Thursday, August 30th, 2012

MAC Desert Camouflage Face Kit
MAC Desert Camouflage Face Kit

MAC & Carine Roitfeld: Desert Camouflage Face Kit

MAC Desert Camouflage Face Kit ($44.00 for 0.40 oz.) includes four eyeshadows: Sahara Dust (light neutral beige), Cactus Thorn (mid-tone brown bronze), Desert (shimmering warm taupe), and Carbon (intense black) as well as one Cremeblend Blush, Sand Storm (soft sheer warm caramel).

Sahara Dust is a pale beige with a soft, frosted finish. It has a satin finish, officially. The color payoff is decent, and it works well as a highlighter on the brow bone or inner tear duct. Illamasqua Slink is similar, slightly frostier. MAC Brule is more matte. Giorgio Armani Madreperla has a frostier finish. MAC Baby, It’s Cold is a smidgen yellower. MAC Vanilla is a touch lighter.

Cactus Thorn is a softened bronze-shimmered medium-dark brown. It has a frost finish. The pigmentation is good, though the texture was a bit dry. Dior Golden Savannaha is darker, browner. Giorgio Armani #26 is more shimmery. Urban Decay Chase is warmer and more metallic. theBalm Schitzo is very similar, but more pigmented and slightly more golden-toned. Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone is richer.

Desert is a gray-tinged brown with a hint of plum. It has a satin finish. It has decent color payoff but had a dry, stiffer texture. Bobbi Brown Slate is softer, more matte. MAC Aurora is lighter, more frosted. Dolce &G abbana Jewels is grayer. Inglot #360 is similar but matte.

Carbon is a matte black, but if you look in the pan, there are a lot of sparkles–just none of them seem to translate. It was the oddest thing. I feel like every time I swatch Carbon, it gets worse. And I’m not swatching the same one! This shade is part of the permanent range, and it’s actually included in both of the face kits in the collection, and they were about equal in their dry, stiff, poor color payoff-yielding textures. Slightly more pigmented when I used it on the eye (with a 222 brush), but boy, it did not want to move or budge, which made blending a pain in the butt! Because I happened to also have a really rich black that I was swatching (completely unplanned!) that was insanely pigmented, I took a comparison photo, just so you can see why Carbon is such a disappointment.

Cremeblend Blushes are supposed to be creamy, easy to blend, have medium coverage, and have a natural finish. Sand Storm is a warm, orange-tan with a soft, barely dewy finish (it read mostly matte when it dried down and set). There’s a yellowy-orange undertone that comes through. MAC Lush-Light is darker, browner. MAC Refined Golden is browner. MAC Tan Tint is a smidgen darker. It can be used sheerly with ease, and it can be built up a bit, though I’m not sure it will show up well on darker complexions–it just barely shows on mine (I’m about NC30 at the moment). It may add warmth without adding noticeable color. Yesterday, when I was testing the wear, my cheeks were slightly dry, and this wasn’t forgiving, unfortunately. I was hoping that the creamy consistency would help and was happy that I was testing a cream blush instead of a powder one, LOL! After six hours, it had separated and faded noticeably.

This palette contains 0.22 oz. of eyeshadows (0.055 oz. each, which is 0.005 oz. more than a regular full-sized MAC eyeshadow), which is a $66 value. There is 0.18 oz. of Cremeblend Blush in here, which normally retails for $20.00/0.19 oz., so there is $18.95 value from that, for a total palette value of $84.95. (Note: Cremeblend blushes and eyeshadows are sold in pan form, depending on the shade, but I went with individual product prices, not pan prices. From a pan perspective, there is $52.80 in eyeshadow value and $16.11 in Cremeblend Blush value, for a total value of $68.91.) From a quantity point of view, this is absolutely a deal, which is great news!

It’s a decent palette, but the inclusion of Carbon is really bringing down the overall quality of it on the whole.  The other three eyeshadows have decent color payoff, with Sahara Dust being the easiest to work with.  Sand Storm didn’t have fantastic wear, but it was blendable and looked good initially.  These eyeshadows were less stellar without a primer–they were less blendable and faded after six hours. Over a primer, I saw some minor fading of Desert and Carbon.  

It’s hard to recommend or feel good about a palette when one shade is such a dud and four shades are decent but not really phenomenal. I keep hoping for a stellar launch from MAC, but they aren’t making it easy at all.

I’ll have my review for the Jungle Camouflage palette up soon, but as a quick note: the two palettes are very, very similar with the major difference between in finish–this palette is more shimmery, while Jungle Camouflage is more matte.

The Glossover

palette

Desert Camouflage

B-
It's a decent palette, but the inclusion of Carbon is really bringing down the overall quality of it on the whole. The other three eyeshadows have decent color payoff, with Sahara Dust being the easiest to work with. Sand Storm didn't have fantastic wear, but it was blendable and looked good initially. It's hard to recommend or feel good about a palette when one shade is such a dud and four shades are decent but not really phenomenal.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

NARS Lovejoy Highlighting Blush
NARS Lovejoy Blush

Celebrate the Joy of Love with NARS!

NARS Lovejoy Blush ($28.00 for 0.16 oz.) is described as a “shimmering bronzed rose.” It’s rosy-red with a little brown thrown in paired with a golden shimmer-sheen. MAC Ring of Saturn is more orange-red, brighter–the two look a little more similar if used softly. Tom Ford Savage is similar but seems a smidgen lighter and has a mostly matte finish. MAC Buddy Up seems fairly close but doesn’t have the golden sheen. MAC Stratus is darker, a little redder.

The finish is noticeably sparkly and has a bit more shimmer than some of the more recent shades we’ve looked at. It did emphasize pores just slightly; not enough where it was too noticeable or really took away from the finish. Though there is a subdued quality to the overall color, there is enough red in it that it may give some skin tones a sunburned look. It had a slightly dry texture, but the color payoff was still good, and the color was blendable and buildable during application. This shade wore for seven full hours and started to have noticeable fading after eight hours.

The Glossover

P
product

Lovejoy

B+
Though there is a subdued quality to the overall color, there is enough red in it that it may give some skin tones a sunburned look.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Illamasqua Allure Powder Blusher
Illamasqua Allure Powder Blusher

A Blendable Blush is Key

Illamasqua Allure Powder Blusher ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “dusky rose pink shimmer.” It has a just barely softened appearance to the color–it’s still rather intense, because it’s on the darker end of the spectrum–but “dusky” is an apt description. The color itself is a rosy red with flecks of gold shimmer.  The shimmer doesn’t really transfer to the skin–it looks mostly matte when applied. MAC Hidden Treasure is darker, redder. MAC Ring of Saturn is warmer and has more golden shimmer/sheen. Tom Ford Savage is browner.

The texture of this felt soft, fairly finely-milled, and it returned excellent color payoff that applied smoothly and evenly when swatched. It had a drier overall texture, consistent with Illamasqua’s formula.  When I applied it to my cheeks (and I used MAC’s 116 blush brush), the results were less impressive.  It was difficult to blend, and with the intensity of this color, that made for a rather frustrating application. I’d apply the barest amount of product, and then the color would blend and disappear but blend unevenly.  This kind of hue needs to be blendable and apply evenly, otherwise it gives cheeks a ruddy or sunburned look–not at all attractive.  I tested the wear, and it lasted eight hours with only a smidgen of fading.

The Glossover

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product

Allure

B
It's not a very blendable, easy-to-use blush. It will take some patience, a deft hand, and an excellent blending brush to get even color that flatters rather than accentuates any natural redness/unevenness in the skin.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3/5

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

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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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Friday, August 24th, 2012

NARS Lovejoy Highlighting Blush
Buxom Luvitate True Hue Blush

Come Back to Earth After Trying Luvitate

Buxom Luvitate True Hue Blush ($24.00 for 0.17 oz.) is described as a “shimmering nude.” It’s a beige-apricot with a golden shimmer-sheen. It reminds me of shades like NARS Orgasm but with a more neutral base. Tarina Tarantino Neopolitan Lane is matte in finish and a bit browner. The shimmering shade in Guerlain Peach Boy is noticeably pinker. Chanel In Love is darker with a subtler gold shimmer. Overall, when applied, it still reads a little coral-ish, but with some beige thrown in.

Buxom’s True Hue formula is supposed to be “silky, sheer, and ultra-buildable.” Surprisingly, I found the texture to be stiffer and on the drier side. It wasn’t silky or soft or all that smooth.  The color payoff is as described–sheer–and it is buildable, though it will take some layering if you have a medium to dark complexion. It’s do-able, and it’s not too many layers, but the blendability of this is lacking.  I suspect the drier texture is playing a role in making this harder to blend and appear rather patchy on the cheeks.  This has a fair amount of shimmer and sheen in the finish, too, which does make pores more noticeable.  The wear of Luvitate was decent–seven hours with light but some fading after eight hours.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Buxom Luvitate True Hue Blush Review, Photos, Swatches

C+
I was bummed about the texture! For something that claims to have silkiness, I wasn't seeing (or rather, feeling!) it at all. With a color like this that seems to common enough across brands, I wouldn't waste time on something less than stellar.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

NARS Gina Highlighting Blush
NARS Gina Blush

Fresh-Squeezed with Gina

NARS Gina Blush ($28.00 for 0.16 oz.) is described as a “true tangerine.” It’s a softened orange with a satiny sheen. It’s not vibrant, not an intense orange, but it’s much more orange and richer than peach (hm, I am amused that all descriptions are fruit-related!). This is actually one of the closest shades I’ve seen to Illamasqua Expose, which is darker, richer–but when worn softly, they look nearly the same. Illamasqua Lover is lighter, brighter. MAC Solar Ray is more shimmery and golden-tinged.

I really liked the texture of this shade, as it was so soft, smooth, and finely-milled without being powdery.  The color was true-to-pan, and it’s a buildable blush.  A light tap of product gives a warm cloak of color, while a swirl of the brush in the blush (say that five times fast!) yields full color.  The softness lends to effortless blending on the skin, and the subtle sheen is both glowy and natural so it doesn’t emphasize pores.  The lightness inherent in the shade keeps it from looking red-toned or burnt on the cheeks.  Gina wore well for eight hours and started to have noticeable fading after nine hours.

The Glossover

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product

Gina

A+
Quality-wise, one of the best NARS blushes I've come across. The texture is soft and blendable, while the color is buildable and true-to-pan with excellent color payoff. It wears particularly well to boot!

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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