Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Illamasqua Gender Intense Lipgloss
Illamasqua Gender Intense Lipgloss

Makeup That’s Just Pure FUN!

Illamasqua Gender Intense Lipgloss (£12.50 for 0.2 fl. oz.) is not a wearable shade by any stretch of the imagination.  This is a shade that completely embodies the word fun.  It’s different; it’s unusual.  It’s something to be used for that just-right-occasion, which might be Halloween for some, an avant garde photo-session with your best pals, or lightly patted on over your favorite lipstick to give it a bluish cast.

Gender is a medium blue that leans a little teal–it’s described as a sky blue, but it definitely had this teal edge to it that made me think less sky blue.  I could not smile in swatch photos – it just did not look right!  I felt like it made a mockery of the shade, so “straight faced” it was.

It’s almost opaque, but it didn’t apply as evenly or as solidly as other Intense shades have in the past.  I would probably lay down a concealer/foundation base (or even a blue eyeliner) and then use a lip brush to apply this–I think that would help it look more even.   This is a shade that’s only available through Illamasqua; you won’t find it at your local Sephora!

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Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Burberry Russet Blush
Burberry Russet Blush (Look breakdown here)

Burberry Russet (01) Blush ($42.00 for 0.24 oz.) is a softened rust-brown. When blended out, it’s just a hint of red-toned brown, but it can be layered on for a deeper shade that looks most rust-like. On my cheeks, it looks like a bronzer with a lil’ kick to it–not quite a flat or shimmering brown or bronze, but it gives my cheeks more warmth and dimension. I like the soft, finely-milled feel of the powder, and it applies smoothly without looking powdery. Burberry’s blushes look incredibly natural on skin, and they’re easy to sheer out or build up for a stronger cheek (but never an ultra intense cheek).

It’s packaged in a hefty gunmetal compact with a soft, bristled brush that actually works (though I’ll still stick with my regular brushes) and doesn’t feel scratchy against the skin. Burberry’s signature check pattern covers the front of the compact, and the logo is on the side. This blush comes with a good amount of product–around 30% more than your average high-end blush compact, actually!

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: For a darker, but still natural, cheek, Russet makes a good color choice for both warm and cool skin tones.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Thursday, August 5th, 2010

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer
theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer

A Highlighter for Generations

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer ($24.00 for 0.30 oz.) is a mega highlighter–no, seriously! This compact contains a ton of product–it’s double the amount of your average blush. I can’t fathom ever finishing this, because you need so little to get that shimmering glow.

It’s a soft, shimmering champagne with subtle gold tones. It’s not the subtlest highlighter, but it’s not glittery, heavy, or overly shimmery either. It seems to have a combination of noticeable shimmer and subtle, glowy sheen. I think it’s a very pretty shade–ultra flattering on most skin tones–but it is absolutely gorgeous on warmer skin tones.  (Again, this should work beautifully on cooler skin tones, too!)

On my cheeks, I just tap the tiniest amount on the tops of my cheeks using a tapered face brush, and then I blend it out. I will say that this is a product where blending is necessary–if you just tap it on, it will look obvious and accentate pores, but a few quick swishes of a brush will turn you into a glowy goddess.  You can also use this as a highlighter anywhere–cheeks, eyes, lips, you name it!

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 love highlighters and don’t own this one, I really think you may want to put it on your list.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Shiseido RD 629 Lipstick
Shiseido Natural Red RD 629 Perfect Rouge Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Shiseido Natural Red (RD629) Lipstick

Shiseido Natural Red (RD629) Perfect Rouge Sheer Lip Color ($25.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a muted, played-down semi-sheer red with a glossy sheen–it almost looks like a gloss when applied, but it is most definitely a lipstick.  It’s moisturizing, and it’s very comfortable to wear, because it’s lightweight and creamy.  Shiseido’s lipsticks are scent- and taste-free, too.

Is this the right red for you? Would you wear it?

The Sultry Season is a series of posts featuring deep, rich shades of brown, berry, plum, and wine lipsticks and lipglosses — just right for autumn — that runs through October 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Benefit Sunday Funday Palette

Sunday Funday… on Thursday!

Benefit Sunday Funday Palette ($38.00) features Hoola (0.1 oz., mining bronzing powder), Benetint (0.09 oz. rose-tinted lip & cheek stain), Shimmering Rose (0.18 oz., lip shine), Toasty (0.01 oz., eyeliner), four eyeshadows (0.10 oz. each), and two double-sided miniature-sized brushes. This is a companion palette to Scene Queen. Sunday Funday was created by Maggie Ford Danielson–the daughter of Jean Ford, one of Benefit’s co-founders–who is also one of Benefit’s makeup trend artists.

“Sunday Fun Day is all about pulling together a fresh, fabulous look after a late night. Whether you were up watching movies or dancing ’til dawn, this kit has the prettiest eyeshadows and complexion essentials to make you look beautifully revived…just in time for brunch. Waiter, coffee and mimosas, please!” —Maggie Ford Danielson, Benefit Makeup Trend Artist

  • Hoola is a neutral-toned medium-dark bronzer with a nearly matte finish.
  • Benetint is a very natural stain and one of Benefit’s iconic products. It leaves just the tiniest flush behind.
  • Shimmering Rose is a semi-sheer pinky gloss with gold shimmer. It looks rather melon-y in the tube, but it brought out a lot of the pink in my lips.
  • Shimmering Bronze is a softened bronze with a low warmth to it; for a bronze, it’s really not overly warm. Slight sheen, not too frosty, and nicely pigmented.
  • Pink Satin is a light pink with subtle peach tones–not a true pink, but not really peach, either. I could see this as a nice all-over lid color.
  • Light Champagne is a light yellow gold with a frosty sheen.
  • Pretty in Plum is a red-toned, medium plum purple with a satin sheen.
  • Toasty is a medium-dark brown with just a hint of warmth.

These palettes are an excellent way to try out Benefit products without blowing your budget. Sunday Funday gives you plenty of product, and it’s definitely a nice, all-in-one palette. I love that the lipgloss is packaged in a tube–you can tote it around with you later on, but you also don’t have to worry about it getting dust or eyeshadow in it, either. The eyeshadows were very smooth, buttery, and pigmented–they felt just like Benefit’s single eyeshadows. I think this particular mix of colors also works really well together; nothing feels out of place here.

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’re a palette kind of beauty buff, Sunday Funday is a new favorite for me.  It makes sense, so you can travel with it and not worry about combining it with other products for a complete look.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Make Up For Ever #20 Rouge Artist Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Make Up For Ever #20 Rouge Artist Lipstick

Make Up For Ever #20 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick ($19.00 for 0.12 oz.) is described as a “pearly rust,” and it’s exactly that–a shimmering, lightly frosted rusty red with subtle copper-red shimmer.  It’s opaque and wears four hours with ease on me.  Rouge Artist Intense has an interesting formula where it’s very thin, almost dry and takes more pressure to apply than your average lipstick, but it doesn’t actually feel drying when you wear it.  It’s scent- and taste-free–and it doesn’t have any waxy scent, either, which often plagues supposedly scent-free lip products!

Is this the right red for you? Would you wear it?

The Sultry Season is a series of posts featuring deep, rich shades of brown, berry, plum, and wine lipsticks and lipglosses — just right for autumn — that runs through October 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →