkle, which would have certainly been fitting to this launch. I don’t know; I really expected to see a green in a collection about the Wizard of Oz, you know? Kind of left me hanging in that respect.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you’re looking to add some sparkle–but not glitter–China Glaze’s Wizard of Ohh Ahz Collection has you covered!

Availability:  November 2009

See close-ups and swatches of the other five shadesContinue reading →