Friday, February 11th, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Romance Eyeshadow Duo
Dolce & Gabbana Romance Eyeshadow Duo

Dolce & Gabbana Secret Garden: Romance

Dolce & Gabbana Romance Eyeshadow Duo ($36.00 for 0.17 oz.) is new for spring, part of Dolce & Gabbana’s Secret Garden collection, which should make its way to Saks within the next couple of weeks. Romance includes a bright silvery white with a frosted, metallic sheen and a dirty gray with a satin finish. The silvery white works well both dry and wet, though the metallic sheen is more noticeable when it is used wet. The gray shade is best used wet, because it went on a little patchy when applied dry.

my thoughts on the formula: Dolce & Gabbana’s Eyeshadows are inconsistent, which is troublesome–you just never know if you’re going to get! Usually, they have a really silky smooth texture, but often, they do not perform so well when applied. I’ve found that using them wet often makes them more manageable (sometimes fantastic!).

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: Both eyeshadows are okay–the gray shade being on the lower end, the silver shade being on the higher end. The duo does make for a quick and easy smoky eye, though, and I love that Dolce & Gabbana paired a matte shade with a frostier one.

where to buy: Saks, February 2011

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Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Urban Decay Fun Palette
Fun Palette: Woodstock, Baked, Uzi, Sin, Flipside, Psychedelic Sister

Urban Decay Spring 2011: Fun Palette

Urban Decay Fun Eyeshadow Palette ($34.00 for 0.34 oz.) includes six eyeshadows: Woodstock (bright pink with slight shimmer), Baked (rich bronze), Uzi (metallic silver with big iridescent sparkles), Sin (champagne), Flipside (electric teal with blue sheen), and Psychedelic Sister (bright purple). Also included is Oil Slick 24/7 Liner (black with silver sparkle) and the original primer potion (nude).

  • Woodstock is a medium-dark fuchsia pink with a soft shimmer finish. This shade is available individually as part of the permanent range.
  • Baked is a rich copper with a metallic-frost finish. This shade is available individually as part of the permanent range, and it has been in the Baked, Book of Shadows, Vol. 1, and Alice in Wonderland palettes.
  • Uzi is a bright silvered white with silver glitter. Yes, there is fall out. This shade is available individually as part of the permanent range, and it has been in the Book of Shadows, Vol.3 and Sustainable palettes.
  • Sin is a pinky champagne with a frost finish. This shade is available individually as part of the permanent range, and it has been in the Alice in Wonderland and Naked palettes.
  • Flipside is a teal-tinged green with a metallic-frost finish. This shade is available individually as part of the permanent range, and it has been in Baked, Book of Shadows, Vol. 2, and Sustainable palettes.
  • Psychedelic Sister is a red-toned medium-dark purple with a shimmer finish. This shade is available individually as part of the permanent range, and it was in the Book of Shadows, Vol. III palette.

my thoughts on the formula: Urban Decay’s eyeshadows are rich in pigment, apply evenly, and feel like butter. Generally speaking, their formula is excellent. I will warn and caution you against their shades with “glitter” or “sparkle” in the finish–some of these can be prone to fall out (for example, Midnight Cowboy Rides Again).

In terms of value, the palette includes 0.18 oz. of eyeshadow ($61.20 value), 0.03 oz. of eyeliner ($12.75 value), and 0.13 fl. oz. of primer potion ($6.88 value). The total value of the palette is $80.83, while the retail price is $34.

I think sometimes we lose sight of what the beauty industry and market are like as a whole — not every person purchases every palette or even much at all. Not everyone enters at the same time, so even though you may find yourself owning many of the shades, it doesn’t make it a terrible product – Urban Decay does some really excellent shades that you can get year round, but these sure make those shades more accessible and affordable to people who don’t have a lot of Urban Decay or have always wanted to try it. It would be great to see new shades, of course, but I recognize what value they may hold to others.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: Fun has the most shades that are permanent/available individually, as they are all available whenever your heart desires. Whether it’s a good value/purchase depends on just how many Urban Decay products you have in your arsenal. The palette itself is an excellent value, and if you like more than two shadows, it works out to be the same if you had bought then individually ($17 each). Uzi has a slightly fussy finish/texture, but the other five eyeshadows are really nice, especially Woodstock and Baked.

where to buy: Urban Decay

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Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Urban Decay Dangerous Palette
Dangerous Palette: Haight, Mildew, Virgin, Oil Slick, Rockstar, Gunmetal

Urban Decay Spring 2011: Dangerous Palette

Urban Decay Dangerous Eyeshadow Palette ($34.00 for 0.34 oz.) includes six eyeshadows: Haight (dark teal with shimmer), Mildew (deep green), Virgin (satin chamois), Oil Slick (black with silver glitter), Rockstar (deep red-purple with metallic base), and Gunmetal (gunmetal gray with silver glitter). Also included is Rockstar 24/7 Liner (eggplant) and Greed primer potion (gold).

Edited @ 7:10AM:  Images are fixed.

  • Haight is a brightened medium blue with a frost finish that pulls just an itsy bit teal. This shade is part of the permanent range and available individually, and it also appeared in the Book of Shadows, Vol. 3.
  • Mildew is a rich olive green with dirty bronze-brown lying underneath the richer green sheen. This shade is part of the permanent range and available individually and has appeared in the Show Pony, Preen, and Ammo palettes.
  • Virgin is a pale beige with a satin-shimmer finish. It’s very, very light, but it’s such a beautiful neutral. It’s a little frosty for a highlighter, particularly on darker skin tones, but it would make for a great all-over wash or pop of light on the inner tear duct. This shade was in the Naked palette and not available individually.
  • Oil Slick is a rich, deep black with silver glitter. The glitter is more of an overlay, so there will be fall out. It’s not as bad as ultra glittery shades like Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, but the fall out does occur. This shade is part of the permanent range and available individually and has appeared in the Alice in Wonderland, Ammo, and Sustainable palettes.
  • Rockstar is a deep shade of eggplant purple with burgundy-red undertones and a shimmer-sheen finish. This shade was in the Book of Shadows, Vol. 3 and not available individually.
  • Gunmetal is a dark gray with a deep silver sheen. Despite the glittre in the pan, it seems to disappear before you even apply it. I’ve had this shade for awhile, and I don’t find fall out to be an issue. This shade is part of the permanent range and available individually, and it has been in the Book of Shadows, Vol.2, Naked, and Vegan palettes.

my thoughts on the formula: Urban Decay’s eyeshadows are rich in pigment, apply evenly, and feel like butter. Generally speaking, their formula is excellent. I will warn and caution you against their shades with “glitter” or “sparkle” in the finish–some of these can be prone to fall out (for example, Midnight Cowboy Rides Again).

In terms of value, the palette includes 0.18 oz. of eyeshadow ($61.20 value), 0.03 oz. of eyeliner ($12.75 value), and 0.13 fl. oz. of primer potion ($6.88 value). The total value of the palette is $80.83, while the retail price is $34.

I think sometimes we lose sight of what the beauty industry and market are like as a whole — not every person purchases every palette or even much at all.  Not everyone enters at the same time, so even though you may find yourself owning many of the shades, it doesn’t make it a terrible product – Urban Decay does some really excellent shades that you can get year round, but these sure make those shades more accessible and affordable to people who don’t have a lot of Urban Decay or have always wanted to try it.  It would be great to see new shades, of course, but I recognize what value they may hold to others.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: Dangerous has shades we have all seen before, but ultimately, whether it’s a good value/purchase depends on just how many Urban Decay products you have in your arsenal. The palette itself is an excellent value, and if you like more than two shadows, it works out to be the same if you had bought then individually ($17 each). Oil Slick has a slightly fussy finish/texture, but the other five eyeshadows are really nice, especially Haight and Rockstar.

where to buy: Urban Decay

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Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Urban Decay Feminine Palette
Feminine Palette: Stray Dog, SWF, Midnight Cowboy, Aquarius, Darkhorse, Ecstacy

Urban Decay Spring 2011: Feminine Palette

Urban Decay Feminine Eyeshadow Palette ($34.00 for 0.34 oz.) includes six eyeshadows: Stray Dog (cool medium brown), SWF (light cotton candy pink with silver micro-glitter), Midnight Cowboy (pink champagne with lots of silver glitter), Aquarius (aqua green with shimmer), Darkhorse (bronze patina), and Ecstacy (bright purple with slight pink tint). Also included is Zero 24/7 Liner (black) and Eden primer potion (nude).

  • Stray Dog is a cool-toned, taupe-tinged dark brown with a frost finish. This shade is part of the permanent range and available individually; it has also been in the Foreshadow palette.
  • SWF is a pale cotton candy pink with a bright metallic-frost sheen. This shade is part of the permanent range and available individually.
  • Midnight Cowboy is a gilded champagne bronze with flecks of champagne glitter. It has less fall out than Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, but it still has plenty of it to make one frustrated. This shade is part of the permanent range and available individually; it was also in the Cowboy Junkie set.
  • Aquarius is a pale aqua green teal with a silver metallic sheen. This shade is part of the permanent range and available individually.
  • Darkhorse is a darkened deep chocolate brown with flecks of bronze. This shade was in the Naked palette and is not available individually.
  • Ecstacy is a brightened, medium cool-toned violet purple with a soft frost finish. This shade is part of the permanent range and available individually; it was also in the Book of Shadows, Vol. 2. By the by, marginally annoyed that ecstasy is misspelled–imagine it was deliberate but find it annoying nonetheless! It is spelled correctly in the actual BoS Vol. 2, though…

my thoughts on the formula: Urban Decay’s eyeshadows are rich in pigment, apply evenly, and feel like butter. Generally speaking, their formula is excellent. I will warn and caution you against their shades with “glitter” or “sparkle” in the finish–some of these can be prone to fall out (for example, Midnight Cowboy Rides Again).

In terms of value, the palette includes 0.18 oz. of eyeshadow ($61.20 value), 0.03 oz. of eyeliner ($12.75 value), and 0.13 fl. oz. of primer potion ($6.88 value). The total value of the palette is $80.83, while the retail price is $34.

I think sometimes we lose sight of what the beauty industry and market are like as a whole — not every person purchases every palette or even much at all.  Not everyone enters at the same time, so even though you may find yourself owning many of the shades, it doesn’t make it a terrible product – Urban Decay does some really excellent shades that you can get year round, but these sure make those shades more accessible and affordable to people who don’t have a lot of Urban Decay or have always wanted to try it.  It would be great to see new shades, of course, but I recognize what value they may hold to others.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: In this palette, only Midnight Cowboy is the finicky shade, while five of the six are lovely.  Only Darkhorse is not available individually, but at least a couple shades here haven’t been in half a dozen palettes previously.  As long as you love at least two shades (and like one or two others), then it works out to be a deal, since two eyeshadows will run you $34 if purchased individually.

where to buy: Urban Decay

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Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

NARS Calanque Eyeshadow Trio
NARS Calanque Eyeshadow Trio

NARS Spring 2011: Calanque

NARS Calanque Eyeshadow Trio ($45.00 for 0.17 oz.) is described as a mix of gold infused platinum with silver flecks, light matte caramel, and rich antique bronze infused with gold. NARS does an admirable job describing their shades, because the official descriptions are quite apt.

The largest shade is a part-shimmer, part-glitter sheer overlay of a pale white-gold color. In all honesty, I do not like it at all–it applies unevenly, makes a mess, and the “silver flecks” aka silver glitter get everywhere. To make this shade manageable, try using it over a sticky base and wet, because dry, it proves to have far more fall out than it is worth. It’s more of a layering shade, too, because there isn’t much of a base color so much as a dusting of shimmer and glitter.

In the middle, there is a soft beige-tan with a subtle sheen; it’s not exactly matte–seems more like a satin to me, because of the sateen finish. This shade had a beautiful finish, very smooth and silky, with nice color pay off, too. The thinnest shade is a dark bronze brown with soft bronze shimmer. It has a softened frost sheen; it’s not a true frost finish, but it is a little more than a satin.

my thoughts on the formula: NARS states that you can use their eyeshadows wet or dry, though. The texture is soft, smooth, and very blendable, with the colors being nicely pigmented more often than not.   Here, two of the three shades are true to the NARS formula, but the largest and lightest shade is more difficult to work with than one would expect.  A NARS Eyeshadow Duo contains 0.14 oz. of product and retails for $32, which makes the trio more per ounce (but a better value than the single eyeshadows).

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: Given that the largest shade is also the most difficult one to work with, I’m hard-pressed to recommend this trio, because I only think two shades are worth having.  The amount of glitter fall out from the lightest shade is quite bothersome.

where to buy: NARS

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Sunday, February 6th, 2011

theBalm Just This Once Jamie Eyeshadow
theBalm Just This Once Jamie Eyeshadow

theBalm Shady Lady Eyeshadow: Just This Once Jamie

theBalm Just This Once Jamie Eyeshadow ($16.00 for 0.12 oz.) is an unusual shade–it is a pinked plum-brown with a little grayish taupe tinge.  Do you see how many different shades I fit into the description?  Pink, plum, brown, gray, taupe!  It is certainly a color that will look subtly different on varying complexions–for instance, those with pinker undertones will see the pink become more pronounced, while warmer complexions will see more of the brown peeking through.

The packaging is simple cardboard, which makes these easy to stack and store, plus a little more eco-friendly than plastic, though it may not stand up to wear and tear as prettily as plastic.  I think the cardboard is plenty durable, but you may get a couple dents and scratches over the months/years.

my thoughts on the formula: theBalm’s eyeshadows are soft, silky smooth, and packed with pigment, but I did find that Just This Once Jamie seemed to sheer out a touch when blended.  It was not quite as pigmented as other theBalm shades I’ve tried, and it is a shade that is better wet than dry, because the dampness gives it something to cling to.  It applies evenly and blends out beautifully–but when dry, it nearly disappears when blended.  Worth noting, too, is individual eyeshadows come with 0.12 oz., which is just over double the average eyeshadow–and at a rather affordable price tag.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: Definitely worth the price, and you’ll find it will take you quite awhile to hit pan on one of theBalm’s eyeshadows–but even better is that you don’t really end up paying for that privilege.   I wish the texture was more adhesive, such that the color wouldn’t sheer out so easily when applied–I felt like I had to be really careful blending it before it seemed faded.  When used wet, it does work better–but I found using it dry to be of little use and it had to be used wet.

where to buy: Sephora

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