Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Urban Decay Mary Jane Eyeshadow
Urban Decay Mary Jane Eyeshadow

Cool Down with Mary Jane!

Urban Decay Mary Jane Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a steely blue with a frost finish. It’s a pale, icy blue with a silver sheen–perfect for the cooler season and for brightening up eyes. Mary Jane has a very soft, smooth texture with rich pigmentation. Easily one of my favorite Urban Decay eyeshadows!  This is a stunning example of why Urban Decay’s eyeshadows are often listed as readers’ favorites–especially if you love yourself some color.

Edited: Fixed images!

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

RECOMMENDATION: For my cooler beauties, most definitely. For my warmer lovelies, still yes! It works well with silver and gray smoky eyes, but it can be worn with your favorite navy blues, too.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Laura Mercier Sequin Eyeshadow
Laura Mercier Peacock Sequin Eyeshadow

How Much Shimmer Can You Handle?

Laura Mercier Sequin Eyeshadow ($22.00 for 0.09 oz.) are a shimmering, glittering formula of eyeshadow. It’s similar to Stila’s Jewel Palette, Urban Decay’s Stardusts, and Bobbi Brown’s Sparkle Eyeshadows. They all have this nearly creamy, slightly tacky, texture that’s chocked full of shimmer and glitter. It’s this new breed of glitter eyeshadow with a base that seems to hold the glittery bits together, so they don’t end up all over your face instead.

Laura Mercier’s Sequin Eyeshadows feel a little smoother, less glittery, but still incredibly shimmery. I found both shades I tried sheerer than Bobbi Brown’s (which are the most pigmented that I’ve tried), but infinitely more opaque than Urban Decay’s. Bobbi Brown’s are better bang-for-your-buck at $24/0.13 oz. but they’re both considerably more shadow than your average powder shade (I imagine this new glitter formula is heavier). However, neither of these shades are represented in Bobbi Brown’s line, so it’s more about what shade tickles your fancy.

  • Peacock is a darkened teal with a silver sheen and a gray base. It reminded me a bit of MAC’s Teal pigment, except more of a glittery finish than a frost.
  • Sterling is a silvery-white with a lilac sheen. Very icy and cool-toned–think MAC Vellum Eyeshadow. This one was sheerer than Peacock.

I was able wear these alone without any noticeable fallout throughout the day, but more importantly, they did not crease during the six hours I wore them.   I do prefer them over a base, just because it feels so bizarre not to use one!

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

RECOMMENDATION: The color range for the Sequin Eyeshadow line is still quite limited, with the brand seeming to release one or two shades with each seasonal collection.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Illamasqua Alluvium Pure Pigment
Illamasqua Alluvium Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Art of Darkness: Alluvium

Illamasqua Alluvium Pure Pigment ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is just like Ore: beyond gorgeous when you see it in person, but it just doesn’t photograph quite the same way. It’s a metallic medium-blue with a violet-blue tinge and flecks of multicolored shimmer.

I actually did a look with Ore on the lid and Alluvium in the crease, and it was such a lovely combo, but the photos make it look like garbage. I’ll have to see what I can do about the lighting situation and find a way to capture the brilliance of both of these shades in a photo. Hopefully it stays sunny for the rest of the week!

If these were a better value, I’d try making a nail polish with Alluvium–seems like it be a gorgeous shade for nails. (You can read my quantity/price ratio and packaging griping here.)

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Monday, September 27th, 2010

Illamasqua Ore Pure Pigment
Illamasqua Ore Pure Pigment

You’ll Need to See This to Believe It

Illamasqua Ore Pure Pigment ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is one of those products that shocks and awes the minute you swatch it.  Ore is a medium-dark metallic bronze with soft red undertones, multicolored shimmer, and a dazzling sheen.  It’s like a metallic bronze base with Christmas (green, pink, gold shimmer flecks) strewn through it.  The frustrating part about this particular shade is it really needs to be seen to be believed.  It’s so luxe and full of depth, but it looks better in person than it does in photos.

I loved it patted atop a shimmery primer and blended up with nothing else, but it also works well to layer with or use alongside your favorite coordinating eyeshadows.  I had several people stop me when I went out with this look on to ask what I had on my lids (which is not the norm).  Over a stickier base, Pure Pigments can easily be used dry, but I do prefer using them wet, as they hold together and apply smoothly and vibrantly.

There are, however, two things about Illamasqua’s Pure Pigments that I don’t particularly like:  quantity and packaging.  As far as similar products, Illamasqua weighs in with a rather tiny amount (Make Up For Ever wavers between 0.07 and 0.09 oz., while MAC tops in at 0.15 oz.).   You don’t need much, so you won’t be finishing a Pure Pigment any time soon, but it’s still worth noting.

The other thing is the packaging, which I find cumbersome and a pain to open.  If you’re not careful, it’s easy to loose hold of it and see your precious 0.04 oz. pigment soar across the air.  (There is actually a bunch of Ore embedded in my carpet, because it happened yet again to me while photographing.)  My best advice for opening these is to wedge your nail between the lid and base and run it around the perimeter a bit, then pull it open.  This seemed to alleviate a lot of the fumbling.  When it comes to a loose product, I think a screw-top lid might be a lot safer for us clumsy folk.

So why not an A product? Because the quantity is well below average of other comparable, high-end brands and the packaging could be less prone to slipping out of your hands and losing half the product to your carpet, sink, or bathroom floor.  This is one of my favorite shades for fall, and I will be purchasing a back-up because it is that stunning.

P.S. — Sephora has it listed as a new shade, but it shows as “out of stock,” though I believe it just isn’t in stock yet.  If you can’t wait, you can get it directly from Illamasqua.

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Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Black Sparkle Eyeshadow
Bobbi Brown Black Sparkle Eyeshadow

More Glitter Fun with Bobbi Brown!

Bobbi Brown Black Sparkle Eyeshadow ($24.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a gray-black color base with layers of teal shimmer, lilac and silver glitter, and wet finish. I think the coolest characteristic about Bobbi Brown’s Sparkle Eyeshadows (or this breed of glitter eyeshadows in general) is how they look slick and wet.

The glitter eyeshadows of yesteryear were just powder eyeshadows with glittery bits in them (think MAC Lustres), but this newer breed has a creamier consistency–everything clings together and then smooths out when applied. There is significantly less fall out with these creamier glitter shades (but they are not cream eyeshadows!)–there is a bit, but nothing undue given how dark the shade is.

Upon first swatching, I thought it was exactly like Black Velvet, but swatched side-by-side, the differences are easily seen! (I actually went back and double-checked the shade name, and I thought maybe mine was mislabeled–that’s how close they seemed at first glance!) Black has a soft black color base with multi-colored glitter that flashes blue, teal, purple, and silver. It looks very blue when swatched next to Black Velvet.

It’s richer and multi-faceted compared to Stila’s Black Diamond, which is just a gray black base with silver glitter. Similarly, Urban Decay’s Void is grayer and sheerer than Stila’s Black Diamond, so that doesn’t really compare either.

Do you rock the glitter eyeshadow or is it too much bling for you?

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Bobbi Brown’s Sparkle Eyeshadows are some of the better glitter eyeshadows on the market–they’re pigmented, smooth, and hold together really well.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Black Cocoa Metallic Eyeshadow
Bobbi Brown Black Cocoa Metallic Eyeshadow

Try a Little Warm Cocoa for Fall

Bobbi Brown Black Cocoa Metallic Eyeshadow ($20.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a rich, chocolate brown with flecks of pale gold, gold, and copper shimmer. It has such a smooth texture with incredible color pay off that really just looks luxurious when worn. This shade would work well for a brown smoky eye as well as smudged on the lower lash line to add warmth to the eyes. I love this on warmer beauties, though it has that blackened cocoa laced with the warmer brown, so it could also be worn by those on the cooler side, too.

I also love that $20 will get you 0.10 oz. of eyeshadow–double the amount of most single shadows! This particular shade launched with Bobbi Brown’s Black Velvet Collection, but it is permanent to the line.

What are your favorite Bobbi Brown eyeshadows?

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a fan of warmer, chocolate browns and enjoy yours with shimmer, Black Cocoa makes an excellent choice!

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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