Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

theBalm Nude 'tude Eyeshadow Palette
theBalm Nude ‘tude Eyeshadow Palette

theBalm Nude ‘tude Eyeshadow Palette

theBalm Nude ‘tude Eyeshadow Palette ($36.00 for 0.382 oz.) contains twelve eyeshadows inside a slim palette with a dual-ended eyeshadow/liner brush. There are two variations, though both have the same eyeshadows inside–one is “Feeling Naughty” (which is the one pictured in this post) which features nude women with eyeshadows covering various parts, while the other is “Feeling Nice” that has no nude women at all. Each eyeshadow is about 0.032 oz.

  • Sassy is a frosted white with good color payoff and a buttery, smooth texture. It reminded me of MAC Forgery but with a much, much better texture. theBalm Lab Coat is also similar but has a more metallic finish.
  • Stubborn is a light-medium peach with a soft frost finish. It looks lighter swatched than in the pan because of the frosted finish. It’s a frosted version of MAC Nubile. Urban Decay Scratch is pinker.
  • Snobby is a gold shimmered medium-dark yellow. This shade was a bit sheer and dry, yet powdery; it didn’t bind as well as I’ve come to expect from theBalm. It’s a lighter version of Chanel Blazing Gold. It is similar to Urban Decay Eldorado.
  • Stand-offish is a light-medium bronze-shimmered brown with warm, red undertones and a frost-metallic finish. It was smooth and had good color payoff. Urban Decay Spotlight is similar in lightness but is much cooler-toned–way less golden.
  • Selfish is a frosted taupe–it’s brown and gray; very mushroom-like. It was very smooth and easy to work with, plus it had good pigmentation. It’s much warmer and browner compared to Urban Decay Mushroom. It’s more like a frostier version of Bare Escentuals Wanderlust. NARS Grand Palais is a bit warmer. MAC Satin Taupe is redder and darker.
  • Sophisticated is a dark brown with subtle warm undertones and a bronze shimmer. It had nice pigmentation and applied smoothly. It is a bit cooler-toned compared to Urban Decay Darkhorse with less of a gold shimmer/sheen, but they are similar.
  • Sultry is a warmed-up, medium brown with a satiny finish. It has a very soft texture, which makes it easy to blend, but it is just on the edge of being too soft so it can sheer out if you are heavy-handed. It is a little lighter than Urban Decay Buck. Bare Escentuals Namaste is darker and redder. MAC Moleskin is more red-toned. MAC Wedge is a touch darker.
  • Schitzo is a warm, golden bronze-brown with a soft, pearly finish. It’s less than a frost, more than a satin. The texture is very, very smooth with good color payoff. MAC Amber Lights is a shade that gives me a similar vibe in terms of color, but the finish makes them so distinct (plus, Amber Lights has much more copper). MAC Tempting has a darker overall color but similar golden bronze sheen. The brown shade from Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone is similar, actually.
  • Sexy is rich burgundy with hints of red and brown and a matte finish. It has good color payoff (especially for a matte); the texture is a good balance between soft and matte–not too dry that it’s stiff, but not so soft that it’s powdery. MAC Festive Delight is much redder and lighter. Make Up For Ever #131 is less brown.
  • Serious is a medium-dark black with a matte finish. It had surprisingly good pigmentation for a matte black, though it could be more intense–it looks much blacker in the pan than it does swatched out. MAC Carbon is less pigmented/intense. Make Up For Ever #4 is much darker.
  • Silly is a red-tinted brown with flecks of copper sparkle. This shade was the most disappointing in the palette–the payoff was very soft and sheer; it seemed more like a layering shade than something that could stand on its own. This was the only shade I had concerns with fall out. Bobbi Brown Black Ruby Sparkle Eye Palette has a slightly similar shade, though it’s glittery and more ruby-shimmered.
  • Sleek is a dark black-brown with a matte finish. It is more intense than Serious, actually! It had good color payoff and was soft enough to blend but not powdery. I couldn’t think of a dupe for this–I had a lot of darker browns but nothing as dark as this.

It’s packaged in theBalm’s usual cardboard outfit, which makes it lightweight and droppable (I dropped it from four feet over tile and everything was pristine). It has an outer sleeve of thick cardstock that has the exact same design as the actual palette, which can be kept or recycled; it’s kind of like a protector–think the jacket of a hardcover book. Inside, there’s a full-length mirror that spans the inside of the lid, and then below are the twelve eyeshadows and dual-ended brush. The palette has a strong enough magnet that the palette seemed to have no problem staying closed.

Overall, the quality is high and consistent with theBalm’s eyeshadow formula (which is one of my favorites). I only had major issues with Silly, which was much sheerer and drier than any of the other eleven shades, and then very minor issues with the softness (which led to slight sheerness) of Sultry. When applied, the concerns I had about Sultry disappeared, though, while Silly just never quite worked out. The other ten eyeshadows, though, were excellent–soft, smooth, buttery, and pigmented.

This palette is similar in size to Urban Decay’s Naked Eyeshadow Palette, and the theme of nudes/neutrals is similar, but there isn’t much overlap in the shades themselves. This palette is $12 less but each shadow is also less (0.032 oz. vs. 0.05 oz. in the Naked palette), and while you do get a brush in this palette like Naked, you don’t get a miniature-sized primer. Let’s just assume that you really care most about the eyeshadow portion and anything else is a bonus; Naked is $80/oz. while Nude ‘tude is $94/oz. They’re both great deals either way, but Naked is still more bang for your buck; note, of course, if you’re more concerned about total cost (for those who are unlikely to finish an eyeshadow pan), then Nude ‘tude is 25% less at $36.

I think a comparison between the two is valid, but the colors are not the same, so they are still two different palettes more than they are the same. Those who wished there was more color variation, less warm-toned shades, or more matte finishes in the Naked palette might find this one more to their liking.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Nude' Tude

A
This is a great palette that's neutral, not necessarily nude--it has really wearable colors but enough shade variation to yield many looks and not just ones that are all brown. The darker shades can also double as eyeliner in a hurry.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

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Tuesday, November 8th, 2011


Illamasqua Queen of the Night Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Queen of the Night Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Queen of the Night Pure Pigment (£15.50 for 0.04 oz.) is a limited edition shade launched to celebrate the brand’s first fragrance, Freak. It’s described as a “blackened plum shimmer,” which is an apt description! It’s a dark plum with a hint of brown underlying all the plummy purple goodness wrapped in a frosted finish. It’s sheerer when applied dry–the brown is more prevalent–and much more intense (and better!) when applied damp. The product binds together better with a little liquid, which yields a much more opaque, smoother color result. Bare Escentuals Romp is lighter, less blackened, and frostier–that was the only shade I felt came close, but it’s not a dupe.

Pure Pigments are loose colors that can be applied on the eyes, cheeks, face, or body. It can be used dry or applied wet for a “bolder colour pay-off.” Illamasqua recommends using it over a cream texture to intensify the color and hold the color in place. Queen of the Night will hold in place dry, but it lacks a lot of the intensity, so I’d recommend using it wet to achieve true-to-pan color.

The Glossover

P
product

Queen of the Night

B+
It's just different enough to stand out in a sea of eggplant and plummy purples. I like the softer, frosted finish, which gives it shimmer and sheen without being metallic.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Sunday, November 6th, 2011

MAC for Missy Piggy: Miss Piggy Pink Eyeshadow

Video review/first impressions! :)

Friday, November 4th, 2011

MAC for Miss Piggy
MAC for Miss Piggy

MAC for Miss Piggy Eyeshadow Swatches, Photos, Reviews

MAC for Miss Piggy is a small, online-only collection that will launch November 14th, 2011 both for North America as well as select international locations at maccosmetics.com. There is really only one new product, as the two other pieces from the launch include Rapidblack Penultimate Eyeliner (permanent) and #36 Lashes (permanent).

That new shade is Miss Piggy Pink, which MAC describes as a “mid-tone blue pink” with a frost finish. It’s a cool-toned, blue-based pink that has a little lilac in it; it does pull just a little purple in some lighting. The finish looks more like a satin than frost, because it’s a very subtle sheen rather than an overt frosted finish. Of course, the real issue is the dry, stiff texture that delivers sheer, uneven color that’s as difficult to work with as it is to swatch. It took about eight applications to achieve the color shown in the look pictured below; I don’t mean patting the brush once on the top of the shadow and flicking it against the lid–I mean swirling and jabbing the brush against the eyeshadow to loosen the powder and then patting, not sweeping, onto the lid to pack on the color. Possibly even taking a palette knife and scraping off a layer to pack onto the lid. I can get it to work, but boy, the amount of effort and unnecessary time spent on it, is disappointing when you’re shelling out $15 for it.

If you picked up MAC Angel Flame Eyeshadow Quad a couple of months ago, then Feather Pink is very, very similar but with better color payoff–it even has the same satiny sheen. Wet ‘n’ Wild We’re Blasting Off is lighter and more bubblegum-like.

In all honesty, this collection looks like something that happened at the last minute. I envision a scenario where MAC HQ gets a call from the Muppets HQ about, “Hey, we’d love to collaborate, can you turn this around in a few weeks?” We’ve seen MAC collaborate many, many times with iconic figures and celebrities, from Barbie to Wonder Woman to Disney’s Villains, and I felt like you could see the thought process, the theme, how things were intertwined. There’s no special packaging, no real MAC spin or take on Miss Piggy and everything she embodies. Pink for Miss Piggy seems expected, and if that is the only product you’re going to put out, it seems like a missed opportunity to do something really special.  Or at least knock-your-socks-off quality? I didn’t grow up with The Muppets, and without something more to pull me in, this is a total pass.

The Glossover

LE
product

Miss Piggy Pink

D
For fans of The Muppets, it might still be yet one more piece to add to your collection of memorabilia. With so many collaborations between brands and The Muppets, you might be better off finding another piece, though! For those who are not fans, there's no compelling reason to pick up such an under-performing eyeshadow.

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

3/5

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Friday, November 4th, 2011

MAC Smoky Blue Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit
MAC Smoky Blue Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC Dazzlesphere Smoky Blue Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC Smoky Blue Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit ($32.50 for 0.40 oz.) is the last pigment kit from MAC Dazzlesphere. It contains four shades: White as Snow (snowy white), Silver Sleet (medium gray), Wintersky (purple blue), and Dark Moon (charcoal). Crushed Metallic Pigments are described as having “intense colour payoff” with “medium coverage” and “highly reflective metallic sparkle.” They are “creamy, crease-resistant, [and] long-wearing.”

  • White as Snow is a silver-tinged white with a very chunky, metallic finish. I had similar issues with this shade as I did with Light Violet. Despite pressing the color against the skin, I could not get it to fully smooth out and bind, so there was some loose product prone to fall out, plus sheerness in both the dry and damp applications. It reminded me of Chanel Fantasme.
  • Silver Sleet is a darkened gray with a brighter, metallic silver sheen. It has great color payoff whether applied dry or wet. Inglot #448 is less metallic and a bit lighter.
  • Wintersky is a purple-tinted blue with silver sparkle and shimmer. It’s fairly sheer and muted when applied dry and picks up intensity when applied damp. MAC Royale is a bit bluer.
  • Dark Moon is a charcoal black with lots of silver sparkle. This isn’t a shade I’d advocate using dry, because the sparkle is chunky enough that it doesn’t completely meld with the base color without some dampness. When it’s applied damp, the sparkle adheres and mixes better with the underlying color. The color payoff when it’s applied dry is slightly sheerer. It reminded me of Chanel Mirifique but less black. Bobbi Brown Black Sparkle has more multi-colored shimmer.

In my experience, these pigments wear well as long as you ensure you’ve really “crushed” them against the skin/lid. I’ve worn them with and without a base and the difference is minimal. There is some noticeable but relatively minor fading after eight hours when applied without a base (or mixing medium). For more on how they wear, please see this post where I went in-depth on that particular characteristic.

White as Snow was problematic with a chunkiness in the overall sparkle that made it difficult to apply smoothly and gave it reason to get everywhere. Wintersky is a more unique color but could use a little more oomph in pigmentation. Dark Moon may have some fall out when applied dry (without a sticky base), so have a care or else use it wet. Silver Sleet was the best performing shade of the four, because it was intensely pigmented both dry and wet and applied smooth as butter with little effort. Generally, the finishes are extremely frosted, metallic-like, and add a lot of oomph to a look–but they may be better when mixed and matched with other finishes (like mattes) for more textural contrast as all of these at once can almost look heavy on the eye.

The Glossover

product

MAC Smoky Blue Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit Review, Photos, Swatches

B-
White as Snow was problematic with a chunkiness in the overall sparkle that made it difficult to apply smoothly and gave it reason to get everywhere. Wintersky could use a little more oomph in pigmentation, while Dark Moon may have some fall out when applied dry. Silver Sleet was the best performing shade of the four, because it was intensely pigmented both dry and wet and applied smooth as butter with little effort.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

3.5/5

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Friday, November 4th, 2011

MAC Smoky Plum Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit
MAC Smoky Plum Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC Dazzlesphere Smoky Plum Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC’s Dazzlesphere Collection launches on November 10th, and the next set I’m reviewing is MAC Smoky Plum Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit ($32.50 for 0.40 oz.), which contains four shades: Light Violet (pale violet), Grape (purple), Seasonally Cool (sparkling taupe), and Misty (pale silver). Crushed Metallic Pigments are described as having “intense colour payoff” with “medium coverage” and “highly reflective metallic sparkle.” They are “creamy, crease-resistant, [and] long-wearing.”

  • Seasonally Cool is a subtly cool-toned bronze. The gray tint is minor, so it comes off as more of a brown than it does a taupe. This one has a fair amount of sparkle, so I did encounter some fall out when it was applied dry, but this was lessened when it was applied damp. Similarly, it’s sheerer when applied dry and much more intense when applied damp. It’s similar to Urban Decay Lost and Make Up For Ever #15.
  • Misty is a bright, lightened silver with a strong, metallic finish. It’s slightly sheer when applied dry and more opaque when applied wet. Giorgio Armani #12 is similar but cooler-toned.
  • Light Violet is a pink=lavender with a metallic shimmer-sheen. It’s very, very chunky; I did not find I could really “crush” these into becoming smooth, even on my arm. It reminded me of a much pinker Kitschmas. The color is also similar to theBalm Curtain Call. It’s warmer and pinker than Stacked 1.
  • Grape is a rich, red-toned purple with a softer but still metallic sheen. It had good color payoff both dry and wet, with the metallic finish coming out more when it was applied wet. It’s more vibrant and red-toned than Stacked 1. MAC Plush is similar but a touch darker and less metallic in finish. MAC Half-Wild is redder. Inglot #446 is less purple.

In my experience, these pigments wear well as long as you ensure you’ve really “crushed” them against the skin/lid. I’ve worn them with and without a base and the difference is minimal. There is some noticeable but relatively minor fading after eight hours when applied without a base (or mixing medium). For more on how they wear, please see this post where I went in-depth on that particular characteristic.

I loved the smoothness and vibrancy of Grape, while Light Violet was one of the worst shades out of the three sets entirely. It was very gritty and chunky–it was much harder to work with and extremely prone to fall out. I also had some fall out issues with Seasonally Cool from the sparkle when used dry, but it was lessened if it was applied damp. Generally, the finishes are extremely frosted, metallic-like, and add a lot of oomph to a look–but they may be better when mixed and matched with other finishes (like mattes) for more textural contrast as all of these at once can almost look heavy on the eye.

The Glossover

product

MAC Smoky Plum Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit Review, Photos, Swatches

B-
This particular stack/kit had some drawbacks that Smoky Berry didn't have, which is a very finicky shade in Light Violet and slightly problematic Seasonally Cool.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

3.5/5

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