Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Lancome Red and Sensual Java Lipstick
Lancome Red & Sensual Java Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Lancome Red and Sensual Java Lipstick

Lancome Red and Sensual Java Lipstick ($25.00 for 0.14 oz.) is an orange-based opaque red in Lancome’s Color Fever formula. The Color Fever formula makes it a more opaque, hydrating lip color that feels lightweight with a glossy sheen. I really like the richness in pigmentation in this shade, and it glides onto lips so easily. It’s definitely a bolder, brighter shade of red that will get your lips noticed when you wear it!

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 10th, 2009


Clinique Deep Comfort Hand & Cuticle Cream

Clinique Deep Comfort Hand & Cuticle Cream ($17.50 for 2.5 fl. oz.) is a rich (and thick!) cream designed to keep hands hydrated for up to twelve-hours and is touted as a “restorative cream” that’s fit for hands and cuticles.

Clinique has created a rich and creamy hand cream that sinks in quickly and doesn’t leave behind any greasy residue. These are pretty much must-have characteristics in any daytime hand cream I keep on my desk (which is where I must keep them, or else I’d never remember to use them ever!). It’s a hand cream that does exactly what it should and without any fuss. It’s scent-free, takes about an oversized pea-sized dollop to get an even application on both hands, and it lasts for hours.

I couldn’t tell you if it lasts twelve hours, but I’d say my hands are significantly less dry throughout the day, and I usually apply it once in the morning and once in the afternoon (if I’m good!). In terms of overall positioning in my hand cream favorites, Clinique comes in as a new favorite, but it’s still edged out of first by Ellen Sirot’s Hand Perfection. However, Hand Perfection is pricier and less accessible, whereas Clinique is more affordable and readily available.

Bottom Line: While Clinique’s new hand cream for the wintertime does seem a bit on the pricier side, but so far the tube has lasted me a month now, and I imagine it’ll take me to February, so three to four months of usage is good enough to justify the price to me. When I come across a hand cream that’s rich in moisture but zero on the grease-factor, I’m all over it, and Clinique wins on both counts!

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: For long-lasting moisturized hands, Clinique’s new Deep Comfort Hand & Cuticle Cream works well without any frills.

Availability: Clinique, Nordstrom

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009


Lippmann Collection: Happy Birthday

Lippmann Collection Happy Birthday Nail Lacquer ($18.00 for 0.50 oz.) is a splattering of multi-colored, multi-sized confetti glitter in a clear base. Even though it’s a clear base, and a part of me wishes it had some sort of colored base, I think this is actually incredibly fitting and suits the name “Happy Birthday.” It’s definitely a party on your nails! Lippmann lacquers always last really well on me with an exceptionally durable and chip-resistant formula.

I find Lippmanns are some of the easier glitter polishes to remove as well–I know I’ve said it before, but my removal process is to soak a cotton pad in remover, then press against the nail, repeat on all the nails, then go back and start to actually remove the polish.

The only kicker of this product is the $18 price tag (which is notably $2 more than their usual shades), which is particularly hefty and starts to creep into the higher-end territory. I don’t really think any polish at $18 or $28 outdoes a polish that’s $8 so significantly to literally merit the extra bucks. As always, I compare brands against their competitors, and Lippmann seems more in line with the price points of Chanel and Dior lacquers.

Bottom Line: In the end, Lippmann is priced as a more high-end polish, so if it’s worth it to you, go for it — and if it’s not, no shame in that game. I will say I don’t have anything even remotely similar to this in my collection, and I haven’t (personally) seen anything like it, either.

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: 4/5

Recommendation:  For fun, party-tastic nails, Happy Birthday is a winner in every way–except for the price.

Availability: Beauty.com, Nordstrom

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

MAC Check Please Lipglass
MAC Check Please Lipglass

The Scarlet Season: MAC Check Please Lipglass

MAC Check Please Lipglass ($14.00 for 0.17 oz.) is just a sexy bright red lip with the slightest reddish-gold shimmer laced through a rather opaque red base. It’s definitely one of those, “Yeah, my lips are sexy, what are you going to do about it?” kind of shades. It’s one of my favorite lipglasses ever, because the formula is so smooth, rich, and easy to apply. I really wish MAC would re-release this shade or launch one just like it (I’m down with a dupe!), because it is truly a stunning red. The closest permanent shade would be Russian Red, but I’d say you’d have to add a smidgen of Desire to really get something similar.

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 9th, 2009

NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

Holiday 2009: NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a new product recently released by NARS designed to provide smooth, long-wearing all-over eye color. It can be used to smudge along the lash line or as a base. NARS also released two other shades: Goddess (a shimmery light pink) and Skorpios (a shimmery copper).

Aigle Noir is a dark brownish-black with green-gold shimmer laced through it. It’s a very nice, solid shade to wear on the lower lash line, but when it’s applied to the lid, it just tends to appear sheerer (especially if you apply or blend with a brush or fingertip). So, every cream-based eye product gets a very simple test: apply it all over my lid and wait to see if it creases. NARS’ Soft Touch Shadow Pencil did not make it past five minutes before there was a distinct line where the color creased on my eyelid. Consequently, I wouldn’t consider this a grab-and-go product, because it just doesn’t hold up on its lonesome.

NARS says the new Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are the “[i]deal base for layering with powder eyeshadow to increase color intensity,” which is always the follow-up test when an emollient product can’t keep from creasing. They also state that this is a “smooth, creamy, long-wearing formula,” which I’ll have to disagree with–at least when worn by itself. However, when set with a powder eyeshadow, the results are definitely much better. I didn’t find it creased or smudged on me once I had a layer of powder shadow on top. I imagine you could, if you really wanted to keep the color itself showing, try translucent powder dusted on top to minimize creasing.

Since NARS suggests these as an “ideal” base and doesn’t necessarily call out that it should be used totally alone, I won’t knock off a ton of points for missing the mark on that.  Nope, NARS does, actually. Major impact on rating!  I know that even purported crease-proof products can vary from person to person, with it never creasing on some but creasing in minutes on others. For the record, my lids are about average; neither dry nor oily.

It also works nicely as an eyeliner, and it didn’t smudge, budge, or migrate on my lower lash line when I wore it for a day. I noticed it had no staying power on my waterline, though, so if you were hoping to use it for that, you may find yourself looking at other products. I will also say that because these are oversized pencils, they’re not the easiest to line with. I was able to get a thin line on my lower lash line, but it does take a little maneuvering to make sure you don’t end up with a thicker line. Aigle Noir was smooth, lightly creamy, and worked best as an eyeshadow base.

Bottom Line: These are not crease-proof on their own, but they can work as a good base beneath powder eyeshadows. Once you’ve set the product with the powder eyeshadow, you’re good to go. Aigle Noir applied fairly evenly when I applied directly from the pencil onto my lid, but it took a bit of layering to get a more opaque look. I wasn’t blown away by the formula, but if there’s a color that really calls to you, I think it’s worth checking out. For me, I’d would have loved to see this shade as a pressed eyeshadow.

The Glossover

coming-soon

NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil Review, Photos, Swatches

F
These are not crease-proof on their own, but they can work as a good base beneath powder eyeshadows. Once you've set the product with the powder eyeshadow, you're good to go. Aigle Noir applied fairly evenly when I applied directly from the pencil onto my lid, but it took a bit of layering to get a more opaque look.

Product

4/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

4/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Dupes
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Monday, November 9th, 2009

Holiday Glitz: Sonia Kashuk Showstoppers Eyeshadow Quad

Sonia Kashuk Showstoppers Eyeshadow Quad ($10.99) is the glitz-in-a-pan that’s so perfect and fitting for the holiday season I couldn’t resist saving this review until now. There are certain items that impress you at first swatch, and this was definitely one of those items for me.

It includes a glittery warmed-up frosty white, muted reddish-brown with golden bronze glitter, glitzy soft pale antique gold, and smoky charcoal gray-black with silver glitter. These applied and looked almost wet–I will say they looked much better in person than in photos. There’s just something about the shimmer that I couldn’t capture, despite taking dozens of photos! I will say that the only real drawback to these is they have a tendency to get all over your cheeks if you use a regular eyeshadow brush with them. I do recommend using a sponge-tip applicator or else use these applied wet to minimize the fall out.

The texture of the eyeshadows was surprisingly soft and almost creamy, despite the obvious glittery bits, and the pigmentation was decent overall. I found the gold shade was the least opaque, followed by the white shade, while the brown and gray shades were both opaque. The price is just right, and you can often catch Sonia Kashuk on sale at your local Target–though I’ve heard this isn’t as easy to find locally as it is online.

Bottom Line: This is just one of those really fun, totally glitzy and glittery pieces that you may not pull out and wear everyday, but it sure is glamorous to have all that bling sparkling on your eyes.  It’s really, really stunning when you swatch–not quite as lovely on the lids (but still nice!), but ultimately not the most practical item I’ll own.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For lots and lots of shimmering glitter on your eyes, Sonia Kashuk is an affordable way to get glitzy this holiday season.

Availability: Target

See swatchesContinue reading →