Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

MAC Accentuate Pro Sculpting Cream
MAC Accentuate Pro Sculpting Cream

If It Matches, Sculpt Away!

MAC Pro Sculpting Creams ($20.00 for 0.17 oz.) are described as a “cream-to-powder formula for sculpting and shaping key features … [s]ilky-smooth, easy-to-blend and neutrally-shaded.” It’s supposed to have sheer-to-medium buildable coverage.

  • Accentuate is a pale white beige with mostly neutral undertones–it almost pulls a smidgen pink on me.
  • Coffee Walnut is a gray-ish medium-dark brown with subdued, orange-tan undertones. It has a slight green-cast.
  • Copper Beach is a medium-tan with strong orange undertones. If anything, this shade seemed more appropriate as a bronzer.
  • Naturally Defined is a light-medium beige with mostly neutral undertones–perhaps a smidgen warm.
  • Pure Sculpture is a softened tan brown. It’s not as orange as Copper Beach–more subdued.
  • Richly Honed is a dark brown with warm, reddish undertones.

I think the shades in MAC’s Sculpting powder range (which is permanent at PRO stores) are better-colored for contouring, because they’re much more shadowy, and these tended to be rather warm-toned. When you contour, you’re emphasizing or adding shadows, and when you highlight, you’re shaping and sculpting by adding light/sheen. If one of these shades is the right color, it can be a really great product. I’m just not sold that this is the right set of shades–I would have loved to have seen them take the existing Sculpting range and make them into cream form.  Accentuate, Coffee Walnut, and Naturally Defined are the closest to neutral, while Copper beach, Pure Sculpture, and Richly Honed are very much warm-toned.

The texture is lightly creamy, not too thick or too thin.  I’d almost describe it as a stiff cream, but in the best way.  All six shades had buildable coverage, so you could get sheer-to-light color easily, but you could layer just once or twice for more intensity.  While I did try using the new 163 brush that came with the launch, I preferred the 193 or finger tips (using a clean spatula to remove product, then warming it up between finger tips and blending it out on the skin).  It dries down and has a natural finish.  I tested all six of the shades (though used together, not individually), and I had no problem getting a full eight hours of wear with no noticeable fading.

The Glossover

product

MAC Pro Sculpting Creams Reviews, Photos, Swatches

A-
I like the formula, but I don't think the shade range is ideal for contouring. If you're looking for good contouring shades, try MAC's PRO Sculpting powders - they are a fantastic product that I rarely hear about!

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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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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Monday, August 27th, 2012

Illamasqua Aurora Gleam Highlighting Cream
Illamasqua Aurora Gleam Highlighting Cream

A Little Light Goes a Long Way

Illamasqua Aurora Gleam Highlighting Cream ($24.00 for 0.23 oz.) is described as a “champagne.” It’s a soft, warm ivory champagne with a strong shimmer-sheen. The shimmer is fairly fine, but it has a strong sheen that’s almost metallic depending on how much product you use. Benefit Watt’s Up! is similar, though a bit less warm-toned. NARS Albatross is similar in color but a bit lighter because the white base is stronger. MAC Truth & Light is lighter.

The Gleam formula is supposed to be lightweight with an iridescent finish to highlight both the face and body. It’s very creamy and slides right over the skin, and it doesn’t take a lot of product to highlight the higher planes of the face. I used some on the top of my cheekbones, along the bridge of my nose, and above my cupid’s brow. I used a clean spatula to take a little product out of the pan, and then I used my fingertips to pat it on. (Bonus: you can see it live in this video.) It does emphasize pores somewhat, because it does have a strong sheen that almost looks metallic, depending on the lighting.

This is a true cream, as it doesn’t dry down or set over time, so the wear time wasn’t stellar.  I managed about five hours of decent wear (and I have normal-to-dry skin), and after a little over six hours, a lot of it had faded/separated. It’s a product I’d consider setting lightly with translucent powder, which would help to set it as well as tamp down some of the high sheen finish (if you prefer a subtler highlight).

The Glossover

P
product

Aurora

B
If you like more intense highlighters, you might like Aurora, which should work on a variety of skin tones, because it's not an ashy champagne, but it's not too yellow that it becomes gold. The shorter wear time is its biggest downfall.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Monday, August 13th, 2012

Guerlain Peach Boy Blush Duo
Guerlain Peach Boy Rose aux Joues Blush Duo

Guerlain Goes Two-for-One with New Blushes

Guerlain Peach Boy Blush Duo ($50.00 for 0.21 oz.) contains a vibrant orange-coral with a mostly matte finish and a gold-shimmered peach-coral. Combined, the two work together to create a soft gold-shimmered, light-medium coral-orange. For the dominant shade, the color is more intense than NARS Gilda but less intense than NARS Exhibit A; MAC Modern Mandarin has a soft sheen that makes it appear just a hair lighter, while MAC Out for Fun is very similar. Make Up For Ever #5 is also simimilar in color.

The lighter shade is lighter and less coral compared to Make Up For Ever #153, more golden than Tarina Tarantino Feather, and softer than Tom Ford Lovelust. Together, it reminded me of a pinker MAC Ripe Peach, more shimmered MAC Marine Life, shimmered version of Chanel Tweed Brun Rose, or gold-shimmered Tom Ford Lovelust.

Each blush duo is designed to have a dominant shade that yields a pop of color, while the smaller shade can be used blended in or used to highlight or contour.  In Peach Boy, I think it’s safe to say that the bottom shade is a highlighter, given it’s shimmering content and finish.  It definitely works that way.  The darker shade was soft, had good color payoff, but was never powdery–it wasn’t as blendable as I’d like, though it was not too stubborn to work with. I’d recommend using a light hand with the color; it builds nicely and doesn’t go on true-to-pan with one touch, but it can look heavy quickly.

The lighter shade was soft, a little creamier in a way, and blended out beautiful on the cheeks. The shimmer seemed large when I swatched, but it came together nicely on the cheek; it didn’t emphasize pores and yielded a beautiful sheen.  I liked them best together, though, as the highlighting shade alone doesn’t have a lot of color, and when they’re used blended together, you get something with a lovely sheen and just enough color.

When I tested the wear of the darker shade, it wore for eight hours and had no fading that I could note.  The lighter shade wore for eight hours with minor fading.  Together, they wore for eight hours with very minor fading along the edges.  The textures of Guerlain’s new blush duos are very reminiscent of their eyeshadow palettes, which have a drier texture–just a bit firmer–but still finely-milled and soft.  The duo comes with a brush, which was soft enough to be usable, though I still preferred to use a full-sized brush. Also worth mentioning is that the powder is lightly perfumed (in line with other Guerlain powder products).

The Glossover

palette

Guerlain Peach Boy Rose aux Joues Blush Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
The concept of a blush duo is great--you get a little more bang for your buck, because you get two colors instead of just one, and because the two are meant to work with each other, so you have a lot of layering opportunities available.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Sunday, August 12th, 2012

NARS Undress Me The Multiple
NARS Undress Me The Multiple

Please Stay Dressed, NARS

NARS Undress Me The Multiple ($39.00 for 0.5 oz.) is described as a “ballerina pink with silver shimmer.” That should be upgraded to silver glitter–it’s much, much chunkier than sparkle. I don’t think I’d describe it as micro-glitter but regular glitter or a mix of small and large-sized glitter particles. The color itself is a pale, just slightly cool-toned, pink. MAC Lazy Sunday has a similar effect and look on, though it has no sparkle. MAC Full of Joy is much cooler-toned, to the point that it looks almost lilac. MAC New Order has gold sparkle and is slightly darker. Make Up For Ever #303 would have a similar effect on cheeks, though it has a frosted finish and is slightly cooler-toned.

Multiples are supposed to work for eyes, cheeks, lips, and body with a cream-to-powder formula that is creamy, has sheer color, and blends effortlessly. Lots and lots of readers love Multiples, and as much as I’d like to fall in love, I haven’t. Maybe I haven’t tried the right shades–Undress Me certainly isn’t one of those right shades. It’s very, very sparkly in a way that emphasizes pores and has noticeable flecks of glitter that just seem randomly dispersed. The glitter also traveled to places unknown (and known places included my hair line, nose, and chin) while I wore it. One of the problems I have with Multiples is their short wear time; Undress Me looked noticeably faded after four hours (and much of the glitter had tried to escape by that point as well) and was completely gone after six hours.

The texture is a little dry; it’s definitely a cream-based product, but it’s stiff. This was agony on the lips; I took photos, but I had visions of the photos making their way into the bowels of the internet. They were… not pretty and were wrong on so many levels. On the lips, it was unbearably dry, and the glitter was gritty. I don’t like Multiples on the lips, but this had to have been the worst I’ve attempted using on lips.

It’s not disco-ball highlighter–it’s something else entirely. I don’t think it’s flattering, and the problem with glitter is that if it’s not catching the light, it just looks like a chunk of silver.  Without the glitter, I think this might be more manageable, but with it, it’s riddled with problems.  The short wear time, traveling glitter, and dry, difficult-to-blend texture make this a no-go for me.  I kept trying to find ways to make it work over the past few weeks, but it was always the same story.  It’s best on bare skin, because it’s most blendable there, and it tended to just smear my liquid foundation around if I used this over it.

The Glossover

LE
product

Undress Me

D+
It's not disco-ball highlighter--it's something else entirely. I don't think it's flattering, and the problem with glitter is that if it's not catching the light, it just looks like a chunk of silver. Without the glitter, I think this might be more manageable, but with it, it's riddled with problems.

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

5/10

Application

3/5

Results
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