Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Choosing my top ten favorite palettes from the ones I tested and reviewed in 2013 was a lot more difficult than I anticipated! To give you an idea on how stiff the competition was, there were 128 reviews filed under “makeup palettes,” so you can see there were plenty to choose from! (And if you were curious, I have 1,261 posts filed under “reviews,” and the majority of those posts feature more than one shade, for the past year.) I considered which ones gave me warm, fuzzy feelings, that were high quality, and that I could really reach for over and over again. With those things in mind, here are my favorites…

What were your favorite palettes that you tried this past year?

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

I have a whole slew of fun top tens to share with you over the next few days!  You may even see some of these pop up again in a few other top tens.  I wanted to put a spotlight on some of the best affordable and budget-friendly products that I enjoyed and reviewed over the past year.  I hope you’ll take a moment to share your own favorites that you discovered this year.

What were your favorite budget-friendly eyeshadows and eyeliners this year?

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Sleek MakeUP Launches for Spring 2014
Sleek MakeUP Launches for Spring 2014

Garden of Eden i-Divine Palette ($9.99 / £7.99)

Enhance what Mother Nature gave you with the striking, beautiful colours of Sleek MakeUP’s new Garden of Eden i-Divine Palette. An earthy, nature inspired palette that echoes the hues of a stunning tropical jungle with dusky purples, earthy browns and organic greens. Garden of Eden i-Divine delivers the iconic 12 high pigmented eye shadows associated with Sleek MakeUP once again, with shades such as Paradise On Earth, Eve’s Kiss and Gates Of Eden. Each fresh, vibrant shade stays true from day to night and blends together beautifully to create any look you desire from soft and subtle, to dazzling and dramatic, suited to all skin tones. You simply cannot go wrong when making your eyes your most captivating feature, each exquisite shade is perfect for the Spring and Summer months, or anytime you want to feel naturally beautiful.Launching in edgy snake print limited edition packaging*, get your Garden of Eden i-Divine with a daring makeover.

Mascara ($8.99 / £6.99)

  • Lethal Length
  • Full Fat Lash

Blush by 3 ($12.49 / £9.99)

  • Californ.I.A.
  • Pink Lemonade

Availability: January 15th, 2014 at www.boots.com, www.sleekmakeup.com

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Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Too Faced Be Merry, Be Bright Kat Von D Spellbinding theBalm Balm Voyage Urban Decay Vice 2 Eyeshadow Palette Sugarpill Cold Chemistry LORAC Pro Palette Too Faced Pretty Rebel Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Sleek MakeUP Vintage Romance

As promised, here are my top picks for palettes to snag during the holidays! :)  Also… as I review other palettes from the holidays (I don’t think I have too many more!) and find other great choices, I’ll be sure to add them here.

  1. Too Faced Be Merry, Be Bright Set ($45.00 for 1.28 oz.) consists of two “books” of makeup–each has six eyeshadows and two blush/cheek colors. The quality was good across the board, and there was a nice variety of colors and textures. You can read part one and part two of my reviews on it.
  2. Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 1.20 oz.) contains twenty-four (24!!!) eyeshadows, and they’re even designed to be layered and used together, so you can have an endless amount of combinations and textures! You can read part one and part two.
  3. theBalm Balm Voyage ($42.50 for 1.21 oz.) has sixteen eyeshadows and three lip/cheek colors, but the eyeshadows are the stars. This is a great choice for someone who prefers more matte/satin finishes. Check out part one and part two for reviews on this palette.
  4. Urban Decay Vice 2 ($59.00 for 0.60 oz.) has twenty eyeshadows to choose from with a variety in texture and color to choose from. If you love pigmented, buttery, soft eyeshadows–this one’s for you. You can read part one and part two of my reviews.
  5. Sugarpill Cold Chemistry ($34.00 for 0.48 oz.) is a wintry mix of cool-toned gray, white, purple, and teal for someone who loves bold, rich colors and a lot of them. Not limited edition but a perfectly-timed release for the holiday season. Read my review here.
  6. LORAC Pro Palette ($42.00 for 0.55 oz.) is a cult-favorite palette for a reason–it combines mattes with high frosts. There are eight matte shades and then eight more frosted shades, and you can mix and match them for satin and pearl finishes, too! Permanent and available year-round, there’s no hurry to snag one, but with holiday deals and sales, now’s a great time to try it. Read my review here.
  7. Too Faced Pretty Rebel ($46.00 for 0.50 oz.) contains ten eyeshadows, which might not be as sexy as a mega palette, but these are ten fantastic eyeshadows. If you love jewel-tones, bold and bright shades, and your frost finishes, this is a palette worth considering. Read my review here.
  8. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette ($58.00 for 0.35 oz.) is for those who love a beautiful, glowing complexion and flawless canvas. Ambient Lighting Powders are amazing on their own but getting three for a little more than the price of one? Great opportunity to try more shades or add them to your routine. Read my review here.
  9. Sleek MakeUP Vintage Romance Eyeshadow Palette ($9.99 for 0.36 oz.) is my more budget-friendly pick for a fall/winter palette with great quality–nicely pigmented shades in hues of gold, berry, and purple. Read my review here.

What palettes would you recommend to others for the holidays?

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Sleek Makeup Vintage Romance Eyeshadow Palette
Sleek Makeup Vintage Romance Eyeshadow Palette

Sleek Makeup Vintage Romance Eyeshadow Palette ($9.99 for 0.36 oz.) is one of the newer palettes released by Sleek, and it features a mix of cool and warm-toned shades ranging from neutrals to purples and burgundies. Overall, it’s a good palette, but it’s not flawless–there are a few shades that have a slightly drier feel, so the color payoff and/or blendability was lessened. Each shade wore between seven and a half and nine hours on me; with the sheerer/drier shades tending to last closer to seven. For the price point, I would still recommend it–it is a purchase I was happy with, even if it wasn’t as stellar the Sunset palette I reviewed previously.

I purchased mine through Amazon (same seller as linked), but it is also available from Sleek directly and will ship to U.S. addresses. I wanted to see how the buying experience was through Amazon’s third-party seller, as they also ship palettes that Sleek won’t ship directly to U.S. addresses. I had no issues, and it arrived about a week after I placed my order.

Pretty in Paris is a bright, light silver with a frosted, metallic finish. It had fairly good color payoff, and it’s very, very metallic so it brightens wherever it’s applied–would work well on the inner corner as a highlight. Urban Decay Revolt (LE, $18.00) is similar. Urban Decay Shellshock (LE, $18.00) is cooler-toned, darker. NARS Flowers 3 #1 (LE, $24.00) is similar. MAC Guise (LE, $21.00) is darker. MAC Extra Silver (LE, $21.00) is also darker. L’Oreal Primped & Precious (LE, $7.99) is slightly darker. Guerlain Les Aquas #4 (P) is similar. Chanel Infini (P, $28.50) is also similar. See comparison swatches.

Meet in Madrid is a medium, slightly subdued, gold with orange and yellow undertones and a frosted sheen. It had good pigmentation and applied fairly smoothly. MAC Her Cocoa #1 (LE, $15.00) is warmer. Giorgio Armani #10 #2 (P) is lighter. Urban Decay Blunt (P, $18.00) is very similar. L’Oreal Eternal Sunshine (P, $7.99) is a touch yellower. Lancome Eternal Gold (P, $24.50) is a bit yellower. Dior Night Golds #4 (LE) is similar. Dior Fairy Golds #2 (LE) is less warm-toned. Chanel Harmonie du Soir #1 (LE) is very similar. Chanel Vision (LE, $36.00) is a cream product. bareMinerals Surreal (P) is a touch yellower. See comparison swatches.

Court in Cannes is a medium, warm-toned brown with a golden sheen and frosted finish. It had nice color payoff and applied smoothly, thought it appeared lighter on than it did in the pan. Chanel Initiation (827) (LE, $36.00) is a cream product and more sparkly. Urban Decay Radar (LE, $18.00) is darker. MAC Golden Touch (LE, $15.00) is similar, less brown. Maybelline Downtown Brown (P, $6.99) is similar. bareMinerals Schmooze (LE) is less warm-toned. Edward Bess Cosmic Bliss #2 (P, $30.00) is less frosted. MAC Romantico (LE, $15.00) is darker, warmer. MAC Cactus Thorn (LE, $15.00) is similar. MAC Heavenly Bliss (LE, $15.00) is a little browner. See comparison swatches.

Lust in LA is a dark, chocolate brown with warm, reddish-orange undertones and a frosted finish. It had excellent pigmentation and applied very smoothly and evenly. theBalm B4 (LE, $16.00) is  less frosted. Marc Jacobs Beauty The Starlet #3 (P) is less metallic/frosted. Disney by Sephora Abu (LE) is darker. Urban Decay Snakebite (LE, $18.00) is a bit darker, less frosted. Chanel Topkapi #1 (LE) is slightly darker. Inglot #422 (P, $6.00) is warmer. Inglot #402 (P, $6.00) is similar. See comparison swatches.

Romance in Rome is a cool-toned, medium-dark purple with a frosted finish. The texture was on the drier side, so it had decent color payoff but wasn’t as stellar as other shades in the palette. Urban Decay Voodoo (LE, $18.00) is very similar. Too Faced Badass (LE) is bluer. Urban Decay Half Truth (LE, $18.00) is darker. NARS Marie-Galante #2 (LE, $24.00) is bluer-based. Milani Purr-fect Purple (P, $6.99) is less cool-toned. MAC Warm & Smoky (LE, $15.00) is richer. MAC Dusty Desire (LE, $32.50) is darker, richer. See comparison swatches.

Propose in Prague is a medium-dark brown with warm, reddish-orange undertones and a matte finish. It had good color payoff, but the texture wasn’t as soft as other shades in the palette, so it wasn’t as easy to work with. Kat Von D Cleopatra (P) is more orange. MAC Exposed (LE, $15.00) is browner, less red-toned. MAC Brown Script (P, $15.00) is darker. Guerlain Turandot #2 (LE) is very similar. Guerlain Les Fauves #2 (LE) is warmer. See comparison swatches.

A Vow in Venice is a medium-dark berry with warm undertones and a soft, frosted finish. It had good pigmentation and applied smoothly. Chanel Seduction #1 (LE) is a touch warmer. Urban Decay Last Call (P, $18.00) is more metallic. MAC Festive Delight (LE, $15.00) is darker, less frosted. MAC Cranberry (P, $15.00) is very similar. See comparison swatches.

Marry in Monte Carlo is a bright, medium-dark fuchsia-berry with a frosted finish. It almost has orange undertones when you sheer it out, but the color looks cooler in tone overall. It had really nice color payoff and a smooth, buttery feel. Disney by Sephora Maiden (LE) is more muted. MAC Hepcat (P, $15.00) is less frosted. MAC Stylishly Merry (LE, $21.00) is lighter. Sugarpill Magentric (P, $12.00) is a bit pinker. See comparison swatches.

Honeymoon in Hollywood is a rich, deep berry wine with a satin finish and a bit of silver sparkle and cool undertones. It had fairly good pigmentation, but the texture was a little stiffer so it doesn’t blend as easily as I’d like to see. Disney by Sephora Sha La La (LE) is sheerer, lighter. MAC Dynamic Duo 1 #2 (LE, $15.00) is less intense. MAC Palace Pedigreed (LE, $15.00) is darker, less cool-toned. Make Up For Ever #39 (P, $20.00) is more muted. See comparison swatches.

Bliss in Barcelona is a medium-dark, cool-toned violet purple with a frosted finish. It had good color payoff, and it applied evenly overall; the texture wasn’t as buttery as the best shades in the palette but wasn’t difficult to work with. Disney by Sephora Snarfblat (LE) is more muted. Disney by Sephora Sea Witch (LE) is less frosted. MAC Warm & Smoky (LE, $15.00) is cooler-toned. MAC Pink Union #2 (LE, $21.00) is brighter. MAC Parfait Amour (P, $15.00) is less frosted. MAC Dusty Desire (LE, $32.50) is similar. See comparison swatches.

Forever in Florence is a dark, burgundy with cool, red undertones and a mostly matte finish. The texture was somewhat dry, so the resulting color payoff was semi-opaque–not a total dud, but it requires some extra patience while blending. MAC Deep Damson (P, $15.00) is browner. MAC Hyperviolet (LE, $18.00) is a cream product. MAC Palace Pedigreed (LE, $15.00) is lighter. Make Up For Ever #39 (P, $20.00) is lighter. See comparison swatches.

Love in London is a medium black with a satin finish. It’s almost a light enough black that it can turn gray when used less intensely. It had good color payoff, and the texture was soft but not powdery. MAC Fashion Legend (LE, $15.00) is more matte. theBalm Guilty Gwen (P, $16.00) is similar. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

LE
palette

Vintage Romance

B+

Overall, it's a good palette, but it's not flawless--there are a few shades that have a slightly drier feel, so the color payoff and/or blendability was lessened. Each shade wore between seven and a half and nine hours on me; with the sheerer/drier shades tending to last closer to seven. For the price point, I would still recommend it--it is a purchase I was happy with, even if it wasn't as stellar the Sunset palette I reviewed previously.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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LE
product

Pretty in Paris

B

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
LE
product

Meet in Madrid

B+

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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Saturday, October 12th, 2013

It might be cliche to opt for a top five of orange-colored products with Halloween a few weeks away, but hey! it’s just an excuse to pay homage to some of my favorite oranges. :)

  1. Buxom Rogue — a luminous, rich orange-red with intense color payoff and a wonderfully comfortable formula
  2. Zoya Amy — a rich, molten orange with hints of deep gold and metallic shimmer
  3. Sugarpill Flamepoint — a true orange with a matte finish that’s incredibly pigmented
  4. Maybelline Electric Orange — a lush orange with a glossy sheen for under $10!
  5. Sleek Sunset #4 — it may be part of a palette (which I try to avoid, but the price point on this palette is so low, plus the palette is amazing from start to finish, I couldn’t resist!), but it’s such a bright and rich shade of tangerine with so much color payoff!

What’s your must-have orange-hued beauty product?