Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Guerlain Universal Eyebrow Kit
Guerlain Universal Eyebrow Kit

Guerlain Eyebrow Kit ($52.00 for 0.14 oz.) consists of three shades designed to allow you to mix and match for the perfect brow color. There is a fourth shade, which is described as a “pearly pink beige” to be used as a brow bone highlighter. The compact includes a mirror and a double-ended brush; one side has a thin, angled brush, and the other is a spoolie (to comb brows into place, blend/soften color once applied). It’s a good addition to Guerlain’s range, as I don’t think they (at least not presently) have any other brow products. The compact itself is weighty, glossy black, and slim for something that has four shades.  This kit will be best for someone who finds their brows change color over time, or they have medium to dark brows that never seem to match one shade well.

I would, of course, argue that it’s not quite universal, though it surely covers a fair amount of the spectrum. If you have really light or really dark brows, I don’t think it’ll be a good match. The lightest shade is a muted, yellow-toned, medium brown with a matte finish. The medium shade is a medium-dark, red-tinged brown with a matte finish. The darkest shade is a dark brown with neutral-to-warm undertones and a matte finish.  The highlighter shade is a soft, shimmering pinky-peach with a pearled sheen.  These also worked for a quick, neutral-hued eye look in a pinch.

For my brows, I’ve been mixing the medium and dark shades, and then using the highlighter to highlight the brow bone. The more I use it, the more I find that the darkest shade is the one the suits my brows best, with just a little bit of the medium shade mixed in.  All of the brow powders are soft and blendable–they’re easy to apply with the brush included (though it’s so short, I find it more difficult to use than my regular brow brush) and look natural. The highlighter shade is very soft and noticeably powdery; I wish it wasn’t as powdery, because it sometimes looks chalky against my skin tone. On fairer skin tones, I think it would be fine. I saw seven to eight hours of wear with the brow powders, which is about average.

The Glossover

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product

Eyebrow Kit

B+

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Too Faced Universal Brunette Bulletproof Brows
Too Faced Universal Brunette Bulletproof Brows

Too Faced Bulletproof Brows ($30.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a cream-to-powder clay formula (it’s really supposed to be “a powder, gel, pencil, and setting wax all in one”) that’s “sweat-proof” and “water-resistant.” It’s available in two shades, Universal Taupe and Universal Brunette, and the latter is the shade featured in this post (I don’t have the other one, so I’m not sure how much lighter it is in comparison). It claims “24-hour Bulletproof Brows,” after you give the product a minute to set. Each shade comes with a dual-ended brush–an angled brush on one end, a spoolie on the other.

Universal Brunette is a medium-dark, neutral-to-warm brown with a matte finish. It had semi-opaque color coverage; it doesn’t really build to more than that, even if I waited a few minutes between layers. The consistency is lightly creamy, somewhat waxy, and medium-thick. I found application more challenging than I expected. The thicker, waxier consistency made it so the product got trapped and clumped in the angled brow brush (I used the included brush as well as two other angled brushes of varying thickness). I felt like a lot more product was caught in the bristles than was getting on my brows. Because it’s waxy, it has a tendency to cling to the brow hairs more than the skin beneath. If you have sparser brows, I think it’s easier and applies better, but if you have fuller brows, a lot of stuck to the brow hairs and left little behind on the skin. It doesn’t look even, smooth, or generally, defined or well-groomed.  There wasn’t much information or particulars regarding intensity of the color in the press release, so if this was designed to give really soft, natural looking color, then it is closer.  If you want more defined brows, it’s not buildable/pigmented enough.

It sets within thirty to forty seconds, and it is budge- and water-resistant after that. I would almost say water-proof, as it’s really not going anywhere when water hits it. You really have to rub quite vigorously (I did that against the back of my hand, not my brow bone!), and you’ll get a couple of flakes, but it doesn’t smear, bleed, or the like. My brows felt soft, not crunchy, but I could feel that there was some waxiness to them, which helped to keep them in place. It lasted through a shower and blow drying my hair, so of all the claims, I would definitely concur that it’s long-wearing, “bulletproof,” and should hold up to sweat and water.

As another note, if you have darker brown or black-brown (or black!) brows, this is too light. It seems fine up-close, but in the full face photo, you can see how it’s not a match (the color not being a match didn’t impact the rating).

The Glossover

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product

Universal Brunette

B

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Friday, August 9th, 2013

Marc Jacobs Makeout (10) Lip Lock Moisture Balm
Marc Jacobs Makeout (10) Lip Lock Moisture Balm

Marc Jacobs Makeout (10) Lip Lock Moisture Balm ($24.00 for 0.15 oz.) is described as a “buttery, rich lip balm with SPF 18 that locks in hydration.” Right now, it’s available in one shade–Makeout (10)–which is really just clear/translucent. If you’re familiar with Fresh Lip Treatments, I magicmarcer this will seem and feel familiar, but it’s not quite as emollient–it doesn’t slip as much, which I do like, because I feel like it’s so easy to run through a Fresh Lip Treatment and over-apply. Lip Lock Moisture Balm is lightweight, lasts about two to three hours, and is moderately hydrating. Personally, it doesn’t hydrate as much as my current (and ever continuing) favorite, Jack Black. It smelled lightly of mint (and a little herbal something rather), and depending on how much you put on, sometimes there was a slightly bitter taste (I didn’t notice it most of the time, though). (I bought this product, the other two were press samples, just to be totally clear.)

Marc Jacobs Invisible (30) Brow Tamer Grooming Gel ($24.00 for 0.23 oz.) is currently available in one shade–Invisible (30)–which is clear. If you don’t like crunchy brows, you’ll like this formula as it keeps brows soft and pliable, but still holds them in place. The brush is long, skinny, and flocked with almost a doe-foot like material–softer and finer than a traditional spoolie brush.

Marc Jacobs Blacquer Magic Marc’er Precision Pen ($30.00 for 0.016 oz.) is a pointed, felt-tip liquid eyeliner pen that delivers a rich, glossy black color with excellent color payoff and long-wear (ten hours with no flaking or smudging). I will forever loathe taking photos of liquid black eyeliner swatches, because they always appear browner in photos than they are in real life (where they’re pure, rich black!), so you’ll just have to go with it–it really is a glossy, deep black. From what I’ve been hearing, this is actually one of most raved about products (it was released briefly as a preview a couple of weeks ago). The tip has just enough give to maneuver around the lid and curves and roundness of the eye without issue, but it’s not floppy. It comes to a fine enough point to get the inner corners and lash line with precision, but because it widens as it gets to the base, thicker lines can be accomplished easily, too.

The Glossover

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product

Makeout (10)

B+

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

5/5

Results
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product

Invisible (30)

A+

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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product

Blacquer

A+

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Monday, July 29th, 2013

NARS Brow Gel
NARS Brow Gel

NARS Brow Gel ($22.00 for 0.21 fl. oz.) is described as a “glossy, easy gliding gel to tame, tidy, and groom eyebrows.” It’s available in four shades Oural (clear), Athens (blonde), Piraeus (medium brown), and Kinshasa (dark brown). The brow gel is housed in a matte black tube (much like mascara), and it comes with a spoolie-wand for applying.

  • Athens is a light-medium brown with subtle yellow undertones.
  • Kinshasa is a medium-dark red-tinged brown. (This is the shade that best matched my brows, but it felt a little red and light.)
  • Piraeus is a light-medium brow with subtle yellow undertones. I really couldn’t tell much of a difference between this and Athens. I initially thought I had received two of the same shade, but the labels showed they were two different shades. Piraeus is slightly darker, not as quite as yellow-toned–but they are very close.

The only one I liked and would consider using was Oural, which is clear. The consistency is slightly thick, takes about a minute or two to dry and set, and then it helps keep brows in place for eight hours or so. The problem I had with the colored shades was that there is way too much product in a single pull of the wand. There is so much product that you could be doing about twenty people’s brows with what is on the brush, so there is a large margin for error as you try to wipe the wand against the rim of the tube to avoid over-applying. It’s a very unforgiving product if you over-apply, because it leads to crunchy brows, stray marks all over the place, and it’s difficult to blend once it sets, so it really necessitates complete removal.

You want a pigmented formula, but you don’t it to be delivered in a way that’s wasteful or makes it so difficult to use. I had the best luck taking a clean spoolie brush and lightly running it against NARS’ wand, and then applying using my separate spoolie brush to get cleaner, even results. I think the color range is disappointing; Kinshasa is not going to be dark enough for black-brown or black brows, and Athens and Piraeus are far too similar for a range with only three colors. I’ve been using Oural on and off, and I like that it doesn’t leave my brows crunchy, but the hairs still stay in place throughout the day. I haven’t tried enough brow gels to affirmatively say it’s the best one on the market (the only other one I’ve used with consistency is MAC’s, which I also like).

The Glossover

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product

Brow Gel

B+

You want a pigmented formula, but you don't it to be delivered in a way that's wasteful or makes it so difficult to use. I had the best luck taking a clean spoolie brush and lightly running it against NARS' wand, and then applying using my separate spoolie brush to get cleaner, even results. I think the color range is disappointing, as well.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Sunday, July 14th, 2013

NARS Caucase Brow Perfector
NARS Caucase Brow Perfector

NARS Brow Perfector ($22.00 for 0.007 oz.) will be available in four shades that range from blonde to black (but no redhead). The formula is described as “velvety” with a “natural matte finish” and “natural ingredients [that] ensure brows are nourished, soft, and smooth.” That last bit, I couldn’t attest to and don’t actually know what they’re referring to as far as particulars. There’s a lot of focus on the precision tip of the pencil that is oval-shaped.

  • Caucase is described as “brown.” It’s a light-medium, neutral brown with a matte finish.
  • Kalamata is described as “light brown.” It’s a light-medium, slightly warm-toned brown with a matte finish. I could barely tell the difference between this and Caucase, both in the pencil as well as swatched. I triple-checked the names to make sure they were, in fact, two different shades!
  • Salzbourg is described as “blonde.” It’s a pale, peachy beige-brown with a matte finish.
  • Suriname is described as “black.” It’s a blackened brown with subtle, cool undertones and a mostly matte finish.

I used a mix of Caucase and Suriname to fill in the right (your right!) brow, as the first was a bit too light, and the second was too dark. The consistency all four shades was very stiff, slightly waxy, but they’re skip-happy and are best applied with little dashes of product rather than trying to fill in any fluid manner. You’re just not going to get good color payoff in a single stroke, and to get any color at all, you need firm pressure. I normally use powder to fill in my brows, which I find easier, more precise, and infinitely more blendable. These pencils stick where you place them, and they don’t blend together too well. On the upside, the product lasted well for nine hours. The oval shape didn’t seem to give me added precision, but it didn’t seem to complicate matters–if you have finer or thinner brows, it may be an issue, though.

The Glossover

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product

Brow Perfector

B-

While I can appreciate that you might have to give up some creaminess to get a more long-wearing brow pencil formula, this was rather stiff and harder to work with. I wish the formula was more blendable, too, to ensure really even, full brows.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Saturday, December 29th, 2012

MAC Strawberry Blonde Veluxe Brow Liner
MAC Strawberry Blonde Veluxe Brow Liner

MAC Stylish Brow: Veluxe Brow Liner

MAC Veluxe Brow Liner ($19.50 for 0.042 oz.) is a new and permanent range of brow pencils that can be used to fill, define, and shape the brow. It comes in five shades: Strawberry Blonde (soft muted beige-taupe), Redhead (soft brown), Brunette (muted mid-tone gray), Deep Brunette (muted blackish-brown), and Deep Dark Brunette (dark dirty chocolate).

  • Strawberry Blonde is a light-medium brown with a gray-ish cast.
  • Redhead is a light-medium brown with subtle warm undertones.
  • Brunette is a medium brown with a subtle gray tinge.
  • Deep Brunette is a medium-dark brown with subtle, warm undertones.
  • Deep Dark Brunette is a dark brown with subtle warm, undertones. It is only marginally darker than Deep Brunette and has less red undertones.

MAC described the pencil as a “rich powdery formula.”  It is kind of odd to think of an eyeliner as powdery, but there is a little powderiness to the pencil here.  That powderiness works well with the brow pencil, because it lends it a softer finish and feel, so it looks more natural and is more readily blended along the brow so it doesn’t create harsh lines.

After using the Brow Gelcreme, the Veluxe Brow Liner was less interesting.  It’s not too soft or hard; firm enough to give a full, opaque line of color, but not so firm that it drags or pulls.  Unlike a lot of pencil eyeliners, there is no dry-down–it’s like a pressed powder eyeshadow in pencil form.  When I wore Deep Dark Brunette, I felt it was a smidgen on the light side for my natural brow color (dark brown, slightly black)–I typically use Espresso or Brun eyeshadows to fill my brows in–and it was faded in places (about 80% remained) after eight hours.  Unlike the Brow Gelcremes, this range has more shades, though I think it is lacking a really dark shade and not enough ashy colors.

The five new pencils are permanent, per a Live Chat I did with MAC yesterday (and the website corroborates, as they aren’t listed as limited edition), so you can feel free to fall in love and make it a new staple in your routine.

The Glossover

product

MAC Veluxe Brow Liners Reviews, Photos, Swatches

A-
These have nice pigmentation, and they're easy to use and blend out, if you find you over-apply or want to soften an edge. They have a shorter wear time, though, and don't last the day on me.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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