Sunday, March 25th, 2012

NARS Surabaya Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Surabaya Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Surabaya Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Surabaya Eyeshadow Duo ($34.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “brown sugar” and a “chestnut.” This is an interesting duo that desperately needs to be swatched! I can’t emphasize that enough, because it looks very, very different swatched and in practice than it does in its pretty pans. Both shades are much darker–so much so that not only did I swatch this duo twice, but I googled and looked through dozens of other images and saw similar results. In my old school NARS Duo product photos and swatches, the products look lighter than they do when swatched.

The left side of the duo is a rich, orange-red-toned dark brown with a smattering of gold shimmer and finer burnt red micro-shimmer. It has such a beautiful, silky texture with excellent color payoff. NARS Galapagos is slightly darker, more of a yellow-toned brown. Bare Escentuals Pumped is similar but not as red-toned. MAC Roasted Chestnut is similar, just a touch lighter and more metallic in finish. MAC Make Your Mark is not quite as intense or as red-toned. Laura Mercier Cedar is slightly less red-toned. MAC Swiss Chocolate is very similar but matte and a bit browner.

The right side of the duo is a warm, red-toned medium-dark brown with red shimmer. Like the left shade, this has a soft, smooth texture that yields rich, opaque pigmentation. Make Up For Ever #14 is more metallic and a deeper brown. theBalm Tres Moi is similar but more frosted. MAC Take Root is less intense and red-toned. MAC Antiqued is browner. theBalm Racy Kacy is a bit lighter and less brown.

This duo represents what NARS is capable of:  soft, silky smooth textures combined with rich pigmentation.  Both shades blended out beautifully and with ease, though a little goes a long way.  These shades could be used together, but you’ll find they work even better when paired with a lighter shade for more contrast.  When applied over the lid without a base, it lasted for eight hours with very, very minimal fading but no creasing; and when applied over the lid with a base, there were no issues after ten hours.

The Glossover

palette

NARS Surabaya Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

A
Luxurious textures, intense color payoff, and beautiful colors to boot--NARS really nailed this duo. It's virtually an A+, if you always use an eyeshadow primer, since you shouldn't have any wear issues (NARS does, however, state these are long-wearing and crease-resistant).

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

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Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Bobbi Brown Ultra Nude Eye Palette
Bobbi Brown Ultra Nude Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Ultra Nude Eye Palette ($45.00 for 0.30 oz.) includes six shades of neutral eyeshadows. These include: Chino (light cool beige), Praline (nude with golden pearl), Pink Chandelier (warm pink with golden pearl), Stone (neutral grey brown), Champagne Truffle (warm pink beige), and Cocoa Berry (rich brown plum).

  • Chino is a soft, gray-tinted light-medium brown with a mostly matte finish. This has a matte finish (officially). It was smooth and soft with good color payoff. Chanel Beige Lame is similar but has shimmer. Urban Decay Naked is browner.
  • Praline is a warm medium brown with a champagne-gold shimmer and sheen. This has a Shimmer Wash finish. As such, the color payoff is good but there is an underlying sheerness that’s intentional with this finish. The shimmer seems to be more integrated with the base color, so it didn’t have a lot of fall out issues. MAC Love Connection is darter, more coppery. Urban Decay Chopper is more of a coppery-orange. Wet ‘n’ Wild Dancing in the Clouds is darker. MAC Moleskin is close but doesn’t have shimmer.
  • Pink Chandelier is gold and copper shimmered beige. This has a Metallic finish. For whatever reason, this shade was horrible. The color payoff was beyond sheer, and the texture was dry and gritty. Absolute miss! I couldn’t even give you a dupe, because it’s hard to determine what this color is actually supposed to be.
  • Stone is a medium-dark brown with subtle warm undertones. This has a matte finish. MAC Lie Low is a bit darker and redder in tone, plus it has a shimmery finish. MAC Texture is darker, more yellowed. Inglot #357 is the closest, though slightly warmer.
  • Champagne Truffle is a medium coppery brown. This has a Shimmer Wash finish. It has good color payoff overall. Wet ‘n’ WIld Comfort Zone is slightly darker. Urban Decay Blaze is similar.
  • Cocoa Berry is a burgundy-brown with a satiny sheen. This has a Shimmer Wash finish. It’s very, very dry and difficult to work with, because it doesn’t want to apply. It’s supposed to be sheer, so even though it looks awful in the payoff department, that’s what it’s supposed to be! Inglot #378 is a bit darker and matte. Chanel Ebloui is similar but more burgundy.

The palette starts out on a good note, but once you reach the third shade, it starts going downhill.  Pink Chandelier and Cocoa Berry were both troublemakers, though the former was truly an awful shade to work with.  These eyeshadows all felt a little drier than Bobbi Brown’s usual formula.   Ultra Nude is a decent palette but with two under-performers, it’s not the best bang for your buck or one of the top five neutral palettes on the market.  When I test drove this palette, I used Chino, Praline, Stone, and Cocoa Berry together, and they wore fairly well with only minor fading after eight hours when applied without a primer–with a primer, there were no problems with the wear.  Cocoa Berry made me want to tear my hair out, because it was so difficult to blend.

The Glossover

palette

Ultra Nude

B
One-third of the palette is a let-down, and I think it's better to buy individual shades that you really love and would use than a palette that's just so-so. I did appreciate that Bobbi Brown included multiple finishes within a single palette, though.

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Tarina Tarantino Jasper/Agate Eye Dream Highlight Duo
Tarina Tarantino Jasper/Agate Eye Dream Highlight Duo

Tarina Tarantino Jasper/Agate Eye Dream Highlight Duo ($19.00 for 0.26 oz.) is described as a “soft golden beige” and “muted light fawn.” The compact doesn’t seem too large, though it’s certainly bigger than most eyeshadow duo compacts, but each eyeshadow is over twice the size of your average full-sized eyeshadow at a whopping 0.13 oz. each. I can’t envision running out of either shade in a hurry!

Jasper is a warm, yellowy beige with a frosted finish. The color payoff is good (even better on the eye, though still good in the skin swatch), and the texture is soft, smooth, and very blendable. Cle de Peau #207 is slightly pinker, less yellow. Urban Decay Skimp is less yellow, more beige. theBalm Hiii-Yaaa! is less yellow, more peach.

Agate is a light-medium brown with warm undertones and a frosted finish.  It has the same soft, smooth texture I’ve come to expect from the brand, along with good pigmentation. MAC Arena is similar but a little darker. MAC Sweet Satisfaction is similar, a little less frosted. Chanel Eclosion has a slight pink tinge to it. MAC Grain is similar in color but not frosted.

Undoubtedly, this is a straight-forward eyeshadow duo–it’s not particularly unique or inspiring, but it is extremely useful for anyone who reaches for neutrals often. I think of all duos/palettes, the neutral ones tend to be the most successful, because they’re easy to use and versatile. I absolutely love Tarina Tarantino’s eyeshadow formula–it is one of the best on the market–so having go-to neutrals with such amazing textures is worth having. It’s not a must-have if you rarely wear neutrals or have a ton already, but if there’s a gap of neutrals in your stash, this is worth checking out.  Without a base, these two wore for eight hours without creasing/fading but did have some slight fading after ten hours.  With a primer, I didn’t have any issues.

The Glossover

palette

Tarina Tarantino Jasper/Agate Eye Dream Highlight Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

A

Undoubtedly, this is a straight-forward eyeshadow duo--it's not particularly unique or inspiring, but it is extremely useful for anyone who reaches for neutrals often. I think of all duos/palettes, the neutral ones tend to be the most successful, because they're easy to use and versatile. I absolutely love Tarina Tarantino's eyeshadow formula--it is one of the best on the market--so having go-to neutrals with such amazing textures is worth having.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

5/5

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Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

NARS Demon Lover Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Demon Lover Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Demon Lover Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Demon Lover Eyeshadow Duo ($34.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a duo of “iridescent storm blue” and “deep matte indigo.” It’s part of NARS’ permanent range of eyeshadow duos.  NARS’ eyeshadow formula is supposed to be long-wearing, highly pigmented, and crease-resistant.  They can also be used wet or dry.  I never get quite crease-resistant, long-wear out of NARS’ eyeshadow formula–typically about six to seven hours of good wear, but slight fading and/or creasing after eight hours.  I don’t have any problems over a primer, though.

On the left, there is a muted blue-based purple with a slightly frosted finish. There is some underlying sheerness to the color, so it doesn’t have a completely smooth appearance. It’s not as blue as MAC Wintersky. MAC Illegal Cargo is similar but not as blue. Urban Decay Blue Bus is brighter, less faded. Estee Lauder Untamed Violet is a bit darker, less shimmered.

On the right, there is a dark, faded purple with a gray-ish overcast to it. It has a matte finish, and while it looks a bit sheer swatched, it actually performs very well. It applies with good color payoff and doesn’t disappear once you start blending. theBalm All the Way Annie is similar but not as dark or as faded. Urban Decay Rockstar is more eggplant-hued, not as dusty. Giorgio Armani Green Jacquard has a similar shade that’s just a touch purpler.

The Glossover

palette

NARS Demon Lover Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
It's a cool-toned purple eyeshadow duo that will look really lovely against paler skin tones, though it should work for a variety of complexions. The quality is good overall, but it could be a bit more pigmented.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Bobbi Brown Ultra Violet Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow
Bobbi Brown Ultra Violet Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow

Bobbi Brown Ultra Violet Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow ($21.00 for 0.08 oz.) is described as an “electric purple.” It’s a red-toned violet purple with purple flecks of shimmer. MAC Power Boosted is similar but frosted. NYX Violetta is also similar but has gold flecks. Bare Escentuals Boudoir is frosted and lighter. Urban Decay Purple Haze is purpler, a bit darker. Urban Decay Fishnet is brighter, more shimmered.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow formula, it’s designed as a “sheer, lightly pearlized shadow.” There is an underlying sheerness with this shade, so it can easily be used as a wash of color. It is somewhat buildable to semi-opaque color coverage, but the faded quality of the wash is always there in the background unless you layered this over a white or purple base–I think you could get really full coverage that way (true with most sheer products).  There is some fall out from the sparkle, unfortunately!  Not that much translates from pan to eye, so there is less to contend with as fall out, but there is still some.  This wears just around eight hours with very, very subtle creasing without a primer, and it wears all day with a primer.

The Glossover

product

Bobbi Brown Ultra Violet Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Swatches

B
Fall out is a big no-no for me, so I'm not a fan of this type of eyeshadow texture, where the shimmer/glitter sits more as an overlay than really interwoven with the base product, because it results in fall out.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

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Friday, March 16th, 2012

MAC Cool Heat Eyeshadow
MAC Cool Heat Eyeshadow

MAC By Request – Eyeshadows Review, Photos, Swatches

MAC By Request is a collection that’s voted on by the fans–there are 18 shades of lipstick, lipglass, and eyeshadow that MAC has listed for grabs, and your votes will determine the top three from each product type that will go on to be launched in an online exclusive, limited edition collection in August. Voting is open and closes on March 30th and users can vote once per product category per day. Not sure where to cast your vote? These are the six that are up for voting, and these just arrived from MAC – all the labels just say “sample” on the back, so I don’t know if these were a recent production or if these were from original runs. I’m thinking they’re probably from short runs – perhaps just to ensure the colors could still be made or have the recipes ready to go into production as soon as voting is over.

  • Cool Heat is a blue with a hint of teal. This has a frost finish. The color payoff is good, and the texture is soft and smooth–it has more of a satin-like finish than a true frost one. Urban Decay Haight is a bit bluer. Inglot #338 is ver similar but matte.
  • Guacamole is a light-medium almost cool-toned green with golden shimmer (so it ends up looking warmer). This has a frost finish. Out of all of these green eyeshadows, only Make Up For Ever #34 comes close, and it’s a bit yellower. It had good pigmentation and a soft texture.
  • Heavenly Bliss is a medium brown with a champagne-gold sheen. This has a frost finish. It has a very smooth, soft feel and goes on like butter. Bare Escentuals Buxom Mutt is similar, just a little less warm. Urban Decay Suspect is grayer. Urban Decay Spotlight is lighter.
  • Jete is a pinky brown with a frosted, metallic shimmer-sheen. This has a veluxe pearl finish. The texture was soft and smooth, while the color payoff was nice. Make Up For Ever #16 is a bit redder. Giorgio Armani Sweet Fire is a bit pinker.
  • Moth Brown is a purple-tinted gray with a shimmery finish. This has a frost finish. Again, the texture on this one was soft, smooth, and the color applied beautifully. MAC Howzat is lighter and less intense. MAC Moody is a bit darker, less shimmered.
  • Solar White is a pink-tinted white with a yellow gold shimmer and sheen. This has a frost finish. It looks surprisingly pink in the pot, but it doesn’t translate when swatched very well (which may be a good or bad thing, depending on what you want). Shades like Tarina Tarantino Delightful come close, but they’re more integrated, while this really has a sheen to it. Make Up For Ever #101 comes the closest, and it’s pretty close.

The texture on all six was really, really good, actually. I was pleasantly surprised, because lately, MAC’s eyeshadows have been more hit-or-miss. These were nice–soft/smooth textures, good color payoff. I managed to cram five of the six into one look, and they wore beautifully all day long (with a primer), and there was only marginal fading after eight hours without a base.

Just for fun, here are some shades I think would have been nice to bring back: All Races (All Ages, All Races, All Sexes ’10), Atlas (Shades of Venus ’98), Bang on Blue (C-Shock ’07), Casa Blanca (Salsabelle ’04), Cinders (Luxuries ’05), Cosmic (Moonbathe ’07), Elite (Belle Azure ’05), Eyepopping (C-Shock ’07), Fab & Flashy (C-Shock ’07), Femme-fi (Neo Sci-Fi ’08), Firespot (Moonbathe ’07), Goldbit (Tantress ’04), Icebox (Merry MAC-Mas ’00), Meadowland (Madame B. ’05), Metamorph (Madame B. ’05), Queen’s Jewel (Antiquitease ’07), Say Yeah (Rebel Rock ’05), Tease ‘n’ Teal (Luxuries ’05), Whistle (Barbie Loves MAC ’07), and Wondergrass (C-Shock ’07).

If I’m remembering correctly, I only own half of these in their original forms, but I will do what comparisons I can! I absolutely know without a doubt that I don’t have Heavenly Bliss, though! I didn’t even recognize the name when MAC announced the collection. I didn’t get into MAC until 2005!

The Glossover

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MAC By Request - Eyeshadows Review, Photos, Swatches

A
It's actually a bummer that these aren't all making it into production for fall, because the quality of these eyeshadows is so much better than some of the past year's launches! The color payoffs and textures were good across the board.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

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