Monday, December 6th, 2010

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils vs. Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencils
Urban Decay Sin, NYX Yogurt, Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils vs. Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencils

Though they seem rather similar on the surface and even at first glance, I think the shade ranges differ enough where there is less overlap than expected.  For instance, I could not find dupes for Urban Decay’s Midnight Cowboy, Clinic, Narc, or Lit at all.  However, I think that Urban Decay’s Sin and Clash definitely have dupes, while Delinquent has something similar but there is a noticeable difference in quality that makes them different.

I think that Rehab and Barracuda may also lack dupes, but I do not have the appropriate NYX shades to tell you for sure.  Mercury and Wasteland may have dupes, but again, I can’t say for sure.

  • Urban Decay Sin seems to be closest to NYX Yogurt, but the latter is darker and pinker.
  • Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy is also closest to NYX Yogurt but I would not consider them dupes–Midnight Cowboy is more of a gilded champagne-beige without the pink of Yogurt.
  • Urban Decay Clinic has no corresponding dupe in the NYX line. NYX lacks any teal shade.
  • Urban Decay Narc has no corresponding dupe in the NYX line. NYX Rocky Mountain Green is a cooler, brighter green, which may be more comparable to Urban Decay Graffiti (which is available as an eyeliner).
  • Urban Decay Clash is the one shade I found a strong dupe for, which was NYX Electric Blue, though the NYX version is not quite as bright and requires layering to achieve opaque color.
  • Urban Decay Delinquent is similar to NYX Purple Velvet but the swatch will show you how different the pigmentation is between the two of them. Urban Decay’s is significantly more pigmented, and it is more of a jewel-tone purple with less red in its base.
  • Urban Decay Lit is a softer, lighter version of NYX Pure Gold, which is much more of a coppery gold.
  • Urban Decay Morphine is is a darker version of NYX Oyster, and it also has more of a purple tone, while Oyster pulls pinker.

I don’t have all of NYX’s Jumbo Eye Pencils, but based on Dusty’s swatches that he did for Temptalia back in April, here are my thoughts on some possible similarities:

  • Wasteland and/or Rehab may be comparable to Iced Mocha, which looks like it runs lighter and perhaps not as dark.
  • Mercury may be comparable to Pots and Pans, but it looks a little darker.
  • Barracuda may be comparable to Slate, which looks like it has a bluer cast (less of a silver-gray).

What about the formulas?

Generally speaking (and based on the eight or so NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils I own), NYX has a creamier, more emollient base, which is likely why more people have experienced creasing when using them alone and/or as a base.  (You can always remedy this by using an eyeshadow base underneath the pencil itself.)  Keep in mind, also, that Urban Decay’s 24/7 Shadow Pencils are still very much untested by the makeup community at large–I can only report on my experience, but I have rather normal lids (neither dry or oily).

Some shades have excellent pigmentation and go on beautifully while other shades do look sheerer when swatched against Urban Decay’s.  NYX take longer to dry, so you have more time to work with them and blend them, but it may also mean they have more time to settle into creases and lines on the lid.  Urban Decay’s seem to take more elbow grease to remove (just using a makeup remover wipe) than NYX’s. Urban Decay also specifically calls attention to the fact that their pencils are free of parabens and mineral oil, both ingredients found in NYX’s Jumbo Eye Pencils.

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Saturday, December 4th, 2010


24/7 Shadow Pencils: Clinic, Narc, Clash, Delinquent, Morphine, Barracuda

Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencils: Part 2

For spring, Urban Decay’s launching a brand new product: 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencils ($20.00 for 0.10 oz.), which come in twelve different shades. There are six included in this post: Clinic (deep peacock green with fine green sparkle), Narc (mossy green sheen), Clash (bright electric blue with fine silver sparkle), Delinquent (deep jewel purple with fine purple sparkle), Morphine (iridescent lilac), and Barracuda (black with fine silver sparkle).

  • Clinic is a rich, jewel-tone teal with green-teal sheen and light silver sparkle. It is similar to Covet 24/7 Liner, but Clinic seems more green-based.
  • Narc is a darkened grassy green tinged with olive dusted with gold sparkle. It compares best with Mildew 24/7 Liner, but it is noticeably greener and warmer.
  • Clash is a brilliant bright blue with silver sparkle. It is extremely similar to Electric 24/7 Liner–if I look closely, it seems like Clash is slightly brighter.
  • Delinquent is deep purple violet with lilac sparkle. It’s such a stunning jewel-tone shade. It is completely different from Lust 24/7 Liner, and it doesn’t compare to Ransom 24/7 Liner either.
  • Morphine is an iridescent cool-toned bluish-lilac with some fuchsia in its base. I thought it might compare to Asphyxia 24/7 Liner, but it’s much, much lighter, more iridescent, and really does not have much in common with Asphyxia.
  • Barracuda is a darkened black with silver sparkle. I couldn’t distinguish it from Oil Slick 24/7 Liner, and it is slightly darker than Uzi 24/7 Liner.

Of this set, Delinquent and Morphine are the most unique, while the other four have similar shades in the 24/7 Liner line.  This is predicated on you already owning the liner counterparts and not feeling the need to spring for jumbo-sized versions to use as an eyeshadow base.  The 24/7 Liners are still much easier to use as eyeliners, because they are smaller and therefore more precise and suited for the lash line.  However, you do get significantly more bang for your buck with the 24/7 Shadows, so if you don’t own one of the 24/7 Liners that compares but always wanted to, perhaps the 24/7 Shadow version will serve you well.

These really do feel like jumbo-sized 24/7 Liners–they are smooth, creamy, and glide across the lid with ease. I will say that these seem more pigmented than the 24/7 Liners. You really get true color with one stroke, and even lighter shades go on opaque. I wore Clinic (to-be-reviewed) on one eye and Midnight Cowboy on the other eye for twelve hours yesterday, and I didn’t experience any creasing. I wore them both all over the lid and above the crease, applied with the pencil itself, and straight on the lid (no primer).

I later wore just Rehab all over the lid and above the crease, blended out with fingertips, with Rehab over Urban Decay’s Primer Potion on one lid and by itself on the other. This test was more about blendability and how it would work over a base. It dries down quickly; it’s smudgeable and blendable for 15-20 seconds, but you’ll want to work pretty fast if you’re blending two or more of the Shadow Pencils together. Lighter shades like Sin, Lit, and Midnight Cowboy are beautiful all-over lid shades–for those mornings where all you have are two minutes to spare.

They are shorter than 24/7 Liners (just over 5.5″), but they are definitely fatter–they also contain over twice the product (.10 oz. vs. 0.04 oz.) and only cost $3 more ($20 vs. $17). In terms of high-end products, they compare to NARS Shadow Pencils in look (doesn’t migrate), but they perform well, like MAC Shade Sticks (creamier, though). I’m pleasantly surprised at how the price/quantity worked out here. All in all, I’m liking these so far, and they make excellent colored eyeshadow bases that can also double as eyeliner. So far, I’ve found they adhere well to the lid without creasing or fading.

P.S. — I have to see what NYX pencils I have, but I will try to do some comparisons later this weekend (school all day).

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you like Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners, I think you’ll like these. Whether you use these as eyeliner or as an eyeshadow, they work as well, if not better, than the 24/7 Liners–since they’re more pigmented.

AVAILABILITY: January 2011 @ urbandecay.com; early February 2011 @ Beauty.com, Macy’s, Sephora, & ULTA

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Saturday, December 4th, 2010


24/7 Shadow Pencils: Sin, Lit, Midnight Cowboy, Rehab, Wasteland, Mercury

Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencils: Part 1

For spring, Urban Decay’s launching a brand new product: 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencils ($20.00 for 0.10 oz.), which come in twelve different shades. There are six included in this post: Sin (champagne shimmer), Lit (sunny bronze shimmer), Midnight Cowboy (beige with fine gold sparkle), Rehab (taupey brown sheen), Wasteland (dark brown sheen), and Mercury (gunmetal grey sheen).

  • Sin is a light-medium pink-beige champagne with a frosted sheen. It swatched very comparably to Sin Primer Potion–it seemed less frosty.
  • Lit is a softened orange-gold with a frosted sheen. It’s actually similar to Guerlain’s Gold Eyeliner, but it has no similarity to either Eldorado (which is a yellow gold) or Baked (much darker, bronzy).
  • Midnight Cowboy is a medium beige with flecks of gold glitter. The glitter seems finer than what is in the eyeshadow. I was crossing my fingers that this would resemble Midnight Cowboy 24/7 Liner (which is exclusive to the 24/7 Liner Anniversary Set), but it’s not. The liner is definitely lighter, a little warmer.
  • Rehab is a dark red-toned chocolate brown with a smidgen of taupe. It is similar to Underground 24/7 Liner–a hair darker, cooler, perhaps, but it could be a potential skip in lieu of other shades that are less similar.
  • Wasteland is a cool-toned olive brown with fine gold shimmer. It didn’t match up with any of the 24/7 Liners. It’s more like a mix of Stash and Bourbon but compares to neither alone.
  • Mercury is a silvered gray with frosted sheen. It seemed warmer when swatched next to Gunmetal 24/7 Liner, which also looks bluer.

These really do feel like jumbo-sized 24/7 Liners–they are smooth, creamy, and glide across the lid with ease. I will say that these seem more pigmented than the 24/7 Liners. You really get true color with one stroke, and even lighter shades go on opaque. I wore Clinic (to-be-reviewed) on one eye and Midnight Cowboy on the other eye for twelve hours yesterday, and I didn’t experience any creasing. I wore them both all over the lid and above the crease, applied with the pencil itself, and straight on the lid (no primer).

I later wore just Rehab all over the lid and above the crease, blended out with fingertips, with Rehab over Urban Decay’s Primer Potion on one lid and by itself on the other. This test was more about blendability and how it would work over a base. It dries down quickly; it’s smudgeable and blendable for 15-20 seconds, but you’ll want to work pretty fast if you’re blending two or more of the Shadow Pencils together. Lighter shades like Sin, Lit, and Midnight Cowboy are beautiful all-over lid shades–for those mornings where all you have are two minutes to spare.

I thought it was interesting that there was very little overlap in the names. It seems like Urban Decay often uses the same names (and the corresponding shade) across product types (e.g. Ransom 24/7 Liner, Ransom Eyeshadow), but most of these are new names. Meaningless in terms of the product itself, but it made me curious as to what else we might see from Urban Decay in 2011. It also made me curious given that there are some shades that are rather close to existing 24/7 Liners.

They are shorter than 24/7 Liners (just over 5.5″), but they are definitely fatter–they also contain over twice the product (.10 oz. vs. 0.04 oz.) and only cost $3 more ($20 vs. $17).  In terms of high-end products, they compare to NARS Shadow Pencils in look (doesn’t migrate), but they perform well, like MAC Shade Sticks (creamier, though). I’m pleasantly surprised at how the price/quantity worked out here. All in all, I’m liking these so far, and they make excellent colored eyeshadow bases that can also double as eyeliner. So far, I’ve found they adhere well to the lid without creasing or fading.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you like Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners, I think you’ll like these. Whether you use these as eyeliner or as an eyeshadow, they work as well, if not better, than the 24/7 Liners–since they’re more pigmented but wear just as well.

AVAILABILITY: January 2011 @ urbandecay.com; early February 2011 @ Beauty.com, Macy’s, Sephora, & ULTA

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Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Smashbox Eye Wish Eyeshadow Palette
Smashbox Eye Wish Eyeshadow Palette

Wish Big with Smashbox for the Holidays

Smashbox Eye Wish Eyeshadow Palette ($45.00) is a limited edition holiday palette that contains twelve eyeshadows, four cream eyeliners, and trial sizes of mascara and eyeshadow primer. It’s housed in a yellow gold flip-top rectangular box (think Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows). Inside the palette is a mirror along with a how-to booklet.

  • 1 is a softened dark orange with gold sheen. It’s a touch sheer.
  • 2 is a plum-tinged silver gray. This one was sheer.
  • 3 is a yellowed beige with a matte finish. It wasn’t really chalky, but it was a little sheer.
    4 is a pale warm pink. Nice pigmentation and very smooth.
  • 5 is a molten bronze with warm amber undertones. It reminded me of MAC’s Amber Lights + Bronze mixed together. This was one of the nicest shades in the palette for its rich pigmentation and smooth texture.
  • 6 is a pink-mauve with a frosted sheen. The pigmentation was nice with this shade.
  • 7 is a medium blue with aqua-blue sheen and shimmer. It looked cooler in the pan, but it’s still pretty swatched–the sheen just seemed more noticeable in the pan.
  • 8 is a soft medium-dark gray with a soft silver sheen. It had nice color pay off.
  • 9 is a chocolate bronze with a soft frost finish. It went on easily and smoothly.
  • 10 is a muted cool-toned purple plum. This was a little chalky.
  • 11 is a deep peacock blue with a satin sheen. It could have been a little more pigmented, but it worked better during application than swatched.
  • 12 medium-dark gray with a satin sheen.
  • 13 is a chocolate brown with red undertones and flecks of pale gold shimmer.
  • 14is a deep plum purple with light purple and pink shimmer.
  • 15 is a deep teal-blue.
  • 16 is a charcoal black with a silver sheen.

I want to specifically call attention to the fact that the liners are noted as generic “cream eyeliners.” Smashbox has a line of cream eyeliners called Jet Set, which have a good reputation, but these liners aren’t labeled as such, so I am going to assume (and hope) that they are not Jet Set liners. These liners take forever to dry, and they smudge easily–which is nice initially–but they don’t seem to stay in place at all for me. They just migrate, migrate, migrate, and this leads to… a migraine. Ha, ha. I couldn’t even get them to work well as a base, because they sheer out quite a bit and don’t set fast enough before settling into the crease.

I did like how Smashbox coordinated the columns of eyeshadows, though–and there are certainly a lot of looks one could do with this palette. There is a good mix of colors and neutrals, but I will say this palette leans on the cooler side, with the exception of the browns which are warmer. Overall, the eyeshadow quality is good across the board, with some shades being more average (like #1, 2, 3, and 4) and a couple (like #5, 6, and 9) being really nice with full pigmentation and smooth application. The lightest shades (#1, 2, 3, and 4) were the sheerest and more problematic. The texture of these didn’t seem quite as soft of Smashbox’s eyeshadows, but they were still soft, and overall, they seemed less powdery than typical Smashbox eyeshadows.

The palette includes 0.63 oz. worth of eyeshadow (works out to be 0.0525 oz. each) and 0.105 oz. (works out to be 0.0263 oz. each) worth of cream eyeliner, along with a miniature-sized Lash DNA Mascara (0.20 oz.) and Lid Primer (0.02 oz.). Compared to the cost of full-sized equivalent products, the palette has $170 worth of eyeshadow, $23 worth of eyeliner, $12 worth of mascara, and $5 worth of lid primer–the whole palette coming to a total of $210 worth of Smashbox products for a price of $45. To sum all that up, yes, this is a value palette–the eyeshadows alone make it worthwhile (in terms of quantity/price).

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: I wouldn’t rely on this palette for the eyeliners, but if you like the colors included for eyeshadow, then it’s definitely a good value.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom and Sephora

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Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Modern Classic Lip & Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Goes Modern for the Holidays

Bobbi Brown Modern Classic Lip & Eye Palette ($75.00) contains ten eyeshadows and four lip glosses all housed in a sleek palette for the holidays.

It includes: Ivory (creamy white), Oyster Grey (silvery beige), Antique Pink (muted rose), Quarry (steely grey with golden flecks), Taffeta (pale pink bronze), Birch (soft brown), Heather Rose (golden plum), Navy Charcoal (navy charcoal grey), Gold Thread (deep golden copper), and Espresso (dark chocolate brown) eyeshadows; along with Grape (deep plum), Pink Bouquet (bright pink), Golden Topaz (golden bronze), and Paisley Rose (warm pink rose) lip glosses.

  • Ivory is a creamy muted white–it’s not too stark, but it’s not what I’d describe as beige, either. I’ve mentioned it before, but this color is routinely in Bobbi Brown’s palettes. This is a matte eyeshadow. It is also part of the permanent range.
  • Oyster Grey is a pale, frosted champagne. This is a metallic eyeshadow.
  • Antique Pink is a sheer, pink champagne.  I found the pigmentation on this shade to be underwhelming–it could use a boost.   This is a shimmer wash eyeshadow.
  • Quarry is a cool-toned muted brown with a white shimmer-sheen. This is a shimmer wash eyeshadow.
  • Taffeta is a softened bronze with golden sheen. This is a metallic eyeshadow.
  • Birch is a muted medium-dark brown–it has very subtle red undertones. This is a matte eyeshadow. It is also part of the permanent range.
  • Heather Rose is a plummy rose with bronze shimmer.  It is a touch sheer but only negligibly. This is a shimmer wash eyeshadow.
  • Navy Charcoal is a muted navy blue matte base with blue flecks of sparkle.
  • Gold Thread is a browned gold with a bright gold sheen. This is a metallic eyeshadow.
  • Espresso is a cool-toned, smoldering black-brown. This is a matte eyeshadow. It is also part of the permanent range.
  • Grape is a sheer plummy pink with plum and gold shimmer. This is a glitter lip gloss.
  • Pink Bouquet is a sheer medium rose pink. This is a glitter lip gloss.
  • Golden Topaz is a sheer beige nude with champagne shimmer. This is a glitter lip gloss.
  • Paisley Rose is a sheer peach-coral nude with faint champagne shimmer. This is a shimmer lip gloss.

Each regular eyeshadow is 0.02 oz.; metallic eyeshadow is 0.02 oz.; each shimmer wash eyeshadow is 0.02 oz.; shimmer lip gloss is 0.03 oz.; and glitter lip gloss is 0.03 oz. In sum, you are getting 0.08 oz. worth of regular eyeshadow ($20.00 value), 0.06 oz. of metallic eyeshadow ($12.00 value), and 0.06 oz. of shimmer wash eyeshadow ($15.00 value). For the gloss, you are getting 0.03 oz. worth of shimmer lip gloss ($4.30 value) and 0.09 oz. worth of glitter lip gloss ($12.86 value). There is also a lip brush and an eyeshadow brush, both functional and not too scratchy (nowhere near as soft as full-sized Bobbi Brown brushes, but they are decent), which I’d put at $10 of value. The palette contains $74.16 worth of product, but you do get 10 eyeshadows and 4 lip glosses (three lip glosses or three eyeshadows would run you right around ~$60 alone).

I really love that Bobbi Brown separates her eyeshadows and lip glosses; it’s not something we always see in palettes, but this brand often does it, and I can appreciate that. It’s just nice not having to worry about powder getting into your gloss products. I also like the inclusion of brushes over sponge-tipped applicators and wish more brands would do the same.

This is the kind of color palette I would expect from Bobbi Brown, and I think it does suit its name. If you’re after bright colors, this is obviously something quite different. However, this palette is excellent for creating work-safe looks as well as some heavier, smokier looks–but lighter, “safer” shades dominate and make it an easy palette for those needing work-friendly options on-the-go or all in one place. I did find that the pigmentation was a bit sheer in a few of the shades (indicated above), but overall, it’s a nice palette.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: At $75, I would want to make sure to purchase it (or gift it) to someone who would really enjoy and use the majority of the palette–not just for one or two shades, you know?

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow
Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow

Benefit’s New Creaseless Cream Shadow Shades!

Benefit Cosmetics Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner ($19.00 for 0.16 oz.) are now available in four new, Sephora exclusive shades: Purple Snap (lavender violet), Silver Spoon (true silver), Tidal Rave (muted teal with gold shimmer), and Ice Shot (icy white). I have three of the four to share with you today.

I love Benefit’s Creaseless Cream Shadows — I actually gave them an award for best cream eyeshadow last year. They’re just so creamy, smooth, and apply beautifully. They can be applied sheerly for quick color or layered for a more intense look or as a base. I don’t experience any creasing–they last all day for me. And as someone who has owned many for over a year now, they aren’t prone to drying out in their jars, either.

I’m happy to report that these didn’t disappoint! They’re true to Benefit’s cream shadow formula with the creaminess and smoothness I’ve come to love. The colors are easily vibrant but just as easily used sheerly, which makes it a more versatile product.

  • Purple Snap is a brightened medium purple with softened red undertones. It has light violet micro-shimmer with a subtle sheen–not too frosty, but it’s not matte either.
  • Silver Spoon is a bright blue-tinged silver with a little mix of gray. The metallic finish is definitely there, but the bluish cast seems to dull it a bit (which isn’t a bad thing).
  • Tidal Rave is a darkened blue-teal base with green-gold shimmer. This is actually a really cool shade–very lovely–and pretty different from the rest of Benefit’s line-up. It has an almost duochrome nature to it. I was reminded me of MAC’s Surreal Eyeshadow (discontinued).

P.S. — Sephora lists Tidal Rave as Tidal Wave–but my box and bottom of the jar says Rave! So pfft!

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: I think Tidal Rave is the most unique shade of the three featured in this post–but I’m totally digging the bluish cast of Silver Spoon, too. It’s kind of like stainless steel over traditional bright silver!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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