Thursday, January 7th, 2010

MAC in Lillyland Collection
MAC Pearlmatte Eyeshadow

MAC in Lillyland Collection: Pearlmatte Eyeshadow & Powder & Coconut Ice Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

The two prettiest-looking items in the collection are my two least favorites of the collection. Both the Pearlmatte Eyeshadow and Face Powder are lovely to look at with their floral design, but the product itself is just okay.

Pearlmatte Eyeshadow

This is basically three eyeshadows in one, and the pieces are big enough that you can get your brush into each. It consists of a lightly shimmered white, a soft yellow-green with gold shimmer (think Juxt), and a medium blue-based pink with light shimmer (think Da Bling, but blue-based). The design dusts off pretty fast — I could barely see any of the floral portions once I did swatches. The shadows themselves are decently pigmented, but they’re not ultra rich. They also felt a little powdery, which I wasn’t thrilled with. Nice design, just an okay product.

Pearlmatte Face Powder

This contains four different shades within the compact, but realistically, as a face/cheek product, you’re going to end up with a swirl of colors, not just any of the four. In particular, the orange shade is incredibly small, so good luck wearing that alone if you’re brave enough to try! Nonetheless, I did swatch the four individual shades, and then I did a swirled swatch. The individual shades are: a yellowed, shimmered gold, mostly matte/satin peachy orange, sheer, deep pink, and a neutral tan-brown with no real shimmer. Swirled together, I ended up with a rather bronzy shade — it ran a little orange and had the yellow-gold shimmer in it. I don’t know if I’d use this as an all over face powder myself, because it seems more like a bronzer based on playing around with it so far.

Coconut Ice Nail Lacquer

I’d like to know why they named this Coconut Ice. Maybe I haven’t consumed enough coconut ice in my life, but I just envisioned a lightened shade — based on the name. I’ve read the description previously, so I wasn’t misled, but the name seemed off to me. This is a brightened peachy-coral kind of shade. It’s like Seasonal Peach with a lot more pink. It has a creamy finish, and I’d say it needs two to three coats to look right. It kind of reminded of an old, old nail polish called Pink Radar, except lighter and less pink. I liked it, but I like corals, so this wasn’t much of a surprise.

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Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection
MAC By Candlelight Mineralize Skinfinish

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection: Mineralize Skinfinishes

I know many of you were excited to see two new skinfinishes join the Warm & Cozy Collection. I’ve never been able to jump on the mineralize skinfinish train with all my heart, but some of them are nicer than others.

  • By Candlelight is a light-medium peachy-pink with a surprising amount of pigmentation. It has a very shimmery, frosty sheen, so a little can go along way. (I’d definitely recommend using a light hand or the 187 brush and build up intensity with this shade.) It kind of reminded me of a way more pigmented Porcelain Pink or a peachier Glissade.
  • Comfort is a warmed-up medium bronze. It has a little orange to it, as well as a soft gold sheen. It’s not as shimmery or frosty as By Candlelight. It’s like a more intense, bronzed out version of Sunny By Nature or a more orange version of Gold Deposit, maybe.

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Monday, December 21st, 2009

A Fresh Face of… Roses?

Dolce & Gabbana Rose the One Shimmer Powder ($50.00 for 0.91 oz.) is a scented, subtle loose highlighter. It is scented with the same-named scent, Rose the One, also by Dolce & Gabbana (no surprise, I’m sure, ha!).

I know that some cosmetics are fragranced, but I can’t remember coming across a powder so deliberately scented before, so I was eager to try this (well, more to sniff it, I suppose!). It really does smell like Rose the One, which is a very feminine rose. There’s no better descriptor than fresh, sweetened roses. It’s not too sweet at all, which is something I was a little worried about. Surprisingly, you can even catch a little whiff of the rosy scent when it’s applied to your cheeks.

The loose powder itself is a soft, golden peach shimmer. It’s very finely milled, and it lays down quite well and doesn’t migrate all over the place, as some loose highlighters sometimes do. At $50, it is a splurge, but at least you can rest easy knowing you’ll likely have enough to last you a lifetime, with nearly an entire ounce of product. The product reminds me a bit of MAC’s Loose Beauty Powder ($22.00 for 0.28 oz.).

I would caution those with more sensitive skin that a fragrance-filled product may not be your best bet, at least not your face.  It does work quite nicely as a decolletage highlighter as well!  Otherwise, it’s kind of a fun product that puts a twist on wearing your favorite scent.

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:  If you’re in the market for a loose highlighter and wouldn’t mind smelling like a rose, check out Dolce & Gabbana’s Rose the One!

AvailabilitySaks


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Monday, December 21st, 2009

Chanel Les Impressions de Chanel Collection

Hot–No, Lukewarm–Springs with Empreinte de Chanel

Chanel Empreinte de Chanel ($65.00  for 0.49 oz.) is the signature product (and limited edition, of course) from Chanel’s Les Impressions de Chanel Collection for the spring.

Chanel describes the product as a “radiant glow highlighting powder” designed to brighten cheeks and brow bone with shades of rosewood, beige, and brown. It also includes an angled brush (the size you’d typically find in a compact, not a full-size brush), which is surprisingly soft and usable–though I’ll still use my full size brushes myself.

The compact has these lopsided circles in creamy white-gold, bronze, and peach outlined in the bronze. Then there are, of course, the two signature interlocking Cs in a shimmering, gilded gold (not quite a true gold). I was trying to furiously swatch away anything that would be an overlay, and though it seems like the circles seem to fade away, the color remains the same regardless. The Cs seem to be shimmery (as far as I could tell without destroying the compact) to stay shimmery as well.

Empreinte de Chanel is a warmed-up, peachy gold. It’s surprisingly pigmented, and it’s definitely something that would lovely as an eyeshadow as well as on top of cheeks. It reminded me of a more pigmented, way more shimmery version of Lancome’s Sparkling Cherub; Empreinte is also warmer and less brown (more gold).

Bottom Line: It’s soft, silky, and certainly looks beautiful on, but it is definitely a shimmery highlighter; so if you prefer a more subtle highlighter, you may want to test this in person first! The price is steep, and Chanel fans won’t be surprised, but if you’ve never considered Chanel, this probably isn’t the best product I’d take the plunge on (they have better; including Kaska Beige Eyeshadow Quad, if you are jonesin’ for spring).  The only thing that compensates for the price is you do get 0.49 oz. of product, which is quite a bit for a blush/highlighter product (typically 0.20 oz. or so).

P.S. – The entire Chanel Spring collection is now available at Nordstrom and Saks. You’ll probably have to search by name or click through the Chanel categories, but they’re up there. I just purchased Particuliere through Saks ’cause Saks has FREE EXPRESS SHIPPING (!) right now.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Chanel fans will likely enjoy this piece, but the price tag is a little steep for a product that’s good, but not great.

Availability: Nordstrom and Saks

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Monday, December 14th, 2009

Get Glowy Cheeks for the Holidays with Benefit

Benefit Cosmetics Sugarbomb ($28.00 for 0.42 oz.) is the newest powder addition to Benefit’s line-up. It joins cult favorites like CORALista and Hoola, and Benefit describes it as a “sugar rush flush” for the face.

The powder comes with four triangles of color, which Benefit describes as “rose, shimmering pink, soft plum, and peach.” The powder is designed to be used all at once, rather than one triangle at a time. I’d completely agree with that notion, particularly because the space is just not big enough to really grab one shade over another that well.

When swirled together, the outcome is a beautiful peachy-pink shade with a very, very subtle golden sheen. This is half blush, half highlighter, because it’s not ultra pigmented and on my skin tone (which you could describe as “medium”), while it shows up, it looks very soft. It’s certainly not invisible (which would make it more like a highlighter), but it’s not vibrant. This is good and bad, depending on your usage — but it’s a good thing to me.

It actually reminded me of a peachier version of CORALista, but they are different, since CORALista is much more pigmented and pinker. On my skin, it gives me just enough color and really gives me that “glow.” That super sought after glowy cheek look? That’s what this is in a cute lil’ box.

Both the texture and the results reminded me quite a bit of my beloved Dior Skin Shimmers (particularly Pop Diamond). The shade itself is a reminiscent of NARS’ Orgasm, but it’s less orange (on me) and the shimmer more refined. But here’s something fun: Benefit is way, way cheaper than both. Benefit’s Powders are HUGE–a whopping 0.42 oz.–compared to the average blush that weighs in at a mere 0.20 oz. NARS’ blushes are $156/oz., MAC’s are $88/oz., and Dior’s are $150/oz., but Benefit is $67/oz.

It’s packaged exactly like other Benefit powders, which is in a cute little cardboard box. If you don’t dig Benefit’s packaging, this is probably not going to do it for you either. It’s typical Benefit–and I say that as a good thing–and even though I do prefer sturdier packaging, this will hold up quite well, even if you do keep in your purse. Of course, if you toss it in your bag, the outside will get dinged up a bit, but in the end, it should still survive with the product intact, which is the more important part.

Bottom Line: This is a beautiful get-glowy-cheeks product if you’re light to medium-dark. If you have a deeper or darker skin tone, I think this will end up being more of a highlighter–if that’s what you’re looking for, it’s worth considering, but I don’t think the color will show much very well. I fell in love with this product at first swatch (and I had a hunch it’d be mine kind of color just from looking at it, too) – it’s everything I love: soft, subtle shimmer (think Dior Skin Shimmers, mmm!) that gives me glowy, naturally flushed cheeks. This is something I could wear everyday, with or without other makeup. Benefit, I’m totally impressed by this!

P.S. I also want to give props to Benefit’s website for showing incredibly color accurate photos of Sugarbomb, too. You don’t always see such accuracy in official product imagery, so it’s really a nice touch.

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

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

Recommendation: If you love glowy cheeks, check out Benefit’s Sugarbomb!

Availability: Benefit Cosmetics, Sephora

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Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Add a Little Holiday Opulence to Your Look

Estee Lauder Opulent Shimmer Powder ($32.00) is a limited edition, holiday highlighter from Este Lauder’s Ultimate Red Collection.

It has this kind of basketweave-esque pattern on the outer portion of it, which is slightly bronzer, while the inner hexagon is flat and more of a beige-y shade. Nevertheless, you swirl and mix both sections together to get a shimmery shade of beige-y gold. It was surprisingly subtle and not at all frosty or glittery — very smooth, soft, and appropriate In my swatch, you can see that it doesn’t show up too bright or look glittery, but it lays on skin quite well. I’d say my arm is somewhere around NC20 or so, for reference.

Certainly not as pretty (just as far as the pattern goes!) as Lancome’s Sparkling Cherub, but it’s more my style and something I’d reach for more often. I found Lancome’s Sparkling Cherub to run deeper and have more of a semi-matte finish–it just felt more like a bronzer than a highlighter to me. I do feel like they’re very different products, so it’s more a matter of what you’re looking for and what you want the product to do. If you’re just looking for a shimmery highlighter, Estee Lauder’s is your better bet; if you’re looking to add more warmth to your skin, Lancome’s is the way to go.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you’re in the market for a soft, smooth golden highlighter, you might like this limited edition holiday offering.

Availability: Nordstrom

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