Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows: #0E, 2E, 4E, 6E, 8E, 20E

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows #0E, 2E, 4E, 6E, and 8E

Please see my first post on the Aqua Shadows for a detailed review, along with photos, of texture, consistency, wear, and so forth. This post is specifically looking at the five matte finish Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows ($20.00 for 0.14 oz.).

  • #0E is a rich black with a matte finish. It has good color payoff in a single pass, and it has a very subtle brown undertone. You’ll find it’s comparable to numerous black eyeliners so long as they’re deeper, richer blacks (instead of a soft black).
  • #2E is a dark red-toned brown with a matte finish. It has good color payoff in a single go, and it builds well. This shade had a creamier consistency compared to some of the other shades. Milani Brown is slighty lighter. Chanel Brun-Teak has similar red tones but is lighter. Urban Decay Demolition is a bit darker, less warm.
  • #4E is a medium-dark gray with a hint of brown and a matte finish. The pigmentation is only so-so in a single go–it’s a bit drier so it doesn’t fill in every space with really rich, even pigment. CoverGirl Silver Spark is a bit like this, but the finishes are very different, and it is also much lighter.
  • #6E is an intense navy blue with a matte finish. It’s very bold, and it has good color payoff, though it’s not as buildable as the other shades. MAC Marine Ultra is similar in finish but lighter. Urban Decay Binge is not quite as dark and has shimmer.
  • #8E is a darkened green-teal with a matte finish. This shade had the best color payoff in a single stroke, and it was a bit creamier than shades like #4E. This shade compares well to Prescriptives Blue Grotto. It’s a bit darker and greener compared to NARS Kaliste.  Urban Decay Clinic is lighter and shimmery.

To summarize my earlier review:  the matte shades are a bit creamier, and as a consequence, they do not hold up as well as the shimmery shades.  I do get significant and noticeable creasing, and it looks pitiful after eight hours, when I’ve worn these alone.  When I wear them with eyeshadow on top, they perform much better, and I didn’t have any creasing problems even after eight hours.  Over a primer but still with nothing on top, they wear marginally better but still have noticeable creasing over the eight hour period.  These are also prone to smudging on their own but also if water hits them, so they’re not quite waterproof or smudge-proof.

The Glossover

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Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows #0E, 2E, 4E, 6E, and 8E Review, Photos, Swatches

C+
The frosted shades are difficult to blend but are long-lasting, while the matte shades are difficult to blend and crease after a few hours of wear. I can recommend checking out the frostier finishes, but if you have oily lids, you may want to be a little more cautious with the matte shades.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

3/5

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Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows Review & Photos

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow ($20.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a new product that’s supposed to be a “smudge-proof, long-lasting eyeshadow pencil that enhances and intensifies the eyes.” It’s also “intensely pigmented, “waterproof,” “will not smudge, crease, or fade,” “glides effortlessly,” and “blends easily.” This review is disappointing for me to write, because I love Make Up For Ever as a brand, and they have some really incredible long-wearing products, but these are so-so to good–they’re not excellent and they don’t raise the bar.   Photos, swatches, and individual color descriptions/reviews will follow in two separate posts.

There are twelve shades in total, with five shades being creams (no shimmer) and seven shades having a very frosted, almost metallic-like finish. I’ve been testing these shades for the past two weeks, part of that is because they did not perform flawlessly as I expected them to. These are the ways I have tested the product: alone, three pencils together (but over bare lids), over primer (NARS Smudgeproof, Too Faced Shadow Insurance), as a base (with powder eyeshadow on top), and as eyeliners.   Each pencil is packaged in a plastic pencil, and they are meant to be sharpened–they do not twist-up.  I used Urban Decay’s Grindhouse, and I didn’t have any problems sharpening the plastic exterior off.  In fact, when I tried it, I had nearly no waste.

The creamy shades will crease after four to five hours and be majorly crease and flaking after eight hours, and worse yet, there’s a noticeable amount of smudged product underneath my lid, along my lower lash line, along with flakes of product trickling down my cheeks. It’s creamy yet dry; it applies fairly easily and evenly, but I do recommend going back for a couple of touch-ups because there is slight skipping depending on where your eyeball maneuvers itself while you’re applying the product. It has a quick setting time, and it’s a pain to blend out the edges even if you do so immediately, it will still slightly crease if you don’t let it set for about 5-10 seconds. Over a primer, the creasing was lessened over eight hours, but there was still some noticeable creasing. The best way I found to use the matte shades was as a base with powder eyeshadows layered on top–then I didn’t have any creasing after eight hours.

On the other hand, the frostier finishes hold up much better. They dry very quickly, don’t crease from the get-go, and they don’t crease after eight hours. All of the shades are stiff and more difficult to blend, but with enough elbow grease, it can be done. I wore three shades (#32E, #20E, #2E) together to see just how blendable they were, and I think I managed to get a fairly well-blended look. It’s much more difficult than using three eyeshadows together, though. The frostier shades wear the same whether they were applied to bare lids, over a primer, or underneath eyeshadows (no creasing).

The matte shades are more water-resistant than waterproof, while the frostier shades are pretty waterproof. I took a shower with these on (tests both the effects of humidity as well as waterproofing claims) and had a little smudging from the matte shade I used (#6E) but the frosted shade was fine (#24E). There is a touch of transfer if you press your fingertip against your lid, but it’s very, very subtle. The fact that blending is difficult because the product doesn’t want to budge is both a blessing and a curse! As eyeliners, these are good, though #6E and #8E were more prone to slight smudging and some fading after six to eight hours, but #0E and #2E were fine. It’s not my favorite use for these, because the tip is so large and the formula isn’t as creamy as the Aqua Eyes Pencil, so it doesn’t glide on as smoothly.

These are nicely pigmented with some shades having excellent color payoff and a few having decent to good color coverage, but nearly of the ones I tried were buildable with little trouble–#32E was a trouble maker, though. It was very dry, seemed to apply unevenly, and did not want to build up at all. I was going to use it as a base, but it was horrific that way. The only way I could use it was alone, but even that looked like my lids were dry and flaky.  I recommend MAC #242 and Make Up For Ever’s #14S with these–you want really firm, stiff brushes so you can move these around (at least a little).

Overall, these aren’t flawless.  They don’t provide for immaculate wear–I have normal-to-dry lids, not at all oily–and I do get immaculate wear out of Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Cream formula, which is a bit easier to use because it’s more blendable.   The frosted shades are difficult to blend but are long-lasting, while the matte shades are difficult to blend and crease after a few hours of wear.  I can recommend checking out the frostier finishes, but if you have oily lids, you may want to be a little more cautious with the matte shades.  Please note that the rating is based on an average of all twelve shades; you will see that there’s a difference in the ratings when the finishes are separated, which you’ll see when the next two posts are published.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows Review & Photos

B
The frosted shades are difficult to blend but are long-lasting, while the matte shades are difficult to blend and crease after a few hours of wear. I can recommend checking out the frostier finishes, but if you have oily lids, you may want to be a little more cautious with the matte shades.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3/5

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Monday, April 16th, 2012

NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.09 oz.) is described as a “shimmering plum.” It’s a dark burgundy plum with softer plum shimmer. Bare Escentuals Passion is slightly redder, less frosted. Le Metier de Beaute Fig is very similar, perhaps a little warmer. Guerlain Boulevard de Montparnasse is plummier. Tarina Tarantino Fantastical is purpler.

I have to emphasize how NARS markets the formula: “easy, portable, long-wearing application,” “functionality to shade the lid, line, or highlight the eye,” “an ideal base for layering with a powder shadow for increased color intensity,” “smooth, creamy, long-wearing formula.” Then, from the press release for this collection and specific shade, “This versatile, shimmering plum Soft Touch Shadow Pencil is the ideal complement for color on lids. Named for the region south of Naples, at the “toe” of the Italian Peninsula—it can be worn solo, as a base for powder shadows, or as a liner.”

The reason why this pencil can’t make it past five minutes (let alone an hour) without creasing is that it never dries down. It remains glossy and creamy for as long as I wear it–after three hours, I removed it and tried using it as a base with powder eyeshadows over it, but it creased horribly after an hour. The areas where the product has creased and accumulated are very slick, while the color on the lid will transfer onto my finger even with the slightest tough. There’s always a fine line between too quick and too slow when it comes to a cream eyeshadow/base product, but this one takes “too slow” to new lengths. I used it as an eyeliner and set it with eyeshadow, but it was entirely smudged after two hours and I had to remove it. The consistency is very, very creamy, which means it doesn’t tug or pull on the lid or lash line when it’s used, but it has a tendency to apply unevenly as it slides around the lid.

I am often asked why do I keep reviewing this formula only to give it a bad rating:  would (or should) I stop reviewing new shades of a good product? I don’t think so.  My policy is to review as many products as I can, whether or not they are good, bad, or just so-so.  Aside from the idea that all shades are individual and may perform better/worse than other shades in the same formula, there’s still value in reviewing a product, even if it’s consistently good or bad.  There’s opportunity to confirm that it is or isn’t consistent, how it may differ, the color, better alternatives on the market, and the like.  I wouldn’t seek this product out, but if NARS keeps making them and sending them to Temptalia for review, I’ll keep letting you know how they perform.

If you’ve been able to work these, I’d love to hear your thoughts! A review is always bolstered by reader comments – shared experience is what creates a fuller picture of how a product does and doesn’t perform.

The Glossover

LE
product

Calabria

If you're been looking for a product to deliver a creased, glossy look, perhaps for an editorial, maybe this is up your alley. I suspect you could find a cheaper cream product to do something similar or else use Vaseline mixed with a similar-colored shade.
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Friday, April 6th, 2012

Tom Ford Platinum Cream Color
Tom Ford Platinum Cream Color

Tom Ford Platinum Cream Color

Tom Ford Platinum Cream Color ($40.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a medium-dark brown with subtle, warm red undertones. There is an ever-so-slight hint of gray that makes it almost taupe when it’s not sheered out, but it kept looking brown, brown, brown on me. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, because it’s called Platinum and the online “swatch” shows it as more of a pewter-like hue. Even in the pot, it looks more taupe-brown.  But here’s the thing: it does seem to go on less brown on the lids–it does look a little closer to platinum, but it is one finicky shade to photograph. So to that end, all of the possible dupes are browner.  It appears that the silver sheen comes out when there’s a lot of light; as I sat in my office with just a floor lamp on, it looked decidedly brown-taupe.  This is the sign of a complex shade, I suppose.

To me, it seemed like this color was more dupe-able than not. I had so many shades pulled up to compare this to. Urban Decay Midnight Rodeo is very similar, perhaps less red-toned. Bobbi Brown Champagne Truffle is more metallic but similar in color to the sheered out swatch. MAC Aloha is a little grayer. Buxom Mutt is similar to the sheered out swatch, though less warm. Urban Decay YDK is similar but a hint redder. MAC Buckwheat is darker, less shimmered. Urban Decay Wreckage is grayer. MAC Sable is richer, deeper. Urban Decay Toasted is similar to the heavier swatch, no gray tint.

Tom Ford describes the formula as “highly reflective,” “ultra-pigmented”, “non-creasing”, and “long-wearing.” Boy, I had some mixed emotions when I tested these. First, PR had already informed that these were nearly sold out in-stores, which lit some fuel under my butt to test it ASAP. The spring collection just launched on both Saks and Neiman Marcus, though, and everything appears to be in-stock, so not to fear if you’ve been looking for a way to blow $40. Second, as soon as I opened the pot and saw the consistency that awaited me, I was like, “This is going to be a big ol’ mess!” Looks are, thankfully, extremely deceiving!

Platinum delivers good results overall, though it does crease faintly after eight hours of wear without a base. It’s not smudge- or budge-proof–if you press your fingertip against your eyelid, you’ll see a fair amount of product transfer. I didn’t experience any fading, fall out, or migration while wearing this shade yesterday (ten hours in total). The consistency is a lightweight cream, almost more like a mousse because of its airy quality, that spreads and smooths out easily and evenly. From recent memory, the texture reminded me of a lighter, more airy version of MAC’s Big Bounce eyeshadows (you can see why I was wary!).

I used MAC’s 242 brush, which is a firm, flat bristled brush, to apply it to my eyelids, and I had no problem getting an opaque layer of color in one go. If you want a sheerer look, I’d recommend dabbing on very little and then blending. I figured I’d go crazy and opt to apply a good layer of it, as it was described as “ultra-pigmented.” I really thought it was going to crease right then and there, but it dries down quickly but remains smudgeable around the edges, since it is not smudge-proof.

What’s hard to see in photos is the soft, luminous side of the shade. It plays with the light in a subtle way that’s both dazzling and sophisticated. This is not glitter, and it’s not even a frost. I’d like to coin the phrase “satin metallic,” because I feel like that’s the most apt description of the finish here. Platinum was really lovely all on its lonesome, not as a wash, but as a full-color coverage product, just taken above the crease and blended out.  It’s packaged in a screw-top glass jar and holds a little more than the average cream eyeshadow does. I’m a little surprised to see that the TF logo is a sticker pressed on top. At first, I thought it was just a clear sticker over the actual TF, but I peeled it all the way off and the entire thing came off.

The Glossover

LE
product

Platinum

A

I'm torn--there's a part of me that's still chafing at the price tag. For a cream eyeshadow? Really? What? And then another part of me that knows this is Tom Ford, this is luxury, and that is really the point. Thankfully, it performs fairly well, and it is extremely well-pigmented. The texture is what will sell it, though, because it's so smooth.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

5/5

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Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadow
Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadows

Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadows (Part 3)

Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a cream-gel-mousse formula that’s designed to have a lightweight texture, yield “vivbrant, lively, buildable” color, be waterproof, and long-wearing. Just for fun, Bare Escentuals made a charitable contribution to Canine Companions for Independence when this product launched. They are also exclusive to Sephora. The last four shades I’m reviewing are: Saint Bernard (deep sea green), Schnauzer (vivid violet plum), Sheepdog (frosty white), and Shih Tzu (gilded lime green).

According to the brand, these are supposed to have sheer color coverage, but they are buildable to an extent. The five featured in this post are very true to that creed–they can easily be used as a sheer wash of color, but they can also be used opaque by either initially applying more color or by applying a second layer of color on top of the first. Stay-There Eyeshadows have a spongy quality that reminds me of memory foam; you can press it, and it will slowly spring back to form. You can jab at it with a pencil, and you’ll end up shifting it around more than anything! These actually launched well before Chanel Illusion d’Ombres, which have a similar texture.

I like using a really stiff, firm, and flat brush with these, but I’ve had the best luck applying these with fingertips. Once applied, they dry down to a powder finish in just the right time–not instantly but not so long that it’s creased before you’ve finished applying product to the other eye. I’ve tested several shades without primer as washes, including Black Lab, Bulldog, Chihuahua, Collie, Mutt, Pug, Saint Bernard, and Shih Tzu, and I haven’t had any issues with the shades creasing, fading, or smudging. I’ve even worn a few of them during showers to test waterproof claims, and they haven’t budged.

  • Saint Bernard is a pop of green-based teal that’s semi-sheer. This shade did not build up color as well as some of the other shades–it was more like Black Lab in that respect. Maybelline Edgy Emerald is similar but a little less green. NYX Seafoam Green is slightly darker. NARS Misfit is darker and more opaque. MAC Aquadisiac is slightly less green.
  • Schnauzer is a brightened eggplant purple with red undertones and a fine violet shimmer. Like Saint Bernard, it’s not as buildable in color as other shades, so semi-opaque is the highest opacity I was able to achieve. Guerlain Boulevard du Montparnasse is similar but a touch darker. Le Metier de Beaute Fig is deeper and browner. MAC Fig. 1 is a bit darker and has a matte finish. Inglot #445 is lighter and has a frosted finish.
  • Sheepdog is a frosted white with semi-opaque color coverage. It’s similar to a lot of other white eyeshadows.
  • Shih Tzu is a springy green with a chartreuse shimmer-sheen. MAC Lucky Green is brighter, more intense. Inglot #412 is lighter, more olive. Make Up For Ever #304 is brighter and greener.

The Glossover

product

Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadows Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 3)

A-
They're not quite as buildable as they seem like they should be, because for some, you really can't get much more color than what one layer of product yields (like Saint Bernard). The wear is really great, though, and if you like using sheer color as a base or as a wash for quick looks, you'll enjoy these.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadow
Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadows

Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadows (Part 2)

Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a cream-gel-mousse formula that’s designed to have a lightweight texture, yield “vivbrant, lively, buildable” color, be waterproof, and long-wearing. Just for fun, Bare Escentuals made a charitable contribution to Canine Companions for Independence when this product launched. They are also exclusive to Sephora. The next five shades I’m reviewing are: Golden Retriever (vibrant copper red), Husky (baby blue), Mutt (bronzed taupe), Poodle (pale yellow gold), and Pug (smoky pewter).

According to the brand, these are supposed to have sheer color coverage, but they are buildable to an extent. The five featured in this post are very true to that creed–they can easily be used as a sheer wash of color, but they can also be used opaque by either initially applying more color or by applying a second layer of color on top of the first. Stay-There Eyeshadows have a spongy quality that reminds me of memory foam; you can press it, and it will slowly spring back to form. You can jab at it with a pencil, and you’ll end up shifting it around more than anything! These actually launched well before Chanel Illusion d’Ombres, which have a similar texture.

I like using a really stiff, firm, and flat brush with these, but I’ve had the best luck applying these with fingertips. Once applied, they dry down to a powder finish in just the right time–not instantly but not so long that it’s creased before you’ve finished applying product to the other eye. I’ve tested several shades without primer as washes, including Black Lab, Bulldog, Chihuahua, Collie, Mutt, Pug, Saint Bernard, and Shih Tzu, and I haven’t had any issues with the shades creasing, fading, or smudging. I’ve even worn a few of them during showers to test waterproof claims, and they haven’t budged.

  • Golden Retriever is a warm, slightly red-tinted bronze brown. It can be applied sheer or as mostly opaque color coverage. Benefit Dandy Brandy is slightly darker. Maybelline Bad to the Bronze is darker and less red-toned. Urban Decay YDK is less brown.
  • Husky is a pastel baby blue with a silvery white shimmer. The color coverage can be built to opaque color coverage with ease. MAC Styledriven is slightly darker. Bare Escentuals Illusion is whiter, more aqua. Inglot #367 is similar but matte.
  • Mutt is a muted brown with a gilded bronze sheen. It doesn’t read taupe to me–it’s too warm and golden for that. Like the previous two shades, it can be built to opaque color coverage or applied as a sheer wash of color with less product. Urban Decay Suspect is a little more yellow-toned. MAC Magical Mist is a bit grayer. Urban Decay Juju is less red-toned. Urban Decay Spotlight is lighter.
  • Poodle is a pale yellow gold with a soft, metallic sheen. It, too, can be opaque or sheer, depending on application, but it doesn’t take much product to get opaque color. Tarina Tarantino Wonderful is a little lighter. theBalm Wild Child is very close. Givenchy Lune is also similar. MAC Nylon is slightly whiter.
  • Pug is a dirty gray-brown; it’s kind of taupe, but I feel like it’s too gray to be taupe. It’s such a cool shade, though, and it works well as a wash of color that’s more than just beige or brown. MAC Keep Your Cool is darker, less reflective. Urban Decay Mushroom is similar but a touch darker. Chanel Illusoire is darker, almost more purple-tinted.

The Glossover

product

Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadows Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 2)

A
I really love these five in particular, because they represent some of the best shades of the Stay-There range. They're sheer, they're opaque, they're truly buildable, which makes them incredibly versatile products.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

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