Monday, July 26th, 2010

NARS Tzarine Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Tzarine Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Fall 2010: Tzarine Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Tzarine Eyeshadow Duo ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is new and permanent duo for fall that features a shimmering golden-toned champagne and darkened gray with silver sheen. If I had to pick between the two new eyeshadow duos, I would easily choose Rajasthan. The pigmentation and texture is better in the latter duo–Tzarine suffers from a bit of sheerness and less smoothness in the champagne shade, while the gray shade is just a little sheer but overall has the same texture of most NARS eyeshadows.

Admittedly, neither shade seems particularly unique or compelling, which might be why it seems a little dull when released next to Rajasthan. The champagne side reminds me of a lighter version of Alhambra, while the gray side is like a darker version of Underworld.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Not as smooth, richly pigmented, or as easy to apply as Rajasthan or the best of NARS eyeshadows–it falls just a little short for me.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Stila Road to Radiance Palette
Stila Road to Radiance Palette

$10 Palette: Is It a Steal?

Stila Road to Radiance Palette ($10.00) sounds like a good deal, but in all honesty, I (personally!) would rather put $10 towards one stellar full-size product than a medicore palette. Stila misses in this palette by delivering four inferior eyeshadows–not only in pigmentation but the entire formula is nothing like Stila’s individual (nor their Barbie palette) shadows.

They are sheer and don’t build up particularly well. Stila shadows are incredibly soft–so soft, they can kick up some powder–and almost creamy, despite being pressed powder. These are nothing like that. Because Stila is a much higher quality brand than this palette portrays, I think it’s a poor palette overall–even if the price tag is enticing.

The only product I liked in the palette was Hibiscus Convertible Color. It was creamy, blended out nicely, and wore well. In terms of value, the four eyeshadows come to 0.15 oz. while the Convertible Color is 0.09 oz. (full-size is 0.15 oz.). Since I only liked Hibiscus, I’d much rather buy a full-size Convertible Color in its own packaging, particularly since it’ll stay clean of any loose powder unlike in the palette. The only problem? Hibiscus is limited edition and not available in full-size.

  • Hibiscus is a creamy neutral pink blush. It’s very pretty — this is the only item out of the palette that I really like and think lives up to the quality I expect from Stila as a brand. It’s wearable and suitable for both cool and warm skin tones.
  • Southern Belle is a sheer medium pink with silvery-white sheen. This was such a pain to get to swatch appropriately.
  • Snow Bunny is shimmery silver shade with just a tinge of icy pink. This was one of the more pigmented shades, but I still felt it needed some layering.
  • City Chick is a browned burgundy with subtle shimmer. Another shade that applied sheerly and required layering.
  • Valley Girl is a sheer grayish-mauve with silver sparkle. Super, super sheer–I couldn’t really get it to build up.

The packaging is cute, and the palette certainly holds plenty of value from a quantity/price issue, particularly when compared to competing brands (which is how I judge value). It’s a shame the products don’t perform anywhere near Stila’s typical products.

If a brand is going to put out a product, it should represent their brand well. It should not be an inferior product, just so they can price it ridiculously low. Stila has already announced the release of four additional palettes in the series (one each month through November), so I greatly hope the others are better than this one.

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  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I’d suggest trying it out in person, if possible, to see if it’s really worth even $10.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Friday, July 23rd, 2010

NARS Daphne Eyeshadow
NARS Daphne Eyeshadow

Don’t Judge an Eyeshadow by a Swatch?!

NARS Daphne Eyeshadow ($23.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a rich shade of night violet purple. It’s dark and deep and bright. But I have to warn you: don’t judge by a mere swatching on your arm. I’ve often found that matte eyeshadows don’t swatch well on the arm but perform phenomenally when used on the eyes. A truly outstanding matte shade will do both well, but I’ve simply learned that you cannot judge a poor swatched matte without trying it, too.

When swatched with a sponge-tip applicator, I get a patchy mess of violet — it’s more of a red-based purple than blue-based, but it seems to flicker between the two depending on the lighting situation. (Sidenote, photographing this eyeshadow was a pain in the behind–it constantly wanted to photograph BLUE!) My arm wasn’t exactly the most moisturized environment to be sure, but wow! Daphne made it look like a desert. Even when I tried to use my finger to smooth out the color, it didn’t work out well (as reflected in the swatch).

Now, I say all this to show you that I did not get good results when I simply swatched for color. In fact, I had a sneaking suspicious this was going to be an issue. Nevertheless, I trudged on, and I tested it out by wearing it in a look. AND WE HAD LIFT OFF! Daphne looked as vibrant as pictured in the pan, but it applied smoothly, evenly, and it didn’t need much product at all–so it went on quite pigmented.

It’s similar to Make Up For Ever’s #92 Eyeshadow, but #92 is brighter and a little lighter–it’s not quite the darkened violet that Daphne is. #92 is also more pigmented and thicker/smoother, though they perform similarly on the eye–with Daphne having less fall out. You can see a couple of looks I did using #92, and you’ll notice it’s definitely not quite as dark.

Initially, they seem very comparable, but in use, they’re really not. Daphne is a several shades darker and not the bold, vibrant shade of violet that #92 is. They’re both nice shades to own that don’t dupe each other. I do, of course, wish Daphne was a little smoother, so it would swatch well even on skin.

P.S. — The first mini lipgloss set ran out, but NARS set y’all up with another set featuring Turkish Delight, Greek Holiday, and Gothika — use code TEMPTALIA at checkout, expires 8/15. :)

The Glossover

coming-soon

NARS Daphne Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Swatches (Fall 2010)

C+
Give it a try in a look before dismissing it purely based on swatching--that is the biggest tip I can give you. If I had only swatched in-store, I would never have thought about picking it up, but after using it in a look, I'm much more inclined to recommend it.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

NARS Mangrove Eyeshadow
NARS Mangrove Eyeshadow

Finally, a Mustard I Like!

NARS Mangrove Eyeshadow ($23.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a mustard yellow with just a tinge of green. It has a satin sheen, and it’s nicely pigmented. This is a color you just don’t see very often, because it’s not always an easy to wear shade.

The only other comparable color I have in my stash is an old, discontinued shade by MAC called Jasmine (which is not quite as yellow). I’m not normally a big fan of yellow eyeshadow on me–if it leans gold or it’s more like a chartreuse, I’m totally for it, but truer yellows don’t seem to work well for me.

Mangrove is an interesting shade to work with, because it takes on much of the tones of whatever it’s paired with or layered on top of. When I used it with Palladium, it looked like a chartreuse green, but when I wore it over a regular eyeshadow base, I was able to get a much more true-to-pan kind of color. On my skin tone, I just can’t wear it easily — with golds and coppers, it works; with greens and teals, it works — but when I tried it alongside Daphne, I just couldn’t rock it myself.

I like the uniqueness of the color, which is something that would make compel me to get it. The quality is lovely, and it’s one of the better textured single shadows–very soft, smooth, but still pigmented. For those who have trouble pulling off warmer yellows and golds, Mangrove may be an answer to that problem–because it is as cool of a yellow as one can get!

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I think this may be more of a try-before-you-buy shade unless you’re always on the hunt for something a little different than the norm, because mustard yellow isn’t a common shade in makeup!

AVAILABILITY: NARS — Use code TEMPTALIA for a mini lipgloss trio featuring Turkish Delight, Gothika, & Greek Holiday, expires 8/15.

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Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Burberry Taupe Brown Eyeshadow
Burberry Taupe Brown (07) Eyeshadow

Could You Taupe Me Off?

Burberry Taupe Brown (07) Eyeshadow ($29.00 for 0.088 oz.) is a rich grayed brown with a softened, cool-toned edge. I love the pay off of it, and the texture is soft and smooth as silk. It has a semi-matte, semi-satin kind of finish, so while it’s not without a smidgen of sheen, it’s not frosty in the least bit. By its nature, it is a rather neutral shade, but it will pair well with so many colors from neutral to blues to greens to pinks. This kind of shade–particularly with its semi-matte finish–makes an excellent contouring shade, too, to really carve out the crease and emphasize eyes.

It’s a pricey pick, of course, as it is a designer brand. The packaging is as luxe as one would expect from Burberry with a hefty, gunmetal-metallic case with the check pattern and a matching velvet pouch. Each shadow comes with a decent amount of product, though, which should last you quite awhile. As with any higher-end/luxury brand, worth is very much determined by the purchaser and the products they like or what they’re looking for.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you like taupes and have a hankering for one with a semi-matte finish, Burberry’s Taupe Brown may be one to consider.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, July 19th, 2010

NARS Rajasthan Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Rajasthan Eyeshadow Duo

Prettiest NARS Eyeshadow Duo? Perhaps!

NARS Rajasthan Eyeshadow Duo ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a stunning mix of golden taupe brown and smoky peacock blue. I’m not always a huge fan of NARS eyeshadows, to be honest–I’ve had a lot of misses, particularly with their singles in the past few seasonal collections–but Rajasthan blew me away. It is such a gorgeous duo that’s wearable and so perfect for fall. I love that it’s not a smoky plum but a charcoal black smoked out base with layers of metallic and navy blue all woven together. It may look a little on the cooler side, but warmer beauties will have no problem turning this into something lovely on the eyes.

The pigmentation is spot-on–it looks just like it does in the pan–while the texture is exactly what you’d expect from NARS: smooth and buttery. NARS’ eyeshadow duos are always a better value than their eyeshadow singles–you get twice as much for only $9 more.

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  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: This is a must-have in my book. The pigmentation and texture are exactly where they should be, and the colors are incredibly wearable for both cooler and warmer as well as lighter and deeper skin tones.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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