Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Guerlain Mirage Khol

Guerlain Mirage (06) Terracotta Khol ($35.00 for 0.03 oz.) is a loose eyeliner or khol.  It’s from this year’s Terracotta Collection. Mirage is a smoldering, smoked out gray-toned brown. It’s a nice, smoky shade, but since it’s not black but brown, it can be worn in the day time without overdoing it.

Guerlain’s Loose Khols do take some practice, because they are a bit different from your average eyeliner. I find these work the best as a waterline product–it really holds on tight for the ride. I get about six to eight hours of waterline wear with these. The included applicator is like a stick, and again, practice makes perfect. At first, you’ll be like, “Huh?” but just keep at it.

These can also be used as an eyeshadow, but since you don’t get much product in it (plenty for an eyeliner, but not a lot to use as an eyeshadow). I do want to point out that this is an eyeliner first, and many pencil eyeliners give youa bout 0.04 oz. in product–so don’t let the size totally scare you. A little goes a long way, and I love how long-wearing the product is.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Though it takes some trial and error to get the application down, I find the long-wearing power to be well worth a little experimentation! The matte dark brown is great for everyday or evening, which is nice!

Availability: Nordstrom

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Saturday, April 24th, 2010

NARS Eye Pencils
NARS Eye Liner Pencils: Manon, Parrot Cay, Kitty, Kaliste, Black Moon

NARS Eye Liner Pencils for Lightweight Lining

NARS Eye Liner Pencil ($20.00) is a richly pigmented pencil eyeliner that is available in sixteen shades: Black Moon (dense black), Iceberg (crisp white), Kaliste (teal), Kitty (turquoise blue), Kyoto (olive green with shimmer), London (foggy gray), Mambo (chocolate brown), Manon (violet), Parrot Cay (mint green), Patmos (khaki green), Istanbul (sky blue), and Sandstorm (gold leaf).

I test-drove five shades over the past week, and NARS has some really stunning shades available. They’re just so rich and intense without being bright. Though the pencil tip is a little on the sharper side when you initially get them, after doing swatches on my arm, it whittled away enough that it was soft, smooth, and easy to use on my lower lash line.

It’s not ultra creamy but not dry either. I wouldn’t describe it as creamy so much as smooth. It easily glided on my lower lash line without any pulling or tugging, so that’s enough softness for me. I also didn’t have to layer in order to achieve true pigmentation, either.  Sometimes with pencils, the initial use can be a little rougher, but since I always swatch on my arm first, it helps to wear down the tip, in case it’s too sharp.

  • Manon is a blue-based violet purple. There’s no shimmer, just pure purple.
  • Parrot Cay is a minty green. I’m surprised it doesn’t look super chalky, being so pastel, but it’s an interesting way to open up eyes with color rather than a white or flesh-toned eyeliner.
  • Kitty is a rich sky blue. This one felt and looked the creamiest of the five I tried. It also felt like the most pigmented–very rich.
  • Kaliste is a darkened teal–I want to call it a forest teal, because it’s so dark–and it looks lovely with a neutral eye.
  • Black Moon is a blackened brown. I’m not sure why it’s described as a “dense black,” because it’s definitely not black–there are significant brown tones to it.

But there is one huge problem that renders these eyeliners amongst the worst I have ever used: they have no lasting power at all. I can’t even express to you how much I wanted these to work, because they are truly beautiful shades, and they do look amazing on–but I can’t even go twenty minutes without it starting to smudge and migrate all over the place. I don’t have an oily lash line, and I’ve never had major issues with an eyeliner going all over the place. But these took smudging and migration to a whole new level.

NARS Eye Pencils
After just one hour…

After an hour of wear, I had liner that was on my lower lash line… on my upper lash line (say WHAT?!), all faded and smudged every which way on my lower lash line, crept up to my waterline… it was not a pretty sight in the least bit, but I couldn’t resist capturing just how smudge-tastic these were on camera.

But anyway, the point is I loved the shade range and the feel of these pencils so much that I tried every single liner multiple times. They all performed the same. I was secretly wishing and hoping that maybe just Black Moon or Kaliste were poor performers, but even the lighter shades like Parrot Cay and Kitty played me for a fool. Not to mention, when I was checking for reviews of these online, I just did not find that many negative reviews.

So, I have these, and I do really love the shades. After I get over being totally laughed at by these pencils, I’ll probably use them, but set them with an eye sealer (like Benefit’s She-Laq or Make Up For Ever’s Eye Seal) and/or set with powder eyeshadow. But this is NARS we’re talking about, and even worse yet is it’s supposed to be a long-wearing pencil.

I give it points for being incredibly pigmented, smooth, and looking lovely on, but I took away the majority of points for its complete miss on long-wearing power and how extreme the fading, smudging, and migration is.  I would really love to hear from those who have used this product, because I’m totally sad over their performance after reading so many glowing reviews online!

Have you tried NARS Eyeliner? I hope your results were better than mine!

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

  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Unless you’re able to try these first in-store, I really can’t recommend them. I had such a terrible experience with them fading, smudging, and migrating that there’s no way I could feel good about saying, “Try ‘em for yourself!” There seems to be plenty of positive reviews on these, so maybe I’m the rare exception. But how I wish I wasn’t!

Availability: NARS

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Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

MAC Pret a Papier Collection
MAC Paint Pots:
Coral Crepe, Groundwork

MAC Pret-a-Papier Collection: Chromagraphic Pencils & Paint Pots Review, Photos, Swatches

I am both a little surprised–but very delighted–to say that the Chromagraphic Pencils work wonderfully on the waterline. They look lovely–very fresh and awake–without being too light. I used NC/NW15 on my waterline as soon as I had finished photographing them (nobody likes to see used stuff photograph, yeah?), and here I am three hours later with it still hanging on.  I’d definitely say to grab one when you’re able to if you’ve always wanted an easy way to open up and brighten your eyes.

Chromagraphic Pencil ($14.50 U.S. / $17.50 CDN)

  • NC15/NW20 is a light nude with a creamy feel and look.
  • NW25/NC30 is a yellower, deeper nude with the same creaminess as the other shade.

Paint Pot ($16.50 U.S. / $22.00 CDN)

  • Coral Crepe is a reddened, darkened coral-orange with a slight golden sheen. It can be sheered out a bit, but it really goes on quite coral. I tried as a base, and it can definitely be worn on the eyes. I also tried it on the lips, and I’d vote nay on that in the future–very drying and chalky looking. Havne’t tried it on the cheeks, but you might be able to do that.
  • Groundwork is a softened brown with a yellow undertone. This is a permanent shade.

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Monday, April 19th, 2010

Chanel Noir et Or Palette

Out of Chanel’s ultra exclusive Noir et Or Collection, Ligne et Ombre de Chanel in Jet-Gold ($45.00) emerges. While not exactly groundbreaking in terms of color, it’s extremely fitting to the collection. It’s a matte black cake eyeliner paired with a golden peach flecked eyeshadow.

The black side is not meant to be used dry–it needs to be used wet so it can “activate.” I just gave the brush the tiniest bit of wetness, and I was already able to get a nice, intense black out of it. The gold, while it can be worn dry, also looks and wears better wet–and I like that with Chanel shadows, I can use them wet without leaving a wet spot behind. (Similarly, the gold would adhere and look more uniform used over a base rather than dry, since it is so shimmery.)

When used as an eyeliner, the black lasts for hours on me. I didn’t have any fading, smudging, or migration after eight hours of wear on my lower lash line (not my waterline, to be clear). If you really wanted, you could definitely use it with a brush to darken up the crease or any shadow you’re wearing, but it doesn’t excel at that (and again, it’s supposed to be used as an eyeliner).

It’s a fun product, but there’s nothing so standout about it that it’s necessarily worth hunting down and forking over $45 for. Chanel and luxury makeup collectors will likely enjoy it, but I think for others, it’s not going to knock your socks off–I’d say grab an eyeshadow duo, lipstick, or gloss instead (or even an eyeshadow quad, since this is just a little less than one!). I think if they made the gold a metallic cream finish, it could have gotten really interesting. It may not have been the most wearable, but it would have certainly played into the collection’s theme just a bit more.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: The cake eyeliner is excellent, but the gold eyeshadow is almost like a throw-in–pretty but not amazing. Chanel collectors will likely covet the piece, as exclusive as it is, but non-collectors won’t miss out if they skip this.

Availability: Chanel Boutiques

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Monday, April 19th, 2010

Tokidoki Perfetto Eyeliner

tokidoki Perfetto Eyeliner — Love the Applicator, Not Sold on the Shades

tokidoki Perfetto Eyeliner ($16.00) is a felt-tip liquid liner pen. It comes in eight shades: Rondine Love (white), Donutella (medium pink), Ciao Ciao (periwinkle), Arlecchino (dark blue), Mostro (spring green), SANDy (dark green), Carina (eggplant), and Sabochan (black).

I bought two with my Sephora V.I.B. order, because I had a lot of readers request a review of these, so I figured now would be a good time to try :) I picked Mostro and Ciao Ciao as the two to try–I can never resist a green, and well, I’m always game to try anything periwinkle, too.

  • Mostro is a muted, yellowed green. Sephora describes it as “spring green,” and I’d say that’s an accurate description. It’s muted and blah–I wore it in this look and you’ll notice it doesn’t pop at all.
  • Ciao Ciao is a slightly brightened periwinkle blue. I’d say it’s a bluer periwinkle, but it’s still very much in the periwinkle family. Like Mostro, though, it seems a little muted.

Despite not loving either shade much, I love the applicator… like a TON. I am no pro at lining my upper lash line (because lining the area tends to cause my eyes to swell up or itch, so I don’t do it often!), but these made it a cinch. They’re stiff but not hard, and they deliver opaque color the entire time you’re lining. I can see that those who love really, really thin lining not loving the applicator, though. You can get a nice line that’s not ridiculously thick for sure, but you won’t be able to get a pencil-thin line.

It actually made me sad that I wasn’t into these colors at all but was totally crushing on the applicator. I might look out at the other shades to see if they are less muted. They’re supposed to be “bold shades,” but they just seem a little on the subtle/light side to me. It’s like they had so much more room to pop, but they didn’t go there.

The liner also lasts all day without fading, transferring, or smudging. I wore it on my lower lash line and across my lid (like a diagonal line across part of my lid and crease) to test, and I had no movement whatsoever. I’m really hoping to fall in love with one of the other shades (I’m thinking about trying the black one next), though, since it is such a great product.

Anyone else try these?

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: The product quality is fantastic on these–long-wearing, doesn’t budge or smudge, and stays true-to-color while you wear it. The color range might not be as fantastic, though, so you may want to swatch before you buy.

Availability: Sephora

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Saturday, April 17th, 2010

NYX Jumbo Pencils
Hot Pink (621), Yellow (622), Horse Raddish (607), Oyster (610), Yogurt (611)

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil ($4.00) are oversized (hence the jumbo!) pencils that can be used as eyeliners or shadows, according to NYX. It’s available in twenty-four shades, ranging from black to blue to yellow.

I like them best as an eyeshadow base–I find that it’s easier to blend on top of it than it is to blend it with other Jumbo Eye Pencils. They work great used alone as a base or layered on top of your favorite eyeshadow base (like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance). I used them as a base alone and didn’t experience any creasing or fading.

  • Hot Pink (621) is a slightly blue-based medium pink with no shimmer or frost.
  • Yellow (622) is a paled sunny yellow with no shimmer or frost.
  • Horse Raddish (607) is a frosted leafy green with silver sheen.
  • Oyster (610) is an iridescent purple with red undertones and icy sheen. It was the sheerest of the five I tried–you can see that it doesn’t quite go opaque.
  • Yogurt (611) is a frosted copper brown with a gilded champagne sheen.

I like that they have so many shades available, and they’re an incredibly affordable option for those looking for a product to help their eyeshadows stay on longer and appear more vibrant. I’ve always found colored bases can make colors really pop, and these are a great way to add some colored bases into your stash without breaking the bank.

The only downside is that it’s a pain in the butt to sharpen these with anything but NYX’s Sharpener. Luckily, NYX’s Sharpener is only $4, so it won’t set you back an arm and a leg. I also find these a little difficult to line with unless they’re freshly sharpened, just because they are oversized.

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: 3/5

Recommendation: If you’re on a budget and looking for a new eyeshadow base, NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils may fit the bill!

Availability: NYX Cosmetics

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