Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Video: Peek @ Bobbi Brown’s Black Velvet Collection

Here’s a “first impressions” video of some of the pieces from Bobbi Brown’s Black Velvet Collection! I’ve swatched and shown all the shades in the video, and over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing everything in full. Already did the Creamy Lip Colors today! :)

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Video: Quick Look at Guerlain Fall

I’m trying to get into the habit of doing more “first impressions” kind of videos–literally me seeing the products for the first time, opening them up, swatching, etc.  They won’t always be focused on reviewing or talking about the specifics of products, particularly if I’ve never tried the product (e.g. it’s not just a new shade but a new product type).  This is a short video featuring Guerlain’s 10 Rue de Franc Bourgeois Eyeshadow Palette, Gwen Rouge G Lipstick, and Violine Kiss Kiss Gloss Serum.  The latter I hope to review soon, but I need to put it through the wear test still! :)

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Guerlain Rue de Francs Bourgeois Eyeshadow Palette
Guerlain Rue de Francs Bourgeois Eyeshadow Palette

Can this palette really be worth $84?

Guerlain Rue de Francs Bourgeois Eyeshadow Palette ($84.00 for 0.25 oz.) contains six different eyeshadows with a dual-ended natural-bristled brush housed in an incredibly luxe compact.

Guerlain is normally on the more generous side with their products, but this palette–by weight–is more per ounce ($336) than their single eyeshadows ($292) or eyeshadow quads ($295). Like Rouge G Lipsticks, you’re definitely paying (more so than usual) for the packaging. It has a beautiful filigree design on the front of the compact along with Guerlain’s signature bee, and then inside is a flip-top mirror that opens to reveal the actual eyeshadows inside. There’s certainly a nice heft to it, and it feels very solid; it’s not cheap or flimsy in the least bit.

Each palette utilizes a mix of three different finishes: iridescent, matte, and satin. In this particular palette, we have a light-medium beige with a matte finish (which nearly matches my skin tone–NC20 for the underarm–for reference) that would make for a nice highlighter on light to medium skin tones; medium-dark grayed brown with a satin finish; brightly shimmered copper with gold sheen in an iridescent finish; dark chocolate brown with a satin-matte finish; medium brown with subtle peach undertones in a satin finish; and a blackened brown with copper flecks in a satin finish.  The darkest shade can also be used wet as a liner.  None of the shadows are named, FYI!

I’m underwhelmed by the overall color palette but more so by the consistency, texture, and intensity of the eyeshadows. They’re just not as soft, smooth, or rich as Guerlain’s other eyeshadows (singles and quads). The formula is entirely different–they don’t have the creaminess that their other eyeshadows have. The pigmentation is just so-so; they’re not particularly sheer or chalky, but you may find yourself going back for seconds in a look. I will say that they perform better in practice than they do simply as swatches on the skin. Each shadow had a very soft, finely milled texture, but I missed the richness of Guerlain’s usual eyeshadow formula. These are not bad eyeshadows–but they’re not out of this world, either; they’re nice but not phenomenal.

Aside from some concerns about the formula itself, the colors seem very basic. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that (and I’m not taking any points away based on the colors themselves!), but I always have admired Guerlain for their ability to bring out nuances in their shades–particularly noteworthy in the Rouge G lipstick line. I’m reminded of Urban Decay’s Naked Palette (Naked, Buck, Half Baked, Darkhorse, Sidecar in particular). They do work beautifully as a palette, though; I was easily able to use several shades in a look with very little effort, and they applied better than they swatched.

I am big fan of Guerlain, and having said so, have been rather hesitant about doling out the $84 it costs for each of the five eyeshadow palettes they launched with their fall collection. Ironically, the fact that this palette didn’t blow me away was what spurned me to finally purchase one! I ordered Rue 2 Vendome and will review that soon. I’m curious if that one will impress me more!

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: I don’t think this is the particular palette that’s worth $84. Unless you’re flush, I’d maybe check out some of the other color variations to find shades with that je ne sais quoi.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Chanel Contraste Duos

Those Double Cs Do It Again!

Chanel Ombres Contraste Duos (Eyeshadow Duos) ($42.00 for 0.09 oz.) each include a shimmering, light creamy powder shade that is designed to be worn alone or as a base, and then a darker shade with a matte finish to pack on the color. Each compact includes a mirror, sponge-tipped applicator, and a brush-tipped applicator.

Even though Chanel says one side is creamier than the other, I really didn’t find the texture to vary much between the two shades. They both felt smooth as silky, buttery, and incredibly finely-milled as Chanel eyeshadows are known to be. When I saw the duos, they reminded me of oversized quad eyeshadows–they have the same dome and shape, but they’re a bit larger than the quad eyeshadows.

I didn’t experience any fall out or fading with these shadows when used over a regular eyeshadow base (NARS, if you’re curious). These are classic colors–it’s clear by the shades chosen that this isn’t meant to be a daring, avant garde kind of collection or look; they’re suitable across the gamut of skin tones, easy to wear, and fit into most people’s lives. If you want something subtler, use more of the light shade; if you want a smokier look, go heavier with the darker shade. Each duo complements itself and can easily be worn on its own without having to look for other eyeshadows to pair it with (though that works, too!).

  • Berry-Rose (50) contains a shimmering, light cotton candy pink and a darker, eggplanty burgundy with a matte finish. Both shades were really smooth and buttery.
  • Gris-Subtil (10) has a shimmering silvered gray and matte charcoal gray. Gris is definitely a shade that looks better applied than just swatched–almost looks dusty when swatched.
  • Khaki-Clair (60) has a shimmering white with very subtle yellow undertones and a matte grayish olive green–I don’t know if I’d really call it olive green, because it’s very subtle. The darker shade was the most pigmented color out of the four duos I tried.
  • Misty Soft (40) contains a smoked out plum with subtle red undertones but an overall rather cool, and it’s complemented by silver-shimmered mauve. The lighter mauve shade reminded me of MAC’s Mauvement pigment a bit without the subtle gold sparkle.

I had a bit of sticker-shock with these, because a full-sized quad is $59, and it’s been a long time since I’ve really taken a look at their Silky Eyeshadow Duos as well (which retail for $40/0.07 oz.). Whether for good or bad, the pricing isn’t much of a stretch after looking at the price/quantity of other high-end brands like Dior and YSL. It seems a little less than stellar, but ridiculously overpriced/undersized.

Overall, I like these. I don’t love, love, LOVE these, but I like them, and I think they’ll fit well for doing more sophisticated looks that are elegant and classy. If you’re more into bolder, brighter shades, the current color range is definitely not that.

There are two more duos available that aren’t reviewed in this post: Taupe-Delicat (20) and Bleur-Tendre (30).

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: With such a classic selection of shades, you may have similar colors in your stash already. If you’re just started to delve into the world of beauty and you’re a fan of Chanel, I think you’d like these.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Stila Backstage Palette

Shimmer on Backstage with Stila

Stila Backstage Eyeshadow Palette ($28.00 for 0.39 oz.) is an eyeshadow palette with six shimmering shades that range from pale peach to rich teal.  The palette was inspired by the trends seen at Fall Fashion Week, and all six shades are new and can be used either wet or dry.

I’m so pleased to be able to say that THIS is a palette worth purchasing.  The formula of the eyeshadows is exactly like Stila’s normal line.  After my experience with their last palette, I was a little wary of this one.  The texture is incredibly soft (which may take some getting used to if you’ve never used Stila eyeshadows before), pigmented, and almost creamy despite being a pressed, powder eyeshadow.

  • Chiffon is a shimmering medium peach with light yellow undertones.   This is the only shade that seemed a little more on the glittery side; chunkier shimmer rather than very fine.
  • Flamingo is a red-based fuchsia purple with a light iridescent fuchsia sheen.  It’s like a pinker version of MAC’s Stars ‘n Rockets.
  • Pacific is a medium-dark blue with a lighter blue shimmer-sheen.
  • Luster is a mauvey-plum with a slight gray cast and golden sheen–this is a shade I can get down with, because it’s very different.
  • Poetic is a light mauve with a silvery sheen.  It reminds me of MAC Shale.
  • Coal is a rich, darkened teal with a soft teal sheen.

The palette itself has a brocade texture/patterning on the outside but is made out of paper.  There is no mirror inside (which doesn’t bother me, but as many palettes have them, I thought it was worth noting), just a quote. Each eyeshadow is approximately 0.065 oz., which is a little more than your average single eyeshadow, but the palette is priced at just $28 (or ($4.67/each), so it’s a great deal and represents Stila as a brand–quality and all.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love jewel-toned eyeshadows with soft, buttery textures, Stila’s fall palette is a winner.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Friday, August 20th, 2010


Urban Decay S&M Eyeshadow

Permanent Play:  Urban Decay S&M Shadow

Urban Decay S&M Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.05 oz.) is smooth, buttery shade of silvered gray with a part frost, part metallic finish. It’s nicely pigmented, and it applies incredibly evenly with little work. It’s the type of shade that works well for a very classic smoky eye. I also like to pair it with navies and bright blues for something a little unexpected.  S&M is part of Urban Decay’s permanent line-up of eyeshadows, so it’s available year-round as a single shadow.  (If you’re not much of a pot person, Urban Decay shadows are as easily depotted as MAC and will fit into MAC palettes as well.)

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re in need of a metallic silver-gray, S&M might be a shade for you.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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