Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Smashbox Reign Collection: Jet Set Eyeliner Palette

Smashbox Jet Set Eyeliner Palette ($48.00) contains four shades of cream eye liner. They’re described as budge-proof and water proof. The palette comes with a miniature-sized angled brush as well. It is part of Smashbox’s Reign Collection for the fall.

The shades you get are dark black, dark brown (neutral-cool), metallic gold, and metallic dark brown (with warm tones). I like Smashbox’s Jet Set formula overall — it’s definitely long-wearing, holds up to humidity and heat, and is pretty waterproof. However, I have found these liners to be prone to drying out if one is not careful about sealing the container after each use. With the Jet Set palette, this is a definite concern, because it’s not really air tight – the palette flap just opens and closes but never feels sealed. I do worry about how long before you start noticing these drying out.

The shades are so-so — the photos I took of the palette are of a counter’s testers (which accounts for some of the “ew” factor!), and the shades are certainly wearable, but maybe not enough variation to merit $48. I could buy two full sized shades for $22 each ($44 total). I don’t really need a dark brown and a shimmery dark brown in the same palette, you know? I don’t feel that this palette represents Jet Set liners overall, and I’d recommend checking out the real, full-size versions instead of this palette.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 6/10
  • Packaging: 6/10

Recommendation: The packaging may sway some, but be careful — it may lead to drying out of those cream liners faster than you can use them up.

Availability: Nordstrom ($48.00) contains four shades of cream eye liner. They’re described as budge-proof and water proof. The palette comes with a miniature-sized angled brush as well. It is part of Smashbox’s Reign Collection for the fall.

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Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Bobbi Brown Metallic Long Wear Cream Eyeshadows
Bobbi Brown Chrome Patina, Goldstone, Starry Night Metallic Long Wear Cream Eyeshadows

Bobbi Brown Metallic Long Wear Cream Eyeshadows: Chrome Patina, Goldstone, Starry Night

Bobbi Brown Metallic Long-Wearing Cream Eyeshadow ($22.00 for .12 oz.) is a new product launched this September from Bobbi Brown. They’re inspired by and yet a bit of a departure from her classic Long-Wear Cream Eyeshadows. They seem to be the same on the surface, but when I played with three of them, I found them to be a bit different.

“With these shadows there’s no need to choose function over style. They’re longwearing and come in the most glamorous, eye-catching shades ever.” – Bobbi Brown

The Metallic Long-Wear Cream Eyeshadow is available in eight shades:

  • Antique Gold A deep gold sparkle
  • Black Pearl A medium purple
  • Brown Metal A warm brown sparkle
  • Chrome Patina A golden pewter
  • Goldstone A gold sparkle
  • Mercury A silver sparkle
  • Starry Night A navy blue sparkle
  • Starry Purple A deep purple sparkle

I tried three: Chrome Patina, Goldstone, and Starry Purple. Chrome Patina is a sheer, glittery wash of pewter with gold sparkle. Goldstone is a semi-opaque toned-down gold with a brown cast and brighter gold sparkle. Starry Night is a sheer, glittery navy blue concotion with almost multicolored sparkle.

I’m actually surprised by Bobbi Brown’s introduction of these glittery shadows to her line-up, just because they’re a bit over the top with how glittery they are. I do, however, think they’re fun and will definitely wear them myself, but I can see some avoiding these because the glitter finish feels inappropriate or accentuates signs of aging on the eyes (as frosts and glitters often do).

Sheer or opaque?

It seems like your mileage will vary from shade to shade, because Goldstone had the best finish and pigmentation, going on nearly opaque, while both Chrome Patina and Starry Night were sheerer and therefore the look glitter was emphasized (instead of a more metalized look). I do wish they were more pigmented so they had a much smoother look and were more the metallic finish they’re touted to be than glitter. (I would personally call these Glitter Long-Wearing Eyeshadows from my experience so far.)

How well do they wear?

They wear very well, just like the original Cream Eyeshadows. They are long-wearing and hold up throughout day without smudging, fading, or creasing. I actually wasn’t sure if they would work out, because they feel very wet when you initially apply them, but they do dry down completely and aren’t subject to creasing (even when worn alone). I found it a bit difficult to blend cream shadows on top of this color or with it once it was dry, so you do have to work quickly if you are trying to use cream shadows together. If you just want to layer on powder shadows over the glittery base, there’s no need to be concerned over timing.

Wait — you can wear these as liner, too!

If you aren’t so much a fan of glitter eyeshadow, there is one alternative usage that I actually may find myself using these more for than as shadows — eyeliner!  I think these are excellent to layer over (or for some, worn alone — again, depends on how sheer the shade is) say a fiercely intense black liner for an extra kick.  Ohh!  I’m getting excited just thinking about experimenting now…

Are they worth the price tag?

As far as value goes, Bobbi Brown provides enough product in each pot to make it about as much and priced as I’d expect for the Bobbi Brown product range. Benefit cream eyeshadows are slightly cheaper ($19.00 for .16 oz.), while these are more affordable than NARS cream eyeshadows ($21.00 for 0.1 oz.) and less of an investment as shu uemura’s ($30.00 for .17 oz.). Despite the pot feeling and looking small (reminded me of gel liner sizes), it does hold more product than it seems. The packaging is classic Bobbi Brown: clear, glass with a black screw-on lid. It’s hefty, but I don’t mind — I like seeing non-plastic packaging.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you love shimmering glitter, you might love these to layer underneath your eyeshadows or as a quick wash of color (at least, some of the more neutral shades). I definitely recommend checking them out in person and seeing how the shade you’re most interested in swatches, because it may or may not be pigmented enough for your liking.

Availability: Nordstrom, Bobbi Brown

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Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Dolce & Gabbana: Black Crayon Intense Eyeliner

Dolce & Gabbana Black Crayon Intense Eyeliner ($29.00) is an intense black eyeliner with microfine gold glitter. The eyeliner itself is double-ended with the crayon on one side and a smudging sponge brush on the opposite end.

The liner stays on about average as far as my eyes are concerned — lasts for a few hours, doesn’t fade too much as wear extends, and it certainly doesn’t disappear. It doesn’t stay pristine throughout the day, though, unless it is smudged out quite a bit and set with some powder. I liked the intensity of the black color, and the gold glitter is subtle (and surprising) enough that it can work for everyday or to glam up a look in the evening.

For the price tag, I personally would expect better wearing time–at least eight hours of no budging, smudging, or fading. It can handle about four hours, but after that, there is noticeable (though not terrible) migration and fading on the lower lash line. It does wear better on the upper lash line, because it less disturbed and prone to fine lines like the lower lash line is. Because of the glitter, I would not recommend using this on the waterline (so I didn’t).

The eyeliner was not as soft as I would like, either. It wasn’t as creamy and soft as Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners, though still harder than Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Eyes liners. I found mine to feel just a bit rougher than I think is necessary in a pencil, though it does allow one to get a more defined, precise line. I would suggest quickly giving it a shot of heat via your blow dryer if you have sensitive lids or find yours particularly hardened.

  • Product: 6/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: Unless there was a particularly unique shade amongst D&G’s eyeliners, they’re not the first product I’d recommend from the D&G line. (I’d probably recommend their lipsticks first.)

Availability: Saks

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Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Bobbi Brown Goes Green for Fall, Take 2

Bobbi Brown Forest Shimmer Ink Gel Eyeliner ($21.00) is a new shade as part of Bobbi Brown’s Ivy League Collection.  Forest Shimmer Ink is a deep, olive-brown green with soft golden-olive shimmer.  It’s a very dark green-brown, and it is not lat all forest green to me (which is a bit brighter, more fervently green).  The addition of brown to the green makes it incredibly wearable, even to the office.  It has good pigmentation, goes on smooth and creamy, and then dries down and lasts me all day (on the lower lash line–not the waterline).

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation:  For gel liner fans, this is an excellent shade to add to your stash.  It goes well with other greens, but it works with golds and browns, too, making it a versatile shade.  It even works well as a base — particularly under greens to give them a little more oomph!

Availability: Nordstrom, BobbiBrownCosmetics.com

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Thursday, August 20th, 2009


Full of Fuchsia, Artistic License Technakohls

MAC Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection: Technakohls

With five shades of technakohls to choose from, the MAC Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection has you covered.

Technakohl ($14.50)

  • Full of Fuchsia is a fuchsia-purple with icy fuchsia sheen. It reminded me of a very intense Pink Pearl pigment. It’s not quite as bright as Brash & Bold pigment, but they are a bit similar.
  • Artistic License is a just-less-than electric blue with an aqua-green tone.
  • Obviously Orange is a pop of medium-bright orange. It’s not neon orange, and it’s not rusty or coppery either. Compared to Colour Matters, this one has a much more noticeable shimmer/frost to it–kind of a golden shimmer.
  • Colour Matters is a satiny chartreuse shade. It looks nearly the same as True Chartreuse pigment does, just in technakohl liner. Since I’m lazy at heart, I am pleased to see it in technakohl form (even though, if you’re on a budget, you could use the pigment form to create your own liner).

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: I think the technakohls were my favorite part of the launch — just great to see new, not-yet-done shades of the technakohl family be released. I recommend all of the shades, though I’m partial to Colour Matters and Artistic License.

Availability: MACCosmetics.com

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Friday, August 14th, 2009


The Perfect Cheek

Sneak Peek: MAC Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection — The Perfect Cheek, Violet Trance, Colour Matters, Obviously Orange

Also designed by Richard Phillips, two blushes (The Perfect Cheek and Notable) appear from MAC Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection. While on the other hand, illustrator Maira Kalman’s Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection includes six colorful shades of eyeshadow complemented by five shades of technakohl liners.

Powder Blush ($18.00)

  • The Perfect Cheek is a powder blush with a matte finish that goes on a dusty, pale pink. While it was visible on my skin tone, I found it hard to detect, and the inside of my forearm is probably around NC20 range, which leads me to worry about visibility on deeper skin tones. On some deeper skin tones, this may appear ashy as well.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Eyeshadow ($14.50)

  • Violet Trance eyeshadow is a matte dark blue-based violet purple. This originally released two or three years ago, so avid collectors may already have this in their stash. As lovely as it appears in the pot, it’s not the easiest matte to work with. I’d have to vote Make Up For Ever #92 if you’re looking for a deep, intense purple, just because this one doesn’t have a dream texture. It’s so-so, a bit chalky and thus drags a bit, and pigmentation is decent but not intense.

  • Product: 6/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 6/10
  • Packaging: 8/10
  • Overall: 6/10

Technakohl ($14.50)

  • Colour Matters techankohl is a satiny chartreuse shade. It looks nearly the same as True Chartreuse pigment does, just in technakohl liner. Since I’m lazy at heart, I am pleased to see it in technakohl form (even though, if you’re on a budget, you could use the pigment form to create your own liner).
  • Obviously Orange technakohl is a pop of medium-bright orange. It’s not neon orange, and it’s not rusty or coppery either. Compared to Colour Mattes, this one has a much more noticeable shimmer/frost to it–kind of a golden shimmer.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 9/10
  • Packaging: 9/10
  • Overall: 9/10

Recommendation: I’d skip the blush if you have medium or darker skin unless you can try it in-person and decide for yourself. Violet Trance eyeshadow doesn’t impress me much, and I’d rather opt for a better quality shadow from another brand. I love technakohls, though, so I was quite pleased with the creaminess, opacity, and look of the two new technakohls I’ve tried so far.

Availability: MACCosmetics.com (August 20th), MAC stores

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