Thursday, January 27th, 2011

MAC Valiant Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Valiant Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Wonder Woman: Valiant Eyeshadow Quad

MAC VALIANT EYESHADOW QUAD ($40.00 for 0.20 oz.) includes four shades of eyeshadow: Manila Paper (pale frost white gold), Valiant (light lime with yellow pearl), Diana Undercover (dark forest green), and Spinning Transformation (deep olive bronze with yellow pearl).

  • Manila Paper is a warm, white gold with excellent color payoff. This is a veluxe pearl finish. It is a repromote from Spring Colour Forecast. It is similar to Nylon but warmer.
  • Valiant is a yellowed, pale chartreuse green–extremely yellowed. It has so-so color pay off; it is a little sheer. This is a frost finish. It’s a yellower version of Juxt.
  • Diana Undercover is a darkened green with a brownish base. This is a satin finish. It had decent pigmentation but took a layer or two for it to show. It did work better in a look than swatched on the skin. The green is similar to the base color of NARS Blade Runner (but lacks the shmmer).
  • Spinning Transformation is a olive-tinged khaki brown with a soft bronze sheen. This is a frost finish. Pigmentation was decent but the texture was so thin–just not soft or silky smooth at all. It’s a less pigmented, less gold-shimmered NARS Star Sailor. It is a browner, less green-tinged Sumptuous Olive.

I feel like Valiant is just a little better than Lady Justice–decent but not as high quality as I’d like to see. Manila Paper is the standout shade in terms of color pay off and texture; creamy, smooth, and rich. Diana Undercover is a shade that MAC hasn’t done often, so I like it for its originality, but I wish it had a buttery texture. For a frost finish, Spinning Transformation wasn’t as soft and smooth as I’d expect.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: Though these shades lean warm, they do not lean so warm that they won’t also complement cooler skin tones. I think the pigmentation is decent across the board in this palette, but it’s not above and beyond excellent.

where to buy: MAC Cosmetics

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Thursday, January 27th, 2011

MAC Lady Justice Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Lady Justice Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Wonder Woman: Lady Justice Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Lady Justice EYESHADOW QUAD ($40.00 for 0.20 oz.) includes four shades of eyeshadow: Lady Justice (bright silver with white pearl), Insurmountable (dirty blue grey), Deep Truth (true dark blue), and Bold Babe (deep metal blue with white pearl).

  • Lady Justice is a silvery-white shimmered shade. It doesn’t really have a base color, just lots of the silver-white shimmer. A little messy–doesn’t quite hold together. This is a frost finish. It’s similar to Forgery or Filament.
  • Insurmountable is a beautiful grayish, pale blue with more of a matte finish. This is a veluxe finish. The best textured shadow of the three quads. It is a more matte version of Bobbi Brown Iced Blue, grayer than NARS Nymphea and NARS Cleo.
  • Deep Truth is a deep navy blue with a lighter blue sheen. This is a frost finish. This is a permanent shade.
  • Bold Babe is a steely blue with a silvery-blue sheen. This is a frost finish. It has decent pigmentation though not excellent, but it could have a softer, smoother texture. It is bluer than NARS Underworld. Hourglass Prism does it about a million times better.

This quad was better than Defiance, but I’m not entirely sold. Lady Justice is rather disappointing in its sheerness–it’s more like an overlay of shimmer than an eyeshadow. Bold Babe is a gorgeous hue but could be softer, smoother, and generally more pigmented. I wish Bold Babe had knocked it out of the park, because Insurmountable is absolutely divine but obviously not worth $40 for it alone.

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  • Product: 20/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: Like Defiance, this too will suit cooler skin tones naturally, because of all the cool-toned blues.  However, the richness of blue still works well on warmer skin tones.  The quality is better in this quad than Defiance, but it’s not excellent.

where to buy: MAC Cosmetics

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Thursday, January 27th, 2011

MAC Defiance Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Defiance Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Wonder Woman: Defiance Eyeshadow Quad

MAC DEFIANCE EYESHADOW QUAD ($40.00 for 0.20 oz.) includes four shades of eyeshadow: Defiance (iridescent white pink), Paradise Island (soft warm pink), Star Studded (mid-tone violet pink), and Real Drama (dark burgundy with pink pearl).

  • Defiance is a pale pink-tinged white with a iridescent pink flash. This is a veluxe pearl finish. It reminded me of Vanilla pigment.
  • Paradise Island is a pale pink with subtle cool undertones. This is a satin finish. It’s like a satin finish Pink Freeze. It was a touch sheer.
  • Star Studded is a berried plum with soft gold micro-shimmer. This is a satin finish. This shade was noticeably sheer.  Fig. 1 would be the closest permanent dupe.
  • Real Drama is a burgundy-brown with soft shimmer. This is a satin finish. It was a little sheer, though not as sheer as Star Studded. It is a little browner than Sketch.

I wasn’t impressed with this quad–three of the four shades were less-than-pigmented, with Star Studded being rather sheer. The texture wasn’t as soft or as silky as I’d like to see in an eyeshadow. I only liked Defiance, wihch had a beautiful, smooth application and even color pay off.

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  • Product: 22/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: This will complement cooler, paler skin tones. I don’t think it’s worth grabbing, because the pay off of the majority of the shades is really underwhelming.

where to buy: MAC Cosmetics

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Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

MAC Wonder Woman Pigments/Reflects Glitters
Bright Fuchsia and Marine Ultra Pigments; Bronze and Pearl Reflects Glitters

MAC Wonder Woman: Pigments & Reflects Glitters

MAC PIGMENTS ($21.00 for 0.15 oz.) and MAC REFLECTS GLITTER ($21.00 for 0.15 oz.) are also included in the collection. The shades are: Bright Fuchsia (bright magenta), Marine Ultra (vivid marine blue), Reflects Bronze (sparkling rich gold), and Reflects Pearl (white glitter with pearl sheen).

All four shades are permanent shades available at MAC PRO stores. Supposedly, for licensing costs, these are priced ta $21.00 compared to the normal price of $19.50. Unless the packaging wins you over or you don’t have a PRO store nearby (and don’t want to order over the phone), I wouldn’t get these.

  • Bright Fuchsia is a brightened medium-dark fuchsia with fuchsia-pink shimmer. It has rich pigmentation and goes on smoothly. This shade is not eye safe.
  • Marine Ultra is a medium-dark ocean blue with a matte finish. It comes together very nicely and smoothly when applied. This shade is not lip safe.
  • Reflects Bronze is a coppery bronze glitter. This shade is not eye safe.
  • Reflects Pearl is a silvery-white glitter. This shade is not eye safe.

my thoughts on the formula: Both pigments and glitters are multi-use products, though their boxes come with safety warnings if they aren’t safe for a particular area of the face (usually eyes or lips). I noted the safety for each shade above. Both products are best used wet or over a tacky base (especially glitters). Glitters can be used in hair products (for glittered hair), nail polish, and lip gloss–just to name a few non-eye usages.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: Normally, I find pigments in the B+/A- range, but the bump in price and product quantity staying the same pushes it down to a B. I’m personally a little disappointed to see four shades from the permanent line being pushed in this collection. I’m also not sure why MAC always includes Reflects Glitters in collections clearly for regular consumers (not professional artists) if they’re not eye safe.

where to buy: MAC Cosmetics

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Monday, January 24th, 2011

NARS Celebrate Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Celebrate Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Spring 2011: Celebrate

NARS Celebrate Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “parrot green” by NARS. The Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are supposed to be “smooth, creamy, and long-wearing.” They are touted as the “ideal base for layering with powder eyeshadow to increase color intensity.” It’s a multi-tasking pencil that can be used to “Shade the lid, line, or highlight the eye.”

Celebrate is a bright, chartreuse green with a strong yellow base. It applied semi-opaque but glided on easily. The problem with this shade was its complete inability to not crease. I tried it alone, and it creased within minutes. I layered eyeshadow on top (Giorgio Armani Transluminence palette–the teal–I just used whatever I had nearest to me), and it still creased in less than an hour. It’s not even a little creasing–it’s painful to see. Not to be daunted, I also tried it over NARS’ Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base with the same eyeshadow layered on top, and I still had the same results (a veritable creasing bonanza).

my thoughts on the formula: More often than not, the Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are a bust for me–they crease alone but also when layered with powder–and Celebrate continues to show that NARS’ Soft Touch Shadow Pencils really can be hit or miss.

The Glossover

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product

Celebrate

I'm not even sure what you can really use this with or for, if it's going to crease with two additional helpers (a base and shadow to set). It migrates on the lower lash line, too, so it's not something one could line with, either. Five points for the glide and color pay off!
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Monday, January 24th, 2011

NARS Hollywoodland Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Hollywoodland Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Spring 2011: Hollywoodland

NARS Hollywoodland Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “pale gold” by NARS. The Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are supposed to be “smooth, creamy, and long-wearing.” They are touted as the “ideal base for layering with powder eyeshadow to increase color intensity.” It’s a multi-tasking pencil that can be used to “Shade the lid, line, or highlight the eye.”

Hollywoodland is a muted yellow-based gold–kind of a gilded champagne-gold to me. It delivers a nice layer of color without a lot of tugging. Smooth without being greasy, it glides on the lid. I tested it alone, and within ten minutes, it was crease-city (photo included, for your viewing horror), and following that disaster, I tested it with Hourglass’ Dune eyeshadow on top–much better results (six hours of crease-free wear). However, I later tried it with NARS Brazil eyeshadow on it, and it creased a bit at the four hour mark. It seems like it really needs quite a bit of powder to really set it. I also wore it as a liner and honestly, when I went to check it after an hour, I couldn’t find it.

my thoughts on the formula: More often than not, the Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are a bust for me–they crease alone but also when layered with powder–but with enough powder, Hollywoodland managed to get through six hours without creasing, unlike the last one I tried (Palladium).

The Glossover

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product

Hollywoodland

F
For $24, this product needs a lot of help to make it usable. From a brand that can make my favorite eyeshadow primer, I'm It's a shame, because it was gorgeous as a base but also blended out on its own for a quick, everyday look.  Given that these are prone to creasing on my normal-to-dry lids, if you have to layer your eyeshadow primers normally, I don't think these are for you.

Product

3/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

2/10

Application

3/5

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