Sunday, August 23rd, 2009


Tarte Femme Fatale Palette

Tarte: Get Killer Eyes on a Budget

Tarte Femme Fatale Eye Palette ($44.00) is one of two palettes from Tarte’s Fall 2009 Collection.  It’s a refillable eyeshadow palette that contains ten different eyeshadows.  The top row contains:  shimmering blush, iridescent smoke, shimmering violet, shimmering indigo, shimmering onyx; the bottom row contains:  shimmering light gold, shimmering copper-rose, shimmering deep bronze, shimmering jade, shimmering garnet.  It also includes a double-ended eyeliner and double-ended brush.

Now, I’m going to give you my take on the top row’s shades:  a soft, buttery semi-matte pale dusty pink; a frosty, icy silver with pink pearl; a deep red-tone purple with magenta; a dark navy blue with gray; and a gray-black with light sheen.  The second row’s shades:  a soft, semi-sheer peach with a buttery feel; a peach-toned copper with a frost finish; a warm-toned golden caramel brown; a muted teal with gray-blue; and a rich, deeply pigmented burgundy-black with purple flecks.

I found all ten shades to have a soft, smooth texture and all of them had decent to great pigmentation.  The only two that has slightly less pigmentation were the first shades in each of the rows–which I’d attribute more to them being softer shades overall, and thus just not appearing as pigmented as the other eight shades.  It’s an interesting mix of colors, and I can definitely see several combinations just jump out at me, which is something in its favor.

It’s actually a very value-heavy palette, because each shadow is 1.75g/0.06 oz.–which is more than a single, standalone MAC eyeshadow (which is 1.5g/0.06 oz.)!  If it’s cheaper than MAC, it’s pretty much going to be a better deal than most other high-end brands, too.  It’s actually great to see a palette that gives you plenty of product while pricing it right.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation:  Palette lovers, rejoice!  Value, pigmentation, and usability combine to make this a very worthwhile palette.  I personally didn’t love the packaging, but it’s such a minor point when what’s inside is so good!

Availability: Sephora

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Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Scrub-A-Dub-Dub: Philosophy In the Tub

Philosophy When Hope is Not Enough Hydrating Body Scrub ($30.00 for 8 oz.) is a gentle, mild exfoliator for body that’s easily used in the shower.  Though many of us can use coarser scrubs like sea salt, some people find those too harsh either from personal preference or their skin just doesn’t take kindly to it.  Enter Philosophy’s When Hope is Not Enough Hydrating Body Scrub!  (They really need an acronym for this — WHNE, anyone?)

While I liked the Body Lotion from this line, I love the scrub much more. The major reason is the scrub holds a lot more value than the lotion, which I felt I’d run through too quickly to merit the price tag ($35). The scrub will last me anywhere from four to six months, easily, using it two to three times a week.

This scrub has gritty but tiny scrubbing particles that help exfoliate your skin without irritating it or over-exfoliating. I’d call it more of a body polish than a scrub, actually, based on the scrub’s texture.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you’re into body polishes instead of coarser, grittier body scrubs, check this one out!

Availability: Philosophy.com, Nordstrom.com, Sephora.com

Have you tried the Hydrating Body Scrub? What was your take?

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Sneak Peek: MAC Cosmetics In High Def Collection

Launching on September 10th, MAC’s In High Def Collection (see full collection details here) contains several hand-picked products from the existing line as well as some new products that are designed to work well in the high definition environment. There are four new shades of lipstick: Close to Real, High Def, Resolutely Red, and Sharp Focus.

Lipstick ($14.00 U.S. / $16.50 CDN)

  • Close to Real is a pale, frosty peach. Despite having a lustre finish, it doesn’t feel like one to me. It feels much more like a frost lipstick, and it definitely looks like it on the lips. I found this one to seem to grab onto every imperfection on your lips–even after I had exfoliated–it just didn’t look very flattering. The color is really pale, so I’d vote on using this more as a layering shade than standalone.
  • High Def is a creamy, opaque pinky-coral color. It has a slight sheen, but it doesn’t contain any shimmer. On my lips, it doesn’t read very much coral (unfortunately, as MAC lacks corals!), but it’s still pretty. It looks more like my-lips-but-better with a bit more pinky-brown.
  • Resolutely Red is a mostly opaque, lightly creamy shade of reddish-wine. It’s not super bold or bright, so it’s more of a wearable red. It’s not too cool or warm, either, which I definitely like. It has a glossy look to it when applied.

Of the three I tried, none of them really jumped out at me as must-haves. High Def and Resolutely Red are flattering shades, while Close to Real may be more difficult for some to pull off (it is for me, at least!).

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you’re a fan of lustre finishes but have always wanted a bit more color… you might like these, because they pack a lot more pigmentation than your average lustre!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics (August 27th)

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Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Sneak Peek: MAC Cosmetics Nail Trend F/W ’09 by Jin Soon Choi

Debuting next Thursday with six different shades (see full color story here), we had a chance to try out two shades: Rich, Dark, Delicious and Dance All Night.

Nail Lacquer ($12.00 U.S. / $15.50 CDN)

  • Rich, Dark, Delicious is a deep dark chocolate black-brown that runs a little neutral-cool and has nearly imperceptible flecks of shimmer. I can only see the shimmer if I look really hard in sunlight, otherwise it appears mostly as a creme. Two coats made it opaque with no application issues.
  • Dance All Night is a rich, blood red that goes on nearly opaque with two coats. I do recommend using three thinner coats with this particular shade, because I found medium to thick coats to be a bit overwhelming. This one is all creme–no shimmer whatsoever–and is quite fitting it is so.

I don’t think I own any shades similar to Rich, Dark, Delicious, so it is actually an interesting color in my stash. It’s not quite black, but it’s not brown either, and I surprisingly like it agains tmy skin tone. Dance All Night feels less innovative, but it’s still a nice shade and wearable during the fall. The formula feels slightly thicker, creamier, and it was easier to apply. I’ve personally not have any problems applying MAC polishes nor with how they wear. I always use Zoya’s Color Lock system for my base, top, and drying coats, for reference.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10
  • Overall: 8/10

Recommendation: Nail polish fanatics hoping for an improved MAC formula might find in the latest lacquers created by nail guru Jin Soon Choi!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics (August 27th)

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Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

La Mer:  The Radiant Concealer SPF 25

The Max Huber Research Labs designed La Mer’s gemstone-infused Skincolor Collection to help capture light and transfer its energy to the skin, continuously enhancing the benefits of La Mer skincare. Providing a translucent color palette, La Mer Skincolor allows the skin to be washed with light to invisibly and completely smooth away imperfections, revealing a naturally radiant finish. Today, the Max Huber Research Labs unveils the next generation of Skincolor: The Radiant Concealer SPF 25.

This lightweight cream-to-powder concealer was formulated to instantly camouflage and ease imperfections. Tourmaline and malachite gemstones capture light energy to instantly conceal dark circles and blemishes. The Radiant Concealer SPF 25 optically erases imperfections to create a smooth even finish, while complementing the benefits of The Eye Balm and The Eye Concentrate.

Precious marine and plant extracts help reduce the appearance of dark under eye circles, puffiness, and pores. Meanwhile, with use, visible redness and discoloration are diminished as a soothing chamomile extract and an Asian mushroom called Viapure Poria continuously calms and soothes the skin.

A unique polymer mesh technology delivers buildable, diaphanous layers to create a crease-resistant flexible/breathable application. Skin stays naturally flawless all day. Helps protect skin with SPF 25.

The Radiant Concealer SPF 25 is available in three scientifically engineered translucent full coverage, skin-perfecting, radiance-enhancing hues: Ivory, Beige, and Natural Warm.

Availablility Select Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and lamer.com.  The Radiant Concealer SPF 25 will retail for $65.

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Bobbi Brown Goes Green for Fall, Take 2

Bobbi Brown Forest Shimmer Ink Gel Eyeliner ($21.00) is a new shade as part of Bobbi Brown’s Ivy League Collection.  Forest Shimmer Ink is a deep, olive-brown green with soft golden-olive shimmer.  It’s a very dark green-brown, and it is not lat all forest green to me (which is a bit brighter, more fervently green).  The addition of brown to the green makes it incredibly wearable, even to the office.  It has good pigmentation, goes on smooth and creamy, and then dries down and lasts me all day (on the lower lash line–not the waterline).

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation:  For gel liner fans, this is an excellent shade to add to your stash.  It goes well with other greens, but it works with golds and browns, too, making it a versatile shade.  It even works well as a base — particularly under greens to give them a little more oomph!

Availability: Nordstrom, BobbiBrownCosmetics.com

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