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.

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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

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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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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

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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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