Thursday, August 12th, 2010

ORLY Cosmic Collection
Nail Lacquers: Out of This World, It’s Not Rocket Science, Haley’s Comet

Intergalactic, Planetary, Planetary, Intergalactic

This September, ORLY’s Cosmic FX Collection will launch.  According to ORLY, these polishes have a textured finish that have multi-dimensional flashes of shine as a result of “MINERAL FX” technology.  This technology uses a mix of natural rock minerals, crystals, and glass that give these shades an optical effect.  All six shades will retail for $10 each and are limited edition.

From ORLY…

The MINERALFX technology includes specialty mica, that allows for a clearer, vibrantly bright lustrous shimmer. Crystals allow for a multi-dimensional color transformation. Glass particles carefully controlled in shape and size create a luminous phenomenon. This combination infused with the Silica and specific colors selected create this exclusive technology that gives nails a unique optical effect that’s magnified as the lighting source intensifies or viewing angle changes.

Nail Lacquers

  • Out of This World is a deep purple base with shimmer flecks of violet purple and green gold.  Three coats.
  • It’s Not Rocket Science is an olive green base with darkened chartreuse and teal shimmer. It looks rather chartreuse-y at some angles, while in others, it almost looks emerald green as the teal comes into play.  Two coats.
  • Haley’s Comet is an aqua-blue color base with flecks of green, teal, and blue shimmer. It looks bluer at some angles, more mermaid-esque at other angles. I found that this one had the least powerful duochrome.  This felt like the least pigmented, so it definitely needed a full three coats.  This also bears a strong resemblance to Zoya’s Charla.
  • Space Cadet is one of the coolest shades of the six. It has a very strong duochrome finish/effect. It looks like a mauvey plum but then it glints a chartreuse-y green with strong gold undertones. I can’t think of anything I have that’s quite like this.  Two coats.
  • Galaxy Girl is a beautiful deep wine-purple base with red undertones. It has flecks of teal and darkened fuchsia-purple shimmer. It’s dark and a little vampy, but I absolutely love the subtle but noticeable duochrome effect.  Two coats.
  • Lunar Eclipse is a glowing indigo blue that flashes violet, electric blue, and inky blue. It’s incredible–it’s my personal favorite. This was the most pigmented shade of the six, and it only needed two coats.

ORLY completely hit a homerun here for me.  Not only was this the collection I was most anticipating personally, but it fulfilled all my expectations.  It did not disappoint at any point.  The formula was nicely pigmented and not too thick, easy to work with, and the shimmer and glass flecks distributed evenly. I didn’t have any issues with drying time when I used Zoya’s Color Lock System, including their quick drying drops–I was typing away just minutes after applying the Hurry Up drops.  I also love the rubber caps of ORLY’s polish, because it makes handling them foolproof.

There’s only one downside and that’s the price–these are more expensive than your usual ORLYs (which retail at $7.50).  Don’t get me wrong, considering I’ll happily fork over $23 for a Chanel shade, I think these are completely worth it.  They’re interesting and complex shades that apply well, which is what makes a polish worth it for me.

But in the end, there’s really only one word to sum up this collection: BADASS.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love pops of color on your nails, ORLY’s Cosmic collection is NOT to be missed!

AVAILABILITY: September 2010 at orlybeauty.com, ULTA, and Sally Beauty

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Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Video Review:  Urban Decay Book of Shadows 3

I’m way more articulate in my written review, but this might be helpful as an overview or if you are a more auditory learner. :)  I do recommend watching the video in HD.  So much prettier that way!

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III
Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III

Exclusive: First Look @ Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows Vol. III

For the holidays, Urban Decay will be launching the third installation in their Book of Shadows palette series. The palette will retail for $54, and while I don’t have an exact date yet, based on past releases, mid to late September is a good bet. If you’re in the NYC area on August 28th, you can snag one of 1,000 pieces available for sale at the Times Square Sephora (details here).  It’s expected to launch online at urbandecay.com after Labor Day and at other retailers on October 1st.

The palette includes 16 eyeshadows (0.03 oz. each, total of 0.48 oz.), 2 miniature-sized eyeliners (0.03 oz. each, total of 0.06 oz.), and 1 minature-sized Primer Potion (0.13 fl. oz.). To break down the value for you, this represents $163.20 worth of eyeshadow ($340/oz.), $25.50 worth of eyeliner ($425/oz.), $6.88 of Primer Potion ($52.94/fl. oz.). In sum, it’s the equivalent of $195.58 worth of Urban Decay products. You will, of course, have to spend much more as individual products are all slightly bigger (e.g. each full-size eyeshadow retails for $17).

Anyway, the point is that no matter how you slice it, Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows palettes have a lot of value. The quality of the shadows is exactly what their full-size and permanent shades represent; there is no skimping here.

Eyeshadows

  • Perversion is a matte charcoal black. It’ll darken anything you want to, and it’s a good black, but it’s not an ultra deep black. Not at all chalky! This is a permanent shade, and it has been featured in BoS I and II.
  • Uzi is a whitish-silver with flecks of silver glitter. I’ve found this shade has some fall out, but it’s not too bad. This is a permanent shade, and it has been featured in the Sustainable palette.
  • Loaded is a deep forest green with a metallic shimmer sheen. It is hands down my favorite shade in the palette — it’s like a greener version of NARS’ Rajasthan! This is new and exclusive to this palette.
  • Kush is a medium grassy green with a subtle cool undertone. This is a nice shade with excellent color payoff, and it is new and exclusive to this palette–but it does have some cousins. It’s a darker version of Graffiti (permanent) and Absinthe (BoS I), and it’s a greener, darker version of Homegrown (BoS II).
  • Midnight Cowboy Rides Again is a pink-tinged champagne with champagne flecks of glitter. It may be one of my least favorite eyeshadows of all time, because it has so much fall out, even though it feels very smooth. I recommend using it with a stickier base and make sure you have Q-tips and makeup remover to control the fall out. This shade is permanent, and it has been in BoS II and BoS Alice in Wonderland, as well as the Sustainable palette.
  • Last Call is a medium plum with strong red undertones and shimmer finish. This is a permanent shade that’s also a popular palette shade–it’s been featured in BoS I, BoS AiW, and Ammo.
  • Rockstar is a deep shade of eggplant purple with burgundy-red undertones and a shimmer-sheen. This is a new and exclusive shade to the palette–but the color is like Rockstar 24/7 Eye Pencil (duh!).
  • Money is a silvered blue with a metallic blue-green sheen. Very pretty and will be a great shade to layer over colored bases to bring out different undertones. This shade is new and exclusive to the palette.
  • Haight is a brightened medium blue with a frost finish that pulls just an itsy bit teal. This is shade is permanent, but it’s a Sephora exclusive. It hasn’t been in any other palettes.
  • Maui Wowie is an antique gold with a nearly metallic gold sheen. It also has flecks of dark gold glitter, so it can have some fall out issues. This is a permanent shade, and it’s also been in BoS AiW and Ammo.
  • Smog is a medium-dark bronze with a shimmer-frost finish. This is a shade that’s been in a ton of palettes! It’s permanent, but it has also been released in BoS I, Ammo, Naked, and Vegan.
  • Bordello is a mauve-tinged pink with soft flecks of dark pink shimmer-glitter. It’s smooth, pigmented, and has an almost metallic sheen. The glitter is similar to Uzi’s, but it feels a little finer. This is a new and exclusive shade.
  • Radium is a true medium blue with a cooler undertone and a softer frost finish. Great pigmentation! It is new and exclusive to this palette, and I imagine its color gets inspiration from Radium Cream Eyeshadow.
  • Snatch is a peachy-pink with a frosty finish. It’s very smooth and has nice pigmentation. This was originally in the Show Pony palette.
  • Suspect is a medium bronze that pulls a smidgen taupe and has a rather cooler undertone. I thought it was similar to some of the browns in previous BoS palettes (like Sidecar, Nylon, Gridlock, etc.), but those all have obvious red undertones in comparison. This is a new and exclusive shade.
  • Psychedelic Sister is a brightened medium purple with red undertones. It’s a nice shade of purple that’s pigmented and has a soft frost sheen. It’s a permanent, but it is a Sephora exclusive. This is the first time it’s been in a palette.

Eyeliners

  • Zero is a deep black. Very pigmented, definitely a handy shade to have. Even if I do have five of them at this point. But really, black eyeliner in a palette makes sense.
  • Ransom is an iridescent violet purple with more of a violet flash/sheen and some red undertones. This is available in full-size, but it’s one of my favorite liners. (Try patting Fishnet over it for some real va-voom!)

New vs. Old vs. Repromoted

There are seven new and exclusive shades to the palette (Bordello, Kush, Loaded, Money, Radium, Rockstar, and Suspect). There are two Sephora exclusive shades (Haight and Psychedelic Sister) that were released a few months ago but have never been sold in any of the previous palettes. There are seven permanent shades (Snatch, Last Call, Maui Wowie, Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, Smog, Perversion, and Uzi), with Perversion, Snatch, and Uzi being in just one or two previous palettes and the others being in three or more. The worst case scenario? You’ll get seven brand new eyeshadows.

Overall, it’s another solid eyeshadow palette. I didn’t have any pigmentation issues with these eyeshadows, and I like the addition of seven new and two of the Sephora exclusives (which I really liked, but know some readers were hesitant to pay $17 a pop). There are two shades that do run on the glittery side (Midnight Cowboy Rides Again and Maui Wowi) and two on the slightly glittery side (Uzi and Snatch).

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you like Urban Decay eyeshadows, the Book of Shadows is always a good buy. If you’re not into shimmery/frosty shades and prefer more matte or satin finishes, then this might not be your thing.

AVAILABILITY: Holiday 2010

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Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash
Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash

Quick & Clean with Kate Somerville

Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash ($32.00 for 4 oz.) is a no-frills cleanser for me. I really like it, because it just gets the job done quickly and effectively. I purchased mine several weeks ago via Gilt, when they had a Kate Somerville sale, so I bought the economy-sized 16 oz. bottle for $47 (regularly $95, from what I see on QVC).

Ingredients: Purified Water, Sodium Alpha Olefin (C14-16) Sulfonate, Cocomidopropyl Betaine, PEG/PPG-8/3 Diisostearate, Glycerin, Acrylates Copolymer, Silicone Quaternium-8, Quillaja Saponaria Bark Extract, Salvia Offincinalis (Sage) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Zinc PCA, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorphenesin.

It’s a lightweight gel cleanser that has a light lather that smells a little like lavender and tropical fruit.  I have no idea why I always get tropics out of it.  Nobody else does, so I think my nose is engaging in some wishful thinking!  It cleans effectively and quickly; directions state to work into moistened skin for thirty seconds and then rinse.  There is no tight feeling left behind, and my skin doesn’t feel parched either.  I just feel clean and refreshed!

For me, it does all the cleansing that I need.  It gets rid of dirt and grime and any foundation/tinted moisturizer I’ve worn that day.  This won’t breakdown heavy eye/lip makeup, but in my experience, gentle cleansers rarely do as that is not what they’re designed for.  (I personally use something targeted for makeup to do a preliminary/makeup cleanse, and then follow-up with a gentler cleanser.)  I was surprised it removed my foundation so well, though, but the toner-test (take a cotton pad with toner and see if your cleanser missed any makeup) showed nothing was left behind.

At its regular retail price, it’s a rather pricey no-frills cleanser.  A little goes a long way, certainly, so I imagine this super size would get one through at least six months’, if not a year’s, worth of cleansing.  The jumbo size also features a pump system, while the normal, regularly available sized cleanser comes in a squeeze-tube. I think I’d actually like the squeeze-tube better, even if it is easier to manage a pump with damp hands.

I don’t need a full pump’s worth, so I usually do about a half pump, but this has resulted in excess cleanser getting stuck in the dispenser and hardening a bit from exposure to the air.  It’s easy to remove, but it’s a little annoying, too.  (It’s kind of like if you squeeze too much toothpaste out of the tube–it lingers until you remove, and it’s not difficult, but it’s a bit frustrating.)

I do really like this cleanser in conjunction with the Clarisonic, though.  It has just the right gel consistency and light lather that works well with the device!   I will probably switch to another cleanser soon so I can test-drive something else, but I definitely see myself keeping and returning to this one at some point.  If the boy doesn’t steal it and use it all up!

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: If you have the dough, it’s a nice cleanser that feels gentle and does the job.  But it’s not exactly revolutionary, and as much as I like it, it’s quite costly, even relative to other high-end brands of skincare.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

CoverGirl Lash Blast Fusion Mascara
CoverGirl Lash Blast Fusion Mascara

How Does LashBlast Fusion Stack Up?

CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion Mascara ($8.99) is designed to both lengthen and volumize your lashes in just one formula. A year ago, I reviewed LastBlast Length with pretty good results–not my perfect mascara for my eyelashes–but a solid lengthening mascara all the same.

It is a fiber mascara, which makes it very easy to remove. Despite easy removal, I did not encounter any smudging or flaking during the twelve hour test I gave it. Everything stayed put as it should. This is a great mascara if you use about two coats or three really quick coats–if you work slowly on each coat, you’ll end up in Clump City. It didn’t seem prone to clumping so much as it dries quickly. When it’s dried, my lashes didn’t feel heavy or crunchy, and they still looked like they had a natural softness to them.

I think what left me less than impressed with this mascara is that the effect is more on the natural side, which isn’t what LashBlast seems to be about. It gives some length, a little volume (I didn’t notice much myself), and smidgen of thickening–but it doesn’t do any of these with any va-voom. The original LashBlast does all of these better, and LashBlast Length does a better job of lengthening.

When it comes to rating a product, it’s about how good it is–but also how good it is at what it’s supposed to do. While it’s great when a product does more than it should or does something great, I always consider whether it lives up to the marketing claims. Fusion doesn’t fail, but it doesn’t live up to its claims about volume for me, but it does a decent job of adding length.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I don’t think any of the LashBlasts will treat you poorly, but Fusion seems to give me the most natural look of all three. (And yes, I’m totally aware that I don’t actually have a review of the original LashBlast up at this time.) I’d probably stick with the original for a more multi-tasking mascara or opt for lengthening if you need just length.

AVAILABILITY: Drugstore.com

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Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III
Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III

Sure we’ve all got our different styles (usually not including Carrie-style hotpants and tutus), but just like what we love about NYC, this Book of Shadows is a melting pot of color. The ribbon pull drawer reveals 16 natty eyeshadows, deluxe-minis of our award-winning 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils in Zero and Ransom, and a travel size Eyeshadow Primer Potion.

Inspired by the city, its diversity, and the fact that 8 million people each have their own story, Book of Shadows Vol. III is a tribute from the ultimate California beauty brand to the people and stories that make NYC the apple of our eye. The pop-up book-style palette is loaded with hand-illustrated depictions of the city that never sleeps. We give you glitz and glam alongside characters from all walks of life living amidst the LED-lit (yup…this palette lights up!) landmarks we all love.

Palette contains 16 eyeshadows:

  • Bordello Purpley-pink with gold shift
  • Kush Bright green
  • Loaded Deep emerald/black
  • Money Silvery pale green
  • Radium Bright blue
  • Rockstar Deep eggplant with metallic base
  • Suspect Oyster with dimensional shift
  • Haight Shimmering, mermaid blue (Permanent)
  • Psychedelic Sister Purple amethyst (Permanent)
  • Snatch Peachy-pink with glitter (Permanent)
  • Last Call Plum punch (Permanent)
  • Maui Wowie Medium gold with silver glitter (Permanent)
  • Midnight Cowboy Rides Again Golden beige with bronze, gold, and silver glitter (Permanent)
  • Smog Deep coppery bronze (Permanent)
  • Perversion Matte jet black (Permanent)
  • Uzi Metallic silver with big iridescent sparkles (Permanent)

Also included:

  • Ransom 24/7 Eye Pencil
  • Zero 24/7 Eye Pencil
  • Eyeshadow Primer Potion (Travel-size)

Availability: The palette will retail for $54 and be available this holiday 2010 at Macy’s, Sephora, ULTA, and urbandecay.com. However…

How to Get Your Palette Before Everyone Else…

As a tribute to NYC, Urban Decay will be hosting a one-day, sneak peek event at Sephora Times Square (1500 Broadway, #304) on Saturday, August 28th from 1 to 9PM where 1,000 pieces of the limited edition Book of Shadows Vol. III will be available for purchase on a first come, first served basis. The first 200 die-hard fans will also receive a limited edition Urban Decay t-shirt with their consultation. Urban Decay’s Eric Jimenez, Worldwide Retail Sales Director and International Makeup Artist, and his team of A-list artists will also be in attendance!

Where: Sephora Times Square, 1500 Broadway #304, NYC, NY 10036
When: Saturday, August 28th, 1-9PM

Note: There is a limit of three per person!

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