Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Cream/Gel Eyeliner Breakdown

Cream/gel eyeliners are usually thick creams (the consistency of a cream, but the thickness of more like a paste… or a lipstick, for a better beauty reference!). They usually require a brush to apply it, and most use these on the upper lash line (they can be irritating on the lower lash line, particularly for those with more sensitive eyes). They’re a very, very popular item with numerous brands having their own take on the cream/gel eyeliner product type.

At the end of the day, they’re all quality cream/gel eyeliners and none are not worth paying for. As with many cosmetic products, some will work better on others–we’re not all going to fall in love with the same formula–but I do think these are all good picks. Personally, I tend to choose by the color/shade rather than the brand! If I had to give you a top three (in alphabetical order), they would be: Bobbi Brown, MAC, and shu uemura.

Here’s a comparison across eight different brands and their cream/gel eyeliners… Continue reading →

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Holiday Makeup: Subtle Glam?

Sonia Kashuk Starry Eyes Eye Palette ($14.99) is a mix of six eyeshadows–three glittery, three matte–for the holiday season.

My favorite part about this palette is the outside casing — it’s this shimmery, sequin-y black case that sparkles in the light. It’s really stunning, and it’s probably one of the best holiday-themed packaging jobs I’ve seen in awhile. Unfortunately, the inside of the palette, which is more important, just fell a little flat for me.

While I liked Sonia Kashuk’s Showstopper Eyeshadow Quad, which had the same shimmery shadow texture, these colors just seem drab–muted. They’re so muted and subtle and yet have so much shimmer, it seems contradictory. The texture is smooth, and they look wet when applied and have surprisingly little fall out (though there is some). For me, the colors don’t jump out at me, so I’m just not excited over it.

Included in the palette are three glittery shades: a muted warm-toned medium-dark brown, a glitzy warmed up champagne gold, and a muted mauvey-brown, along with three matte shades: a cool-toned chocolate brown, a dusty white, and a plummy mauve.  The matte shades didn’t feel chalky or dusty, though they were a little sheerer than I’d like–overall, they felt smooth to the touch.

I did like how the shimmery shades were coordinated with the matte shades – almost like reflections of each other. I think I liked the actual shades of the matte colors more than the shimmery ones, though!

Bottom Line: This just isn’t the palette for me, but it’s still a quality palette. The shadows were smooth, had decent color pay off, and they’re shades that can definitely be worn by many. Though they’re muted and subtle (and inexplicably, it just didn’t work for me in this palette–because I know I can appreciate a subtle color palette!), they would make for some more nuanced, less in-your-face holiday looks for sure.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: If you enjoy more subtle, muted shades, you might like this!

Availability: Target

See swatches… Continue reading →

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Affordable Makeup Brushes:  Sonia Kashuk’s Twist of Fate Brush Set

Sonia Kashuk Twist of Fate Brush Set ($19.99) is a limited edition holiday brush set with six brushes housed inside a gorgeous, shimmering black clutch.

The six brushes you get are: blush brush, foundation brush, blending brush, small eyeshadow brush, smudge brush, and lash/brow groomer brush. The only brush I felt was kind of a throwaway was the lash/brow groomer – it’s just not a great brush, and it certainly couldn’t comb my lashes worth a darn, so I wasn’t pleased with it. The other five brushes, however, are much better and certainly more useful.

Sonia Kashuk is an extremely reliable, trustworthy brand, particularly for beauty tools. Whenever someone asks me about a budget-friendly brush brand, Sonia Kashuk is my go-to for a reommendation. These brushes are soft, fluffy, and useable. They’re not as good as my MAC brushes overall (I would say MAC brushes are softer, particularly for face brushes), but they’re around 75% there. Close, but not the same – but much more affordable.

In comparison, I would say the blush brush is similar to MAC’s 129 (a little bigger and not as rounded), the foundation brush is closest to MAC’s 190 (but a little smaller and thicker), and the other brushes don’t have as close matches. If pressed, I’d say the small eyeshadow brush is similar to MAC’s 239, while the blending brush is similar to MAC’s 222. Finally, Sonia Kashuk’s smudge brush is closest to MAC’s 231.

Even though the brushes are totally great for the price (and pretty good, period), my favorite part about the set is the CLUTCH. I usually hate the bags, clutches, etc. that come with brush sets and never use them again (they just sit around collecting dust, because I feel guilty tossing them), but this one is really fun and perfect for the holidays. It’s big enough to actually be used as a clutch and looks elegant and festive. I’d probably pay $19.99 just for the clutch!

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: 5/5

Recommendation:  For affordable brushes, Sonia Kashuk always has you covered!

Availability: Target

See more photos… Continue reading →

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Holiday Glitz: Sonia Kashuk Showstoppers Eyeshadow Quad

Sonia Kashuk Showstoppers Eyeshadow Quad ($10.99) is the glitz-in-a-pan that’s so perfect and fitting for the holiday season I couldn’t resist saving this review until now. There are certain items that impress you at first swatch, and this was definitely one of those items for me.

It includes a glittery warmed-up frosty white, muted reddish-brown with golden bronze glitter, glitzy soft pale antique gold, and smoky charcoal gray-black with silver glitter. These applied and looked almost wet–I will say they looked much better in person than in photos. There’s just something about the shimmer that I couldn’t capture, despite taking dozens of photos! I will say that the only real drawback to these is they have a tendency to get all over your cheeks if you use a regular eyeshadow brush with them. I do recommend using a sponge-tip applicator or else use these applied wet to minimize the fall out.

The texture of the eyeshadows was surprisingly soft and almost creamy, despite the obvious glittery bits, and the pigmentation was decent overall. I found the gold shade was the least opaque, followed by the white shade, while the brown and gray shades were both opaque. The price is just right, and you can often catch Sonia Kashuk on sale at your local Target–though I’ve heard this isn’t as easy to find locally as it is online.

Bottom Line: This is just one of those really fun, totally glitzy and glittery pieces that you may not pull out and wear everyday, but it sure is glamorous to have all that bling sparkling on your eyes.  It’s really, really stunning when you swatch–not quite as lovely on the lids (but still nice!), but ultimately not the most practical item I’ll own.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For lots and lots of shimmering glitter on your eyes, Sonia Kashuk is an affordable way to get glitzy this holiday season.

Availability: Target

See swatchesContinue reading →

Monday, October 19th, 2009


Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defining Long Wear Gel Eye Liner in Indigo and Cocoa

Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defining Long Wear Gel Eye Liner ($8.99) is SK’s answer for longwearing, smudge-proof, budge-proof gel liner. It’s available in three shades: Cocoa (deep brown), Ebony (deep black), and Indigo (deep blue). I haven’t seen Ebony yet, but I did get a chance to play with Cocoa and Indigo.

Indigo is a rich, vibrant dark navy blue (I wouldn’t describe it as Indigo, personally) with slight shimmer but not a lot of shininess. It applies evenly and opaquely with an angled eyeliner brush (I like MAC’s 208). Cocoa is a dark, slightly warm-toned chocolate brown. It has a very creamy texture, and it has a slightly wet look to it, though it does dry down and has an overall matte finish. I’d say that Cocoa is comparable to MAC’s Rich Ground fluidline, but it has a more matte appearance and probably a touch warmer, too.

Both of these gel liners wear incredibly well throughout the day with no budging, smudging, or fading. They stay in place and last all day long on the lower and upper lash lines. They’re also thick and creamy and pack plenty of color, so you can easily create defined eyes with a flick of the wrist. The quality of these is most definitely comparable to Bobbi Brown’s Gel Liner and MAC’s Fluidlines. The packaging isn’t as nice (just feels a little cheap) as either of the high-end brands mentioned, but ultimately, it’s the product that counts.

Bottom Line: If you’re on a tight budget, or if you’ve merely wanted to try your hand at gel liners, Sonia Kashuk provides a solid option. The only real drawback to the line is that it is an extremely limited shade range and may be difficult to find, as it’s only available at some Targets and not currently available for purchase online.

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: For those who’ve eyed MAC’s Fluidlines or Bobbi Brown’s Gel Liners, Sonia Kashuk’s DDLGELs are awesome, affordable options.

Availability: Target (Local)

See additional photos and swatchesContinue reading →

Monday, October 12th, 2009


Dynamic Duo

Sonia Kashuk Eyeshadow Duos ($7.99) are a great, budget-friendly way to satisfy your eyeshadow fix. Today, I thought we’d take a look at two duos:

Dynamic Duo is a mix of pale, seafoam green and a dirty brown with silver-gray frost.  Dynamic Duo works really well with the cooler weather these days, as it’s just dark enough to work with autumn tones, but it’s not so vampy that it’s too dark, either. Dynamic Duo is a very wearable duo, and I didn’t find either shade to be chalky or hard to use. Both shades were pigmented and had a frost finish.

Double Whammy is a vibrant, medium blue with a soft sheen and a bright pop of springy green with yellow undertones.  Double Whammy is one of my favorite Sonia Kashuk duos, because it is extremely pigmented, but it is also vibrant. Sometimes it can be difficult to find this kind of brightness in the drugstore, but Sonia Kashuk gives us a good answer for bright blues and greens. The blue reminds me of MAC’s Freshwater, while the green is kind of a mix of MAC’s Swimming and Juxt.

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Availability: Target

See more photos and swatchesContinue reading →