Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Holiday Makeup: Subtle Glam?

Sonia Kashuk Starry Eyes Eye Palette ($14.99) is a mix of six eyeshadows–three glittery, three matte–for the holiday season.

My favorite part about this palette is the outside casing — it’s this shimmery, sequin-y black case that sparkles in the light. It’s really stunning, and it’s probably one of the best holiday-themed packaging jobs I’ve seen in awhile. Unfortunately, the inside of the palette, which is more important, just fell a little flat for me.

While I liked Sonia Kashuk’s Showstopper Eyeshadow Quad, which had the same shimmery shadow texture, these colors just seem drab–muted. They’re so muted and subtle and yet have so much shimmer, it seems contradictory. The texture is smooth, and they look wet when applied and have surprisingly little fall out (though there is some). For me, the colors don’t jump out at me, so I’m just not excited over it.

Included in the palette are three glittery shades: a muted warm-toned medium-dark brown, a glitzy warmed up champagne gold, and a muted mauvey-brown, along with three matte shades: a cool-toned chocolate brown, a dusty white, and a plummy mauve.  The matte shades didn’t feel chalky or dusty, though they were a little sheerer than I’d like–overall, they felt smooth to the touch.

I did like how the shimmery shades were coordinated with the matte shades – almost like reflections of each other. I think I liked the actual shades of the matte colors more than the shimmery ones, though!

Bottom Line: This just isn’t the palette for me, but it’s still a quality palette. The shadows were smooth, had decent color pay off, and they’re shades that can definitely be worn by many. Though they’re muted and subtle (and inexplicably, it just didn’t work for me in this palette–because I know I can appreciate a subtle color palette!), they would make for some more nuanced, less in-your-face holiday looks for sure.

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

Recommendation: If you enjoy more subtle, muted shades, you might like this!

Availability: Target

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Friday, December 4th, 2009

Holiday Makeup Palettes:  Prescriptives Luster Baked Eye Color Quad — Cool

Prescriptives Luster Baked Eye Color Quad ($40.00) is available in two varieties: cool and warm. The one I’m reviewing is the cool palette, which contains four shades of lightly shimmered, soft sheen baked eyeshadows.

The four shades in the palette are: a soft, plummy pink with gold shimmer; copper-bronze with peachy gold shimmer; pinky bronze with soft sheen; and a neutral-cool chocolate brown with soft gold shimmer. The shades work extremely well together, which is something I love to see in a palette–just on principle–so this is something you can easily take with you during your holiday travels. (Or not, if you’re staying home like me!)

The texture is soft and smooth, and the shades themselves are fairly pigmented. They’re not ultra intense, but they have good pigmentation and aren’t too sheer or overwhelming to use. Since they’re baked, they can be used wet for more intensity, and you don’t have to worry about the wetness ruining the product like the typical powder product.

These are very similar to MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadows, even down to the fact that they’re baked on a terracotta plate. Considering both brands are owned by Estee Lauder, I’m not too surprised. Props to Prescriptives for putting them in a palette, though, and also? not giving us an overly glittery mess of useless color! These are much less frosty than MAC Mineralize Eyeshadows tend to be as well, so that may also appeal to you.

I’m not a big baked/mineralize eyeshadow fan myself, so this palette didn’t get me dancing, but it was a nice piece to see for the holiday season, and I think those who do love themselves some mineralized goodness will want to check this out.

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: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love MAC Mineralize Eyeshadows, you may find Prescriptives’ Baked Eyeshadow Palettes are right up your alley!

Availability: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Clarins’ Palazzo d’Oro Collection:  Gold Attraction Eye Quartet

Clarins Gold Attraction Eye Quartet & Liner Palette ($66.00) is a limited edition holiday palette from Clarins’ Palazzo d’Oro collection, which was “inspired by the light and sumptuous radiance of the architecture of Venice.” It’s a very minimalist collection with four pieces: an eyeshadow palette, a face palette, a lipstick, and a mascara.

The Eye Quartet includes a soft, shimmery milky pink, high-sheen peachy-gold, subdued taupe brown with subtle gold shimmer, and a richer, chocolate brown with just a smidgen of gold specks in it. It also has a black-brown cream liner included with the palette. All four shades are pigmented, and the eyeshadows themselves are smooth to the touch. They blend easily, and this combination of shades is actually very easy to use, because they work so well together. It’s not quite a neutral quad–almost like a neutral quad with a kick, I suppose. It’s perfect for the holidays, but it’s a palette you could easily continue to use throughout the year.

The packaging is stunning; it’s a heavy metal-ish compact that looks like gold. I may even go as far as to say I like the packaging more than the contents! It’s just particularly lovely and well-done, and I am happy that the insides didn’t disappoint.

I only found one drawback for this eyeshadow palette, and it’s the price. The price is really tough to swallow, even for Clarins. Even though you are getting 0.17 oz. of eyeshadow in the palette, it still works out to be $388.24/ounce–which prices it above MAC and NARS, but around the level of Givenchy and Chanel. They sell eyeshadow quartets as part of their regular line-up at $40 each, so I do think you are paying quite a bit on top of this for the packaging itself.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: If you’re a sucker for packaging, Clarins’ Gold Attraction palette just might sucker you in!

Availability: Clarins, Nordstrom

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Monday, November 9th, 2009

NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

Holiday 2009: NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a new product recently released by NARS designed to provide smooth, long-wearing all-over eye color. It can be used to smudge along the lash line or as a base. NARS also released two other shades: Goddess (a shimmery light pink) and Skorpios (a shimmery copper).

Aigle Noir is a dark brownish-black with green-gold shimmer laced through it. It’s a very nice, solid shade to wear on the lower lash line, but when it’s applied to the lid, it just tends to appear sheerer (especially if you apply or blend with a brush or fingertip). So, every cream-based eye product gets a very simple test: apply it all over my lid and wait to see if it creases. NARS’ Soft Touch Shadow Pencil did not make it past five minutes before there was a distinct line where the color creased on my eyelid. Consequently, I wouldn’t consider this a grab-and-go product, because it just doesn’t hold up on its lonesome.

NARS says the new Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are the “[i]deal base for layering with powder eyeshadow to increase color intensity,” which is always the follow-up test when an emollient product can’t keep from creasing. They also state that this is a “smooth, creamy, long-wearing formula,” which I’ll have to disagree with–at least when worn by itself. However, when set with a powder eyeshadow, the results are definitely much better. I didn’t find it creased or smudged on me once I had a layer of powder shadow on top. I imagine you could, if you really wanted to keep the color itself showing, try translucent powder dusted on top to minimize creasing.

Since NARS suggests these as an “ideal” base and doesn’t necessarily call out that it should be used totally alone, I won’t knock off a ton of points for missing the mark on that.  Nope, NARS does, actually. Major impact on rating!  I know that even purported crease-proof products can vary from person to person, with it never creasing on some but creasing in minutes on others. For the record, my lids are about average; neither dry nor oily.

It also works nicely as an eyeliner, and it didn’t smudge, budge, or migrate on my lower lash line when I wore it for a day. I noticed it had no staying power on my waterline, though, so if you were hoping to use it for that, you may find yourself looking at other products. I will also say that because these are oversized pencils, they’re not the easiest to line with. I was able to get a thin line on my lower lash line, but it does take a little maneuvering to make sure you don’t end up with a thicker line. Aigle Noir was smooth, lightly creamy, and worked best as an eyeshadow base.

Bottom Line: These are not crease-proof on their own, but they can work as a good base beneath powder eyeshadows. Once you’ve set the product with the powder eyeshadow, you’re good to go. Aigle Noir applied fairly evenly when I applied directly from the pencil onto my lid, but it took a bit of layering to get a more opaque look. I wasn’t blown away by the formula, but if there’s a color that really calls to you, I think it’s worth checking out. For me, I’d would have loved to see this shade as a pressed eyeshadow.

The Glossover

coming-soon

NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil Review, Photos, Swatches

F
These are not crease-proof on their own, but they can work as a good base beneath powder eyeshadows. Once you've set the product with the powder eyeshadow, you're good to go. Aigle Noir applied fairly evenly when I applied directly from the pencil onto my lid, but it took a bit of layering to get a more opaque look.

Product

4/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

4/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Dupes
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Monday, November 9th, 2009

Holiday Glitz: Sonia Kashuk Showstoppers Eyeshadow Quad

Sonia Kashuk Showstoppers Eyeshadow Quad ($10.99) is the glitz-in-a-pan that’s so perfect and fitting for the holiday season I couldn’t resist saving this review until now. There are certain items that impress you at first swatch, and this was definitely one of those items for me.

It includes a glittery warmed-up frosty white, muted reddish-brown with golden bronze glitter, glitzy soft pale antique gold, and smoky charcoal gray-black with silver glitter. These applied and looked almost wet–I will say they looked much better in person than in photos. There’s just something about the shimmer that I couldn’t capture, despite taking dozens of photos! I will say that the only real drawback to these is they have a tendency to get all over your cheeks if you use a regular eyeshadow brush with them. I do recommend using a sponge-tip applicator or else use these applied wet to minimize the fall out.

The texture of the eyeshadows was surprisingly soft and almost creamy, despite the obvious glittery bits, and the pigmentation was decent overall. I found the gold shade was the least opaque, followed by the white shade, while the brown and gray shades were both opaque. The price is just right, and you can often catch Sonia Kashuk on sale at your local Target–though I’ve heard this isn’t as easy to find locally as it is online.

Bottom Line: This is just one of those really fun, totally glitzy and glittery pieces that you may not pull out and wear everyday, but it sure is glamorous to have all that bling sparkling on your eyes.  It’s really, really stunning when you swatch–not quite as lovely on the lids (but still nice!), but ultimately not the most practical item I’ll own.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For lots and lots of shimmering glitter on your eyes, Sonia Kashuk is an affordable way to get glitzy this holiday season.

Availability: Target

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Saturday, November 7th, 2009

NARS Mousson Cream Eyeshadow
NARS Mousson Cream Eyeshadow from Holiday 2009

NARS Mousson Cream Eyeshadow ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a new shade of cream-to-powder eyeshadow from NARS’ Holiday Collection. NARS describes this shade as “[a] shimmering, spicy pine named for the monsoon – natural and unpredictable … [i]t has richness and depth, yet allows for a surprising range of intensity.” They later describe the color as “silver sage.”

Mousson is is an antique gold with a green tarnish and silver sparkle. It’s creamy, dries to a mostly powder finish fairly quickly (but not so fast you don’t have time to work with it), and I’ve found it fairly crease-resistant. I would say it’s much better and doesn’t crease easily when set with a powder base or layered over an eyeshadow base like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance. The shade itself is exactly something I’d wear and a color I’d feel compelled to own–you know me and (antique) golds!

NARS’ Cream Eyeshadows aren’t my absolute favorite cream formula to work with (Benefit’s are my current favorite), but I do like it. I just find it does have a slight tendency to crease if you apply too much or you don’t set it with an eyeshadow. For me, I rarely wear cream shadows alone anyway, so it’s not a big deal to use it in conjunction with powder eyeshadow.

Bottom Line: For a fun, sparkly shade of antique gold with a green cast, Mousson might be something you’d like. If you’re not normally a cream eyeshadow fan, while it’s still worth taking a peek at your local NARS’ counter, I’m not sure these will persuade you otherwise at the end of the day.

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 love NARS’ Cream Eyeshadows, I do think you’ll like Mousson!

Availability: NARS

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