Essie The Girls Are Out Nail Lacquer
Essie The Girls Are Out Nail Lacquer ($8.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is a vibrant, fuchsia pink with soft white/silver sparkle suspended in it. It almost looks like a jelly finish, but it wasn’t completely squishy-looking. The color was fully opaque after two coats were applied. The consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin, so the polish flowed easily over the nail without streaking or bubbling. I normally get a week of wear out of Essie’s formula with minor tip wear. Dior Bahia (667) is lighter. NARS Ratin Jot is similar but a cream finish. L’Oreal Members Only is warmer. China Glaze Beach Cruise-r is cooler-toned–more magenta. Essie Bossa Nova is darker, more fuchsia. See comparison swatches.
Full Steam Ahead Nail Lacquer ($8.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is a soft, light-medium lavender with subtle cool undertones and a subtle white pearl. The consistency on this shade was slightly thick, and it didn’t level out for me, so it looked a little streaky and uneven after two coats. I tried applying this a few different ways from using thinner coats to using one thin, one thicker, and then two more medium coats, but the results were all rather similar. I normally get a week of wear out of Essie’s formula with minor tip wear. Zoya Julie is lighter. Essie She’s Picture Perfect is darker, cooler-toned. Essie Nice is Nice is slightly pinker. Essie Bangle Jangle is more muted. See comparison swatches.
CoverGirl Gold Flame (330) Flamed Out Shadow Pencil
CoverGirl Gold Flame (330) Flamed Out Shadow Pencil ($7.99 for 0.08 oz.) is a warm, yellow gold with a pearly sheen. It’s not too frosted, but it’s more shimmery than a satin finish. It had fairly good color payoff in a single stroke and was buildable to mostly opaque color; it did need some light blending (with a finger tip or a fluffy brush) to even out some of the color on the lid, but overall it was nice. It wore well for seven and a half hours and was lightly creased after eight hours of wear. CoverGirl Melted Gold is similar but a powder. Disney Triton is similar, slightly warmer, powder. Chanel Cool Gold is darker. Sephora French Riviera is lighter, powder. MAC Goldmine is warmer. Giorgio Armani #1 Spring 2012 #3 is similar. Chanel Pearl River #3 is similar. OCC Acacia is cooler-toned. bareMinerals Remix is similar. Make Up For Ever #10 is similar but a powder. See comparison swatches.
Ice Flame (345) Flamed Out Shadow Pencil ($7.99 for 0.08 oz.) is a cool-toned, silvery blue with a pearly sheen. It had sheer color payoff in a single stroke and was buildable to about semi-opaque; there was some sheerness overall. Like the first shade, a little blending with the fingertip or a fluffy brush was necessary to even out the color since it wasn’t fully opaque. This shade wore well for eight hours and was somewhat faded after nine hours but had no creasing. Maybelline Seashore Frosts is bluer, has a golden shimmer. Clinique Big Blue is darker. Bobbi Brown Iced Blue is lighter. MAC Linger Softly is darker, powder. Chanel Destination is similar–a touch bluer. See comparison swatches.
The consistency is soft, and these both had a cooling sensation when they touched the skin. The pencil glides on well, as it had a good deal of slip, so I didn’t have any issues with either shade tugging or dragging on the lid. They set within thirty seconds, but they’re blendable and movable before then. It didn’t feel like they set too quickly or too slowly. These are the last of the CoverGirl Flamed Out Shadow Pencils I bought, and I don’t plan on buying any more right now (fall is coming!), but there are several other shades that exist. Based on my experience, the ones with chunkier sparkle seem to be the ones that are more problematic. The wear is inconsistent, but none of the four I tried creased instantly or had issues setting, so they’re manageable on my normal-to-dry lids (not super dry, but they’re not super oily!).
bareMinerals The Adrenaline Rush Color Boost
bareMinerals The Adrenaline Rush Color Boost ($29.00 for 0.30 oz.) is described as a “luminous golden ivory, natural matte pink, [and] matte rosewood.” Together, they swirl to create a soft, muted peach color with a mostly matte finish. MAC Adored is lighter. MAC Blush All Day is pinker, more muted. MAC Legendary is pinker. MAC Immortal Flower is brighter. MAC Light Year is more shimmery. Giorgio Armani Coral Bliss is a bit brighter. See comparison swatches.
The formula is supposed to provide a “subtle hint of fresh, radiant color” and have “luminous, stay-true buildable color.” They’re right on the money about subtle color, and I would only recommend this for light-medium and fairer complexions, because it really just gets lost on my skin tone (which is medium) and I had to pack it on to get anything to show, which defeats the purpose of something subtle and luminous as it ends up looking powdery and heavy. I think it would have been great for bareMinerals to launch two shades–one for lighter complexions, another for deeper ones. The texture was soft, finely-milled, but rather powdery so you may want to tap your brush lightly so it doesn’t have too much product on it. Applied like a normal blush, it didn’t look powdery on the skin, though I didn’t really see any luminous sheen as it looked really quite matte. It seemed to wear well on me for eight and a half hours.
Sephora Blonde Ambition Contour Eye Pencil
Sephora Blonde Ambition Contour Eye Pencil ($9.00 for 0.04 oz.) is described as “beige.” It’s a pale, gilded beige with a pearly sheen. It had good color payoff in a single pass, but it’s only semi-opaque and buildable to about semi-opaque, even though I tried to layer it. It’s sufficient for brightening the eye, and it can be evened out with a brush to blend the eyeliner together. NARS Rue Bonaparte is matte. MAC Gilded White is very similar, perhaps a touch whiter. Other champagne eyeliners are warmer, more beige. See comparison swatches.
Roof Top Party Contour Eye Pencil ($9.00 for 0.04 oz.) is described as “gunmetal.” It’s an olive brown; a murky, dirty brown with a hint of green and subtle shimmer. The color payoff was good in one stroke, and it was buildable to mostly opaque color with two or so passes of the eyeliner. Urban Decay Stash is richer–darker and more intense. MAC Forever Green is greener. bareMinerals 10AM is darker, more intense. See comparison swatches.
I liked both of these, but they weren’t as intense on the eye as they looked in the pencil–it was almost as if the consistency was a little too waxy so the color didn’t build up to full intensity as a result. Though, the waxiness enabled both shades to glide across the skin easily–no skipping or dragging. Both shades wore well for eight hours on me with very minimal thinning but no smudging or migrating.
See more photos & swatches!
Physicians Formula Warm Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush
Physicians Formula Warm Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush ($11.99 for 0.24 oz.) is a warm, light-medium coral-pink with a soft, sparkling sheen. MAC Simmer is more intense, darker. Edwared Bess Secret Affair is more orange. theBalm Frat Boy is pinker, less shimmery. NARS Deep Throat is a bit darker. MAC Supercontinental is warmer, less pink. MAC Legendary is lighter. MAC Flaming Chic is less shimmery. Chanel Fleur de Lotus is a bit warmer, brighter.
See comparison swatches.
The formula is supposed to give a “soft iridescence to highlight contour and add radiance to cheeks.” It had good color payoff that was buildable from sheer to semi-opaque but it may get lost on medium-dark to darker complexions. The texture was soft and smooth, and it was easy to blend it on the skin. It had a sparkling finish, so there were a few visible bits of sparkle, but it is rather fine so it didn’t seem to emphasize pores on my skin. It wore well for eight hours when I tested it, and it started to fade just before nine hours of wear. The powder is scented with violet, but I didn’t notice it once applied, only in the pan.
It comes in four shades, and I plan to review Natural as well, but I haven’t tested that one yet. But I did take photos, and between the two, there is not a major difference. If you have cooler undertones, I expect you’ll see a more notable difference, because Natural is warmer with less pink, but on my warmer, medium skin tone, it was hard to tell the difference between the two on (so just a heads up–I will do a full review of Natural once I’ve had a chance to wear it!).