Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Cream/Gel Eyeliner Breakdown

Cream/gel eyeliners are usually thick creams (the consistency of a cream, but the thickness of more like a paste… or a lipstick, for a better beauty reference!). They usually require a brush to apply it, and most use these on the upper lash line (they can be irritating on the lower lash line, particularly for those with more sensitive eyes). They’re a very, very popular item with numerous brands having their own take on the cream/gel eyeliner product type.

At the end of the day, they’re all quality cream/gel eyeliners and none are not worth paying for. As with many cosmetic products, some will work better on others–we’re not all going to fall in love with the same formula–but I do think these are all good picks. Personally, I tend to choose by the color/shade rather than the brand! If I had to give you a top three (in alphabetical order), they would be: Bobbi Brown, MAC, and shu uemura.

Here’s a comparison across eight different brands and their cream/gel eyeliners… Continue reading →

Friday, December 18th, 2009


MAC Love Lace Collection: Eyes

Today, MAC released Love Lace–a week early (it was originally slated for release on the 26th–but my freestanding store confirmed that Warm & Cozy was still launching the 26th). It’s a short ‘n sweet launch, with just two lipsticks, two lipglasses, four eyeshadows, three kohl powers, one nail lacquer, and then a few repromotes of permanent items. It reminds me a bit of last year’s Chill Collection.

I’m going to focus on reviewing the four eyeshadows and three kohl powers in this post, with a follow-up post on the lipsticks and lipglasses, and a final post on the nail lacquer–so stay tuned!

Eyeshadow

  • Love Lace is a dusty darkened blue with a slightly shimmered finish (it is a veluxe pearl, after all) with a very smooth, soft feel. It’s decently pigmented. This reminded me of a more muted Deep Truth kind of shade.
  • Suave Intentions is an icy cool-toned medium blue with icy silver shimmer and sheen. If you had to, you might consider duping this with Tilt (which is a little more teal). This was the most pigmented shade of the four.
  • Pincurl is a mauvey-gray with icy pink shimmer and sheen. It’s a repromote from Blonde, Brunette, and Redhead. It has a sort of dusty look to it.
  • Hypnotizing is a darkened, smoked out mauve-plum with a touch of brown.

Kohl Power

  • Feline is an intense black.
  • Raven is a deep burgundy with black pearl.
  • Sense of Style is a darkened blue-teal with blue and teal shimmer. It’s much bluer than Mystery kohl power.

See more photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Lancome L’Absolu Rouge Soiree for Holiday 2009: Lancome Plum Tease Ink Artliner Gel Eyeliner

Lancome Plum Tease Ink Artliner Gel Eyeliner ($23.50 for 0.14 oz.) is a new shade of Lancome’s Ink Artliner for the holiday season. It’s an eggplant-y plum with a soft, mostly matte appearance. It’s richly pigmented and goes on opaque in one swipe. It’s creamy and easy to work with, but it does dry down after about thirty seconds or so. It doesn’t budge, fade, or smudge throughout the day, and it really holds its own amongst the gel eyeliner heavyweights.

I like this with neutrals, but it especially pops with a healthy dose of sparkling gold eyeshadow, too! I don’t think I own any other gel eyeliners in this particular color, so that’s a huge deal for me — love it when that happens!

Even though winter has just started here in California, I’m actually wondering (and very eager!) whether we’ll see any bold hues for next summer…

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:  Easy to wear, easy to use, and really excellent results make this one a slam dunk for me!

Availability: Lancome, Nordstrom

See swatch… Continue reading →

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Long-wearing Liner:  NARS Eyeliner Stylo in Bayou Blue and Nuits Blances

NARS Eyeliner Stylo ($27.00 for 0.02 oz.) was recently released just in time for the fall/holiday seasons as a brand new product by NARS. It is touted to be a long-wearing, quick-drying liquid liner delivered via a felt-tip applicator. With the felt-tip applicator, you are supposed to be able to get precise lines–thin or thick–with “maximum control.” The Eyeliner Stylo is available in three shades: Blue Bayou (blue), Nuits Blanches (black), and Nabucco (brown).

I test drove two: Blue Bayou, which is not quite an electric blue, but much brighter and deeper than a sky blue–but there’s no teal or green in it for me; and Nuits Blanches, which is a very deep dark black.  Oddly enough, I’ve found a lot of black felt-tip liners do show up a bit brown when swatched on the skin, but on the eyes, looks black as it’s supposed to; this also happened here (for reference).  I wonder if, perhaps, it’s how close/magnified the photo is vs. viewing it in person at a real-life size.  Anyway, just something worth noting.

The formula is definitely long-wearing and it dries quickly but not too quickly, so you do have some time to work.  The formula itself is fairly water-resistant as well; I’m not sure I’d say entirely waterproof, but it doesn’t budge or smudge or flake throughout the day and takes a bit of elbow grease to remove.  To be honest, one of my biggest frustrations with this product had to do with Blue Bayou staining my eyelid for three days.  I don’t love products that stain overall, because I do find it annoying the next day, but having this slightly faded, residual blue liner on the outer edges of my eyes for three days was ridiculous.  I know in the past, readers have recommended Make Up For Ever’s makeup remover for staining products, but between my cleansers, olive oil, and Lancome’s Bi-Facil, the staining wasn’t budging.  I found the black didn’t stain nearly as much and seemed to fade away by the next day.

I will say that this the felt-tip applicator is very long and skinny, and those with smaller eyes may find this a little unwieldy.  On my eyes, I felt like I had enough control to create thin, precise lines.  I did find creating thicker lines to create a little more skill, just because the applicator is quite thin and more suited towards thin lines rather than thicker lines.  I think with enough practice you’d find that you could get thin or thick lines without much fuss or frustration, though!   The applicator distributes a good amount of product without it being too much or too little–there’s no drag nor is there excess that you have to worry about.

Bottom Line: I like and would recommend Nuit Blanches, because it works and functions quite well.  I do take an issue with something that stains so intensely as Blue Bayou did, which makes me hesitant to recommend it.  I didn’t take any points off for staining, but it’s something I think is worth noting as a potential problem for some (as it is for me).  I used Blue Bayou last week in a look, which you can view here, to see how it looks in action.

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

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

Recommendation:  If you don’t mind a product that may stain your eyelids temporarily, these are easy to use, quality felt-tipped pens to give you that liquid liner look.

Availability: NARS, NARS Eyeliner Stylo

See swatchesContinue reading →

Monday, November 9th, 2009

NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

Holiday 2009: NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a new product recently released by NARS designed to provide smooth, long-wearing all-over eye color. It can be used to smudge along the lash line or as a base. NARS also released two other shades: Goddess (a shimmery light pink) and Skorpios (a shimmery copper).

Aigle Noir is a dark brownish-black with green-gold shimmer laced through it. It’s a very nice, solid shade to wear on the lower lash line, but when it’s applied to the lid, it just tends to appear sheerer (especially if you apply or blend with a brush or fingertip). So, every cream-based eye product gets a very simple test: apply it all over my lid and wait to see if it creases. NARS’ Soft Touch Shadow Pencil did not make it past five minutes before there was a distinct line where the color creased on my eyelid. Consequently, I wouldn’t consider this a grab-and-go product, because it just doesn’t hold up on its lonesome.

NARS says the new Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are the “[i]deal base for layering with powder eyeshadow to increase color intensity,” which is always the follow-up test when an emollient product can’t keep from creasing. They also state that this is a “smooth, creamy, long-wearing formula,” which I’ll have to disagree with–at least when worn by itself. However, when set with a powder eyeshadow, the results are definitely much better. I didn’t find it creased or smudged on me once I had a layer of powder shadow on top. I imagine you could, if you really wanted to keep the color itself showing, try translucent powder dusted on top to minimize creasing.

Since NARS suggests these as an “ideal” base and doesn’t necessarily call out that it should be used totally alone, I won’t knock off a ton of points for missing the mark on that.  Nope, NARS does, actually. Major impact on rating!  I know that even purported crease-proof products can vary from person to person, with it never creasing on some but creasing in minutes on others. For the record, my lids are about average; neither dry nor oily.

It also works nicely as an eyeliner, and it didn’t smudge, budge, or migrate on my lower lash line when I wore it for a day. I noticed it had no staying power on my waterline, though, so if you were hoping to use it for that, you may find yourself looking at other products. I will also say that because these are oversized pencils, they’re not the easiest to line with. I was able to get a thin line on my lower lash line, but it does take a little maneuvering to make sure you don’t end up with a thicker line. Aigle Noir was smooth, lightly creamy, and worked best as an eyeshadow base.

Bottom Line: These are not crease-proof on their own, but they can work as a good base beneath powder eyeshadows. Once you’ve set the product with the powder eyeshadow, you’re good to go. Aigle Noir applied fairly evenly when I applied directly from the pencil onto my lid, but it took a bit of layering to get a more opaque look. I wasn’t blown away by the formula, but if there’s a color that really calls to you, I think it’s worth checking out. For me, I’d would have loved to see this shade as a pressed eyeshadow.

The Glossover

coming-soon

NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil Review, Photos, Swatches

F
These are not crease-proof on their own, but they can work as a good base beneath powder eyeshadows. Once you've set the product with the powder eyeshadow, you're good to go. Aigle Noir applied fairly evenly when I applied directly from the pencil onto my lid, but it took a bit of layering to get a more opaque look.

Product

4/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

4/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Dupes
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Thursday, November 5th, 2009


Stila Smudge Pot Collection

Stila Smudge Pot Collection ($32.00 for 4 0.07 oz. smudge pots) is a limited edition set of four shades of smudge pots (two exclusive to the holiday set, two existing) half the size of the full-size individual versions (which contain 0.14 oz. and retail for $20.00 each).

  • Kitten is a soft, shimmering beige with a slight golden touch–but it’s not warm. Stila describes it as a “nude champagne,” and I’d agree on that. It works well as an all-around eyeshadow base, as well.
  • Violet is a bright pop of blue-violet with slight glitter/shimmer particles. I found this one was the least opaque of the four, and I noticed some drag when swatching. It was easier to use with an angled eyeliner brush on the eyes than it was to swatch on the skin, though!
  • Starry Night is a deep dark navy blue without much shimmer (though there’s a touch). It goes on very dark and pigmented.
  • Black is a dark black with no shimmer whatsoever.

With the four miniature smudge pots, this set is like getting two full-size smudge pots for the price of $32.00, which is about $8 in savings, so I’m liking it as far as value goes. The pots are also on the small size, so they’re easy to travel with or keep one in your purse without adding much weight.

I like Smudge Pots in general, because they’re easy to use, have great pigmentation, and they stay on well throughout the day with no creasing or smudging. I personally prefer to use my Smudge Pots for lining rather than as eyeshadow bases, but they’re up to meet either challenge head-on. I love me a multi-tasker!

Bottom Line: The only reason I’m not ultra excited over this set is because the shades themselves just don’t grab me as much as I thought they would. I think I’d have preferred a more distinctly purple shade, rather than a very blue-based violet and a navy blue together — it’s a bit too much blue, you know? Also, if you already own Kitten and/or Black, this set isn’t so high in value any more, either. It’s a blessing for those who haven’t yet tried them, and a curse for those who want to collect ‘em all!

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: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve wanted to try Smudge Pots, here’s your chance to get four different shades for the price of two.

Availability: Sephora

See more photos and swatchesContinue reading →