Saturday, August 14th, 2010

MAC Venomous Villains - Evil Queen

MAC Disney Venomous Villains Collection: Evil Queen Review, Photos, Swatches

Next up, we have the Evil Queen from Snow White. The Evil Queen’s “collection” includes two lipsticks, two lipglasses, three eyeshadows, 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)

  • Strange Potion is a lightly pink shimmered, soft pinky-coral that’s semi-opaque in coverage. This is a really beautiful shade of gloss–I can’t think of anything quite like it that MAC has put out. Very flattering on both cool and warm-toned skin.
  • Hot House is a deep fuchsia-berry with iridescent fuchsia-purple shimmer. It applies and looks semi-opaque on lips. It originally was released in Strange Hybrid.

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

  • Sinister is a semi-sheer brown with pinky-plum shimmer. It looks better on the lips than as a swatch. This has a lustre finish.
  • Toxic Tale is a bright, opaque shade of nearly neon coral with an orange lean. Reminds me of Illamasqua Mistress, but in a lipstick form. Very, very pigmented–creamy but not slippery. This has a satin finish.

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

  • Her Alter Image is a cool-toned icy, pale lilac with a veluxe pearl finish. It’s pigmented and purpler than Beautiful Iris, but it’s similar.
  • Vile Violet is a darkened cool-toned violet with muted blue tones. This has a matte finish.
  • Vainglorious is a bronzed burgundy with a frost finish. It’s similar to Cranberry, except a little browner, and it’s a bit darker and more burgundy than Star Violet–but it’s closest to Star Violet.

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

  • Bite of an Apple is a brightened coral-pink blush that can really pack a punch!  Very opaque, though it is blendable.  This has a matte finish.

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

  • 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.

See more photos and swatches! Continue reading →

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 →

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Guerlain Teint Rose Meteorites

The Trifecta of Guerlain’s Meteorites: Teint Rose

Guerlain Teint Rose Meteorites Powder ($56.00 for 1.05 oz.) is the last of the three new, reformulated Meteorites powders we have to review.  Previously, we reviewed Teint Beige and Teint Dore.  These can be used as highlighters or all over the face–less for setting, more for an all over glow.  Guerlain makes a Meteorites brush, but you can use any blush or highlighting brush to swirl in the pot for application.

According to Guerlain…

Harmony 01 / Teint Rose corrects by using mauve to reflect light and brightening the complexion along with green to reduce redness; pink to give skin a more even look; and white for illumination, gold for “radiance.”

This particular Meteorite has a blend of champage, white, yellow, green, pink, and purple pearls that create a soft, subtle micro-shimmered glow.  It’s a very silky and finely-milled product–this is not powdery, heavy, or cakey.  It doesn’t feel heavy, and it never looks unnatural.

Admittedly, it is difficult to see the nuances between the three Meteorites.  Even in person, they don’t look terribly different on me when applied.  Teint Rose is less golden, more white/champagne shimmer, while Teint Dore is a little more golden-bronze, and Teint Beige is is still a bit bronze but less yellow.  After seeing all three in person, I think  any one of them would be appropriate across skin tones and undertones.  They effect they have is so subtle, I can’t imagine any looking bad because of skin tone.

Still loving the totally upgraded Meteorites packaging, too!

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: 5/5

Recommendation: It’s always nice to see a brand maintain or improve a product, particularly when they’re changing such a cult favorite! If you already have the previous versions of Meteorites, you may find this shade redundant, but if you don’t yet have Meteorites in your stash, you should take a gander next time you’re at a Guerlain counter.

Availability: Nordstrom, Sephora

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer
theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer

A Highlighter for Generations

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer ($24.00 for 0.30 oz.) is a mega highlighter–no, seriously! This compact contains a ton of product–it’s double the amount of your average blush. I can’t fathom ever finishing this, because you need so little to get that shimmering glow.

It’s a soft, shimmering champagne with subtle gold tones. It’s not the subtlest highlighter, but it’s not glittery, heavy, or overly shimmery either. It seems to have a combination of noticeable shimmer and subtle, glowy sheen. I think it’s a very pretty shade–ultra flattering on most skin tones–but it is absolutely gorgeous on warmer skin tones.  (Again, this should work beautifully on cooler skin tones, too!)

On my cheeks, I just tap the tiniest amount on the tops of my cheeks using a tapered face brush, and then I blend it out. I will say that this is a product where blending is necessary–if you just tap it on, it will look obvious and accentate pores, but a few quick swishes of a brush will turn you into a glowy goddess.  You can also use this as a highlighter anywhere–cheeks, eyes, lips, you name it!

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love highlighters and don’t own this one, I really think you may want to put it on your list.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Illamasqua Powdered Liquid Metal

Bronzed from Head to Toe

Illamasqua Thalia Powdered Metal (£22.00 for 0.52 oz.) is a golden bronze shimmered with gold with a soft, almost metallic sheen. It’s a loose powder that can be used alone or mixed with other products–it’s very much like any other multi-purpose loose color (e.g. Illamasqua’s Pure Pigments, MAC Pigments, etc.).

Thalia is a beautiful bronzer on medium to medium-dark skin, and it also works well as a light illuminator mixed with moisturizer or liquid foundation for those with medium to medium-dark skin. You can also throw it in your hair (try mixing it with shine spray), swirl it in a clear nail polish or creme-finish nail polish to frankenstein something new. It can also look pretty patted lightly on the center of lips over plums and reds finished by a quick slick of gloss.

A little goes a long way, and this is an incredibly finely milled powder, so it’s easy to use more than you need!   The packaging has a nice sifter on it, so it’s easier to control how much product comes out.  I like that you get plenty of the product without paying an arm and a leg, too. This is also a great body product for the summer, because you can dust it lightly on shoulders and legs (try it right after moisturizing, so it sticks better) for a subtle bronzy sheen.

Illamasqua also carries Bebhionn (soft pink shimmer) and Erzule (deep bronze shimmer).

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: If you’d like a bit of faux glow tan without a lot of work, Powdered Metal definitely gets you there in a hurry!

AVAILABILITY: Illamasqua

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Guerlain Gold Tint Meteorites

Summer Shimmer with Guerlain

Guerlain Teint Dore Meteorites Powder ($56.00 for 1.05 oz.) is one of three new permanent shades of Meteorites.  Meteorites are something of a phenomena, but they are beautiful highlighters that just add glow and warmth to the skin without going overboard with glitter or heavy shimmer.  I find the shimmer imparted by Meteorites to be part glow, part shimmer, because it’s subtle but still noticeable.  It’s light enough to be able to dusted on the face, but it also works beautifully on the top of the cheekbones.

The new Meteorites come in much-improved packaging, too.  Gone is the cardboard!  Instead, it’s this metal-like plastic (I don’t think it’s real metal based on touching and holding it), but it has the metallic sheen of metal.  I like that both the lid and the cylinder itself have detailing that is definitely a signature of higher end brands like Guerlain, so it’s just nice to see it fully translated into the Meteorites range.  I’m also happy that Meteorites still pack quite a punch in quantity–a full ounce or thirty grams of satin-y, shimmering pearls.

Teint Dore is a mixture of champagne, chocolate, and golden pearls.  Together, they create a very soft golden sheen with just a touch of bronze that’s just really barely there.  It’s almost like a bronze undertone.  I think this is easily worn by all skin tones, because it’s not overly warm.  It will warm up any complexion a smidgen, and I think it would be beautiful on both pale and darker skin tones as well.  I’d recommend trying this over a coral blush or bronzer!

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: 5/5

Recommendation:  It’s always nice to see a brand maintain or improve a product, particularly when they’re changing such a cult favorite!  If you already have the previous versions of Meteorites, you may find this shade redundant, but if you don’t yet have Meteorites in your stash, you should take a gander next time you’re at a Guerlain counter.

Availability: Nordstrom, Sephora

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →