Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

MAC Gana Blush
MAC Gana Blush

MAC Mickey Contractor: Gana Blush

MAC Gana Blush ($18.50 for 0.21 oz.) is new and limited edition blush from MAC Mickey Contractor. MAC describes it as a “bright white gold” with a frost finish. When I swatched, I found Gana to be a gilded champagne with a bright sheen–slightly frosty but more of a sheen. I like it better as a highlighter than a blush, just because it seems to make me look a bit washed out when used as a blusher. It has a very soft, smooth texture and plenty of pigment.

I’ll have to do a comparison to be sure, but this seems similar to Trace Gold, which is part of the permanent line; the biggest difference seems in the texture–this is smoother, more sheen than shimmer.

P.S. — On eyes, I am wearing Jaan eyeshadow on the lid, Vivah eyeshadow on the outer lid/crease, Folie in the crease, Burberry Trench to highlight, Ivy fluidline on upper lash line, Urban Decay Perversion on lower water line, Jaan eyeshadow on lower lash line. On lips, I am wearing Yash lipstick with Lust lipglass on top. On cheeks, I am wearing Gana blush.

MAC Mickey Contractor will be available on January 6th at select North American stores and January 2011 for select international stores. It will be available online on approximately January 4th but may not be available until the 6th.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you sheer it out enough, it could work as a very soft, all-over-glow kind of product, but it is easier to use it as a highlighter where you need it.

WHERE TO BUY: maccosmetics.com

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Monday, December 27th, 2010

Chanel Espiegle Blush
Chanel Espiegle Blush

Chanel Spring 2011: Espiegle

Chanel Espiegle Joues Contraste Powder Blush ($42.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a softened peach-orange with a faint champagne sheen. The texture is soft, silky smooth, and it is impossible to overdo; while the color be layered for a truer-to-pan look, it starts off subtle and sheer. Accordingly, if you do get more color than you’d like, it is easy to blend out. It is a new and permanent shade (according to Chanel’s website) from the the Spring collection, which is online now and seems to be coming out in stores rapidly, too.

Espiegle is a slightly muted version of MAC Utterly Game, but the two are definitely sisters. Even texturally, they are surprisingly similar, as they both have that finely milled, slightly powder (but not in a bad way!) feeling. I would say Utterly Game has more of a matte finish, though, and it can be built up to a more intense orange shade. When worn sheer, it also compares to NARS Sex Appeal–a touch more orange.

Joues Contraste is a silky smooth, very finely-milled powder blush that applies subtly and can be layered for a deeper look–but they are never really bold or bright. They are very easy to use, because they blend beautifully against the skin. While pricey, it is in line with designer brands like Chanel, and they don’t skimp on the amount of product.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a shade that will suit warmer skin tones best, but those with slightly cool undertones should be able to work this when paired with cooler shades on the lips or eyes.

WHERE TO BUY: Nordstrom

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Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Benefit Bella Bamba Powder
Benefit Bella Bamba Powder

Benefit Bella Bamba Boxed Powder ($28.00 for 0.28 oz.) is a brightened medium pink with pale gold shimmer-sheen. It’s fairly pigmented and can easily be used as an intense blusher, but it’s soft and fine enough in texture to be used as a sheer color on cheeks when blended out. I want to say it’s like a mix of Coralista and Sugarbomb but distinctly pink, not really a coral at all.

At first glance, it seems like Bella Bamba might just be another NARS Orgasm variation, but it’s so much pinker than those peachy-pinks. The closest dupe I could think of was Chanel Pink Explosion Joues Contraste, which is slightly cooler and has less gold shimmer. NARS Angelika is closest in color by NARS, but it’s really more a mesh of that blush with Albatross, I’d say.

I’m a little disappointed to see Benefit cutting the product size down by so much–a lot of their boxed powders have as much as 0.42 oz., while ones that are lower hover around 0.35 oz. It’s just as pigmented and incredibly similar in texture to Coralista, which is a full 0.42 oz. It’s still a lot of product for $28 (most blushes are 0.15 oz. or so), but it was something I thought was worth noting. I’m also not a fan of the flip-top packaging, because it doesn’t stay open on its own (probably more frustrating to photograph than to use, I suppose, though). I prefer the removable lid myself.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think this is a great boxed powder, and even though they reduced the size, it’s still a ton of blush for the price.  It’s nicely pigmented win a flattering pink that’s not too cool or warm; the golden sheen makes it suitable for warmer skin tones while the slightly cool-toned pink of the shade itself works well on cool skin tones, too.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

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Sunday, December 19th, 2010

MAC Cream Colour Bases
MAC Cream Colour Bases: Madly Magenta, Movie Star Red, Tickle Me Pink, Virgin Isle

MAC Stylishly Yours: Cream Colour Bases

MAC Cream Colour Bases ($16.50 for 0.12 oz.) are multi-purpose cream-based colors. Stylishly Yours includes two permanent (but PRO) shades: Madly Magenta (vivid pinkish purple) and Virgin Isle (vivid bright coral); and two limited edition shades: Movie Star Red (medium toned blue-red) and Tickle Me Pink (poppy creamy bright pink).

THESE ARE NOT SAFE FOR USE ON THE EYES. Each of these came with a safety insert, and I’m going to retype it in full, because it’s a good reference for other Cream Colour Base shades, too.  (I italicized the four shades from this launch.)

The following shades are not for use in the eye area: Bamboo, Cooled Pink, Devilish Orange, Fabulush, Flaming Fuchsia, Flighty, Fuchsia Perfect, Full Fuchsia, Improper Copper, Madly Magenta, Movie Star Red, Orange Alarm, Pink Shock, Plumed Violet, Premeditated, Reel Red, Rich Coral, Rich Spice, Soft Rose, Tickle Me Pink, Vintage Rose, and Virgin Isle.

The following shades are not for use in the lip area: Brown, Dusk, Fawntastic, Greensmoke, Mid-tone Sepia, Pink, Plumed Violet, Slick, Vintage Rose, and White.

  • Madly Magenta is a cool-toned fuchsia purple with a glossy sheen and nearly opaque color coverage.  This is a permanent shade at PRO stores.  It is similar to Love Forever and Dolce & Gabbana’s Violet.
  • Movie Star Red is a medium-dark pinky-red with opaque color coverage.  This is a limited edition shade.  It is a darker version of Gesina.
  • Tickle Me Pink is a pale pink with opaque color.  It’s a little milky, but it’s not too pale, though it is a rather light pink (and I don’t love it on me personally).  This is a limited edition shade.  It is a cooler, pinker version of Unlimited.  It’s a warmer, pinker version of Viva Glam Gaga and Snob.
  • Virgin Isle is a softened orange with a hint of coral, and it has opaque color coverage.  This is a permanent shade at PRO stores.  It is a lighter version of Vegas Volt.

The good news is that all of these are lip safe, because they all make for lovely lip colors as well as blushers.  Even though they are not safe for the eyes, I will address general Cream Colour Base wear on the eyes:  they will crease if worn alone, but if worn over a good eyeshadow primer or set with powder eyeshadows, they hold up quite well.  CCBs have an emollient texture that’s more gel-like than cream-like.  All four of these are insanely pigmented; you will have no trouble getting good pay off whether you use it as a blusher (go easy!) or as a lip color.

For blush application, I liked the 130 or the 188 for blush.  Just one push of the brush against the product yields plenty of product, so tread softly when applying any of these four as a blusher.  You can always go back for more, but you should not need much!  I like to use a stippling brush to pick up the color then lightly stipple on the apple of the cheek once and move a centimeter or so outwards and stipple again–then blend with small, firm circles.  I like to use my foundation brush (which still has some foundation on it, as I use liquid) to buff gently around the edges of the blush for a finished look.

For lips, I prefer to take a clean metal spatula (MAC recently launched one) to take out some product and then pat on with my finger or you could use a lip brush for more precision.  These shades were surprisingly emollient and comfortable to wear; they didn’t feel dry or tight at all, and they will stain if left on for longer than a few minutes!  You can also pat a little on and then finish with clear gloss or balm for more of a stained lip look.

P.S. — In the full face photo, on eyes, I wore Chilled on Ice as a base, Retrospeck and Caviar Dreams on top with Dark Diversion to line (upper lash line) and I Get No Kick (lower lash line), and then New Hue on lashes.  Cheeks and lips are indicated below the photo (it is the CCB worn both on cheeks and lips).

MAC Stylishly Yours Collection is a limited edition launch (official information and photos here) that is set to launch in-stores on December 26th in North America, January 2011 for international MAC locations. The approximate launch date for online is December 24th.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: They work well whether you wear them as a cream blush or on the lips, so if you see yourself using them in those capacities, I definitely think they are worth checking out.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Cosmetics on December 26th (U.S. stores), January 2011 (International)

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Sunday, December 19th, 2010

MAC Too Chic Beauty Powder
MAC Too Chic Beauty Powder

MAC Stylishly Yours: Too Chic Beauty Powder

MAC Too Chic Beauty Powder ($22.00 for 0.35 oz.) is an ultra pale white gold with a subtle white shimmer-sheen. MAC describes this shade as a “soft peachy cream with fine shimmer.”  Just like Play It Proper, this is a very pale shade.  It is a lighter, less yellow version of NARS Albatross.  It is also a paler version of Chez Chez Lame (close enough that you could just pick one of the two, rather than both).

Beauty powders have a very finely milled, silken texture that tends to settle well on the skin without looking powdery.  I did find that the Stylishly Yours beauty powders were frostier than previous beauty powders, so I noticed it more on skin–partially due to my medium skin tone, though.  You get an amazing amount of product for just $22–way better value than the Special Reserve Highlighting Powders, actually ($28 for the same amount).

P.S. — In the full face photo, I’m wearing Too Chic on cheeks, Neon Orange on lips, and on eyes, Chilled on Ice as a base, Retrospeck and Caviar Dreams on top with Dark Diversion to line (upper lash line) and I Get No Kick (lower lash line), and then New Hue on lashes.

MAC Stylishly Yours Collection is a limited edition launch (official information and photos here) that is set to launch in-stores on December 26th in North America, January 2011 for international MAC locations. The approximate launch date for online is December 24th.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: I still have concerns about this working on medium-dark to dark skin tones without looking ashy.  It will be a lovely highlighter for paler skin tones, though.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Cosmetics on December 26th (U.S. stores), January 2011 (International)

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Sunday, December 19th, 2010

MAC Play It Proper Beauty Powder
MAC Play It Proper Beauty Powder

MAC Stylishly Yours: Play It Proper Beauty Powder

MAC Play It Proper Beauty Powder ($22.00 for 0.35 oz.) is an ultra, barely-there pink with a subtle white sheen that has neutral undertones. MAC describes this shade as a “pastel soft pink with sparkles.”  Thankfully, this is really not a sparkling powder–it has the soft sheen that beauty powders are known for.  This is a really light/pale one, though, and I think that it’ll work well for lighter skin tones, darker skin tones may find it turns ashy.  It’s a lighter, more neutral version of Benefit’s Dandelion.

Beauty powders have a very finely milled, silken texture that tends to settle well on the skin without looking powdery.  I did find that the Stylishly Yours beauty powders were frostier than previous beauty powders, so I noticed it more on skin–partially due to my medium skin tone, though.  You get an amazing amount of product for just $22–way better value than the Special Reserve Highlighting Powders, actually ($28 for the same amount).

P.S. — In the full face photo, I’m wearing Play It Proper on cheeks, Cockney on lips, and on eyes, Chilled on Ice as a base, Retrospeck and Caviar Dreams on top with Dark Diversion to line (upper lash line) and I Get No Kick (lower lash line), and then New Hue on lashes.

MAC Stylishly Yours Collection is a limited edition launch (official information and photos here) that is set to launch in-stores on December 26th in North America, January 2011 for international MAC locations. The approximate launch date for online is December 24th.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: For lighter skin tones of both warm and cool natures, this would be a nice highlighter. On medium-dark to dark skin tones, I’d try it before buying, because I suspect it will turn ashy.  Note that the overall rating is very much buffered by the value of the product.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Cosmetics on December 26th (U.S. stores), January 2011 (International)

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