Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

MAC Cosmetics Spring Colour Forecast
MAC Colour 3 Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Spring Colour Forecast: Colour 3 Eyeshadow Quad Reviews, Photos, Swatches

Parts 3 and 4 each have an eyeshadow quad, complete in the brand spankin’ new eyeshadow quad packaging. I have to say that I don’t love the new packaging — it’s glossy, so it holds fingerprints a bit, and it looks dirtier once you’ve used the quad a few times compared to the older packaging. It also feels a bit bulkier and not as slim as the older packaging. It looks sleeker and certainly more modern/updated, though. I just hate fingerprints on packaging!

Colour 3 is definitely a cool-toned, purple dominated quad. None of the four shades really grab me personally, but I can see this appealing to others. If you love smoked out purples and plums, this is definitely a quad worth checking out.

Eyeshadow Quad — Colour 3

  • Mink Pink is a soft, dusty fleshy beige pink with a veluxe finish (though it feels more like a matte finish to me).
  • Bruised Plum is a mauvey plum with a silvery sheen. It’s like a more purple version of Shale. It’s a veluxe pearl finish, but it’s not as pigmented as I’d expect for a VP.
  • Black Tulip is dark purple with just a touch of sheen. The finishes of this quad don’t make sense to me, because this doesn’t feel like a frost at all.
  • Jungle Moon is a matte, darkened brown with a plummy feel. MAC describes it as a blackened deep eggplant, and I think that’s a fairly accurate description. It’s a soft, well-pigmented matte eyeshadow that doesn’t feel chalky or dusty.

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

MAC Cosmetics Spring Colour Forecast 1
MAC Crush Metal Pigments: Stacked 1!

MAC Spring Colour Forecast: Crush Metal Pigments Reviews, Photos, Swatches

The Crush Metal Pigment stacks contain four shades per set, but they actually come packaged in two “stacks,” though you can technically stack all four together. They look much like MAC’s travel packaging jars–they’re definitely much larger than typical 5 gram sample jars. They are roughly the same diameter as a MAC eyeshadow. The texture of these is reminiscent of Solar Bits, though I’d say they’re not chunky bits. It’s like a cross between Solar Bits and some of MAC’s frostier pigments (e.g. Kitschmas).

For your reference, these retail for $32.50 and must be bought either in Stacked 1! or Stacked 2! sets, they are not available for individual purchase.  The total weight of the Stacked sets is 12 grams / 0.42 oz.

Stacked 1!

Stacked 1! consists of four shades: a shimmery medium-dark pink with gold flecks; a lightened, pale pink with light sheen; a dark violet with red undertones and soft violet sheen; and a shimmery icy lilac. I found the icy lilac shade to be the chunkiest, frostiest, and the most difficult to work with out of the bunch. The first two shades didn’t remind me of any pre-existing or previous pigments, but the darker purple reminded me of Push the Edge pigment (but without the violet sheen), while the icy lilac one is like a lighter, icier version of Kitschmas.

Stacked 2!

The four shades included in Stacked 2!  are: a metallic light tan with a gilded gold sheen; a lightly frosted tan-gold with golden shimmer; a metallic yellow-based golden green with gold sheen; and a light, olived-toned green with slightly golden sheen. The tan shade reminds me of a slightly lighter, more metallic version of Tan pigment, whereas the beige-y tan is kind of like Blonde pigment. Neither green really has a great dupe, but they’re in the vein of maybe a much, much lighter and yellower version of Golden Olive pigment.

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

MAC Cosmetics Spring Colour Forecast 1
MAC La La Eyeshadow

MAC Spring Colour Forecast: Eyeshadows Reviews, Photos, Swatches

There are eight single eyeshadows that debut in this launch. There are four from part one and four from part two. Additionally, there are two eyeshadow quads being released in parts three and four, respectively, that will be reviewed separately.  My favorites: La La, Very Violet; Hot Hot Hot, Straw Harvest.  What are your favorites?

Spring Colour 1 Forecast — Eyeshadows

  • Rosy Outlook is a dusty medium pink with a satin finish. I think there was a shade called Riviera Rose–this reminds me of it, only not as cool-toned, but still has that dusty pink feel.
  • Very Violet is a crisp darkened violet-purple with very little sheen, not at all frosty like its frost finish would suggest. I can’t remember MAC doing a purple quite like this in recent history.
  • La La is a rich magenta fuchsia with fuchsia shimmer-sheen. It reminds me of Brash & Bold Pigment from Makeup Art Cosmetics last fall, but in eyeshadow form (so more convenient and easier to work with overall). Very nicely pigmented and smooth–and surprisingly not that frosty, despite its frost finish.
  • Da Bling is a slightly paled medium pink with a frosty sheen but excellent color pay off in a veluxe pearl finish. This is a permanent eyeshadow, though, so no need to rush to purchase.

Spring Colour 2 Forecast — Eyeshadows

  • Nanogold is a semi-sheer pinky beige. This is probably one of the nicest lustre-finish eyeshadows I’ve ever come across. It feels nothing like a lustre! This one has come out previously, though always limited edition.
  • Hot Hot Hot is an intensely pigmented orange-based red that looks mostly matte, though it has very subtle shimmer, since it is a satin finish eyeshadow. I don’t think I’ve seen MAC put out a shade like this since being a fan (about five years).
  • Straw Harvest is a gorgeous shade of warmed-up peach gold with a lighter gold sheen in a veluxe pearl finish.
  • Perky is a satin finish light salmon-y pink with good color pay off. Not quite like anything in the permanent line from what I can see.

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Monday, February 1st, 2010

Maybelline Eye Studio Green with Envy

Affordable Eyeshadow? Really?  Maybelline Eye Studio may make it possible!

Maybelline Eye Studio Green with Envy Eyeshadow Quad ($7.49 to $9.99) is new from Maybelline for spring.  Though the packaging is nothing to write home about (typical mass packaging–feels cheap, not the sturdiest palette I’ve ever handled–the lids often pop off, but they can be popped back on), the eyeshadows are some of the better ones I’ve tried when it comes to drugstore beauty brands.  The eyeshadow quad consists of four shades…

  • A shimmery, white-gold champagne highlighter that’s opaque enough to show up but sheer enough not to be overly frosty. I like this as a highlighter or all-over-the-lid kind of wash of color.
  • A shimmery, yellow-based green with a golden sheen. It’s like a slightly muted, less golden-shimmered MAC Lucky Green. It has decent color pay off, but it’s not quite as pigmented as higher-end eyeshadows (like MAC or Urban Decay), but for a drugstore brand, I’m still impressed.
  • A shimmery, muted peach-brown with golden shimmer and sheen. I can’t think of a dupe for this (at least, not off the top of my head), but it kind of feels like one of those hard-to-wear neutral shades, at least for me. I think those with cooler complexions may find it easier to wear than warm-toned complexions.
  • A charcoal gray with gold and green shimmer. I felt like this had the worst texture and color pay off of the four, though it was still okay (just not fabulous). It felt a little chalky or powdery, so it’s best applied in layers and patted on rather than blended too much. It is, however, a unique shade (which just isn’t something you see often from mass). I think if you layered this over a dark base, you wouldn’t have to worry so much about pigmentation and could get the cool multi-tonal shimmer to show.

I think the color pay off of the Give Me Gold Eyeshadow Quad was better than this one, but I’d still say it was good for something found in mass retailers and for the price. It has the same silky texture, but it can sometimes feel powdery (use less than you think, then build up).  I have a few more of these to try out over the next few weeks, so I’ll continue to review the other variations as I test them.  I have a few of the more “colorful” ones to judge just how pigmented Maybelline can do truer, more vibrant hues.

Which ones have you tried?  Impressed or disappointed?

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  • 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: Target, Walmart

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Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Urban Decay Stardust Eyeshadows
Eyeshadows: Space Cowboy, Bobby Dazzle, Griffith, Diamond Dog, 54
Retrograde, Atmosphere, Moon Spoon, Void

Urban Decay Stardust Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Swatches

For Spring, Urban Decay’s launched nine shades of a new eyeshadow formula: Stardust Eyeshadows. According to Urban Decay, these have a silky texture that has “40% more glitter than our most sparkly shadows,” and that this formula “delivers a sheer wash of color, topped with … sparkle that glistens like wet now.” The glitter ingredient is called “reflex” and these boast no fall out or chunky glitter. They can be used wet or dry, depending on what kind of color you want to achieve. Each Stardust eyeshadow retails for $20.00 for 0.12 oz. For reference, Deluxe Eyeshadows retail for $18.00 for 0.09 oz. and Deluxe Eyeshadows retail for $16.00 for 0.05 oz.

Stardust Eyeshadows

  • Space Cowboy is a champagne beige with golden sheen and sparkle. It goes on barely there when used dry, but it has a more opaque look when used wet.
  • Bobby Dazzle is a shimmery white (just slightly tinged by gold) with white and silver sparkle. This shade is best used dry unless layering over a more intense color, because it is incredibly sheer dry, though more obvious when used wet.
  • Griffith is a soft, yellow-toned green with paler green sheen and sparkle. You can get some green to show when you use this dry, but it’s better when used wet or over a base.
  • Diamond Dog is a dirty brown with a little gray and silverish sparkle. This brown kind of felt like one of those “ugly” browns to me for some reason. Somewhat pigmented when used wet but still nicer when used wet.
  • 54 is an icy purple with silver-white sparkle. It’s pretty pale and cool-toned and like the other shades, best used wet.
  • Retrograde is a darkened purple with red undertones and silver sparkle. I expected richer color, but I couldn’t achieve the deepness I wanted even when used wet. It just looks so dark in the pot, but it’s not nearly so dark in real life.
  • Atmosphere is a bright teal-blue with silver sparkle. Atmosphere is easily the best shade of the nine — if you only wanted one, this is the one I’d recommend. It’s richly pigmented, even when used dry, and moreso when used wet.
  • Moon Spoon is a gray taupe with cool silver sparkle. So so when used dry, smoother when used wet.
  • Void is a gray-black with silver sparkle. It reminded me of Oil Slick, just with more glitter. I found this one didn’t seem to look much different when used wet–about the same as when swatched dry.

The packaging is a matte, slightly squish plastic (think NARS) shaped into a square. You squeeze the sides and it releases the plastic flip-top back. I’m not drooling over the packaging, but it’s functional. It’s particularly streamlined and “clean” for Urban Decay, actually.

The glitter in the Stardust eyeshadows is definitely not the typical chunky glitter a la Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, but I did encounter a decent amount of fall out when I used Atmosphere in this look earlier this week. It wasn’t the worst fall out I’ve encountered, but I did get enough to be able to say that these definitely are prone to fall out for me. I used it over Urban Decay’s Primer Potion and wet, for reference, and still had the fall out. I’d say the fall out is a little less than their typical glitter eyeshadows, certainly much less so than Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, as well. If you don’t mind a little clena-up, then these might be fun to play around with.

These are probably better over dark bases or else layered on top of more pigmented or vibrant shades of eyeshadow. I could definitely see these working well over a black base for a very smoky, glittering eye. Even though layering seems to the best way to use these, they weren’t quite as blendable as Urban Decay’s powder eyeshadows. When used wet, they have a bit of a tendency to “stick” in places, so you may find yourself using a similar-colored powder eyeshadow to help blend out the Stardust eyeshadow.

Bottom Line: I have never been a fan of eyeshadows that produce a lot of fall out. I don’t want to have to spend extra time cleaning up after application; I don’t mind a little bit–the kind that can be covered up with foundation, just not a lot. These have enough fall out that I don’t love them, and I think the colors themselves aren’t as vibrant as I’d like to see from Urban Decay, so they’re not to my taste. Atmosphere was the only one that really popped to me.  It’s like they’re okay – Urban Decay states they’re sheer, but they also say “no fall out” which I found not to be the case in my experience.

I found myself preferring Stila’s Jewel Eyeshadow Palette for my dose of glitter, because I found the color went on a bit more pigmented when used dry, but I also didn’t encounter very much fall out when I used them either. Of course, the shades aren’t similar, so you may go one way or the other based on what kind of color you want.  I will say that if you use a sponge-tip applicator or your finger to press on the glitter, there is a lot less fall out, though.  Additionally, for a glittery-based eyeshadow, the fall out was much less than I’ve experienced in the past, on the whole.

Have you tried these yet?  What has your experience been like?

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

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love glittery eyeshadow, love the shimmering wet look, and don’t mind some fall out… I think these may be your style.

Availability: Urban Decay

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Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Benefit Spring 2010 Eyeshadows

Benefit Velvet Eyeshadows for Spring 2010

Benefit Spring 2010 Eyeshadows ($18.00 each) come in six, limited edition varieties:  Bo Peep, Buns, Nice Melons, Shamrocker, Mermaid, and Fancy Pansy.  They’re new and only available for a limited time, unfortunately, but they are perfect spring-friendly shades.

I am a big, big fan of Benefit’s Velvet Eyeshadows. I have been for awhile (you can see my original review, if you’re curious), so when I found out that there were six new shades for spring, I got a little excited. When I saw that they had pops of color, I couldn’t wait to try them.  You know me, I love me some color–even though I can totally appreciate a good neutral–and Benefit finally brought me some color.

  • Bo Peep is an icy pink with a silver sheen.  This is probably the one with the most frost-like appearance.
  • Buns is a caramel brown with a soft golden bronze sheen.
  • Nice Melons is a peachy-pink with gold sheen.  It would appear that nobody is going to escape spring without some sort of melon-esque shade in their makeup wardrobe.  Yes, it totally reminds me of MAC Melon pigment, but it’s in glorious pressed form.  (For the record, I do not like MAC pigments pressed… they’re not the same!)
  • Shamrocker is a fresh, minty green with silver sheen.  I don’t even know if I have any minty greens in my stash–it’s just not a color you see too often.  I like!
  • Mermaid is a dark green with a teal edge and gold sheen.  I would have loved to see a little more boldness and vibrancy from this shade, even though it is very much in line with the look and feel of Benefit as a line.
  • Fancy Pansy is a iridescent fuchsia-purple pearled shade with an icy sheen.  It’s like a much more purple version of MAC Stars ‘n Rockets (which runs a little fuchsia in comparison).

All six shades have the same softness, smoothness, and pigmentation as I’ve come to expect of Velvet Eyeshadows.  One of my favorite qualities about these is the consistency across the line — there are no duds.  There are no misses in texture, color pay off, or feel.  Everything is as it should be, even if one color may not be to your taste.  I can really appreciate the consistency, because it means you don’t have to worry, “Is this one going to be a flop?”

I would, of course, love to see Benefit add even more vibrant hues (a girl can dream, right?) or even a line of matte or semi-matte eyeshadows to complement the Velvet Eyeshadow line (which is all on the shimmery side of life).  But nevertheless, I hope they’ll continue to release new and/or limited edition shades throughout 2010!

Can’t wait to do a look with these!

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 soft, smooth, well-pigmented eyeshadow, Benefit’s Velvet Eyeshadow is all that and more.

Availability: Benefit

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