Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Illamasqua Naked Rose Blush
Illamasqua Naked Rose Blush

Delightfully Subtle Rosy Cheeks

Illamasqua Naked Rose Blush ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as as “soft neutral pink.” It’s a light-medium rosy pink with a mostly neutral undertone (against my warmer complexion, it seems to pull just barely cool-toned). It has a mostly matte finish and true-to-pan color. MAC Crew is lighter, yellower. Chanel Blush Horizon de Chanel is lighter, more yellow-toned, a bit brighter. MAC Stunner is more yellow-toned and has a strong sheen. Bobbi Brown Pretty Pink is a bit cooler-toned. MAC Dame has a smidgen of plum in it.

The color goes on as it looks in the pan and in any variation lighter than that; it is, obviously, not a dark pink or the like, so the effect on deeper complexions may be subtle. There’s enough actual product and pigmentation for it to show up on a wide variety of skin colors, though. What’s nice about this shade is it works throughout the year and with many different looks. It can be used to complement a soft, barely-there face, but it can work to add color without overwhelming a more dramatic eye/lip (or combination thereof).

It has a soft, blendable texture that’s finely-milled.  Not dry nor powdery, it applies easily to the skin, and the color is buildable.  When I trialed the blush on my cheeks, it lasted a solid eight hours with very minor fading along the edges of the color. Had I not been looking, I don’t think anyone else would have noticed, it was that subtle.

The Glossover

P
product

Naked Rose

A
This is the type of blush that I keep close by, because when in doubt, it almost always works with whatever I'm wearing. I love neutral pinks and soft beiges and browns for their versatility.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

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Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

theBalm Balm Jovi Face Palette
theBalm Balm Jovi Face Palette

Rock Out with Your Shadows Out

theBalm Balm Jovi Face Palette ($39.50 for 0.76 oz.) includes twelve eyeshadows (0.38 oz., which is just over 0.03 oz.), one highlighter (0.14 oz.), one blush (0.10 oz.), and two lip colors (0.14 oz.). It will launch today on theBalm’s website.

Metal-ica is a silvery-white with a frosted finish. It had good pigmentation, though the texture was on the powdery side; very soft and dense. We’re definitely seeing a lot of these shades for the holidays; here are a few that compare favorably: MAC Crystal Avalanche, Buxom Sheepdog, NARS Flowers 1-3, and theBalm Sassy.

Adagio is a pale neutral beige with a matte finish. It had nice color payoff, and it was smooth and soft without being powdery. It works well layered over some of the more shimmery shades to tone down the finish if so desired. MAC Brule is very similar. theBalm Matt Smith is slightly pinker. Urban Decay Walk of Shame is pinker. MAC Blanc Type is lighter. Inglot #390 is darker.

Blink 1982 is a muted burgundy with a hint of plum/mauve and a golden shimmer. The texture on this shade was a bit dry, so the color payoff was not quite opaque. Lancome Color du Jour is darker but similar. MAC Trax is more purple.

Iron Maid-in is a dirty gold with a metallic, frosted finish. It was not fully opaque, but it had good pigmentation overall. The texture wasn’t as buttery as other theBalm eyeshadows. Chanel Eclaire is more golden. MAC Sweet & Sour is darker. Giorgio Armani #1 is similar, less metallic. theBalm Snobby is more matte and yellow.

Allegro is a medium brown with yellowed undertones and a matte finish. It’s soft enough to be easy to blend, but not so soft as to be powdery. It had good color payoff. Dior golden Savvanah is a bit darker, slightly grayer, but similar. Urban Decay Naked is less yellow. These were the only two shades that really fit the bill out of all. these. browns.

The Stroke is a dark navy blue with a satiny finish. It had so-so color payoff, because it was on the drier side. It performed better on the lid, and it blended out easily. Bare Escentuals Shaken Not Stirred is similar but a bit darker. MAC Lunar is bluer. Bobbi Brown Blue Onyx is similar. This is not an uncommon shade of blue.

Lead Zeppelin is an olive green with olive and green shimmer over a frosted finish. It had good color payoff, and while very soft and smooth, it was a smidgen powdery. Tarina Tarantino Dandy Lion is greener, lighter. Bare Escentuals Speaker Box is darker, less olive. theBalm Wocka, Wocka is more metallic but similar in color. Inglot #419 is a bit greener.

Moderato is a purple-burgundy with a matte finish. The texture was a little dry, and the resulting pigmentation was so-so. It performed a lot better on the eye, and I didn’t have any trouble with the pigmentation there–I hardly had to use any to get deep color. theBalm Sexy is browner. MAC Real Drama is similar. MAC Rich Core is similar but frosted.

rem is a smoky medium purple with gold-copper shimmer-sheen. It’s an interesting, complex color. It had good color payoff and a soft, smooth texture. Bobbi Brown Black Violet is similar when sheered out. Bare Escentuals Romp is less pink.

Alice Copper is a rich burgundy-red with orange-brown undertones and a frosted finish. It had really rich pigmentation and was somewhat powdery. Chanel Eclosino is less shimmery. Maybelline Pomegranate Punk is more burgundy. Make Up For Ever #17 is more metallic. Inglot #452 has a more metallic finish but is very similar.

Presto is a dark brown with burgundy-ish undertones and a hint of warmth. It has a matte finish, and the color payoff is good. It’s just soft enough to be blendable and pigmented, but it’s not at all powdery. Bobbi Brown Cocoa Berry is similar. Bare Escentuals Foreshadow is a little darker. theBalm Mahna-Mahna has more of a sheen and less red in it.

Third Eye Blinded is a warm, light peach with a fairly frosted finish. The pigmentation was excellent, and the texture was so soft and easy to blend. This worked well as a highlighter. theBalm Swedish Pancakes is less frosted, more metallic, but fairly similar. MAC Naked Lunch has more beige in it. MAC Jest is less peach. Estee Lauder Violet Underground is darker. Chanel Complice is close.

Solid Gold is a slightly paled, warm gold with a shimmer-sheen finish and a hint of beige coloring. It has plenty o’ color, so it will show up on all skin tones. This shade wore for eight hours without fading or separating. MAC Chez Chez Lame is the closest I could think of, but it is a little lighter. theBalm Mary Lou-Manizer is a bit yellower.

Don’t You Want Me is a warm coral-pink with a matte finish. It had decent color payoff, and it is somewhat buildable. The texture was a little dry, but it seemed to blend out easily enough. It wore for eight hours with minor, but noticeable, fading at that point. MAC Supercontinental is more orange. MAC Fleet Fast has shimmer. Tom Ford Flush is more orange. MAC Immortal Flower is softer, just barely pinker.

Milly is a pale pink with a neutral-gray undertone. It had a matte finish and opaque color coverage. When I tested it, it lasted four hours and was neither drying nor hydrating. MAC Pure Zen is less pink. MAC Lazy Day is grayer.

Vanilly is bright red with a mostly matte finish and a barely blue undertone. It was richly pigmented and had opaque color coverage. This shade lasted six and a half hours and left behind a soft stain. MAC Eden Rouge is similar. Edward Bess Midnight Bloom is bluer and darker. MAC Ruffian Red is similar. It’s a fairly common shade of red lipstick.

Overall, it’s a good palette, and at the price point, worth checking out and potentially snagging. There were a few shades on the powdery side in the palette, and a couple were less pigmented initially, but when applied to the eye, I found them to apply much, much better (upgraded to fairly pigmented/opaque in color). There’s a good mix of textures–matte, frosts, shimmers–and very fall-appropriate colors.

The Glossover

palette

Balm Jovi

A-
Overall, it's a good palette, and at the price point, worth checking out and potentially snagging. There were a few shades on the powdery side in the palette, and a couple were less pigmented initially, but when applied to the eye, I found them to apply much, much better (upgraded to fairly pigmented/opaque in color). There's a good mix of textures--matte, frosts, shimmers--and very fall-appropriate colors.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Saturday, September 1st, 2012


NARS Satellite of Love Highlighting Blush

Reach to the Stars for a Satellite of Love

NARS Satellite of Love Highlighting Blush ($28.00 for 0.16 oz.) is described as a “sparkling gold sand.” It’s a peachy brown with a hint of orange and pale gold shimmer and sparkle. It adds warmth, a little tan coloring, and noticeable sparkle and sheen to cheeks. Chanel Lucky Stripes is similar but more shimmery than sparkly. NARS Miss Liberty is lighter, more beige. MAC How Beautiful! is very light and beige. Chanel Empreinte de Chanel is more golden, yellower.

The Highlighting Blush formula is supposd to impart a “luminous glow” that can be worn alone or paired with other cheek products.  This particular shade has a bit more sparkle than sheen, though a lot of the sparkle gets lost between the pan, your brush, and your cheek, but it did emphasize my pores just slightly.  It has decent color payoff (it’s about what you see in the pan) and buildable to the color you see in the pan.  Because it is a lighter shade overall, on deeper complexions, it is going to add very subtle warmth but not visible color–more a highlighter than anything else. Lighter complexions can use it as both a highlighter as well as a blusher (well, probably bronzer).  The texture was a bit on the dry side, but it was nice and blendable on the cheek.  It wore for seven hours before there was noticeable fading.

The Glossover

LE
product

Satellite of Love

B
I think the color is a nice pop of warmth for most complexions, but the larger sparkle seems to emphasize pores to a noticeable degree, while the drier texture is less forgiving on cheeks. It is blendable and buildable, though.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Thursday, August 30th, 2012

MAC Desert Camouflage Face Kit
MAC Desert Camouflage Face Kit

MAC & Carine Roitfeld: Desert Camouflage Face Kit

MAC Desert Camouflage Face Kit ($44.00 for 0.40 oz.) includes four eyeshadows: Sahara Dust (light neutral beige), Cactus Thorn (mid-tone brown bronze), Desert (shimmering warm taupe), and Carbon (intense black) as well as one Cremeblend Blush, Sand Storm (soft sheer warm caramel).

Sahara Dust is a pale beige with a soft, frosted finish. It has a satin finish, officially. The color payoff is decent, and it works well as a highlighter on the brow bone or inner tear duct. Illamasqua Slink is similar, slightly frostier. MAC Brule is more matte. Giorgio Armani Madreperla has a frostier finish. MAC Baby, It’s Cold is a smidgen yellower. MAC Vanilla is a touch lighter.

Cactus Thorn is a softened bronze-shimmered medium-dark brown. It has a frost finish. The pigmentation is good, though the texture was a bit dry. Dior Golden Savannaha is darker, browner. Giorgio Armani #26 is more shimmery. Urban Decay Chase is warmer and more metallic. theBalm Schitzo is very similar, but more pigmented and slightly more golden-toned. Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone is richer.

Desert is a gray-tinged brown with a hint of plum. It has a satin finish. It has decent color payoff but had a dry, stiffer texture. Bobbi Brown Slate is softer, more matte. MAC Aurora is lighter, more frosted. Dolce &G abbana Jewels is grayer. Inglot #360 is similar but matte.

Carbon is a matte black, but if you look in the pan, there are a lot of sparkles–just none of them seem to translate. It was the oddest thing. I feel like every time I swatch Carbon, it gets worse. And I’m not swatching the same one! This shade is part of the permanent range, and it’s actually included in both of the face kits in the collection, and they were about equal in their dry, stiff, poor color payoff-yielding textures. Slightly more pigmented when I used it on the eye (with a 222 brush), but boy, it did not want to move or budge, which made blending a pain in the butt! Because I happened to also have a really rich black that I was swatching (completely unplanned!) that was insanely pigmented, I took a comparison photo, just so you can see why Carbon is such a disappointment.

Cremeblend Blushes are supposed to be creamy, easy to blend, have medium coverage, and have a natural finish. Sand Storm is a warm, orange-tan with a soft, barely dewy finish (it read mostly matte when it dried down and set). There’s a yellowy-orange undertone that comes through. MAC Lush-Light is darker, browner. MAC Refined Golden is browner. MAC Tan Tint is a smidgen darker. It can be used sheerly with ease, and it can be built up a bit, though I’m not sure it will show up well on darker complexions–it just barely shows on mine (I’m about NC30 at the moment). It may add warmth without adding noticeable color. Yesterday, when I was testing the wear, my cheeks were slightly dry, and this wasn’t forgiving, unfortunately. I was hoping that the creamy consistency would help and was happy that I was testing a cream blush instead of a powder one, LOL! After six hours, it had separated and faded noticeably.

This palette contains 0.22 oz. of eyeshadows (0.055 oz. each, which is 0.005 oz. more than a regular full-sized MAC eyeshadow), which is a $66 value. There is 0.18 oz. of Cremeblend Blush in here, which normally retails for $20.00/0.19 oz., so there is $18.95 value from that, for a total palette value of $84.95. (Note: Cremeblend blushes and eyeshadows are sold in pan form, depending on the shade, but I went with individual product prices, not pan prices. From a pan perspective, there is $52.80 in eyeshadow value and $16.11 in Cremeblend Blush value, for a total value of $68.91.) From a quantity point of view, this is absolutely a deal, which is great news!

It’s a decent palette, but the inclusion of Carbon is really bringing down the overall quality of it on the whole.  The other three eyeshadows have decent color payoff, with Sahara Dust being the easiest to work with.  Sand Storm didn’t have fantastic wear, but it was blendable and looked good initially.  These eyeshadows were less stellar without a primer–they were less blendable and faded after six hours. Over a primer, I saw some minor fading of Desert and Carbon.  

It’s hard to recommend or feel good about a palette when one shade is such a dud and four shades are decent but not really phenomenal. I keep hoping for a stellar launch from MAC, but they aren’t making it easy at all.

I’ll have my review for the Jungle Camouflage palette up soon, but as a quick note: the two palettes are very, very similar with the major difference between in finish–this palette is more shimmery, while Jungle Camouflage is more matte.

The Glossover

palette

Desert Camouflage

B-
It's a decent palette, but the inclusion of Carbon is really bringing down the overall quality of it on the whole. The other three eyeshadows have decent color payoff, with Sahara Dust being the easiest to work with. Sand Storm didn't have fantastic wear, but it was blendable and looked good initially. It's hard to recommend or feel good about a palette when one shade is such a dud and four shades are decent but not really phenomenal.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

NARS Lovejoy Highlighting Blush
NARS Lovejoy Blush

Celebrate the Joy of Love with NARS!

NARS Lovejoy Blush ($28.00 for 0.16 oz.) is described as a “shimmering bronzed rose.” It’s rosy-red with a little brown thrown in paired with a golden shimmer-sheen. MAC Ring of Saturn is more orange-red, brighter–the two look a little more similar if used softly. Tom Ford Savage is similar but seems a smidgen lighter and has a mostly matte finish. MAC Buddy Up seems fairly close but doesn’t have the golden sheen. MAC Stratus is darker, a little redder.

The finish is noticeably sparkly and has a bit more shimmer than some of the more recent shades we’ve looked at. It did emphasize pores just slightly; not enough where it was too noticeable or really took away from the finish. Though there is a subdued quality to the overall color, there is enough red in it that it may give some skin tones a sunburned look. It had a slightly dry texture, but the color payoff was still good, and the color was blendable and buildable during application. This shade wore for seven full hours and started to have noticeable fading after eight hours.

The Glossover

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product

Lovejoy

B+
Though there is a subdued quality to the overall color, there is enough red in it that it may give some skin tones a sunburned look.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Illamasqua Allure Powder Blusher
Illamasqua Allure Powder Blusher

A Blendable Blush is Key

Illamasqua Allure Powder Blusher ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “dusky rose pink shimmer.” It has a just barely softened appearance to the color–it’s still rather intense, because it’s on the darker end of the spectrum–but “dusky” is an apt description. The color itself is a rosy red with flecks of gold shimmer.  The shimmer doesn’t really transfer to the skin–it looks mostly matte when applied. MAC Hidden Treasure is darker, redder. MAC Ring of Saturn is warmer and has more golden shimmer/sheen. Tom Ford Savage is browner.

The texture of this felt soft, fairly finely-milled, and it returned excellent color payoff that applied smoothly and evenly when swatched. It had a drier overall texture, consistent with Illamasqua’s formula.  When I applied it to my cheeks (and I used MAC’s 116 blush brush), the results were less impressive.  It was difficult to blend, and with the intensity of this color, that made for a rather frustrating application. I’d apply the barest amount of product, and then the color would blend and disappear but blend unevenly.  This kind of hue needs to be blendable and apply evenly, otherwise it gives cheeks a ruddy or sunburned look–not at all attractive.  I tested the wear, and it lasted eight hours with only a smidgen of fading.

The Glossover

P
product

Allure

B
It's not a very blendable, easy-to-use blush. It will take some patience, a deft hand, and an excellent blending brush to get even color that flatters rather than accentuates any natural redness/unevenness in the skin.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3/5

Results
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