Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Kit
Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Kit

Neiman Marcus Exclusive: Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Kit

Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Beauty Kit ($95.00) is an exclusive set available at Neiman Marcus this spring. It contains a peony and python printed zippered makeup bag, Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer, Pink Lilac Brightening Gloss, Black Mauve Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, and two miniature-sized makeup brushes (face and lip).

  • Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer is a medium-dark pink with gold micro-glitter and sheen; it is slightly cool-toned, though it seems to shift between cool and neutral depending on how the light hits it. It applies rather sheerly but can be intensified for a more obvious blush.
  • Pink Lilac Brightening Gloss is an ultra sheer gloss that really has a clear base with pink and gold shimmer. This shade is available individually.
  • Black Mauve Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner is a blackened burgundy brown. This shade is available individually.
  • Eye/Lip Brush is a miniature-sized brush with a glossy black cap that slips on and off. It’s not officially labeled, but it seems like a really narrow lip brush–not quite small enough to be a true eyeliner brush though it does seem to resemble the Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush a bit.
  • Face Brush is a fluffy, dome-shaped brush that resembles the Face Blender Brush. It seems wider and less tapered, though. It was soft against the skin.

The kit itself comes with a high price tag, but individually (though not all shades are available individually, the product type is), Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer would retail for $33, Pink Lilac Brightening Gloss retails for $22, Black Mauve Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner is available for $21, and then assume $20 worth of brushes. The innards of the kit are worth approximately $96, but you also receive the printed makeup bag, too. There is a Peony & Python printed makeup bag available alone for $40, but I don’t know how the size compares to the one from the Neiman Marcus kit.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Beauty Kit Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
It's a cute kit, and if you like every product in it, the price tag doesn't seem so difficult to pay.  If you were hoping for a value-packed deal, this isn't quite it.  The kit will complement cooler skin tones.  I wish the Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer was available individually!

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Monday, March 14th, 2011

Benefit BADgal Waterproof Eyeliner
Benefit BADgal Waterproof Eyeliner

Say Hello to New Benefit BADgal Waterproof Eyeliners

Benefit BADgal Waterproof Eyeliner ($20.00 for 0.04 oz.) is now available in two new shades: Espresso and Charcoal. The BADgal Eyeliner formula is designed to glide-on without smudging or smearing, rain or shine. I’ve reviewed the original BADgal, which was in black, previously, and I didn’t have excellent results.

Espresso is a medium-dark brown with subtle red undertones, while Charcoal is a softened medium gray. They both applied very smoothly, practically gliding on, and they delivered enough pigment in one pass to give a nice solid line of color. Each pencil has a spongy smudger brush on the opposite end, and these do stay “wet” long enough to smudge as one desires.

These eyeliners wear decently, but I did not find them to be waterproof. I didn’t find that these created excessive raccoon eyes nor migrated terribly, but they do have a tendency to smudge and migrate noticeably when hit by water. You might wonder how does one do a tear test… one cuts onions and ensures to nick the bulb to send an onslaught of natural tear gas. I also wore it in the shower, because of the water element as well as the heat and humidity that tag along. There is some fading and smudging.

On an average day, these wear six to eight hours without any major concerns, but if my eyes tear up at any point (allergies, dry eyes, whatever). For a product that’s specifically touted as waterproof, it does not hold up to my waterworks! It’s unfortunate, because the texture and glide of the pencil is excellent–soft without being prone to breaking, smooth without being too creamy (and therefore too wet and not drying down!).

Have you tried the new shades, or perhaps the original Extra Black shade?  Weigh in!

The Glossover

product

BADgal Eyeliner

C-
I've seen enough mixed reviews on this particular eyeliner to know that for some it reaches holy grail status and for others, it is a mess. It's decent on me, but there are enough eyeliners that stay on all day without smudging even with some watering eyes in my stash that I never reach for this.

Product

5/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

6/10

Application

4/5

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Monday, February 7th, 2011

Estee Lauder Untamed Violet Eyeliner
Estee Lauder Untamed Violet Eyeliner

Estee Lauder Wild Violet: Untamed Violet

Estee Lauder Untamed Violet Double Wear Eye Pencil ($19.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a deep dark violet with iridescent purple shimmer strewn through the colored base. It applies smoothly and goes on opaque without having to layer, and it lasts all day on my lower lash line (since it has shimmer, I didn’t wear it on my water line). I wouldn’t describe it as particularly creamy, even though it had a good glide. The formula is comparable to Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eye Pencils, though.  It is a darker purple with less iridescence than Urban Decay Ransom, but it is comparable to Urban Decay Lust, which is slightly bluer and doesn’t have as much sheen.

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

final thoughts: The cooler undertones of this shade help to brighten eyes, so it is a nice shade to wear alone for a less-is-more kind of look, because it will brighten the whites of your eyes.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

MAC Wonder Woman Penultimate Eyeliner
MAC Wonder Woman Penultimate Eyeliner

MAC Wonder Woman: Penultimate Eyeliner

MAC RAPIDBLACK PENULTIMATE EYELINER ($18.50 for 0.08 oz.) is super-sized for Wonder Woman–the original (and permanently available) Rapidblack is $16.50/0.03 oz.–making this over twice as much for $2 more. This feels and looks a lot like a marker; even holding it feels like I’m getting to write a note rather than line my eyes. Personally, I think it may be too large to be of great use for most people, and if you have smaller eyes–forget it!

my thoughts on the formula: I really like the original Penultimate eyeliner for something quick and easy that doesn’t dry out and gives you a medium black eyeliner (though it photographs brown with flash–it is definitely black). The tip is thin enough and flexible enough to glide across the eye without skipping. It wears all day for me, and I like that you can do thin or thick eyeliner with it. You can see photos of the permanent Rapidblack here.

Also worth noting, but the outside packaging felt and seemed like a sticker to me. I couldn’t exactly get it to peel or slip off, but it was something that caught my eye.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 1/5

final thoughts: Way too large. This is probably the least useful jumbo-sized product of the launch; it’s not just an increase in overall product quantity, but it really changes the effectiveness of the product itself. I’d recommend their Superslick eyeliners over Penultimate in general (better overall), and certainly over this shade. The formula itself is nice, but the packaging gets a major thumbs down for me–fine, be jumbo, but at least work as well as the original.

where to buy: MAC Cosmetics

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Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Smashbox Heather Soft Focus Powder Eye Liner
Smashbox Heather Soft Focus Powder Eye Liner

Smashbox Spring 2011: Heather

Smashbox Heather Soft Focus Powder Eye Liner ($22.00 for 0.025 oz.) is a soft brownish-gray. It’s new and limited edition for spring, but it is a powder eyeliner to create a “soft, smoldering look.” It delivers on the softer color, and it will draw in a nice line, but it leaves product everywhere.

The photo above was not intended to be artsy, but upon opening it for the first time, it dropped that much product onto my desk. Now, imagine that on your face–because that’s exactly what I ended up with when I tried applying this for the first time (my carpet is less than pleased). At a mere 0.025 oz. of product, I’m not exactly sure one wants to deal with any wasted product–even by wiping excess on a tissue.

Aside from the packaging woes, application worked out well, and I liked the softer lined look it yielded. I think those who find gel eyeliner too crisp and stark would enjoy a powder liner like this. Unfortunately, it only wore four hours before it started to flake.

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

  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

final thoughts: Between the messy packaging and below average wear, it just didn’t work out.

where to buy: Sephora

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Monday, January 24th, 2011

NARS Celebrate Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Celebrate Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Spring 2011: Celebrate

NARS Celebrate Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “parrot green” by NARS. The Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are supposed to be “smooth, creamy, and long-wearing.” They are touted as the “ideal base for layering with powder eyeshadow to increase color intensity.” It’s a multi-tasking pencil that can be used to “Shade the lid, line, or highlight the eye.”

Celebrate is a bright, chartreuse green with a strong yellow base. It applied semi-opaque but glided on easily. The problem with this shade was its complete inability to not crease. I tried it alone, and it creased within minutes. I layered eyeshadow on top (Giorgio Armani Transluminence palette–the teal–I just used whatever I had nearest to me), and it still creased in less than an hour. It’s not even a little creasing–it’s painful to see. Not to be daunted, I also tried it over NARS’ Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base with the same eyeshadow layered on top, and I still had the same results (a veritable creasing bonanza).

my thoughts on the formula: More often than not, the Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are a bust for me–they crease alone but also when layered with powder–and Celebrate continues to show that NARS’ Soft Touch Shadow Pencils really can be hit or miss.

The Glossover

P
product

Celebrate

I'm not even sure what you can really use this with or for, if it's going to crease with two additional helpers (a base and shadow to set). It migrates on the lower lash line, too, so it's not something one could line with, either. Five points for the glide and color pay off!
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