Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

MAC Alice + Olivia Collection
MAC Mineralize Eyeshadow Trios

MAC In the Groove Collection: Mineralize Eyeshadow Trios

In the Groove is a HUGE collection, and if you love mineralize products, you’re in luck–because that’s the theme.  These are softer, smoother, and have a pearly/satin-y finish rather than glittery or overly shimmery.  There are only a few frosty finishes here, but overall, a lot smoother and less powdery than previous mineralize eyeshadows.

Mineralize Eye Shadow (Trio) ($19.50 U.S. / $23.50 CDN)

  • In the Groove is a neutral-warm trio of a muted saffron gold, reddish brown, and pale peach with white sheen. This is actually very lovely trio — it works together, but they’re all easy-to-wear shades that could be matched with other products, too. Pigmentation was just right. The lightest yellow-y shade reminded me of an old, long discontinued shade Jasmine.
  • Calm, Cool, & Collected is a cool-toned green trio featuring a grayish-white beige with satin sheen, neutral spring green, and darkened gray-green. The springy green shade was pretty sheer, and the darker green was a little sheer, too.
  • Togetherness is a cool-toned purple trio that includes a soft lilac with a satin sheen, blue-based violet purple with a frostier finish, and a mid-tone silver gray. The pigmentation here was even and rich throughout the trio.
  • Style Influencer is a trio of grayish-white with low-level pearl, darkened navy blue with a frosty finish, and dirty pink-brown with a satin sheen. The dirty pink was a little lacking in pigmentation. The only easily dupeable shade in this trio is the dark blue, which is a good bit like Deep Truth.
  • Blue My Mind is a trio of soft, whitish blue, blue-teal, and soft black. I found that this was the least pigmented, and it was definitely better to use it wet than dry.
  • Love to Love is a trio of soft beige with a low-level satin sheen, copper with an almost metallic sheen, and muted neutral mid-tone brown. All three shades were very smooth and pigmented. The lightest shade is similar to Vanilla or Shroom, while the coppery shade is very much like Amber Lights. The darker brown doesn’t scream a dupe, but it’s likely a bit similar to one of MAC’s many neutral browns–but the satin-y finish is different.
  • Making It Easy is a pearly trio of peach-champagne, champagne, and softened orange-brown. This is a warmer trio, and it could create a very subtle, everyday eye. The middle shade reminds me of Retrospeck, except without the glittery finish.
  • Fresh & Easy is a trio of petal pink with white sheen (similar to Pink Freeze), muted cranberry (a less pigmented version of Cranberry), and muted sky blue.
  • Soften the Mood is a trio of muted sky blue with pearly sheen, mauve-toned champagne, and mid-tone neutral brown with a soft sheen. I feel like this one is a combination of the other trios — the blue from Fresh & Easy, the champagne from Making it Easy, and the brown from Love to Love.

These are a lot more pigmented than previous launches when they’re used dry–they’re more pigmented wet, of course–but they are decent to well-pigmented dry.  They also adhere way better to lids.  I used them over NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow base, and I didn’t see the color fade within minutes like I typically do.  I also had very little fall out, which I was surprised to see (or not see, as the case may be).  I’d say the formula seems much improved–more cohesive, smoother, and user-friendly.

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Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Becca Shantung Eyeshadow
Becca Shantung Eyeshadow

Becca — The Stealthy Shangtung

Becca Shantung Eyeshadow ($24.00 for 0.03 oz.) is a beautiful warmed-up molten brown with bronze shimmer and golden sheen. It has subtle red undertones, and it’s such a gorgeous bronze shade. The texture is smooth, soft, and almost buttery, but without any powderiness. It almost feels like it melts onto the skin (but it’s not a cream, it is a powder).

What a great first shadow for me to try from Becca! However, the higher price point accompanied by the below average quantity has me a bit jarred. Really, 0.03 oz.? Most high-end brands at similar price points put at least 0.05 oz., which is nearly double.

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

RECOMMENDATION: For a beautiful bronze, Becca’s Shangtung doesn’t disappoint in color, quality, or pay off. Just in value.

AVAILABILITY: Becca

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Monday, July 5th, 2010

NYX I Dream of St. Lucia Eyeshadow Palette

Budget Friendly Beauty:  NYX I Dream of St. Lucia Palette

NYX I Dream of St. Lucia Eyeshadow Palette ($8.75 for 0.28 oz.) is a tropical-themed palette with all of the fun, bright shades of the beach. It has a medium grassy green with a semi-matte finish, medium sky blue with a satiny feel, sunny, paled yellow with a frost finish, pop of bubblegum pink with blue undertones and a satin finish, and bright orange with a satin finish.

I love NYX as a brand that provides higher quality products at a very budget-friendly cost. I find NYX eyeshadows to be good but not great–they tend to be a little powdery and fade a bit on the lid. The powderiness can lead to a modest bit of fall out, though a small price to pay to keep within your budget! What’s great about this palette in particular is that I don’t have shades quite like these in some of my higher end brands, so it’s a nice way to complement and supplement my high-end collection, too.

All five shades were pigmented, though the green and blue shades easily faded if you overblended. The yellow and the orange had the best pigmentation, both vibrant with little product, and the yellow shade didn’t fade or sheer out at all (owes to the frost finish, I’d say).

Overall, it’s an excellent palette with good eyeshadows at an even better price. One thing I’d like to see is a reference guide as to what shades the palette actually contains – I couldn’t track down a list of what each was called. I only know that the palette contains some of the original, best selling NYX eyeshadows, but I’d like to know exactly which ones — NYX has so many, and it’s difficult to tell online!

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re on a strict budget or you don’t want to shell  out $15-20 per eyeshadow to get your bright eyeshadow fix, NYX has you covered with their I Dream of St. Lucia palette.  Five brights for under $10–quite the steal.

AVAILABILITY: NYX

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Monday, July 5th, 2010

Illamasqua Powdered Liquid Metal

Bronzed from Head to Toe

Illamasqua Thalia Powdered Metal (£22.00 for 0.52 oz.) is a golden bronze shimmered with gold with a soft, almost metallic sheen. It’s a loose powder that can be used alone or mixed with other products–it’s very much like any other multi-purpose loose color (e.g. Illamasqua’s Pure Pigments, MAC Pigments, etc.).

Thalia is a beautiful bronzer on medium to medium-dark skin, and it also works well as a light illuminator mixed with moisturizer or liquid foundation for those with medium to medium-dark skin. You can also throw it in your hair (try mixing it with shine spray), swirl it in a clear nail polish or creme-finish nail polish to frankenstein something new. It can also look pretty patted lightly on the center of lips over plums and reds finished by a quick slick of gloss.

A little goes a long way, and this is an incredibly finely milled powder, so it’s easy to use more than you need!   The packaging has a nice sifter on it, so it’s easier to control how much product comes out.  I like that you get plenty of the product without paying an arm and a leg, too. This is also a great body product for the summer, because you can dust it lightly on shoulders and legs (try it right after moisturizing, so it sticks better) for a subtle bronzy sheen.

Illamasqua also carries Bebhionn (soft pink shimmer) and Erzule (deep bronze shimmer).

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’d like a bit of faux glow tan without a lot of work, Powdered Metal definitely gets you there in a hurry!

AVAILABILITY: Illamasqua

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Friday, July 2nd, 2010

MAC Alice + Olivia Collection
Pigments: Partylicious, If it Sparkles…, Later.

MAC Alice + Olivia Collection: Pigments

Pigment fiends–I don’t know if I’d pass on these new shades from Alice + Olivia. They have excellent textures, and both Partylicious and Later are beautiful.  If It Sparkles would be the only one I’d think about skipping, since it’s less unique.

Pigment ($19.50 U.S. / $23.50 CDN)

  • Later. needs moisture to look amazing.  Do not just swatch it dry and forget about it, because you’re really not giving it a chance then.  When applied wet, it’s a blackened-gray base with flashes of violet and deep blue-purple shimmer and sheen.  About a million times prettier wet than dry.
  • If It Sparkles… is an iridescent icy pink with a frosty finish.  It reminded me of a smoother–but frostier–version of Pink Opal, actually.
  • Partylicious is an aqua-teal with flashes of pearly green and green-teal.  This is ridiculously lovely.  If you’re even remotely a fan of aqua/teal, this is a total must-have.  Like don’t let this one pass you by!  It almost feels like a duochrome.  At first, I thought it was similar to Parrot–except it’s greener, lighter, and tealer.  It’s not nearly as blue as Parrot.  It is GORGEOUS!

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Friday, July 2nd, 2010


Dior Misty Mauve Eyeshadow Palette

More Plums for Fall — Dior-Style

Dior Misty Mauve Eyeshadow Palette ($58.00 for 0.21 oz.) is one of two new-for-fall eyeshadow quints (the other being Pink Design #808). It contains a soft, sparkling icy lilac; satin-matte gray purple; deep black-purple with silver shimmer; frosty white with just a hint of yellow; and muted pink-mauve with a shimmer sheen.

The pigmentation was decent overall, but the icy lilac was on the sheerer, powdery side while the gray purple definitely needs to be layered for a smooth, even look. The center shade–the blackened purple–is the most intense and will easily smoke out any look you desire. I see this quint working best on those with cooler skin tones, and I do see paler skin tones rocking this easier than darker ones, just because of the lighter, shimmery shades.

Are you plummed out or ready for more?  Does this quint make your heart pitter-patter?

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

RECOMMENDATION: For cooler, paler skin tones, I think this is a great way to wear darker, plummier shades. It’s not quite as pigmented as some of the other quints I’ve reviewed in the past few years, so I’m a little bummed by that.  I like, but I don’t love.

AVAILABILITY: August 2010

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