Saturday, August 14th, 2010

MAC Venomous Villains - Cruella
MAC Venomous Villains — Cruella de Vil

MAC Disney Venomous Villains Collection: Cruella de Vil Review, Photos, Swatches

There are four “parts” to the collection, with each part being represented by each of the characters. After much indecision, I finally committed to reviewing everything by character, rather than product type! First up is Cruella de Vil, the villainness from 101 Dalmatians. Cruella’s “collection” includes two lipsticks, two lipglasses, three eyeshadows, one Penultimate eyeliner, one beauty powder, and one blush.

All of the character images are stamped on the products; they are not stickers. You can find official promotional imagery and color descriptions here. The collection launches on September 30th, 2010 at all MAC locations, October 2010 internationally, and approximately September 28th for online. You may also want to check your local store to see if they are holding an unveiling/preview party for the collection.

Lipglass ($15.50 U.S. / $18.50 CDN)

  • Wicked Ways is a brightened cherry red that’s semi-opaque with subtle golden shimmer.  I think this is going to be a very nice red on both warm and cool skin tones.  It leans just a tiny bit blue, I’d say… but very close to neutral.
  • Devilishly Stylish is a semi-sheer white-shimmered, slightly champagne nude. Not exactly the most original shade, but with some darker eye/lip products, will be a nice relief for those who need something softer.

Lipstick ($15.50 U.S. / $18.50 CDN)

  • Innocence, Beware! is a semi-opaque pinky nude with a cremesheen finish. It’s a little glossy, not overly creamy, and I found it accentuated every imperfection on my lips. Make sure to exfoliate shortly before applying this shade. It seems like a pinker Blankety or paler Plink!, as well as in the family of nudes like Creme d’Nude and Hue.  This shade is more opaque than the latter three, but the texture is best in Hue (smoother, less accentuating of flaws).
  • Heartless is an almost neutral red that applies nearly opaque; if it leans in any direction, I would say slightly orange, but it really seems closer to neutral. It has an amplified finish. The closest dupe in the permanent MAC range seems like it would be Brave Red or perhaps Ladybug (which is probably a bit sheerer).

Blush ($19.50 U.S. / $23.50 CDN)

  • Darkly My Dear dirtied brown with just a mere hint of plum. It looks plummer in the pan than it is in actuality–it’s rather brown when worn. It can be built up or used sheerly depending on the look you’re going for. It’s kind of like a browner, much darker version of Blushbaby. It’s supposed to have a matte finish, but it seems like it has a hint of pearl/satin sheen to it, though very near matte on cheeks.

Eyeshadow ($15.50 U.S. / $18.50 CDN)

  • Sweet Joy is a pale gold with soft yellow undertones and a frost finish. This was originally included in the Passions of Red holiday palette (quite awhile ago). It’s similar to Dreammaker (Starflash) but less frosty; also similar to Creme Royale (Hello Kitty) and Creme de Miel (Style Warriors). It’s yellower than Nylon, much less gold/yellow than Goldmine.
  • De-vil is darkened, orange-y copper with a veluxe pearl finish. It’s just the tiniest bit less red and a hair darker than Coppering, darker and deeper than Amber Lights (not even really comparable, IMO). It seems a little darker than Brash (Cult of Cherry), possibly similar to Courage (Untamed).  But it’s really close to Coppering.
  • Carbon is a matte black–can be packed on for an intense black, but like some mattes, better applied than swatched. This is a permanent shade.

Beauty Powder ($25.00 U.S. / $30.00 CDN)

  • Her Own Devices is a sheered out champagne-shimmered medium nude. It gives just a hint of color on my NC25 skin (“medium”), but I think it maybe a nice shade for highlighting medium to dark skin tones, because it’s natural but it has shimmer–since it’s not pale, it won’t turn darker complexions ashy.  I’ve had a few readers ask about how it compares to Shell Beauty Powder, but the two look completely different on me.

See product photos and swatches! Continue reading →

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Burberry Russet Blush
Burberry Russet Blush (Look breakdown here)

Burberry Russet (01) Blush ($42.00 for 0.24 oz.) is a softened rust-brown. When blended out, it’s just a hint of red-toned brown, but it can be layered on for a deeper shade that looks most rust-like. On my cheeks, it looks like a bronzer with a lil’ kick to it–not quite a flat or shimmering brown or bronze, but it gives my cheeks more warmth and dimension. I like the soft, finely-milled feel of the powder, and it applies smoothly without looking powdery. Burberry’s blushes look incredibly natural on skin, and they’re easy to sheer out or build up for a stronger cheek (but never an ultra intense cheek).

It’s packaged in a hefty gunmetal compact with a soft, bristled brush that actually works (though I’ll still stick with my regular brushes) and doesn’t feel scratchy against the skin. Burberry’s signature check pattern covers the front of the compact, and the logo is on the side. This blush comes with a good amount of product–around 30% more than your average high-end blush compact, actually!

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: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: For a darker, but still natural, cheek, Russet makes a good color choice for both warm and cool skin tones.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

NARS Douceur Blush
NARS Douceur Blush

Douceur… aka Softness!

NARS Douceur Blush ($26.00 for 0.16 oz.) is a new and limited edition shade of dirty neutral pink-brown. This is a hard color to describe, because I think it’s going to take on a lot of the natural tones from each person. It’s not pink on me, at all, and it doesn’t even swatch very pink, but it almost looks pink in the pan. On my skin (warm, yellow undertones, medium in color), it adds just a touch of flush but almost just darkens my cheeks. I love a product that challenges me to describe it, but simultaneously, I get very frustrated since I’m almost at a loss for words. (Almost!)

According to my good friend Google Translate, Douceur means softness in French.  (Thanks for the lessons!) Foreign language, by the way, was never my strong suit (I took five years of French and yet I can’t even translate “douceur” on my own)!

Beyond the dirty neutral pink-brown shade (which is about as close as I think I’m going to get here), this is one of NARS’ least pigmented blushes. It is surprisingly subtle and light; it does not build to something more intense. I think those with medium to dark skin tones may want to try it out in person first. It’s very barely-there on me, so while I think paler beauties will love the near matte finish and subtler coloring of the blusher, darker beauties will find it less useful and maybe even invisible on their skin tone.

By the by, while the NARS imprint is gorgeous, it will disappear within one or two uses!

Don’t forget — use code TEMPTALIA for a free mini lipgloss trio featuring Turkish Delight, Gothika, and Greek Holiday at NARS.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: For those with light to light-medium skin, I think this would be a lovely shade to add depth without strong color.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Saturday, July 17th, 2010

NARS Exhibit A Blush
NARS Exhibit A Blush

Baby, I Think My Cheeks are on Fire!

NARS Exhibit A Blush ($26.00 for 0.16 oz.) is a fiery orange that’s as pigmented as it looks in the pan.  It is an intimidating shade to be sure, because it does go on something FIERCE! even when you are careful.  Exhibit A has a matte finish, so it won’t accentuate fine lines or pores, and it can easily be buffed and blended onto skin so it looks natural and not quite so obviously orange.

When I wore this the other day, I used MAC’s 184 Brush, because it gave me the ability to really apply it subtly and softly against the angle of my cheek.  The width of the brush allowed me to deposit the initial burst of color onto the majority of my cheek, and then I could feather it out with soft strokes.

It doesn’t pull too red, and it certainly doesn’t pull yellow, which makes it wearable regardless of your undertones.  I particularly love this blush on our darker skinned beauties (plus, it shows intensely even on darker skin tones).  Don’t let this blush scare you — it can be worn and worn without fear.  Just be sure to have your buffing brush and some loose setting powder on hand to blend and diffuse it!

P.S. — U.S. NARS customers can get a trio of miniature-sized lipglosses in Stolen Kisses, Risky Business, and Moonfleet with code TEMPTALIA on orders of $25 or more, expires 8/15. :)

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: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Whether you want a subtle touch of orange or a heart stopping shade of fiery orange on your cheeks, Exhibit A is capable of both.

AVAILABILITY: NARS, Nordstrom, Sephora

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Thursday, July 15th, 2010

theBalm Cabana Boy Blush

Kick Off Your Summer with a Cabana Boy of Your Own

theBalm Cabana Boy Blush ($21.00 for 0.3 oz.) is one whopper of a blush! It’s a muted raspberry pink with a subtle golden sheen that looks more luminous than shimmery. It’s plenty pigmented, but it can be sheered out for a subtler cheek, too (thankfully!)–definitely recommend using a light hand with this shade. The texture is soft, smooth, and silky. It applies beautifully and without a fuss.

It’s housed in a cardboard compact with vintage imagery. theBalm also gives you plenty o’ product–a veritable blush brick at 0.3 oz.–and you won’t have to shell out $40 to take advantage of the value, either. It’s reasonably priced as a high-end brand at $21 a pop.

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Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Burberry Beauty Blush
Burberry Peony (04) Blush

Burberry Peony (04) Blush ($42.00 for 0.24 oz.) is a pale neutral pink that can be sheered out for just a hint of color or layered for a more intense, doll-like look.  This is definitely the softest of the three blushes I’ve seen (the other two being Russet and Cameo), and I think it best suits light to light-medium skin tones, with medium skin tones seeing a soft look overall.  I think deeper skin tones will find it doesn’t do much to their skin tone without a good amount of layering.

The texture is soft and buttery but a little dusty, though it still melts onto the skin and looks as natural as can be.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: For really light skin tones, this is a great blush.  Those who are medium or dark in skin tone may want to be cautious.

AVAILABILITY: Burberry, Nordstrom

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →