Monday, May 10th, 2010

Tarte Clay Shadow/Liner

Tarte Clay Shadow/Liner ($22.00 for 0.08 oz.) is new for summer and available in five shades: Black (matte black), Bronze (deep bronze sheen), Brown (matte chocolate brown), Indigo (deep royal blue sheen), and Plum (eggplant purple sheen). Each shade also comes with a double-ended brush with a small eyeshadow brush on one end and a pointed end for lining.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been testing the wear of four of the five shades, and they definitely hold up well as an eyeshadow or eyeshadow base. They’re a bit bold to wear alone, so I’ve found that I prefer layering eyeshadows on top of them instead. They have a creamy feel and apply with a very smooth finish.

  • Brown is a matte chocolate brown–that’s the exact description I came up with before I read the officialy one–and it’s very, very opaque.
  • Indigo is a midnight blue with a soft, frosted sheen. I found that it’s pigmented without being intense. It’s a noticeable color, but it isn’t too vibrant that it’s a bright.
  • Plum is a red-based medium-dark purple with multi-colored shimmer and a frost sheen. I don’t think I’d call this Plum, though — it’s a bit brighter than that.
  • Bronze is a coppered bronze with a frosted sheen .It has a definite warmth to it.

The shades themselves don’t reinvent the color wheel by any means, but the product itself is solid. I didn’t experience any creasing or fading when I used them as an eyeshadow base. Similar, when I wore them as eyeliner, they stayed put–no budging, migration, or fading. I found the Brown shade (the only one I tried, since the other three have shimmer) lasted a few hours on my waterline, as well. They’re definitely pool and summer-friendly products, though I definitely like them more as an eyeliner. I find such dark bases eat color rather than enhance it like lighter bases, so I just personally get more use out of these kinds of products by using them as an eyeliner.

I had a little issue with the packaging, as I often had to attempt to screw the cap on several times to catch the threading, and the cap itself felt a bit flimsy. It doesn’t make or break the product for me, but it was annoying, since you want to make sure to tightly close all of your cream/gel products to prevent them from drying out. The included brush is just so-so–I still reached for my trusty MAC brushes–just a little unrefined and not the softest brush I’ve used. Better than a sponge-tip applicator, though!

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

Recommendation:  For long-lasting, creamy eyeliner or eyeshadow, Tarte’s new Clay Shadow/Liners definitely get the job done.

Availability: Sephora

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Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

YSL Dessin Eyeliner

YSL Dessin du Regard Eye Pencil ($28.00) are gorgeous, deeply pigmented eyeliners that apply evenly and smoothly.  I spent the past week testing between three shades — Turquoise (09), Oriental Blue (03), and Black Velvet (01).

  • Turquoise is a lightened aqua with a slight golden sheen to it.  It had the frostiest finish of the three I tried–definitely more of a shimmer sheen here, which works, since it’s light and bright enough to make your eyes pop but not over the top.
  • Oriental Blue is a brightened-up navy blue with silver sparkle.  It’s not quite a true navy blue, since it’s brighter — almost like a midnight sky blue lit up by the moon — it’s very pretty.
  • Black Velvet is an intense, deep dark black with an inky feel and look.

Recently, YSL reformulated their eye pencils “with highly pigmented color for a deep impact and long-lasting finish.”  They’ve included jojoba oil to “mak[e] the finish on the skin smooth and conformtable” along with “a wax adhesive [that] acts as a fixing agent to reinforce the intensity of the pigment for hours.”  The eye pencils are definitely easy to use and give you a smooth, creamy line with little effort.  The color is also highly pigmented, as advertised, but I didn’t quite get the long-lasting finish I expected (and would have loved!).  These are nowhere near as bad as NARS Eye Pencils were on me, though, thankfully!

I get about four hours of wear before these shades start to disappear on my lower lash line (maybe an hour or so on the lower water line).  The good news–at least as far as it can go–is that these fade away rather than migrate and smudge and otherwise give you raccoon eyes.  The first time I tried these, I wore Oriental Blue by itself on my lower lash line, and after five hours, when I went to inspect it, it was nearly all gone.  All that remained was a smidgen of faded, dark blue between my lashes.  I repeated testing with the other two shades as well, just to be sure, but they all performed the same on me–faded and nearly invisible by hour five.

Each pencil comes with a sharpener, and the pencil itself is dual-ended with an angled sponge-tip for smudging on one end and the pencil on the other.

It’s available in twelve shades: Black Velvet (black), Leather Brown (dark brown), Oriental Blue (navy blue), Smokey Purple (grayed purple), Deepest Green (forest green), Hazelnut Brown (reddish brown), Charcoal Grey (gray), Amber Brown (medium brown), Turquoise (teal), Purple Silk (purple), Stellar Green (green), and Silky Pink (pink).

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: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you don’t find yourself having trouble with your eyeliner smudging or like to wear pencil on your upper lash line, these might be a product worth trying, because they do pack plenty of color pay off and look beautiful on.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Urban Decay Mildew Eyeliner

COMPLETION in the form of Urban Decay Mildew 24/7 Eyeliner

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil Mildew ($17.00) marked the completion of my 24/7 Eyeliners. I was really thrilled to see Urban Decay release the holiday shades (that were exclusive to the sets) show up in full-size and made part of the range.   There’s not much more to be said about Mildew that I haven’t already said in my original review (psst, check that out if you’re in need for an in-depth review!).  Color-wise, Mildew is a darkened forest green with a gold sheen.

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

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

Recommendation: If you like green eyeliner, Mildew is a nice one!

Availability: Sephora

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Monday, April 26th, 2010

Milani Brown Liquif’Eye Metallic Eye Liner Pencil ($5.49) is a matte, medium-dark brown. I consider it a rather neutral brown, and it’s a great shade to use to define eyes for an everyday look. It’s less dramatic and obvious than black eyeliner. I love the Liquif’Eyes for their creamy feel and texture, easy-to-glide-on nature, and their long-wearing power. They’re really an all-around fantastic eyeliner, period.

This is a short review, as I just wanted to complete the set of Milani’s Liquif’Eye Eye Liners. You can see swatches of the four other shades and my full review here.

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

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

Recommendation: For an easy-to-wear, soft and creamy brown eyeliner that won’t break the budget, Milani has you covered.

Availability: Milani

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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.

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: 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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