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.
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.
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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!
Ease of Use: 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.
Today, CoverGirl is doing a pre-sale for their two new additions to the Blast line-up with Smoky ShadowBlast ($8.49) and ShineBlast Lip Gloss ($8.49). For those who purchase by visiting Drugstore.com, they’ll save $5 and earn free shipping while supplies last. For those who purchase by visiting CVS, they will receive free shipping. I found the pre-sale site forced me to “build a look,” when I just wanted to see where to buy, so you can just go to drugstore.com directly and search for it by name and it’ll show up. Drugstore.com is also showing all of the shades shipping in “one to two weeks.” Curious!
Smoky ShadowBlast is available for pre-sale in four shades: Silver Sky, Onyx Smoke, Bronze Fire, and Purple Plume. ShineBlast Lip Gloss is available for pre-sale in four shades:Dazzle, Flare, Ablaze, and Firecracker.
When these officially hit stores in January 2010, we’ll see an addition of Citrus Flair and Tempest Blue ShadowBlasts, and we’ll see a whole slew of additional glosses come the new year. The additional gloss shades are: Aglow, Beam, Ember, Fire, Gleam, Glimmer, Glow, Heat, Ignite, Radiate, Smolder, and Sparkler.
I just played around with two shades of ShadowBlast this weekend, because I wanted to be able to share a little more insight than just marketing blitz as the pre-sale got underway…
First, an obvious point of contention with this product is the lack of labeling on the product itself. The original packaging does tell you the shade names, but once you take ‘em out of the packaging and toss it away, there’s nothing to tell you what you have.
First, I tried Citrus Flaire ShadowBlast, which was a duo of shimmery chartreuse green and a rich, shimmery copper. The chartreuse side is “step one,” designed to be use as a lid color, while the copper side is “step two,” meant to be used as a liner or crease shade. The second one I tried was Silver Sky ShadowBlast, which was a duo of a shimmery, light silver (“step one”) and a smoky purple with lighter shimmer (“step two”). Both ShadowBlasts were pigmented, smooth, and creamy without being overly so–just enough slip to glide along the lid without tugging or pulling.
After playing around with these this weekend, I’d say that they’re best layered over a base like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance or else set well with powder eyeshadow for best results. I found when worn alone, it was hard to get just the right amount so it didn’t crease or look faded. If you just want to use them as a liner, I didn’t have migration issues, but the tip of the product is a little bulky, so it’s not super easy to use as a liner.
These reminded me a lot of MAC’s shadesticks, actually – just a little softer and smoother and with less staying power (on their own). When I used it alone the first time around, it creased within fifteen minutes–I threw a layer of the chartreuse shade all over my lid for a quick and dirty crease-test, and by the time I finished photographing and swatching the other ShadowBlast, it had definitely creased.
Bottom Line: It’s really great to see CoverGirl step up their game with these pigmented cream eyeshadows. I think if you’re looking for a way to boost up eyeshadow colors, these make a great way to add an extra level of dimension underneath your regular eyeshadows.
If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ!
Ease of Use: 4/5
Recommendation: For a more budget-friendly alternative to pigmented cream shadows and ways to enhance your eyeshadow, these are worth checking out.
MAC Cosmetics DSquared Collection: Greasepaint Stick & Feline Kohl Power
MAC DSquared Collection is small launch in-stores today, the 28th. The collection includes three shades of Greasepaint Sticks and repromotion of Feline kohl power.
B is a deep, dark navy blue with lighter blue shimmer and a metallic sheen.
V is a deep, dark purple-violet with lighter purple shimmer and a metallic sheen.
Black is a dark black-purple with a violet cast and shimmer that’s more noticeable when swatched than when used as a liner.
Feline is an intense, richly pigmented black liner that goes on incredibly dark. One of my favorite black liners!
Per my review of the Greasepaint Stick from Style Black, I haven’t yet found these to be rockin’ my world yet. They migrate on my lower lash line quite a bit – kind of smudgy and creasing on the lower lash line. It’s great that I can smudge the product when I’m applying it, but after I smudge it, I expect it to stay put!
On the water line, it holds up better, but it seems to aggravate my eyes, so I think I’m too sensitive to wear it on my water line. I wish the Black Greasepaint Stick was actually a true black, particularly since V exists so soon after the original release. The Greasepaint Sticks can be a bit thick to work with, so you may find yourself using a separate brush to apply this product in thinner, more precise lines. They feel a bit like a shadestick to me, actually.
Ease of Use: 7/10
Recommendation: If you like shadesticks, you may find these to be great bases for darker looks!
Purple Pumps is a shimmery shade of violet with a lighter violet-purple shimmer laced throughout the creamy gel liner. It is one of the sheerer smudge pots I’ve tested, but it can be layered for a more opaque look. I found layering was best achieved with a stiff, flat bristled brush (I used MAC’s 249).
Cobalt Clutch is a ridiculously vibrant shade of sea-water blue with a slight sky blue sheen (but more of a sheen than a shimmer). It goes on opaque without any need for layering, unlike Purple Pumps, and the shade is definitely intense. It will definitely look stunning as an eyeliner, but it could be used as a base for some really in-your-face eye color. (I am fairly certain it is the vibrant blue used in the Stila Smitten With Kitten Collection promotional image.)
I’ve always been a fan of Stila’s smudge pots. They’re smudgeproof, budgeproof, and wear all day without fading or creasing. They come in a variety of shades–one surely to entice you–and they’ll last you forever. I haven’t had any of mine dry out on me yet, either, which is a huge plus, because some gel liners have a tendency to dry out within a year.
Ease of Use: 8/10
Recommendation: These are not to be missed if you’re a gel liner fan (or a Smudge Pot fan in general!), because these are some bright-eyed shades you don’t see often.
The talented photographer Marilyn Minter was inspired by MAC’s glitters and pigments. From her portion of the Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection MAC Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection comes two Reflects Glitters (Copper and Rust), two Glitters (Gold and Fuchsia), four pigments (Cocomotion, Brash & Bold, Heritage Rouge, and Push the Edge), as well as Gloss Texture in Clear.
Brash & Bold is a velvety, deep fuchsia-red with subtle fuchsia-purple sheen. If Bright Fuchsia and Pink Pearl pigment had a baby, this would be it.
Heritage Rouge is a dark, cranberry-burgundy frost. It’s incredibly pigmented and goes on smooth. It’s one of the best pigment textures to date. This was a previously released shade, so be sure to check your stash to make sure you don’t already have one.
Push the Edge is a deep blue-based violet purple with soft shimmer/sheen. It reminded me a lot of Entremauve pigment but bluer, not quite as plum. The textures are even similar, as this one is a bit chalky (though not terribly so).
Cocomotion is a rich shade of antique gold with a bit more brightness than your typical antique gold. It’s one of my favorite shades of pigments (again, check your stash before buying), because it’s extremely smooth, rich in pigmentation, and is a dream to work with.
Ease of Use: 8/10
Recommendation: I think both Brash & Bold and Push the Edge pigments represent two shades we don’t often see MAC putting out. While neither is necessarily absolutely, positively original, they’re both pleasant surprises. Cocomotion and Heritage Rouge are also exceptional shades, and it’s good to see them make a return, at least for a limited time.