Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Sugarpill Eyeshadow Quad

Sugarpill Cosmetics:  Pressed Eyeshadow

Sugarpill Cosmetics also released nine shades of pressed eyeshadow ($12.00 for 0.14 oz.)–though you can find them all within pre-made eyeshadow quads as well. You can find a review of Flamepoint, Buttercupcake, Love+, and Poison Plum here. The other five shades you can find in this review!  The majority of the eyeshadows are vegan, but check the website, as they mark which are vegan (e.g. Love+ is not).

  • Bulletproof is a deep dark black with a matte finish. It applies smoothly and isn’t chalky or powdery.
  • Tako is a matte white. This one I felt had a little bit of a powdery look to it, though it was surprisingly good for a white eyeshadow. I don’t know if I’ve ever found a white that didn’t look a bit off on my skin tone, to be honest. It doesn’t feel powdery–just looks a little like it on my skin tone.
  • Dollipop is a bright hot pink with a matte finish. This is one of those showstopping pinks, truly. I am not sure if I’ve ever seen anything quite this bright before. This is a retina-burning shade! Super pigmented and applies beautifully.
  • Midori is an intense medium-dark green with a subtle shimmer. I actually can’t think of a shade that’s similar to this–at least not one that I own. Very pretty – wearable without being so intense or primary.
  • Afterparty is a rich medium blue with a shimmer pearl. This is the only shade that really made me go, “Oh! This looks like…” (it reminded me of MAC’s Freshwater, but a little lighter blue). This one has a very distinct pearly sheen to it.

All of the nine eyeshadows applied smoothly and felt soft to the touch. They were intensely pigmented, and you didn’t need much to get to that high level of pigmentation. For those who aren’t so much into color, Sugarpill doesn’t quite have you covered–yet. I’m interested to see if Sugarpill will put together a wider range of finishes, color varieties, and the like in the future.

The packaging works for me. It’s understated and functional, but it doesn’t feel cheap (which is something I worry about with newer brands). It’s a circular, flat, semi-domed shaped plastic. It has a matte black plastic on the bottom half with a clear plastic flip-top lid. The lid has the Sugarpill logo printed (not a sticker!) on the lid as well.

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

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

Recommendation: If you love bright eyeshadow, Sugarpill Cosmetics might grab your attention!

Availability: Sugarpill Cosmetics

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Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Sugarpill Eyeshadow Quad

Sugarpill Cosmetics:  Burning Heart Eyeshadow Quad

Sugarpill Cosmetics recently debuted, and Amy (aka Shrinkle), the creator and founder, reached out to Temptalia to see if I’d be interested in checking it out. I’ve known of Shrinkle forever, mostly through friends who’ve bought from her via eBay, so when I saw that she was working on a cosmetics line, I was definitely intrigued. It was perfect timing when she reached out to me, because I was thinking of grabbing a few to try.

Today, I’ll go through the majority of the Sugarpill line, but first, I wanted to start off with the Burning Heart Palette ($34.00), which contains four large-sized eyeshadows (0.14 oz. each). The eyeshadows included in the palettes are the same size and shadows you can purchase individually. She has three variations available with a total of nine unique shades altogether. Burning Heart includes Flamepoint, Buttercupcake, Love+, and Poison Plum.

  • Flamepoint is is a vibrant matte orange with fierce pigmentation.
  • Buttercupcake is a bright matte yellow. I found the pigmentation on this to be great, but it did feel a little on the powdery side.
  • Love+ is an intense shade of true red with a semi-matte finish. When swatched, I found it really looked more matte, but there is some shimmer/sheen when you look at it in the pan. Awesome pigmentation–very much true-to-color.
  • Poison Plum is a rich violet with a semi-matte finish. Again, like Love+, it has shimmer in the pan, but it’s very subtle when used.

All four eyeshadows are rich, vibrant shades with good pigmentation and a soft, smooth texture. These aren’t powdery or chalky–they are very blendable in practice. The eyeshadow pans themselves look to be about the size of Make Up For Ever eyeshadows, for reference. Since the palette is magnetized, these actually can be popped out if you want to rearrange them for travel, too.

The packaging is edgy and fun–it’s exactly what I’d expect from what I know about Amy and her style. What I like is that for a brand that’s debuting, she’s done it right. The packaging is not only true to her style, but it’s quality. It’s printed, designed for the line, and looks good. On the back of the packaging, all of the ingredients are listed for your reference. I would love to see the names of the eyeshadows added to the back of the palette/packaging, though.

The quad itself is a heavy-duty cardboard (whether you dig cardboard or not for packaging is another story) — I myself, prefer plastic/metal packaging because they hold up better — but I haven’t had many issues with cardboard packaging either. Nevertheless, it’s not cheap, flimsy cardboard. I think with normal use, you’re not going to have any issues with the cardboard breaking down much, but you might get a couple of scratches. It’s magnetic, so it’ll stay closed, and inside, there’s a large mirror.

Do not expect Sugarpill to be an ultra affordable line–because the packaging doesn’t reflect cost-cutting and the products themselves are made with quality. I think it’s unfair for a brand (any brand, for that matter) to set low prices just to gain buyers. I think it’s important to set a price that makes sense for your brand, where you want to position yourself, and what kind of audience you want to appeal to. I think $34 for four shades of intensely pigmented eyeshadow (and they’re pretty large-sized pans, to boot) is a good deal.

I’d also like to give major kudos to Sugarpill for putting up some of the most accurate brand-provided swatches I’ve seen.

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you love bright eyeshadow, Sugarpill Cosmetics might grab your attention!

Availability: Sugarpill Cosmetics

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Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Beauty on a Budget:  Maybelline Irresistibly Ivy Eyeshadow Quad

Maybelline Eye Studio Irresistibly Ivy Eyeshadow Quad ($8.49) is a mix of four eyeshadows that can be used together or alone. They’re very soft, slightly powdery shades, so it’s better to use a tapping technique, rather than sweeping/brushing it on a lot. Think less windshield-wiper motions when applying these with a brush. I find that this is just something that holds true for all softer shadows (e.g. Stila and Urban Decay).

Irresistibly Ivy includes a softly shimmered champagne beige; rich, orange-copper with golden shimmer; matte teal with glitter sparkle; and reddened bronze-copper. I found that the orange-copper shade had the best texture and color pay off–very smooth and true-to-color. The teal had a little more of a dusty feel to it, since it’s more of a matte base with shimmer on top.

For drugstore beauty, the pay off is intense and over a good primer (e.g. UDPP), I had no problems with the color popping and staying true. I found minimal fading after eight hours, so they’re not quite as good as some of my favorite eyeshadows, but for the price, they’re an excellent alternative for those on a budget–or would like to try certain colors without shelling out $15+ for one.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you like soft shadows and want something affordable, Maybelline Eye Studio Quads might be up your alley!

Availability: Local drugstores

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Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Laura Mercier Golden Brown Eyeshadow Duo

Laura Mercier Polished Collection: Eye Colour Duos in Golden Brown & Plum Spice

Laura Mercier Eye Colour Duos ($22.00 each, 0.09 oz. each) come in three different finishes: luster, matte, and sateen. From Laura Mercier’s Polished Collection, there are three new Colour Duos: Golden Brown (Luster), Cocoa Rose (Matte), and Plum Spice (Sateen). The new shades are–surprise, surprise–limited edition.

  • Golden Brown is a mix of a softened metallic gold and light bronze with copper-bronze sheen.
  • Plum Spice is a satiny smooth dirty peach and lightly shimmered dirty pinked plum.

Both duos had a very smooth, soft texture and the shadows swatched easily. Golden Brown had more color pigmentation and an even smoother feel than Plum Spice, which had more of a semi-sheer appearance and required some layering to get a higher intensity.

I think Laura Mercier fans will enjoy these limited edition shades, because both duos include colors that are easy to use, perfect for spring, and can be mixed with many products you may already own. If you’re more of a bright color eyeshadow kind of person, these probably weren’t designed with you in mind!

Everything I’ve tried from Laura Mercier has been all about creating soft, flattering looks with sheer or buildable color for everyday wear–these fit that philosophy to a T. I think this best describes the line (taken from the “about” section on her website): “She personally created the colors to satisfy the needs of her clients, based on a classic and always-current palette, rather than seasonal trends only.”

The duos actually contain a decent amount of product–it’s like you get enough to use in your lifetime, without having to invest a ton into it. By the ounce, Laura Mercier’s Eye Colour Duos are more affordable than MAC and just a little above Make Up For Ever eyeshadows. I’ve always liked her packaging–it’s kind of like a chocolate brown with bronzy shimmer/sparkles in the mix. Pretty, functional, and a little fun.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you like soft, smooth color that applies evenly and without fallout, Laura Mercier is worth checking out!

Availability: BlueMercury

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Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

NARS Kuala Lumpur Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Spring 2010:  Kuala Lumpur Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Kuala Lumpur Eyeshadow Duo ($32.00) is a newly-released eyeshadow duo from NARS Spring 2010 Collection.

On one side, it’s a melon-y peach kind of shade with a shimmery, slightly frosted finish–it would appear that this is just one of those shades for the spring season (like Benefit Nice Melons, MAC Flip, Urban Decay Muchness; or even MAC Melon Pigment).  The other side is a reddened burgundy with a softer frost finish and sheen.

I don’t love this eyeshadow duo, and I really thought I’d be all over it, given the way it looks.  However, this is an eyeshadow duo one really needs to use wet, because the color pay off is not up to my expectations for a brand like NARS when they’re used dry.  When used dry, particularly on the lid, they tend to look incredibly sheer and have a good deal of fall out (primarily of the shimmer).  I didn’t expect to have any fall out troubles with this, considering they’re pressed powder shadows with shimmer, rather than glittery bits!

The texture of Kuala Lumpur is very soft–the shadows are smooth and soft to the touch but powdery, and when swatched, they look nicer than it was when I attempted to use the colors dry in a look.  In order to make the look come together better, I ended up using the colors wet, which definitely helped quite a bit.  I didn’t love it even wet, though, because once it dries, it does fade back a bit.  It’s like, when you use the eyeshadow wet, it doesn’t remain looking like it does when wet, but it doesn’t completely become how it looks when dry.  Instead, it settles somewhere in between.  (You can see me wearing this duo in this look.)  I also found that when used dry, it just didn’t seem to apply evenly and I really had to pack on the color to get an even (though sheer) application.

For $32, I want an eyeshadow I can truly use wet or dry, not just wet.  I also don’t want to have to work too hard to make it work for me, either.  I can get down with having to experiment a bit for just the right application method when we’re talking about a $2 eyeshadow, but if you’re going to buy high-end, it should work right outta the compact, you know?

The good news, for those concerned with the $32 price tag, is you get plenty for your money.  The math works out to NARS eyeshadow duos being cheaper by the ounce than both MAC and Make Up For Ever.  But maybe you’re better off picking up a different duo…

Oh, p.s. if you dig these colors, you may find that layering them over a more metallic base will help enhance their colors.  Like say MAC Rubenesque Paint Pot.  I always find poor performing shadows seem to work better when layered over colored and shimmery/metallic bases.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you like your colors soft, I think you’ll still enjoy this new shade for spring.

Availability: BlueMercury

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Monday, February 8th, 2010

Physician's Formula Bronze Brown Eyes Shimmerstrips

9 Eyeshadows for the Price of $11: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips

Physicians Formula Bronze Brown Eyes Shimmer Strips ($10.95 for 0.26 oz.) is a strip of nine different shades designed to complement brown eyes specifically. Bronze Brown Eyes includes: a neutral lilac, soft bronze brown, coppery bronze, golden champagne, soft copper, bronze, light copper, plummy brown, and burgundy brown. All nine shades apply smoothly, give good color pay off, and have a frosty finish. (If you’re into matte textures, Shimmer Strips are not the way to go.) Physicians Formula describes the shades as “three blendable trios perfectly paired to color, contour, and line your eyes.” Sort of handy if you’re not quite sure how to pair your shades yet.

Physicians Formula’s Shimmer Strips line-up always reminds me of Bobbi Brown’s Shimmerbricks. They’re not-so-elegantly packaged in comparison, as they come in a clear, slightly glossy plastic packaging. Shimmer Strips come in a slim compact that skinny and long that snaps open and includes an angled sponge-tip applicator (which is as good as sponge applicators are, which is not very). Otherwise, they do have a very similar feel and look–soft, not ultra intense in pigmentation but not sheer, and frosty.

I found these worked just fine using regular makeup brushes, though less is more–piling too much on the brush can lead to excess fall out. Overall, I found fall out to be minimal and the color to stay on fairly well with just some fading after the eighth hour of wear. Physicians Formula also designed Shimmer Strips for Hazel, Blue, and Green eyes, if you’ve been looking for a how-to on how to make your [insert color here] eyes.

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

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

Recommendation: If you’ve been looking for easy-to-use eyeshadows on a budget, Physicians Formula’s Shimmer Strips give you nine all in one!

Availability: Physicians Formula

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