Friday, November 19th, 2010

NARS Melusine Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Melusine Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Holiday 2010: Melusine Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Melusine Eyeshadow Duo ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is one of two new and permanent products from NARS’ Holiday Collection (the other is Sex Appeal). NARS describes these shades as “pale silver lilac” and “bright deep purple.”

From NARS: In folklore tales, a melusine was described as a feminine, free spirited woman. Similarly, this duo eyeshadow is an ultra-modern union of two colors working in harmony. Sweep the bright deep purple across the lid and highlight under brow with the pale silver lilac.

First things first–this is by no means a dupe for NARS Daphne. The swatch tells the whole story! Daphne is a brightened violet with blue undertones, while Melusine (the purple side, of course!) is an eggplant purple with red undertones. Bottom line: they are quite distinct.

The light shade of the duo is a silvery gray, and if I look close enough, I can make out the finest misting of lilac–so light that it’s almost pink. On cooler skin tones, I imagine the lilac will be more pronounced, but the effect is still quite subtle. The finish is a frosted shimmer, smooth overall, but does have shimmer kick up. The darker shade is a rich eggplant purple with red undertones and has a matte finish. It swatches better than Daphne did, but they’re both lovely in use–very rich, smooth, and true-to-color.

I threw this duo on before running some errands, and I had three sweet ladies compliment me on my eyeshadow. There is a lot of contrast in the duo, with the silvered shade being so much lighter than the deeper purple, so it works well on its own. When I wore it, I wore the silvery shade all over the lid with the purple hue in the crease (to highlight, I used Burberry Trench Eyeshadow, which is just my-skintone-but-better!). I’ll try and post that look soon!

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I think as a duo these shades work really well together; you have the mix of textures, nice contrast, and overall, two nicely pigmented, smooth textured eyeshadows.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Guerlain Velours d'Or Eyeshadow Palette
Guerlain Velours d’Or Eyeshadow Palette

Guerlain Les Ors: Velours d’Or

Guerlain Velours d’Or (410) Eyeshadow Palette ($59.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a smoky palette from Guerlain’s Holiday Collection.  I picked this up when Nordstrom was having some super point thing going on (I think it was triple points…), but I’m not sure I’m sold on it!

It contains four shades: a soft coppered gold with subtle gold sparkle; medium-dark violet plu m with blue-violet micro-shimmer; charcoal-mauve with a muted violet shimmer and slight sheen; and dark black with a matte finish. Upon first glance, the charcoal-mauve looked absolutely stunning–it almost gave off a duochrome sheen! It seemed like a mix of violet, plum, gray with green and violet shimmer/sheen. It’s less interesting when swatched, as it appears a bit flat in comparison.

The golden shade has Guerlain’s signature bee embossed, while the other three shades have a raised honeycomb pattern. The patterning will disappear after a few uses, though it doesn’t just disappear at first touch. I do, however, like that these patterns utilize each shade’s colors, rather than an overlay of another color, which ultimately affects the end color result but only as long as the overlay exists.

I found the golden shade to have a frostier finish and having some kick-up, whereas the remaining three colors were very smooth and were easy to apply.  Each shade had nice pigmentation–not sheer at all–and they built up easily, as Guerlain’s eyeshadows often do.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It’s nice, but I don’t think it’s a must-have.  If these kinds of colors call to you, it’s worth checking out, but I do think there are enough dupes available that if you’re not sold on all four shades, you may want to look elsewhere.

AVAILABILITY:Nordstrom, Sephora

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Monday, November 15th, 2010

Dior Five Golds Eyeshadow Quint
Dior Five Golds Eyeshadow Quint

Metallics Done Right!

Dior Five Golds Eyeshadow Quint ($58.00 for 0.21 oz.) is one of two new and limited edition holiday quints.  As indicated, it includes five shades of eyeshadow, and this is a palette with a rather metallic feel and look.  I purchased this as part of my Sephora Friends & Family haul!

It has a similar theme as MAC’s Rockers & Reelers Eyeshadow Palette, because both have a lot of metallic-like finishes, but the colors themselves are a bit different. Dior’s metallic quint is closer to neutral, while MAC’s is on the warmer side.

Five Golds includes a dark charcoal gray with a soft silver sparkle; subdued copper-gold with a metallic finish; semi-sheer icy white-gold with a bright shimmer-shine; chocolate bronze with a metallic finish; and a bright, light silver with a high metallic shine. Every shade had rich pigmentation except the lightest white-gold shade, which was on the sheer side, and it also had more of a glittery feel compared to the smoother texture of the other four shades. It looks a lot yellower in the pan than when used, though. The other four shades were true-to-pan in terms of color.

This is probably one of my favorite Dior quints in terms of quality; the shades are smooth, soft without being powdery, and really rich in color. Dior’s eyeshadow quints are always a better value than their singles or duos, though it is still more expensive than Chanel’s eyeshadow quads (but less than Guerlain’s!). Even though the shades are dupeable by other brands, the finish and texture really hit home.

FYI, Sephora lists this as “001″ while the back of it does list the name as Five Golds alongside the 001 number.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love your metallics, this may be something to add to your holiday wish list.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Monday, November 15th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Sparkle Eyeshadow Quad

When Things Get Too Glamorous

Bobbi Brown Sparkle Glamour Quad ($40.00 for 0.40 oz.) looks prettier in promos than it does in real life, and it’s prettier in the pan than it is on the eyes. This palette requires some practice in addition to patience, because the glitter will get everywhere–you may even find some in your hair… or in your nose!

These work best with a tackier base, like a sticky cream eyeshadow that takes longer to dry down. You could also use this with something like MAC’s Water-Based Mixing Medium, which has a little tackiness to it. No matter what method you use, some tackiness in the method will allow the glitter to stay on better and minimize fall out. I’d also recommend applying your eye makeup first and then using a makeup remover wipe or tape (lightly!) to remove any excess glitter that’s fallen from your lids. Press, rather than sweep, the product against the lid to further reduce fall out.

All of these shades are sheer; if you want any sort of color pay off, your best bet is to use them wet (water, Fix+, mixing medium, etc.). The “purple” shade looks more like a semi-sheer taupe; the lightest beige is a white-beige with large chunks of glitter; the darker beige is a champagne; and the “black” shade is a soft charcoal that almost looks brown if it is used dry. There is a gold trim that surrounds each “pan” of eyeshadow, and it is hard to use alone, but it just looks like a sheer white gold sparkle.

I wasn’t sure how deep each color went through, since there is the surrounding gold trim, but after digging through the black pan of color, it seems to go quite deep. The palette contains: Pink Glitter Sparkle Eye Shadow, Smoky Sparkle Eye Shadow, Moonlight Sparkle Eye Shadow and Sandy Sparkle Eye Shadow–but honestly, I have no idea which shades are what. I imagine “Smoky” is the black shade. I’m not sure about the rest, and the palette doesn’t indicate any shade names on the back.

When I have to write a full paragraph on how to minimize fall out and make the product worth using, there is definitely something wrong! I was really impressed with fall’s Sparkle Eyeshadows, but I found these too sheer and dry–the ones from fall almost felt wet upon use and held together better when applied.

Sparkle Eyeshadows retail for $24/0.13 oz., while this palette of four Sparkle Eyeshadows retails for $40/0.40 oz. This translates to $184.62/oz. and $100.00/oz. respectively–which does mean you’re getting quite the steal in terms of quantity! Keep in mind that the rating system takes value into account, and the value aspect is particularly strong here, which bolsters the overall grade significantly.

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  • Product: 18/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t have patience or keen on glittery bits, I’d skip this palette.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Friday, November 12th, 2010

NYX I Dream of St. Thomas Eyeshadow Palette
NYX I Dream of St. Thomas Eyeshadow Palette

Color That Doesn’t Break the Bank

NYX I Dream of St. Thomas Eyeshadow Palette ($8.75 for 0.28 oz.) contains five eyeshadows and is part of NYX’s Caribbean Collection of eyeshadow palettes. (I reviewed St. Lucia previously.) NYX is one of my favorite brands for more affordable makeup, because the quality is consistently high and the range is huge.

St. Thomas includes: a dark charcoal gray with soft silver shimmer (similar to MAC’s Knight Divine); brightened cotton candy pink with a satin sheen; bright silver with a near metallic shimmer-sheen (similar to MAC’s Electra); pale golden peach with a high sheen; and a medium-dark, mint green with a pearly shine.

The pigmentation was excellent on the pink, peach, and green shades; it was still quite good on the charcoal and silver shades, too, but a touch sheerer than the other three. My favorite shade is the minty green, because you don’t see that kind of color–or with such vibrancy–by every brand.  These shades have a soft, smooth texture, though there is some residual powder kick up during use.  NYX eyeshadows have worked well for me and only fade minimally, but not noticeably so until six or more hours of wear.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re on a budget, NYX’s palettes are worth considering. They maintain quality and pigmentation while still keeping the price down.

AVAILABILITY: NYX

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Monday, November 8th, 2010


Bobbi Brown Day to Night Warm Eyeshadow Palette

Bobbi Brown Day to Night Warm Eyeshadow Palette

Bobbi Brown Day to Night Warm Eyeshadow Palette ($45.00 for 0.30 oz.) contains six shades of eyeshadow designed to take you from day to night with shades on the warmer side of the color spectrum.  Each eyeshadow has 0.05 oz. worth of product, so the palette’s total weight is 0.30 oz. of product.  It does also include a short-handled eyeshadow brush with actual bristles–it’s surprisingly nice, workable, though I don’t think it’ll replace any full-size brushes you may own, but it is one of the better included brushes I have seen this holiday season.

This palette includes: Ivory (creamy white), Oat (soft mocha beige), Espresso (dark chocolate brown), Burnt Sugar (deep golden brown), Velvet Bronze (warm golden bronze), and Black Plum (deep black plum).

  • Ivory is a creamy, muted white with a very rich, smooth texture.  It’s surprisingly pigmented–not chalky at all–and it’s not a stark, bright white, so it’s more wearable.  It has a nearly matte finish.  This is a permanent shade (and a popular shade that Bobbi Brown has used often in her palettes).
  • Oat is a light-medium brown with an extremely subtle sheen that barely glints even under flash photographer.  It’s smooth, nicely pigmented, and would work well on both warmer and cooler skin tones.    This shade reminded me of MAC’s Soft Brown.
  • Espresso is a darkened cool-toned charcoal brown with a touch of satin sheen.  It has good color pay off and applies smoothly.  Espresso is very reminiscent of MAC’s Brun or Showstopper eyeshadows, both cooler browns.   This is a permanent shade.
  • Burnt Sugar is a golden-toned warm medium-brown with a glinting, metallic gilded gold sheen.  It has a smooth texture with rich color pay off with a metallic finish.  This is a permanent shade.
  • Velvet Bronze is a medium red-toned brown with a soft golden sheen.  This was the least pigmented shade within the palette, but it was still nicely pigmented (just worth pointing out that it was a bit softer).  It has a metallic finish.  The color itself is similar to MAC’s Texture, but Velvet Bronze has a brighter sheen.
  • Black Plum is a smoldering, deep brown with flecks of bronze shimmer.  It is a really nice, smooth textured brown, which leans a bit warm, but it is rather neutral overall.  It has a shimmer wash finish.  This is a permanent shade.

I think this palette is a good mix of neutrals that do tend on the warmer side, but the palette is closer to neutral-warm than one with very strong, warm under tones running through it.  These shades are classic–they will serve one well when it comes to creating office-friendly looks or smoking those looks out for something a touch more dramatic in the evening.  I am particularly pleased with the pigmentation level of the palette, as everything was nicely pigmented and five of the six were excellent in pigmentation.  The texture is soft and smooth, with all of the shades applying evenly.  I also appreciate that Bobbi Brown often mixes finishes within her palettes so that users can create a variety of textured looks.

Bobbi Brown’s Eyeshadows retail for $20.00 (for 0.08 oz.), Metallic Eyeshadows retail for $20.00 (for 0.10 oz.), and Shimmer Wash Eyeshadows retail for $20.00 (for 0.08 oz.).   In this palette, you are receiving $37.50 worth of Eyeshadow, $20.00 worth of Metallic Eyeshadow, and $12.50 worth of Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow.   This palette thus contains $70 worth of eyeshadows for $45.  FINALLY! a true value-oriented palette for the holidays!

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

RECOMMENDATION:

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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