Monday, October 25th, 2010

MAC Tartan Tale: A Triumphant Blush Face Kit
MAC Tartan Tale: A Triumphant Blush Face Kit

MAC Tartan Tale: A Triumphant Blush Face Kit

The A Triumphant Blush Face Kit ($38.00) includes two blushes and a beauty powder: Melba (soft coral peach), Peachtwist (golden peach), and Smooth Harmony (neutral mid-tan; beauty powder). Both Melba and Peachtwist are permanent shades. Smooth Harmony was last released in 2008 with Heatherette.

  • Melba is a matte medium-dark, browned peach. This is a permanent shade with a matte finish. It’s a great shade for warmer and cooler skin tones, because it’s a peach without a lot of yellow. Very smooth and pigmented, not at all chalky.
  • Peachtwist is a bronzy peach with champagne sheen. It’s permanent shade with a sheertone finish, so it has a frostier finish. It’s also less buildable, though it’s not really that sheer when worn.
  • Smooth Harmony is an orange-tan with a soft sheen. It always looks orange when I wear it on my cheeks. I recommend using a stippling brush like the 187 to get a softer, more natural glow for light to medium skin tones.

Each blush is 0.13 oz. (full-size is 0.21 oz.), while the beauty powder is 0.20 oz. (full size is 0.35 oz.). Ultimately, you’re getting approximately $23 worth of blush and $14 worth of beauty powder–total value around $37 with a price tag of $38. It’s not a value palette based on quantity of products, but you do get three products for $38 instead of buying two blushes ($18.50 each) and a beauty powder ($25.00) separately.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I really like the face kits, because sometimes MAC blushes can be too expensive to purchase on their own, so this palette lets you try more for less–and you won’t get through a pan any time soon.  I think this palette is more suitable to warmer skin tones, though.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Counters/Stores on October 28th

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Monday, October 25th, 2010

MAC Tartan Tale: Hark the Heraldry Face Kit
MAC Tartan Tale: Hark the Heraldry Face Kit

MAC Tartan Tale: Hark the Heraldry Face Kit

The Hark the Heraldry Face Kit ($38.00) includes two blushes and a beauty powder: Dame (sophisticated blue-pink), Plum Foolery (faint dusty plum), and Oh So Fair (pale pink; beauty powder). Both Dame and Plum Foolery are permanent shades. Oh So Fair was recently released with Venomous Villains.

  • Dame is a subtly blue-toned medium pink that can go on sheer or be built up. On darker skin tones, this may not show up very well, though. It has a satin finish, so it has a softer sheen, less frostiness in its finish. This is a nice shade for everyday, and it’s particularly flattering on cooler, paler skin tones.
  • Plum Foolery is a semi-sheer, rosy plum with a frosted sheen. This shade does work well on a variety of skin tones, and despite it being sheer, it does pack a punch on cheeks if you’re not careful.
  • Oh So Fair is a soft, petal pink with subtle shimmer-sheen. It’s sheer and looks very, very subtle on my medium skin tone. I wouldn’t recommend this shade for darker skin tones, because I think it would have a tendency to turn ashy.

Each blush is 0.13 oz. (full-size is 0.21 oz.), while the beauty powder is 0.20 oz. (full size is 0.35 oz.). Ultimately, you’re getting approximately $23 worth of blush and $14 worth of beauty powder–total value around $37 with a price tag of $38. It’s not a value palette based on quantity of products, but you do get three products for $38 instead of buying two blushes ($18.50 each) and a beauty powder ($25.00) separately.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I really like the face kits, because sometimes MAC blushes can be too expensive to purchase on their own, so this palette lets you try more for less–and you won’t get through a pan any time soon.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Counters/Stores on October 28th

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Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules Palette
Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules Palette

Beauty Rules?!

Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules Face Palette ($45.00) has me at odds! I do and don’t like this palette. I do LOVE the new and exclusive Pot Rouge shades to this palette. I also adore the packaging–I just think it’s cute and fits so well with the theme. I absolutely do not like the eyeshadows included in the palette, and I really disliked both of the sparkle eyeshadows.

My dislike of those two eyeshadows actually overwhelmed me for awhile, because I kept giving this palette a look of disdain. Once I sat down to write the review, though, I realized that only two of ten products weren’t so hot. I do think the Pot Rouges are really the highlight out of this palette, because they are wearable, flattering shades. Both shades are exclusive to the palette, as are the two lip glosses and Eclipse eyeshadow. (Ivory is permanent; Lightning, Orchid, and Crystal Gold have been in previous palettes.)

  • Ivory is a matte white ivory. If you have a few Bobbi Brown palettes, you probably have this shade somewhere! It’s similar to MAC’s Blanc Type.
  • Lightning is a sheer, softened gray taupe with silver shimmer and has a sparkle finish. It was in Bobbi Brown’s Aquamarine Palette.
    Orchid is sheer, sparkly lilac with a sparkle finish. This was in Bobbi Brown’s Orchid Palette, and I disliked it as much then as I do now. It’s just a mess to apply–fall out everywhere.
  • Eclipse is a matte, stormy black. It’s a nice black, but it doesn’t stand out strongly against other matte blacks available.
  • Baby Pink is a rosy pink with cool, blue undertones. It can be built up for a more intense look or blended out for a rosy flush. I was reminded a bit of Benefit’s Posietint, but Posietint is not as buildable.
  • Homecoming Pink is a medium pink with neutral undertones. It’s as wearable and buildable as Baby Pink, just darker and neutral. Fun find: Pale Pink from the Orchid Palette is a mix of Baby Pink and Homecoming Pink!
  • Air Kiss is a sheer, pale milky pink. It lightened my natural lip color a bit–essentially washed out my lip color.
  • Rum is a sheer rosy brown. It has a little milkiness to it, but it’s not as milky or as pale as Air Kiss.
  • Crystal Gold is a sheer glossy base with metallic bronze and copper shimmer. This is a Glitter Lip Balm, but I’d like this more layered over a lipstick. It’s a little streaky on its own.
  • Jet is a creamy, jet black eyeliner.  It wore well, and it wasn’t too soft or hard, though swatching it lightly on the back of your hand initially is recommended, just to wear down the sharpened point.

The palette contains 0.02 oz. Creamy Eye Pencil, 0.04 oz. x4 Eyeshadows, 0.07 oz. x2 Pot Rouges, 0.04 oz. x2 of Lip Gloss, and 0.04 oz. Glitter Lip Balm. After going through the math, the palette is a good deal. It’s not a fantastic deal, but it’s not a rip off. You get about $10 worth of Eyeliner, $20 worth of Eyeshadows, $15 worth of Sparkle Eyeshadows, $10 worth of Pot Rouge, $10 worth of Lip Gloss, and $5 worth of Glitter Lip Balm–so somewhere around $65 to 70 in value.

I don’t feel like this is a great palette for teenagers. Even though sparkle is fun and they always say it’s for the young (pfft!), both shades are prone to fall out, and I think the last thing a makeup newcomer should have to deal with is that. The Pot Rouges are forgiving, because they’re so blendable, and the lip colors are natural and wear with most looks–but it’s the eyeshadows that seem out of place for a palette geared towards teenagers.

P.S. — Though I am not a fan of lip palettes, particularly when lip colors are mixed with powder products, I did not let that personal bias influence the rating or grading of this palette, but I do still feel that way about them–haven’t changed my mind!

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: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: My gut says to pass on this, but if you’re a Pot Rouge fan like me, those pinks are hard to pass up.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Chanel Tweed Fuchsia Blush
Chanel Tweed Fuchsia Tissages de Chanel

Chanel Holiday 2010: Tweed Fuchsia

Chanel Tweed Fuchsia Tissages de Chanel ($45.00 for 0.19 oz.) is a cotton candy pink with slight blue undertones. It has golden shimmer patterned on the top of the blush, but underneath, it’s much subtler and interlaced with the blush itself. It’s almost like micro-glitter rather than regular shimmer, but a lot of it seems to disappear or get eaten up by the brush, so the effect isn’t like a disco ball. (And again, much of the glittery bits are overspray and will be gone after a use or two.)

Tweed Fuchsia, like several of the other Tweed varieties, does feel like it has a little more shimmer than the Joue Contrastes, which have a glowier kind of look when worn. The blue undertone of this pink isn’t too strong, though it gets stronger the heavier the color is used. When I wore it on my cheeks, it almost looked neutral! It also layered well, so you could build up the color for a more intense cheek or keep it soft for an everyday look.

It’s a pretty pink, but it’s a shade I’ve definitely seen before–if you have Pink Explosion from fall, you might find this quite easy to pass by.

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: This is a flattering shade of pink on both cool and warm skin tones, because it doesn’t lean too blue.  It’s also buildable, which makes it more versatile as you can pair it with heavier, smokier or barely-there looks.  However, you may want to check your stash to see if you have something similar.

AVAILABILITY: Chanel

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Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Chanel SoHo de Chanel Highlighter & Blush
Chanel SoHo de Chanel Highlighter & Blush

Chanel SoHo Le Vernis: Should You?

Chanel SoHo de Chanel Highlighter & Blush ($65.00 for 0.45 oz.) is the star of the collection, is it not? It’s easily the prettiest, with the raised SoHo lettering and design of the powder. It has three distinct shades: rosy brown (it doesn’t read plum on me, though Chanel describes it as such), pale powder pink (but don’t expect to use that shade on its own–it’s such a thin strip!), and satiny pale white with subtle pink undertones (this is the highlighter). If you mix them altogether, the result is a lightly shimmered, glowy mix of muted rose.

Surprisingly, it swatches rather sheerly, but it applied much better with a blush brush on my cheeks–it was more pigmented than I anticipated (based on the subtler swatches). I actually loved the luminous sheen in the finish when they were swirled together–it’s glowy and rosy without being too pink. It is on the cooler side, but I think it still worked on my warmer skin tone, because it does have a touch of brown in it.

You could use the blush/highlighter shades separately if so desired, as both pieces are large enough to do so. The highlighter has such a fine sheen that I could see it being dusted all over as a finishing powder.  Overall, the powder applied really smoothly and evenly, and it was a cinch to blend out.

At $65, it’s not exactly a necessity item, but Chanel packed a surprising amount of product into this compact–a whopping 0.45 oz.–as compared to their blushes which weigh in at a mere 0.14 oz. By the ounce, it’s cheaper than NARS, can you believe it? This is one of those rare moments in beauty where I’m awarding Chanel 10/10 on value!

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: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: Chanel collectors should be pleased with the way SoHo looks and feels but also how smoothly it applies. For those less motivated by the brand itself, if you pick it up, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed–but don’t sell a kidney for it or anything!

AVAILABILITY: Chanel

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Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Video Review: Rock & Republic (Blushes) First Impressions & Swatches

I reviewed CALL ME on Monday, but here’s a video I shot when I first opened up the four blushes I purchased from HauteLook, close-ups, me talking far too much per usual, and swatches.  I will do written reviews for the rest as well — not to fear!

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