Monday, April 26th, 2010

NARS Enchanted Blush

NARS Summer 2010: Enchanted Cream Blush

NARS Enchanted Cream Blush ($26.00) is a new shade of cream blush launched with NARS’ Summer Collection. NARS describes it as a “soft peach,” and I’d completely agree with that assessment.

Enchanted is a sheer, soft peach with soft golden shimmer and a slight sheen. I’d like to put an emphasis on sheer, though, because I could not get it to show up on my cheeks, being around medium in skin tone (I’d say I’m on the lighter side of medium, but I’m certainly not fair). I did try to build up the color on my cheeks, but it just wasn’t working for me. On my skin tone, it ended up being more like a barely-there highlighter, unfortunately!

I can see this being really lovely and soft on fairer skin tones, and I think it would work well on both cool and warm skin tones. Cool skin tones will find this works as a soft peach that doesn’t turn orange, while warmer skin tones are easily complemented by peachy colors.

The formula itself is soft, creamy enough to melt into skin but not so creamy that it slips around.  It dries down quickly and blends easily onto skin.  I find that NARS Cream Blushes last me three to four hours before fading a bit.  I like using them as bases and using a setting powder or powder blush on top to set and prolong wear to about six to eight hours.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a way to prolong the wear of your blushes, you may find these cream blushes work well alone or as a base for your powder blushes.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Monday, April 26th, 2010

Make Up For Ever HD Blush

Make Up For Ever Smooth Talker (13) HD Blush ($25.00) is a soft, pale petal pink. This is a very, very cool-toned pink that looks and applies quite sheerly. On my skin, it makes me look a little corpse-ish, but I can imagine it looking incredible on my fairer friends. It reminds me a bit of MAC Well-Dressed blush but in a cream form.

I’ve reviewed the HD Blushes in the past, but to recap: the formula is smooth, creamy, and applies easily. It dries down quickly so you don’t find it migrates while you wait, but it gives you enough time to blend it out. The formula is fantastic with its creamy feel and long-wearing finish. The packaging itself could use a little tweaking, as the pump delivery system inevitably pumps out much more than you need.

For more on HD Blushes, check out my original review! :)

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a way to prolong the wear of your blushes, you may find these cream blushes work well alone or as a base for your powder blushes.

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

MAC Pret a Papier Collection
MAC Garb Blush

MAC Pret-a-Papier Collection: Blush & Mineralize Blush Review, Photos, Swatches

For whatever reason, I must have spaced, because I did not realize that Pret-a-Papier was such a large collection.  I kept thinking it was a dinky little collection, but it’s a full collection.  It includes two sheertone blushes and one mineralize blush duo.

Blush ($18.50 U.S. / $22.00 CDN)

  • Garb is a darkened nude with an orange undertone. It has a near matte finish, though there is a subtle shimmer in it that’s really not very noticeable.  Though it’s only a bit on the warmer side, the obvious orange tone may not work well with the fairest of the fair.
  • Instant Chic is a slightly coraled pink with a powdery look. It’s sheerer than Garb, and I found it more difficult to build up the intensity, though. I like the shade, because it’s not quite like anything in MAC’s permanent line, and I don’t know if I’ve seen something like this in recent collections either. I do wish it was a bit more pigmented–I fear it may be a wash on those with deeper skin tones (think NC/NW45 or darker).

Mineralize Blush ($23.00 U.S. / $27.50 CDN)

  • Light Over Dark is a duo of golden copper and a darkened, reddish copper-bronze. Both shades have a very frosty finish to them. The size of the compact is large enough to be able to use the shades separately or together, I’d imagine. I’m personally not a fan of this, because it does have a rather frosty finish, which turns out pretty gnarly in photographs!

Instant Chic is the most unique of the three blushes, despite not having the best color pay off (it is a sheertone, though).  It’s coral enough to be perfect for summer and add some brightness to cheeks, but it’s not so warm that only warmer skin tones will like it.  I do think it’s a better shade for light to medium skin tones, and if you’re of a deeper skin tone, you may want to swatch it in person first.

Any of these catch your eye?

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Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Two-Minute Reviews: CoverGirl Eyeshadow Palette, Physicians Formula Healthy Glow, Smashbox Heartbreaker

The concept behind two-minute reviews is mostly products that I photographed, swatched, but I never ended up reviewing.  Rather than just bury the photos into the “Unlikely to Review” folder and never let them see the light of day, I decided that perhaps a quickie review was better than no review at all… Let me know if you’d rather a quickie review than no review :)

CoverGirl Vibrant Browns (#700) Eyeshadow Palette ($7.49) is a palette that features four shades of eyeshadow: a softened, matte black with glitter overlay, subdued blue-toned sheer gray with silver sheen, muted copper with orange-gold shimmer and frost finish, and an incredibly sheer white with sheen. The colors are all on the sheerer side, and the shadows themselves just don’t grab me. I think one or two more muted shades might work, but these altogether just don’t. I find the gold too warm to work with the coolness of the black and gray. Quick Rating: C-

Physicians Formula Healthy Glow Shimmer Strips ($11.95) reminded me of Bobbi Brown’s Shimmerbricks. Healthy Glow is a gradation of light, icy pink to a muted raspberry pink. The colors are better used together rather than alone, as individually, they’re not very pigmented. Together, they create a lightened raspberry with a frosty white sheen. This is great for those with closer-to-flawless skin, because it’s pretty and shimmery–but if you have larger pores, the high frost finish will accentuate them. For a drugstore blush, though, the price is a little steeper than I’d like to see. Quick Rating: B

Smashbox Heartbreaker Collection looked super cute in the promos, but I wasn’t loving it when I saw some of the pieces in person. In fact, I loved the actual box packaging infinitely more than the product packaging! The boxes are cute with doodles and polaroids on it–just sweet and fitting for the theme. The shiny white plastic makes it look and feel on the cheap side, and Smashbox really isn’t a cheap brand. I tend to think of Smashbox as more of a mid-to-high end brand. I tried three products: Starlight Fusion Soft Lights ($30), Rollerball Lip Gloss ($21), and Liquid Liner Pen ($24). I reviewed the eyeliner previously, but I never got around to the other two products. Despite looking rather vibrant in the pan, Starlight is a very soft, lightened raspberry sorbet with a soft champagne sheen. It didn’t show up very well on my medium skin tone, so I wasn’t never driven to wear it in a look (hence this quickie review!). Quick Rating: C+

The Rollerball Lip Gloss was very much the same — it’s clear gloss with icy white shimmer. It’s very slightly pink tinged, but on lips, it looks clear. I also felt like the Rollerball packaging made me feel like I was using Bonne Bell (which is fine… if I’m paying Bonne Bell prices!). Quick Rating: C-

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Monday, March 29th, 2010

Make Up For Ever HD Blush
Make Up For Ever #5 Nip Slip HD Blush

More on Make Up For Ever HD Blush

A few weeks ago, I reviewed Make Up For Ever’s HD Blush in three shades (#3 Truth or Dare, #4 Walk of Shame, and #6 Quickie). Today, I’m sharing with you three more shades and a run-down of them, but this is less a review as it is simply showing you what three other shades look like in real life.

I did, however, receive a full-size sample of #5 Nip Slip (can you believe they got away with that name?!), so I can confirm what I thought previously: the pump delivery system does pump out way too much if you simply do one pump. You really have to be careful and squeeze out just the tiniest bit. It’s better to go under than over, because you’ll end up wasting a good bit otherwise. I actually think I may prefer using them out of the 5-gram sample jars, just because I don’t have to worry about getting too much at once!

  • Nip Slip (#5) is a neutral, slightly yellow-toned pink that would look beautiful and fresh on both cool and warm skin tones. I think this is a good shade for light to medium to dark skin tones, too — it’s very buildable, so you can achieve that brighter pop of pink if you so desire.
  • Star Struck (#14) is a soft apricot peach that goes on more orange-apricot when blended and smoothed onto skin. Despite having a stronger orange tone, it’s not overly warm. It almost reads neutral to me, but I’d err on the side of warm.
  • First Kiss (#12) is a brightened orange with a soft shimmer/satin-y sheen built-in. It’s not neon orange, but it’s not quite the “bright apricot” that Sephora describes it as (even when it’s been blended out). This is definitely one of the more pigmented shades, so go easy if you want softer, sheerer color. It’s easier to intensify than it is to mute!

Other shades include: Innuendo #1 (vibrant plum), Caught in the Act #2 (bright raspberry), One Too Many #7 (peachy beige), PDA #8 (pinky nude), In the Spotlight #9 (nude), Skinny Dipping #10 (light orange brown), Mistaken Identity #11 (redwood brown), Smooth Talker #13 (vibrant pale pink). I previously reviewed Truth or Dare #3 (hot pink), Walk of Shame #4 (bubblegum pink), and Quickie #6 (salmon pink) here.

Make Up For Ever’s HD Blush wears well throughout the day. It’s easy to use, because it blends and softens without a lot of work, making it harder to make mistakes as long as you use less. You do not need to use a lot–I can’t stress it enough–we’re not even talking a pea-size of product. We’re talking about a pin-drop-size! One bottle will last you quite awhile, I’d imagine.

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation:  Those who are always looking for longer wearing products should check out the new HD Blush line-up, because these cream blushes stand up to day-long wear without fading!

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Laura Mercier Zen Palette

Going Zen with Laura Mercier for Spring

Laura Mercier Zen Face Palette ($60.00) is a new-for-spring (into summer!) palette that includes one blush, four eyeshadows, and four lip glazes housed in a metal-rimmed palette with a cushy, dusty blue cover.

I was surprised at how much I liked the palette packaging, but I thought it was cute without being cheesy. It’s definitely apropos for spring! The palette also feels sturdy, weighty, but it doesn’t feel bulky, so I like the slimness and overall shape of it. I also LOVED! that they included a little plastic sheet with the names printed on top so you knew what product was what. Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out in a palette!

Eyeshadows

  • Willow is a soft, pastel green with yellow undertones and a silvery shimmer. It has a bit of a frostier finish. It almost seemed un-Laura Mercier-like to me, just because it was such a nice pop of color, though it is a light pop of color!
  • Haze is a powder blue with silver shimmer. It’s more of a satin finish, less frost, in comparison to Willow.
  • Wisteria is a browned plum with a frosty sheen. It’s quite pigmented and smooth.
  • Midnight Jade is a darkened, grayed teal with a pearly sheen and just a light dusting of shimmer. I found this shade to be the least pigmented out of the four, but it still had decent pigmentation.

Blush

  • Plum is a very rosy plum shade. It’s less purple plum as it is red-plum. It has a low-level pearly sheen that’s very, very subtle. There’s no obvious shimmer here!

Lip Glazes

  • Black Currant is a brownish red that goes on very sheerly and has a glossy sheen.
  • Lotus Bloom is a sheer tinge of pinky-red with flecks of red shimmer.
  • Stone Beige is a creamier, semi-sheer nude beige with subtle gold shimmer.
  • Peach Blossom is an orange-y peach cream with a high gloss finish.

The good: It’s a fun palette with a good range of eye colors to give you a few new looks for spring. The pigmentation is pretty good (Midnight Jade needs to be layered for better pigmentation, though), and the texture is smooth, soft, and applies evenly. I like that there’s a good variety of colors in the lip glazes as well, because it gives you a lot of ways you can mix and match. I also think the packaging is fun, travel-friendly, and classy.

The bad: Palettes that mix powders and creams (or glazes, in this particular case) are not my favorite, because sometimes the powder finds its way into the creams, which is kind of gross. For most, it’s probably not a deal-breaker, but it’s something I thought I should mention. I don’t think the Plum blush is the most suitable for the palette–it almost seems too dark for this palette. I think it could work, but I’m not totally sold on it being the best match here.

There’s one thing I noticed right at end: there are no brushes!  It’s almost curious and yet I’m not displeased that they didn’t include them.  I know some think for the price that they should have, but I never find myself using those brushes that are included in palettes.  I always find them so inferior to my normal brushes and much prefer to take my brushes with me when I travel (even if it’s just a few), so it’s more of a neutral to me.  It just depends on your preference!

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you like Laura Mercier’s eyeshadows and have always wanted a little more color, you might enjoy the way she’s played with color in this spring palette. I think cooler skin tones will find this especially flattering, as most of the shades tend to be on the cooler end of the spectrum.

Availability: Nordstrom

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