Monday, January 10th, 2011

Bobbi Brown Powerful Palette
Bobbi Brown Powerful Palette

Bobbi Brown Powerful Palette

Bobbi Brown Powerful Palette ($60.00 for 0.36 oz.) is an all-in-one palette with four eyeshadows, one blush, two lipglosses, and one lipstick. It includes:  Navajo (creamy pinkish white), Rose Gold (golden pink), Burnished Rose (warm rose), Chocolate Caviar (deep chocolate brown), Plum (deep pinky plum), Pink Pudding (bright medium pink), Pink Bouquet (baby pink with silver flecks), and Powerful (bright deep pink).

  • Navajo is a pale beige white with a matte finish. This is part of the permanent range.
  • Rose Gold is a rose-tinged bronze gold with a frosted finish.
  • Burnished Rose is a warmed-up, soft light-medium brown beige with a matte finish.
  • Chocolate Caviar is a deep, dark cool-toned chocolate brown with a matte finish.
  • Plum is a very pinked plum with lots of color pay off; it can be built up with ease or blended out for a softer look. It has a near matte finish.  This is a powder blush.
  • Pink Pudding is a sheer, medium pink with soft pink shimmer.  This is a Shimmer Lip Gloss.
  • Pink Bouquet is a semi-sheer rosy pink with petal pink shimmer.  This is a Glitter Lip Gloss.
  • Powerful is an opaque, rich, deep burgundy wine with a creamy, slightly shiny finish.  This is a lipstick.

The palette contains 0.09 oz. of Eyeshadow ($22.50 value), 0.04 oz. Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow ($7.50 value), 0.14 oz. of blush ($23.69 value), 0.028 oz. of Shimmer Lip Gloss ($4.00 value), 0.028 of Glitter Lip Gloss ($4.00 value), and 0.035 oz. of Lip Color ($6.42 value). It total value of the products inside the palette sums to $68.11, while the palette itself costs $60. It’s not a value-packed palette, but you’re getting your money’s worth.

All four eyeshadows were pigmented, and Chocolate Caviar was the only one that didn’t have a really beautifully creamy, silky texture (just slightly drier), and the Plum blush was also nicely pigmented.  The two lip glosses are both on the sheer side as Bobbi Brown glosses often are, while the lipstick was gorgeous and rich in color.

I love the sleek packaging, and I think the typography on the outside cover of the palette is beautiful.  Bobbi Brown’s campaign of Pretty. Powerful. is really a fantastic slogan, so I’m all for it being emblazoned across the palette itself.  Though I’m not personally that fond of palettes that mix powders with gloss or creams, I do like that Bobbi Brown’s palettes always seem to have deeper wells and a very tightly clasping palette to minimize powder migration.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: For those who like palettes that make their mornings easier, Bobbi Brown’s Powerful palette may just be one of those.  With eyeshadows, blush, and lip color all in one go all housed in a slim palette, it is easy to travel with.  However, I am not sure just how keen I am with the way the eyeshadows coordinate with the blush and lip colors–they are almost too orange compared to the plum and pink of the other shades.

WHERE TO BUY: Bobbi Brown

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Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

MAC Sur Blush
MAC Sur Blush

MAC Mickey Contractor: Sur Blush

MAC Sur Blush ($18.50 for 0.21 oz.) is new and limited edition blush from MAC Mickey Contractor. MAC describes it as a “dirty rose brown” with a satin finish. When I swatched, I found Sur to be a rosied brown with a pearly sheen. It’s a really nice natural blusher–it’ll give your cheeks a little oh-la-la and dimension without too much color. I see this working well on light to medium-dark skin tones; darkest skin tones may find it gets lost when used.

It seems quite comparable to Notable (Makeup Art Cosmetics, ’09)–possibly a touch lighter and with a more noticeable sheen. It seems similar to Blushbaby, too, though browner.

P.S. — On eyes, I am wearing Jaan eyeshadow on the lid, Vivah eyeshadow on the outer lid/crease, Folie in the crease, Burberry Trench to highlight, Ivy fluidline on upper lash line, Urban Decay Perversion on lower water line, Jaan eyeshadow on lower lash line. On lips, I am wearing Yash lipstick with Lust lipglass on top. On cheeks, I am wearing Sur Blush.

MAC Mickey Contractor will be available on January 6th at select North American stores and January 2011 for select international stores. It will be available online on approximately January 4th but may not be available until the 6th.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: It’s a very easy, everyday kind of blush that’s everyday without adding color but more about definition and dimension.  It does add some color, don’t get me wrong, but it’s very natural.

WHERE TO BUY: maccosmetics.com

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Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

MAC Gana Blush
MAC Gana Blush

MAC Mickey Contractor: Gana Blush

MAC Gana Blush ($18.50 for 0.21 oz.) is new and limited edition blush from MAC Mickey Contractor. MAC describes it as a “bright white gold” with a frost finish. When I swatched, I found Gana to be a gilded champagne with a bright sheen–slightly frosty but more of a sheen. I like it better as a highlighter than a blush, just because it seems to make me look a bit washed out when used as a blusher. It has a very soft, smooth texture and plenty of pigment.

I’ll have to do a comparison to be sure, but this seems similar to Trace Gold, which is part of the permanent line; the biggest difference seems in the texture–this is smoother, more sheen than shimmer.

P.S. — On eyes, I am wearing Jaan eyeshadow on the lid, Vivah eyeshadow on the outer lid/crease, Folie in the crease, Burberry Trench to highlight, Ivy fluidline on upper lash line, Urban Decay Perversion on lower water line, Jaan eyeshadow on lower lash line. On lips, I am wearing Yash lipstick with Lust lipglass on top. On cheeks, I am wearing Gana blush.

MAC Mickey Contractor will be available on January 6th at select North American stores and January 2011 for select international stores. It will be available online on approximately January 4th but may not be available until the 6th.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you sheer it out enough, it could work as a very soft, all-over-glow kind of product, but it is easier to use it as a highlighter where you need it.

WHERE TO BUY: maccosmetics.com

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Monday, December 27th, 2010

Chanel Espiegle Blush
Chanel Espiegle Blush

Chanel Spring 2011: Espiegle

Chanel Espiegle Joues Contraste Powder Blush ($42.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a softened peach-orange with a faint champagne sheen. The texture is soft, silky smooth, and it is impossible to overdo; while the color be layered for a truer-to-pan look, it starts off subtle and sheer. Accordingly, if you do get more color than you’d like, it is easy to blend out. It is a new and permanent shade (according to Chanel’s website) from the the Spring collection, which is online now and seems to be coming out in stores rapidly, too.

Espiegle is a slightly muted version of MAC Utterly Game, but the two are definitely sisters. Even texturally, they are surprisingly similar, as they both have that finely milled, slightly powder (but not in a bad way!) feeling. I would say Utterly Game has more of a matte finish, though, and it can be built up to a more intense orange shade. When worn sheer, it also compares to NARS Sex Appeal–a touch more orange.

Joues Contraste is a silky smooth, very finely-milled powder blush that applies subtly and can be layered for a deeper look–but they are never really bold or bright. They are very easy to use, because they blend beautifully against the skin. While pricey, it is in line with designer brands like Chanel, and they don’t skimp on the amount of product.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a shade that will suit warmer skin tones best, but those with slightly cool undertones should be able to work this when paired with cooler shades on the lips or eyes.

WHERE TO BUY: Nordstrom

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Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Benefit Bella Bamba Powder
Benefit Bella Bamba Powder

Benefit Bella Bamba Boxed Powder ($28.00 for 0.28 oz.) is a brightened medium pink with pale gold shimmer-sheen. It’s fairly pigmented and can easily be used as an intense blusher, but it’s soft and fine enough in texture to be used as a sheer color on cheeks when blended out. I want to say it’s like a mix of Coralista and Sugarbomb but distinctly pink, not really a coral at all.

At first glance, it seems like Bella Bamba might just be another NARS Orgasm variation, but it’s so much pinker than those peachy-pinks. The closest dupe I could think of was Chanel Pink Explosion Joues Contraste, which is slightly cooler and has less gold shimmer. NARS Angelika is closest in color by NARS, but it’s really more a mesh of that blush with Albatross, I’d say.

I’m a little disappointed to see Benefit cutting the product size down by so much–a lot of their boxed powders have as much as 0.42 oz., while ones that are lower hover around 0.35 oz. It’s just as pigmented and incredibly similar in texture to Coralista, which is a full 0.42 oz. It’s still a lot of product for $28 (most blushes are 0.15 oz. or so), but it was something I thought was worth noting. I’m also not a fan of the flip-top packaging, because it doesn’t stay open on its own (probably more frustrating to photograph than to use, I suppose, though). I prefer the removable lid myself.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think this is a great boxed powder, and even though they reduced the size, it’s still a ton of blush for the price.  It’s nicely pigmented win a flattering pink that’s not too cool or warm; the golden sheen makes it suitable for warmer skin tones while the slightly cool-toned pink of the shade itself works well on cool skin tones, too.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

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Sunday, December 19th, 2010

MAC Cream Colour Bases
MAC Cream Colour Bases: Madly Magenta, Movie Star Red, Tickle Me Pink, Virgin Isle

MAC Stylishly Yours: Cream Colour Bases

MAC Cream Colour Bases ($16.50 for 0.12 oz.) are multi-purpose cream-based colors. Stylishly Yours includes two permanent (but PRO) shades: Madly Magenta (vivid pinkish purple) and Virgin Isle (vivid bright coral); and two limited edition shades: Movie Star Red (medium toned blue-red) and Tickle Me Pink (poppy creamy bright pink).

THESE ARE NOT SAFE FOR USE ON THE EYES. Each of these came with a safety insert, and I’m going to retype it in full, because it’s a good reference for other Cream Colour Base shades, too.  (I italicized the four shades from this launch.)

The following shades are not for use in the eye area: Bamboo, Cooled Pink, Devilish Orange, Fabulush, Flaming Fuchsia, Flighty, Fuchsia Perfect, Full Fuchsia, Improper Copper, Madly Magenta, Movie Star Red, Orange Alarm, Pink Shock, Plumed Violet, Premeditated, Reel Red, Rich Coral, Rich Spice, Soft Rose, Tickle Me Pink, Vintage Rose, and Virgin Isle.

The following shades are not for use in the lip area: Brown, Dusk, Fawntastic, Greensmoke, Mid-tone Sepia, Pink, Plumed Violet, Slick, Vintage Rose, and White.

  • Madly Magenta is a cool-toned fuchsia purple with a glossy sheen and nearly opaque color coverage.  This is a permanent shade at PRO stores.  It is similar to Love Forever and Dolce & Gabbana’s Violet.
  • Movie Star Red is a medium-dark pinky-red with opaque color coverage.  This is a limited edition shade.  It is a darker version of Gesina.
  • Tickle Me Pink is a pale pink with opaque color.  It’s a little milky, but it’s not too pale, though it is a rather light pink (and I don’t love it on me personally).  This is a limited edition shade.  It is a cooler, pinker version of Unlimited.  It’s a warmer, pinker version of Viva Glam Gaga and Snob.
  • Virgin Isle is a softened orange with a hint of coral, and it has opaque color coverage.  This is a permanent shade at PRO stores.  It is a lighter version of Vegas Volt.

The good news is that all of these are lip safe, because they all make for lovely lip colors as well as blushers.  Even though they are not safe for the eyes, I will address general Cream Colour Base wear on the eyes:  they will crease if worn alone, but if worn over a good eyeshadow primer or set with powder eyeshadows, they hold up quite well.  CCBs have an emollient texture that’s more gel-like than cream-like.  All four of these are insanely pigmented; you will have no trouble getting good pay off whether you use it as a blusher (go easy!) or as a lip color.

For blush application, I liked the 130 or the 188 for blush.  Just one push of the brush against the product yields plenty of product, so tread softly when applying any of these four as a blusher.  You can always go back for more, but you should not need much!  I like to use a stippling brush to pick up the color then lightly stipple on the apple of the cheek once and move a centimeter or so outwards and stipple again–then blend with small, firm circles.  I like to use my foundation brush (which still has some foundation on it, as I use liquid) to buff gently around the edges of the blush for a finished look.

For lips, I prefer to take a clean metal spatula (MAC recently launched one) to take out some product and then pat on with my finger or you could use a lip brush for more precision.  These shades were surprisingly emollient and comfortable to wear; they didn’t feel dry or tight at all, and they will stain if left on for longer than a few minutes!  You can also pat a little on and then finish with clear gloss or balm for more of a stained lip look.

P.S. — In the full face photo, on eyes, I wore Chilled on Ice as a base, Retrospeck and Caviar Dreams on top with Dark Diversion to line (upper lash line) and I Get No Kick (lower lash line), and then New Hue on lashes.  Cheeks and lips are indicated below the photo (it is the CCB worn both on cheeks and lips).

MAC Stylishly Yours Collection is a limited edition launch (official information and photos here) that is set to launch in-stores on December 26th in North America, January 2011 for international MAC locations. The approximate launch date for online is December 24th.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: They work well whether you wear them as a cream blush or on the lips, so if you see yourself using them in those capacities, I definitely think they are worth checking out.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Cosmetics on December 26th (U.S. stores), January 2011 (International)

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