Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

MAC Nicki Minaj Pink Friday Lipstick
MAC Pink Friday Lipstick

MAC & Nicki Minaj Pink Friday Lipstick

Oooh, you are SO lucky! FedEx JUST dropped of a little black box that could only mean MAC… and inside was MAC & Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday lipstick. I say you’re lucky because I have to head to class in about fifteen minutes–I had just enough time to snap photos, swatch, crop, and upload.

Pink Friday is described as a “bright creamy pink lipstick,” and it has a satin finish (which means it has a creamy, semi-matte finish–no shimmer). It is a a creamy, medium pink with a noticeable blue undertone. It is pretty opaque on lips, and it almost has a chalky look, because it’s paler than it looks. I thought it was going to be a deeper pink, even based on seeing in the tube (in person), but it goes on paler.  I also recommend prepping lips as satin lipsticks can often emphasize dryness or any flakiness on lips!

It is bluer-based (veers on purple) in comparison to All Styled Up. It is totally different from Chatterbox and Sweetie. Fun Fun looks washed out and muddy when swatched next to it. Lavender Whip is significantly glossier and purpler. Saint Germain and Snob are actually the closest to Pink Friday; both are just a hue lighter, but the colors are very, very similar. Funny enough, Viva Glam Gaga looks less blue-based against all of these stronger, bluer-based pinks (see swatch).

DUPES:  Saint Germain, Snob

I apologize in advance — I do not have Pink Nouveau to compare this to. I was actually planning to purchase it along with Pink Friday on Friday but this press sample arrived this afternoon. I have a skin swatch of Pink Nouveau here, and you can tell it is similar–not quite as bright, probably not quite as blue-based.

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

RECOMMENDATION: The texture is a little off — it doesn’t apply as smoothly or as cleanly as other satin finish lipsticks. If you have either Snob or Saint Germain, this is close enough that you could skip.  This is a shade that looks best on cooler skin tones because of the strong blue base.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Cosmetics

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Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

MAC Nicki Minaj Pink 4 Friday Lipstick

MAC & Nicki Minaj Pink Friday 4 Lipstick

It’s a monster collaboration:  Pink 4 Friday by MAC Cosmetics and Nicki Minaj.  The Trinidadian hip-hop diva has personally designed a limited edition MAC Lipstick, Pink Friday, to celebrate the release of her highly anticipated debut album of the same name.  Putting her trademark Barbz glamour twist on a bright, creamy pink satin formula, Nicki Says, “MAC’s Pink Nouveau was my favorite lipstick for years, but now it’s all about Pink Friday!”  Check it out:  Nicki’s exclusive shade will only be available for purchase for four Fridays beginning Friday, November 26th, 2010, while supplies last, on maccosmetics.com.

Lipstick ($14.50 U.S. / $17.50 CDN)

  • Pink Friday Bright creamy pink lipstick (Satin) (Limited Edition)

Availability: November 26, December 3, December 10, and December 17, 2010 at www.maccosmetics.com only.

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Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Chanel Riva Le Vernis Nail Lacquer
Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer

Chanel Cote d’Azur Collection: Riva

Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer ($27.00 for 0.4 fl. oz.) is a pale sky blue with ultra fine, barely-there iridescent blue shimmer strewn through the creamier, almost jelly-esque base. The swatches included in this post show the effect of three coats (and thicker ones at that)–I would say that you would need a muted white shade underneath, perhaps, or else four coats.

In all honesty, this is just not a shade to be worn opaque (at least not on its own). You’re better off wearing two coats and going for a sheer look than layering it on and ending up with a very thick pile o’ polish. I didn’t experience any streaking when applying the three coats, but it did seem more prone to bubbling (I don’t think I’ve ever really had a polish look like it was going to bubble on me… it was odd!).

I’m actually a big fan of Chanel’s polishes typically, but I can’t say I’m on the Riva bandwagon yet. The color itself is just not there for me; it lacks the dimensionality of other cult status Chanel shades–the shimmer is too fine, too soft, and it’s difficult to detect unless under direct, bright light. I had no idea this was a much anticipated shade until after I purchased it, which I’m glad for, because my expectations may have been even higher had I known.

Even more painful is the $4 price increase on Riva as compared to their other nail lacquers–what? I’m fully willing to pay $23 for a shade that only Chanel can do (or at least, is the first to do), but $27 for a shade with some application/formula issues and doesn’t quite hit the zing color-wise makes it impossible to recommend in good conscience!

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 5/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a Chanel collector, you may want to snag it rather than see it for $200 in two months–just because a lot of hype has been built up for this shade and it likely will sell out. Otherwise, I think you could safely skip.

AVAILABILITY: Chanel

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Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Clarins Barocco Eyeshadow Palette
Clarins Barocco Eyeshadow Palette

Clarins Holiday 2010: Barocco Eyeshadow Palette

Clarins Barocco Eyeshadow Palette ($40.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a new and limited edition palette for the holidays. It contains three eyeshadows and is housed in an elegant gold-lidded case with a black “scroll’ on the left side. The packaging, though, is extremely prone to capturing fingerprints.

The palette contains a matte charcoal black; antique-gold bronze (almost flashes green); and gilded peach-champagne with a metallic sheen. The first two shade really need to be used wet to get smooth, even color that’s true-to-pan. The peachy shade can be used dry and still provides nice color pay off. These feel very much like a mineralize or baked shadow, but more like Chanel’s than MAC’s. The texture doesn’t feel as silky smooth as Chanel eyeshadows, but the results when applied are similar.

I love the packaging, even though it does hold fingerprints, but I think it’s very elegant and luxurious. I think the inclusion of the double-sided sponge-tip applicator brings it down a bit, though. I’m also concerned over the amount of eyeshadow here — 0.05 oz. I double-checked the box and the palette, and it lists “net weight” of 0.05 oz. There is no “3 x 0.05 oz.” written. What? Are you serious?

It’s a lovely palette with three shades that work well together for a gold-themed smoky eye–perfect for the holidays–and it looks beautiful from the packaging to the shadows themselves. I don’t love the eyeshadows, though; they could be a little more intense (even when they are used wet) and smoother. But I’m really not digging the itty bitty amount of product you are getting. Even for high-end, it falls below average.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If quantity isn’t important to you, the product itself is more of a B product. It’s nice–not the greatest palette ever–and worth a look-see if you favor bronzes and golds.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Smashbox Wish For the Perfect Pencils
Onyx, 14K, Orchid, Graphite

Holiday Wishes with Smashbox

Smashbox Wish For The Perfect Pencils (2010) ($16.00 for 4 x 0.03 oz.) are one of my favorite holiday sets, after discovering their great deal last year. This year’s set is actually a better deal, even though they are smaller in size. In this set, you receive four shades, each 0.03 oz., for a total of 0.12 oz. — but for the less than the cost of a single eyeliner (by most other high-end brands). (Last year’s set retailed for $32 for 0.20 oz. of product.) I love this set as a stocking stuffer or affordable gift to give to pals for the holidays.

  • Onyx is a matte, dark black. It’s your standard black eyeliner; there is nothing bad to say about it, but there is nothing different that makes it stand out.
  • 14K is a pale yellow gold with a metallic finish. Make Up For Ever’s #23L is similar–a touch peachier.
  • Orchid is a muted, deep purple. The closest dupe I could think of was Make Up For Ever’s #11L Aqua Eyes, but it’s a little more violet and has shimmer in its finish.
  • Graphite is a silvered charcoal with a metallic finish. This shade is a lot like Urban Decay’s Gunmetal.

These eyeliners are smooth and easy to apply, because they don’t drag or pull. They last all day on me, though they do not wear all day on the water line. They are soft without being fragile–their hardness lies between Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners and Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Eyes.

Just to be clear, since it seemed like there was some confusion, this set IS different than last year’s – these are Smashbox’s Limitless Liner formula (last year’s wasn’t part of their permanent liner formula).  I don’t think I said they were the same, but just to clear up any questions! :)

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I do — if the colors are up your alley!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Clarins Blackberry Rouge Prodige Lipstick
Clarins Blackberry Rouge Prodige Lipstick

First Look at Clarins Rouge Prodige

Clarins Blackberry Rouge Prodige Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.10 oz.) is Clarins’ latest in lipstick formulas–it’s supposed to be a long-wearing lipstick with intense color that smooths away lip lines with high shine. Blackberry is an opaque, muted, pinked plum with a glossy shine. It’s actually a lovely shade for fall and winter that’s perfect for the season without being overwhelming.

It does have that shiny, glossy finish the description boasts, and it doesn’t feel like the traditional long-wearing lipstick does. There is nothing drying about it when you apply it, because it applies like a thin gloss or a gloss/lipstick hybrid. The color pay off is excellent, though, and really delivers opaque color with a lightweight feel. I only get four hours of wear with this shade, and for me, that’s the average time a lipstick wears on me–it’s just not that long-wearing. It doesn’t transfer much when drinking from a glass, but for whatever reason, it just doesn’t extend past four hours.

The Rouge Prodige is a comfortable lipstick to wear, because it doesn’t cling or dry lips out (but while it has a glossy feel when applied, I do not find it moisturizing).  There is a faint sweetened berry scent that is detectable but not overpowering (and doesn’t read synthetic or syrupy sweet), and there was no noticeable taste.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I always welcome a new line with opaque lip color (because it’s easier to sheer out an opaque color than it is to build up the color of a sheer shade!), and Rouge Prodige is a nice lipstick overall–it just falls short of its long-wearing claims for me.  If it didn’t have that claim, I would have given it a higher score.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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