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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Sunday, April 8th, 2012

shu uemura G Bronze Eyeshadow
shu uemura G Bronze Eyeshadow

shu uemura G Bronze Eyeshadow

shu uemura G Bronze Eyeshadow ($15.00 for 0.049 oz.) is a bronze-glittered golden copper. The base color is similar to MAC Sweet & Sour, which is more opaque. Bare Escentuals Remix is yellower. Dior Couture Gold is more orange. Milani Drenched in Gold is similar. None of the shades that I could think of have the same glitter component, though.

It’s sheer, and the glitter is fairly loose; it doesn’t seem to bind with the underlying color, so some of it gets lost between the pan and the eyelid during application, and the rest? It falls out like crazy throughout the day. I had absolutely no fun trying to make this work, because I’d find glitter on my forehead, beneath my eyelid, or on my chin throughout the day. Fall out that occurs while you’re applying a product can be easier to deal with, but fall out that continuously occurs while you wear it is much more frustrating.

This type of texture needs an adhesive base, perhaps something like Too Faced’s Glitter Insurance, MAC’s Mixing Medium, and so on, because it doesn’t stick to the lid on its own or over a regular primer (like NARS Smudgeproof, Urban Decay Primer Potion, etc.). It has a slight grittiness as a result of the amount of glitter in it (and that it doesn’t seem to bind the shadow portion).

The product I have shown in the photos is a pan refill, which is designed to be put into one of their palettes (though you could certainly put it into any magnetic palette, as it is held in a metal tin).

The Glossover

coming-soon

shu uemura G Bronze Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Swatches

F
Don't bother with the glitter finishes unless you're prepared to use an adhesive base, but on their own, they don't yield nearly enough color payoff and the all-day fall out is more than just a little problem.

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

4/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

5/10

Application

3/5

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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

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

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

bareMinerals bareMinerals The Alter Ego Eyeshadow Duo
bareMinerals bareMinerals The Alter Ego Eyeshadow Duo

bareMinerals bareMinerals The Alter Ego Eyeshadow Duo ($20.00 for 0.10 oz.) won’t be available until May, but hang onto your seats, because it’s such a lovely duo. This is one of the best eyeshadow formulas on the market, and bareMinerals didn’t let us down with their expansion of their Ready line-up. Alter Ego consists of two shades: Wicked and Daring.

Wicked is a springy yellow-tinted green with a frosted finish. It has excellent pigmentation and goes opaque with very little product needed. Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone is darker, more olive green. MAC Juxt is yellower, a bit darker. Inglot #364 is very similar but a matte variation. It’s a warm, yellow-based green, but subtly done–it’s not as yellow or as warm as other shades that might be similar.

Daring is this rich, smoky purple with subtle red undertones and almost bluish tint. The color payoff is amazing–I couldn’t believe it–it was so soft, smooth, and rich. MAC Indigo Noir is similar but matte. MAC Imaginary is purpler and brighter. MAC Starless Night is similar but more shimmered, less muted.

What makes the formula impressive is the pigmentation; both shades in this duo were intensely pigmented with a soft, smooth texture that was dense and buttery without being so soft it was crumbly or powdery.  This texture and payoff translates seamlessly to the lids during application.  They’re soft and blendable.  Without a primer, it wears for over eight hours with no noticeable issues–after ten, there is the faintest fading around the crease.  With a primer, I have no problems even after ten hours.  The price point is palatable, too–two full-sized eyeshadows for $20.

The Glossover

palette

bareMinerals The Alter Ego Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

A+
What makes the formula impressive is the pigmentation; both shades in this duo were intensely pigmented with a soft, smooth texture that was dense and buttery without being so soft it was crumbly or powdery

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

5/5

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Monday, April 2nd, 2012

NARS Charade Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Charade Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Charade Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Charade Eyeshadow Duo ($34.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “matte smoky plum” and “muted mauve.” NARS fans that prefer duos with more contrast may like this one, because the shades differ from each other noticeably but still complement each other well.

The left shade is a pinky-plum brown finished with a satiny sheen. I found the color rather hard to describe, because I can see a hint of plum, but it seems pinker yet toned down by a lot of beige/brown. It has pretty good pigmentation, and it applies smoothly across the skin. The texture was slightly powdery, though. MAC Jete is similar but has a more metallic finish, and it’s warmer, not as neutral. Guerlain Boulevard du Montparnasse is slightly pinker, less brown. Giorgio Armani Sweet Fire is pinker and more metallic.

The right shade is a smoky, played-down purple with subtle red undertones. It’s almost a neutral purple. Like the left shade, the color payoff is good, though it could be slightly improved. This shade had a soft, smooth feel and wasn’t as powdery as the other hue. theBalm Curvy Cami is redder in undertone. MAC Azuki Bean is slightly darker. Paul & Joe Purple Clover is fairly similar.

NARS touts their eyeshadows as long-wearing and crease-resistant, though they’re not quite impervious to creasing/fading over an eight hour period. They do just fine over a primer (no problems after as long as ten hours), but there was subtle but noticeable fading after eight hours with this duo.  Charade is a wee bit powdery but certainly easy to work around (tap excess off the brush and use a lighter touch against the powder itself when you use your brush), and there’s no fall out problems once it is applied.

The Glossover

palette

NARS Charade Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
Charade is a wee bit powdery but certainly easy to work around (tap excess off the brush and use a lighter touch against the powder itself when you use your brush), and there's no fall out problems once it is applied.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Friday, March 30th, 2012

MAC Dynamic Duo 1 Eyeshadow Duo
MAC Dynamic Duo 1 Eyeshadow Duo

MAC Reel Sexy Eyeshadow Duos Reviews, Photos, Swatches

There are four different MAC Eyeshadow Duos ($27.50 for 0.09 to 0.10 oz.), which includes: Dynamic Duo 1 (coral with yellow pearlized pigments/purple), Dynamic Duo 2 (violet duochrome with pearlized pigments/violet), Dynamic Duo 3 (mid-tone purple/teal blue), and Dynamic Duo 4 (mid-tone pink/blackened violet).

On the left side of Dynamic Duo 1, there is a peachy-orange with a golden peach shimmer-sheen. It has decent color payoff but it is on the sheerer side. Urban Decay X is similar but has a stronger sheen. MAC Melon is a bit more golden. MAC Expensive Pink is darker and pinker. On the right side, there is a dark purple berry with red undertones that has a matte finish. It has a dry texture, so it applies in patches and looks chalky on the skin–it does apply slightly better on the eye. NARS Caravaggio is less red. MAC Vintage Grape is purpler. MAC Plum Dressing is similar but shimmery.

On the left side of Dynamic Duo 2, there is a pale, icy lilac with a hint of white-gray in its base. It’s very iridescent and has decent color payoff. MAC Silverwear is less iridescent and less lilac. Tarina Tarantino Diamond Dusk is very similar but has more frost in its finish. Oh the right side, there is a blue violet–it looks blue, then it looks violet–but it has a matte finish and applies decently. It needs to be layered in order to be opaque; it was a little tough to blend out when I used it on the eye. MAC Royale is bluer. MAC Cobalt is a bit bluer and brighter but close. Inglot #388 is bluer.

On the left side of Dynamic Duo 3, there is a grayish-taupe with a hint of brown underneath. It has a softly frosted finish with good color payoff. Urban Decay Mushroom is browner. MAC Keep Your Cool is less frosted, less gray. Chanel Illusoire is similar but more metallic. On the right side, there is a blue-based teal with a matte finish. It has good pigmentation, and it actually applies easily and blends out nicely on the eye. Bare Escentuals Water is much bluer. I couldn’t think of anything that was that similar.

On the left side of Dynamic Duo 4, there is a light-medium pink with a satiny sheen and barely-there blue undertones. This had pretty mediocre color payoff–I had to layer four or five times to get it to even show up. MAC Miss Piggy was very similar in color and in quality. MAC Feather Pink is a bit darker and bluer. On the right side, there is a deep, dark purple with neutral undertones and a matte finish. It has decent to good color payoff, but it is a bit dry in texture. MAC Indigo Noir is bluer. Urban Decay Rockstar is a tough lighter, red-toned, and has a shimmery finish. MAC Indian Ink is very similar but darker.

The only duo that really had quality eyeshadows was Dynamic Duo 3--the others tended to have one decent to good shade, while its mate tended to be more finicky.  At least, the most unique shade (based on my inability to find dupes) was also Dynamic Duo 3!  I wish the duos were priced a bit better–they seem high for two eyeshadows.

The Glossover

palette

MAC Reel Sexy Eyeshadow Duos Reviews, Photos, Swatches

B-
The only duo that really had quality eyeshadows was Dynamic Duo 3--the others tended to have one decent to good shade, while its mate tended to be more finicky. At least, the most unique shade (based on my inability to find dupes) was also Dynamic Duo 3! I wish the duos were priced a bit better--they seem high for two eyeshadows.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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