Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Dior Aurora Eyeshadow Palette
Dior Aurora Eyeshadow Palette

Dior Aurora Eyeshadow Palette

Dior Aurora Eyeshadow Palette ($60.00 for 0.24 oz.) is a limited edition five-shade palette for summer. The shades were inspired by the emblems of the French Riviera. It’s really rich, deep, and filled with warm tones.

The shade in the upper left corner is a rich, molten orange-gold with a soft frosted finish and excellt color payoff. Bare Escentuals Remix is yellower, not as dark. Chanel Blazing Gold is lighter, paler. MAC Goldmine is a bit more golden. Inglot #430 is yellower. Urban Decay Honey is yellower and not at all orange. MAC Juiced was the closest I could find, though it’s more orange.

The shade in the upper right corner is a medium-dark brown with subtle red undertones. It has good pigmentation. It is actually similar to quite a few shades! MAC Havana is just slightly deeper and has a stronger red undertone. Buxom Golden Retriever is just a smidgen warmer. Benefit Dandy Brandy seems nearly the same. MAC Roasted Chestnut has a stronger red undertone. MAC Buckwheat is less golden. MAC Make Your Mark is darker.

The center shade is a pale, icy pink with a subtle blue undertone. It looked almost yellow-toned in the pan, but it looked rather cool against my skin tone. The color payoff is decent to good, though slightly sheer. MAC Joy & Laughter is similar, slightly more lilac. Dior Garden Roses is slightly darker. Dior Garden Pastels is very, very similar. Tarina Tarantino Diamond Dusk is also incredibly similar.

The shade in the bottom left corner is a beige-peach with a slight iridescent sheen. It had decent pigmentation but was a bit sheer when swatched. It was slightly better when applied to the lid/eye. Inglot #330 is similar but peachier and matte. Giorgio Armani #1 Madreperla had a simialr shade but it was lighter, less yellow. MAC Dazzlelight is a bit lighter. MAC Vanilla is lighter, less yellowed. Urban Decay Skimp is similar but doesn’t have the same sheen.

The shade in the bottom right corner is a medium-dark orange with a subtle dusting of gold micro-shimmer and a satiny sheen. It had pretty good color payoff. MAC Rule is similar but has a matte finish. Dolce & Gabbana Cocoa is slightly lighter. MAC Fresh Daily is very similar. Milani Primary has a similar orange shade as well.

This kind of palette is very effortless to use on warmer complexions–the colors complement not only each other but warm skin tone in a very obvious way.  There has certainly been a fair number of gold/copper/bronze eyeshadow palettes on the market, so while this one is lovely in its own right, it’s not exactly a unique color combination.  It’s practical, wearable, and something that would work well for summer-themed looks.  Cooler complexions may find there are too many orange-based shades here to be as instantly flattering, but like anything, it’s workable if you want it to make it work–usually by pairing it with the right cheek/lip.  For instance, I wear cool-toned products but have to pay attention more closely to coordinating shades.

The pink is kind of a weird addition; it doesn’t really go with the palette, and I think its overall paleness makes it less functional.  If it were a shade that perhaps contrasted more, it could add a complex dimension to the look.   You could certainly do a combination where the pink is the lightest shade and then graduated from orange-gold to copper/brown.  I think a coral would have been a nice shade to have mixed in.

The texture of these is soft, finely-milled, and very smooth.  They’re dense and buttery, and they aren’t too powdery, which is something that Dior’s eyeshadows can sometimes suffer from.  Because of their soft, finely-milled texture, they blend easily on the lid and with each other.  Without a primer, these shades wore for eight hours with very faint fading around the edges.  With a primer, these shades wore for ten hours with very faint fading around the edges.  Overall, the color payoff was good to great.

The Glossover

palette

Aurora

A
This kind of palette is very effortless to use on warmer complexions--the colors complement not only each other but warm skin tone in a very obvious way.  There has certainly been a fair number of gold/copper/bronze eyeshadow palettes on the market, so while this one is lovely in its own right, it's not exactly a unique color combination.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio
NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio

NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio

NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio ($45.00 for 0.15 oz.) consists of a “silver, icy peach, [and] matte apricot” as described by the brand. This is the only limited edition product within the summer collection. I like how NARS’ trios are packaged with three individual wells, which means that there’s less cross-contamination from excess powder. The downside is that the trios are only 0.15 oz., whereas their duos are 0.14 oz.–but the duos are only $34, which is a $11 difference!

The first shade is a light gray with a silver shimmer and subtle silver metallic sheen. It has good color payoff–there’s an underlying sheerness in the swatch, but it is more pigmented when applied to the eye. Tarina Tarantino Lovely has a similar shade that’s a touch lighter and frostier. Guerlain Les Aquas has a similar shade, which has a more metallic finish.

The middle shade is a soft, pale peach with a satiny sheen–it’s a little more amped up and reflective than your average satin, though. The color payoff is good, though there is a touch of sheerness to the color. Tarina Tarantino Delightful has a shade that’s a few shades darker. Inglot #328 is similar in color but is darker. Inglot #330 is very close in color but has a matte finish.

The last shade is a warm, muted orange with a matte finish. This shade was also on the sheerer side, but I didn’t have any problem getting it to show up closer to opaque color when I applied it on the lid, which is not an uncommon result with matte textures. Dolce & Gabbana Cocoa has a shade that’s a bit richer, darker, more orange. MAC Fresh Daily is deeper, brighter. MAC Rule is more orange, darker. Inglot #368 is more tangerine.

NARS’ eyeshadow formula is supposed to be long-wearing, crease-resistant, and highly-pigmented according to their website (and it still drives me batty that they have it listed as “highly-pigminted“).  NARS’ eyeshadow formula can also be used wet or dry, depending on your preferences.   I applied the light gray shade to the very inner tearduct, pale peach to the inner half of the lid, and the orange shade on the outer half of the lid and into the crease to test out the wear.   Without a primer, it wore for eight hours without creasing and just very minor fading around the edges.  All three shades were easy to apply and blend together; the matte shade is very workable and while it feels dry, it’s just as blendable as the shimmery shades.

This should be very flattering on warm and neutral skin tones, and cooler complexions should still be able to wear this, because of the inclusion of gray as well as the softer, lighter feel of the other two distinctly warm shades.

The Glossover

palette

NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
This should be very flattering on warm and neutral skin tones, and cooler complexions should still be able to wear this, because of the inclusion of gray as well as the softer, lighter feel of the other two distinctly warm shades.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

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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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Monday, April 16th, 2012

NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo ($34.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as an “iridescent orchid” and “regal blue.” The left shade is a pale pink lilac with a lavender iridescence. The color payoff is sheer and translucent. MAC Light Violet is a bit similar, though not as pink. Inglot #346 is also more lavender, less pink, and has a matte finish. Wet ‘n’ Wild We’re Blasting Off is similar, though perhaps a little pinker, and has more of a satin-like finish. The right shade is a darkened navy blue with a violet shimmer and sheen, which becomes more pronounced when applied (it looked less blue, more purple). The pigmentation on this is decent, but there is some sheerness in the swatch as well as when applied. Tom Ford Cobalt Rush is very, very similar–less iridescent. MAC Starless Night is much darker, deeper. MAC Imaginary is purpler.

This eyeshadow duo creased after six hours over an eyeshadow primer (NARS Smudgeproof, actually), and on top of the creasing, there was significant fading of both shades from this duo (the blue was on the upper half of the lid and in the crease while the lilac shade was blended above the crease). I have normal-to-dry lids, and NARS Smudgeproof is my go-to primer normally, and while NARS eyeshadows do, typically, have some minor creasing and/or fading when worn without a base after eight hours, the wear here was abnormal. The creasing became more apparent after eight hours, but the fading was surprisingly noticeable after six and steadily worsened as the day wore on. There was some minor fall out from the shimmer in the shades from this duo as well that occurred while it was worn (but I didn’t see any during application). The wear was just as bad without a primer–the creasing/fading just became noticeable at the four hour mark– I thought maybe the glaze-like finish would adhere better to bare lids but no dice.

The texture of this particular eyeshadow duo is unlike anything I can remember seeing from NARS. It has a very glaze-like finish, that’s almost a little wet, but still a powder. If you’re familiar with Stila’s Sparkle eyeshadows, Tom Ford’s Sparkle eyeshadows, or Urban Decay’s Stardust eyeshadows, you may have a better grasp of that kind of texture–these aren’t quite as “wet.” The closest texture would be to Tom Ford’s sparkle-finish eyeshadows. The bluer shade looks really lovely when applied–wet and shimmering–but it actually seemed to disappear as I was applying it. I went back three times to darken the color before leaving it alone. The lilac shade was pretty soft and didn’t want to build up in color at all; the iridescence in it is a lot less noticeable compared to the blue (it just looked like a pink-lilac).

I was exceptionally disappointed in the results of Marie-Galante.  As far as wear went, it killed me with three major no-nos:  creasing, fading, and fall out.  It had issues with color payoff, too, which was really just icing on an inedible cake–like a cake that looks delicious but turns out to be made out of plastic.

The Glossover

palette

NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

D
I was exceptionally disappointed in the results of Marie-Galante. As far as wear went, it killed me with three major no-nos: creasing, fading, and fall out. It had issues with color payoff, too, which was really just icing on an inedible cake.

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

7/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

4.5/10

Application

3.5/5

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Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Tom Ford Cobalt Rush Eye Color Quad
Tom Ford Cobalt Rush Eye Color Quad

Tom Ford Cobalt Rush Eye Color Quad ($75.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a cool-toned, blue-themed palette. Tom Ford released eight different quad variations, and within the range, there are four finishes. There is sheer sparkle, satin, shimmer, and matte. He describes the formula as having “incredible shade fidelity” and “outstanding adhesion.”

Tom Ford has done many things right, and if you go through past reviews, it’s obvious that I’m a fan of the brand. I don’t like the eyeshadow quads. I’ve only tried two, and this is the better one of the two, but it’s just so-so. It leaves me feeling lukewarm. In an ideal world, you’d get what you paid for, but this is an industry where price rarely correlates to quality–there’s just the hope that, if you’re going to shell out $75 for an eyeshadow palette, that you’re going to get really, really good results. Right? There are so many winning eyeshadow formulas for under $25.

Cobalt Rush contains four hues, and this palette seems to have both satin and shimmer finishes, but it does not contain any sheer sparkle or matte finishes. I wish the shades would be labeled with the finish, but they’re not, so I’m merely guessing. The first shade is a pale, icy white with a shimmery finish. It appears to have fall out without a base, but it still has some minor fall out with a primer after several hours. It’s similar to MAC Pearl is similar in both color and texture, while Buxom Sheepdog is similar in color but not in texture. MAC Forgery is not quite as icy.

The next shade is a darkened purple with blue undertones and a shimmery sheen. It has just so-so pigmentation–you can see it looks a little dry and faded. MAC Starless Night is much more intense, but it has a similar vibe. MAC Indigo Noir is matte and much, much deeper. Estee Lauder Untamed Violet is less silvered, more purple.

The third shade in the quad is a medium-dark blue with a satiny sheen. It had good pigmentation and applied smoothly, but the color itself is likely one of the most common shades of blue on the market. MAC Love Cycle is a richer, more intense blue. Bare Escentuals Climax is just slightly purpler but barely. Guerlain Les Ombres de Nuit is a bit darker. Le Metier de Beaute Lapis is brighter. Wet ‘n’ Wild Earth Looks Small From Down Here is slightly purple-tinted. MAC Deep Truth is slightly bluer. Inglot #428 is brighter. Make Up For Ever #81 is a touch darker.

The final shade is a blackened blue-teal with hints of green and blue shimmer in a satiny finish. It has good color payoff, but it’s a bit dry. Make Up For Ever #60 is deeper, more intense, and has no shimmer. MAC Prussian is bluer. MAC Blue Spruce is grayer. Guerlain Les Aquas is very similar but slightly less blue, but Guerlain Les Gris has a shade that’s just a little bluer.

Color payoff is just average to good–the only shade I would expect to have sheerness is the “sheer sparkle” finish, which there are none of here, so these four shades have no excuse but to have “incredible shade fidelity,” which I can only imagine is marketing-speak for color trueness or true-to-pan color. These do not adhere to the lid well without a base, and even with a base, some of them are more prone to fading than others. When applied without a primer, I see a paltry four hours of wear before there’s noticeable fading, and after six hours, there’s minor creasing. Without a primer, I don’t see creasing, but there is noticeable fading after six hours.

The white and purple shades were the least pigmented, while the blue was the most, followed by the blackened blue/teal.  I was surprised that the textures didn’t feel as buttery, creamy, or as finely-milled as some other luxury brands’ eyeshadows are (like Le Metier de Beaute).  It’s soft, and it applies fairly smooth, but it has a drier consistency that seems to make it less blendable than I’d like.   I’ve sat on this review for awhile, because I keep alternating between testing this quad and another one, having been unimpressed by both, while I kept reading rave reviews. I can’t say I’ve had the same experience no matter what technique, base, or combination of shades I used–so maybe I’m just the odd one out.  In fact, had this been the only Tom Ford product I had ever tried, I think I’d be put-off enough to stay away.  I tried and tried, but I couldn’t find any enthusiasm for this. It’s not terrible quality, but it’s not excellent quality (more like average), and it has to be at this price tag for me to be excited about it, let alone impressed. There’s just no excuse not to.

I suppose the highlight of the palette is that it comes with 0.35 oz. of product, which is 0.0875 oz. per shade, compared to the average brand at 0.05 oz.  But realistically, you’ll have to weigh whether investment or per-use cost is more important to you.  The idea that “you’ll never run out” is great in theory, but how close do you even get on 0.05 oz. of product?  If you do finish products, sure, but if you have a larger stash, it may be a less compelling argument.  It’s always good to see more rather less, though!

It’s packaged in the shimmery bronzed plastic compact that the rest of the line is in. The palette itself is actually very lightweight, which is great for traveling, but those looking for the heft of a luxury compact will find it missing here. It has a full-sized mirror underneath the lid and comes with two dual-ended brushes (that are about as useless as they often are; just slightly softer and the sponge stays in place better).

The Glossover

palette

Cobalt Rush

C

I tried and tried, but I couldn't find any enthusiasm for this. It's not terrible quality, but it's not excellent quality, and it has to be at this price tag for me to be excited about it, let alone impressed. There's just no excuse not to.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

3.5/5

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Monday, April 9th, 2012

Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette
Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette

Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette

Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette ($8.99 for 0.32 oz.) contains six shades arranged as thin strips inside a clear, plastic compact. It comes with a dual-ended sponge-tipped applicator (not particularly useful). The product can be used dry for a sheerer, shimmery color, or it can be used damp for greater intensity.

The last time I tested one of these palettes, I wasn’t particularly impressed (see this review), but I was pleasantly surprised with Milani’s latest addition to their Runway Eyes line-up. Primary packs a lot more color payoff both wet and dry! It’s an excellent buy if you’re looking for really bright pops of color and don’t want to spend a lot.

The first shade is a primary canary yellow with warm undertones and a shimmery finish. It has good color payoff both dry and wet–when it’s wet, it’s just slightly brighter, but it’s opaque color either way. MAC Bright Sunshine is similar, slightly lighter. Wet ‘n’ Wild Bright Idea is a bit darker, almost more orange-y (but not orange at all). Inglot #370 is matte and not as sunshine-yellow.

The second shade is a shimmery red with subtle orange undertones. When it’s applied dry, it has more of a brick red hue, whereas when it is applied damp, it appears redder and the orange tones become muted. Milani I Heart You is similar to the dry swatch. Wet ‘n’ Wild Enter a New Realm isn’t as shimmery.

The third shade is a medium orange with a tangerine orange shimmer and sheen. The color payoff when it is applied dry is a bit faded/muted, and when it is applied damp, it’s better, though it is one of the softer shades in the palette. MAC Fresh Daily is similar but a touch darker. MAC Rule has a matte finish and is a bit darker.

The fourth shade is a blue-based purple with a soft, shimmery finish. When applied dry, there’s a noticeable sheerness to the color, which does improve when applied damp. Urban Decay Ransom is similar, slightly cooler. MAC Pink Union is richer, more intense. MAC Parfait Amour is bluer.

The fifth shade is an aqua-teal with a shimmery sheen. This was one of the sheerer shades both wet and dry, though it does intensify to get to good color payoff when used wet. MAC Shimmermoss is a bit greener, more opaque. Make Up For Ever #302 is very similar but more metallic in finish. MAC Rain Drop is darker.

The sixth (and final!) shade is a medium-dark blue with a hint of violet. It looks more navy blue when applied dry, because the sheen disappears and there’s some sheerness in the hue. When applied damp, the color intensifies tremendously and has a lovely sheen that’s glowy without being metallic. MAC Love Cycle is darker, bluer, no violet in sight. Tarina Tarantino Violet Storm is lighter. MAC Blue Storm is darker. NARS Outremer is matte.

I don’t love the overall setup of the palette, because each strip of color is too thin. I usually use MAC’s 239 eyeshadow brush to apply eyeshadows, but it was a little too big–I ended up using the MAC 213, which worked better.  Each strip is fairly soft–if you pressed your finger against it, you could flatten it out with medium pressure, so the palette is a little fragile.  The texture of the eyeshadows is soft and smooth, and the color payoff is fairly good to great when applied damp.

When I tested this palette, it wore well both with and without a primer, though it did perform better with a primer–no creasing though very subtle fading around the edges with a primer after eight hours, but there was minor creasing after seven hours without a primer.  What I did really like was how much intensity remained when using these wet!  Typically, when you use a product wet, it often loses some of its vibrancy as it dries back down, but these really retained their color. Milani didn’t mention that these were long-wearing, crease-resistant, etc. on their own, so longevity is based on wear with a primer.

The Glossover

palette

Primary

A-
This is one of the better pigmented products I've found at this price point for shades like these--it's not always easy to find really vibrant yellows, reds, or purples. Milani does each shade fairly well to exceptionally well.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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