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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Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Holiday Glitz & Glamour with Dolce & Gabbana Gold Smooth Eye Colour Duo

Dolce & Gabbana Gold Smooth Eye Colour Duo ($36.00 for 0.17 oz.) contains two eyeshadows housed in a “gold” compact and two sponge-tipped brushes.

The two shades included are a shimmery, true yellow gold with a metallic sheen and a coppery bronze shade with a metallic/frost finish. I already know what you’re thinking — because I thought the same, too — these are exact dupes of MAC’s Goldmine and Amber Lights eyeshadows. And you know what? They are and they aren’t. The gold shade in this duo is truer gold, a little yellower (less orange), and it’s not as frosty. The coppery shade is smoother, not as coppery (slightly more golden), and also not as frosty.

At the end of the day, they are reasonably similar, though, so it’s a matter of what poison you prefer. These are ultra smooth, silky shades that blend effortlessly and both shades pack plenty of color pay off. I recommend you check out a swatch of Goldmine and see how it differs, as well as do the same for Amber Lights.

Surprisingly, Dolce & Gabbana provides you with a good amount of product in this eyeshadow duo. You get 0.17 oz. for $36 or $18.00 per 0.085 oz. eyeshadow (or $211.76/oz.). This makes Dolce & Gabbana (by the ounce) less expensive than MAC ($290.00/oz.) and NARS ($314.29/oz.). I love comparing by the ounce, because it gives you a way to compare across any and all brands and just see how much you’re getting for your money. For some of us, the amount isn’t really that important, because we know we’re unlikely to finish an eyeshadow! (You know, maybe it’s not “us” but it’s me, and I feel better if I believe I’m not alone.)

Bottom Line: Dolce & Gabbana surprised me with how high quality their eyeshadows were. When I first started trying out their products, I had a fear that they’d be gimmicky and very reliant on their name rather than their product, but I was completely wrong. I’ve been pleased with the majority of their products, and the Gold Eye Colour Duo is no exception. The eyeshadows have a smooth texture, lovely metallic finish, and color pigmentation is very true.

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: I love that you’re getting your money’s worth in eyeshadow, even if I may not use it all up myself, and I happen to adore these kinds of shades (hello, I’m a total gold-eyeshadow girl!). I think if these shades appeal to you, it’s worth checking out. If they don’t, maybe check out one of their other duos!

Availability: Saks

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Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Today, CoverGirl is doing a pre-sale for their two new additions to the Blast line-up with Smoky ShadowBlast ($8.49) and ShineBlast Lip Gloss ($8.49). For those who purchase by visiting Drugstore.com, they’ll save $5 and earn free shipping while supplies last. For those who purchase by visiting CVS, they will receive free shipping. I found the pre-sale site forced me to “build a look,” when I just wanted to see where to buy, so you can just go to drugstore.com directly and search for it by name and it’ll show up.  Drugstore.com is also showing all of the shades shipping in “one to two weeks.”  Curious!

Smoky ShadowBlast is available for pre-sale in four shades: Silver Sky, Onyx Smoke, Bronze Fire, and Purple Plume. ShineBlast Lip Gloss is available for pre-sale in four shades: Dazzle, Flare, Ablaze, and Firecracker.

When these officially hit stores in January 2010, we’ll see an addition of Citrus Flair and Tempest Blue ShadowBlasts, and we’ll see a whole slew of additional glosses come the new year. The additional gloss shades are: Aglow, Beam, Ember, Fire, Gleam, Glimmer, Glow, Heat, Ignite, Radiate, Smolder, and Sparkler.

I just played around with two shades of ShadowBlast this weekend, because I wanted to be able to share a little more insight than just marketing blitz as the pre-sale got underway…

First, an obvious point of contention with this product is the lack of labeling on the product itself.  The original packaging does tell you the shade names, but once you take ‘em out of the packaging and toss it away, there’s nothing to tell you what you have.

First, I tried Citrus Flaire ShadowBlast, which was a duo of shimmery chartreuse green and a rich, shimmery copper. The chartreuse side is “step one,” designed to be use as a lid color, while the copper side is “step two,” meant to be used as a liner or crease shade. The second one I tried was Silver Sky ShadowBlast, which was a duo of a shimmery, light silver (“step one”) and a smoky purple with lighter shimmer (“step two”). Both ShadowBlasts were pigmented, smooth, and creamy without being overly so–just enough slip to glide along the lid without tugging or pulling.

After playing around with these this weekend, I’d say that they’re best layered over a base like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance or else set well with powder eyeshadow for best results. I found when worn alone, it was hard to get just the right amount so it didn’t crease or look faded. If you just want to use them as a liner, I didn’t have migration issues, but the tip of the product is a little bulky, so it’s not super easy to use as a liner.

These reminded me a lot of MAC’s shadesticks, actually – just a little softer and smoother and with less staying power (on their own). When I used it alone the first time around, it creased within fifteen minutes–I threw a layer of the chartreuse shade all over my lid for a quick and dirty crease-test, and by the time I finished photographing and swatching the other ShadowBlast, it had definitely creased.

Bottom Line: It’s really great to see CoverGirl step up their game with these pigmented cream eyeshadows. I think if you’re looking for a way to boost up eyeshadow colors, these make a great way to add an extra level of dimension underneath your regular eyeshadows.

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

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

Recommendation: For a more budget-friendly alternative to pigmented cream shadows and ways to enhance your eyeshadow, these are worth checking out.

Availability: CoverGirl

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Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Bobbi Brown Chrome Palette ($75.00) is the stunning eye and lip palette include with Bobbi Brown’s Chrome Collection, and it is also limited edition (of course!). The palette includes ten shades of eyeshadow and four shades of lip glosses.

For Eyes

  • White Eyeshadow is just that, a matte snowy white. It’s slightly cool, but it isn’t frosty or cold.
  • Polar Ice Eyeshadow is a soft, light gray with a blue tinge and silver shimmer. It goes on a bit sheer, but it can be layered for a slightly more solid look.
  • Storm Cloud Eyeshadow is a sparkly medium dark brown. It doesn’t really have anything special about it to make it unique, but it still looks pretty (you just may already have something similar in your stash).
  • Iron Eyeshadow is a matte slate gray. It didn’t go on as smoothly as the White eyeshadow, and it felt a little more dusty.
  • Thunder Eyeshadow is a glittery dark gray with a touch of black and silver shimmer. This reminded me of MAC’s Knight Divine, though not quite as glittery or gritty.
  • Moonlight Eyeshadow is a glittery soft pink with a little champagne tone. Bobbi Brown describes it as a cool purple sparkle, which is clearly not. The back of my palette shows that this is where Moonlight is supposed to be, but I really feel like this and Foil were misplaced/mislabeled.
  • Cyber Grey Eyeshadow is a slightly purple tinged smoky silver shimmer shade.
  • Foil Eyeshadow is a glittery soft purple-gray — very similar to Cyber Grey, but it has more of a glittery texture. As I mentioned earlier, I think this is really Moonlight and Foil is the other one… as Bobbi Brown describes Foil as “a pale bronze.” Again, I’m just going off the back of my palette (and Bobbi Brown’s website).
  • Chrome Eyeshadow is a silver with a little brown thrown in – kind of reminds me of Pewter Chrome Eyeshadow, but not nearly as pretty. (Sorry, I *love* that eyeshadow, so not much can compare.)
  • Charcoal Haze Eyeshadow is a matte medium gray-black. This one had the same texture as Iron, but it did seem a little smoother.

For Lips

  • Pink Mist Lip Gloss is a medium yellow-pink with multi-colored sparkle. It’s pretty sheer, but I found I could actually see some color when I swatched it on my skin (which I barely could with the Earth Metal palette).
  • Winter Bronze Lip Gloss is a copper sparkled bronze shade. On lips, it looks a bit burnished, but it’s not ultra pigmented so it’s more wearable than it looks.
  • Berry Lip Gloss is a muted plum-berry with soft sparkle. I liked this shade the most, as it seemed opaque enough to add color to lips, but still soft as I’d expect from Bobbi Brown.
  • Chrome Pink Lip Gloss is beige-rose with gold sparkle. It’s pretty, and it’s a shade I could see people loving for everyday.

You know me — I don’t like lip palettes. I don’t like them alone, and I don’t like them when attached to eyeshadow palettes, either. They’re just a no-go for me. I will say that the gloss in these are more pigmented than in Bobbi Brown’s Earth Metal Eye & Lip Palette, which is a plus.  I’m not going to drop points on this product because of that personal bias, so I’m judging on the product included itself, which is better than a lot of lip palettes I’ve tried.

In the palette, you get 10 eyeshadows, each weighing 0.02 oz. (total weight of 0.20 oz.), and you also get four lipglosses, each weighing 0.03 oz. (total weight of 0.12 oz.). A single Bobbi Brown eyeshadow retails for $22 for 0.10 oz. and a single lip gloss retails for $20 for 0.14 oz. The reason for all these conversions is to see exactly how much you’re paying for what and whether it’s worth buying a palette if you like a few shades or if you should look towards Bobbi Brown’s permanent line-up instead. The eyeshadows (by weight) would yield about $44 in value, while the lip glosses yield about $17 — which gives you a total “value” of $61. The palette is priced at $75, so I do think it’s a bit steep, even when you consider the fact that you’re getting a variety of shades all housed in a pretty chrome palette.

I also don’t think there’s quite enough variety between the ten shades of eyeshadows — a few are quite similar (like Cyber Grey and Foil). This is definitely a cool smoky eye palette with a little purple kick. I like that they included three different matte shades in the palette, because I think mattes are often missed in palettes. I do wish they had included a highlighter shade, as I think the White eyeshadow will be too garish on bolder skin tones to work well as a highlighter. In a palette of this size, I’d expect a really obvious highlighter shade.

For me, this palette is just okay. It’s not the best value, and I think Bobbi Brown has better shades (or the equivalent) available in her permanent range. In fact, I definitely recommend her Chrome Eyeshadows (and duh, my #1 recommendation would be for Pewter!) if you’re not liking the majority of the shades in this palette. The eyeshadows are soft, have a smooth texture, and they’re all pigmented. There is nothing wrong with them, but I’m just not loving the color combination overall. Nice but not amazing, you know?

Bottom Line: for those who DO love the majority of the shades in the palette and don’t mind lipgloss in pan form, I think you may like this. It’s housed in chromed-out package (which does hold fingerprints, FYI!), offers plenty of smoky eyeshadow combinations, and is appropriate for the upcoming holiday season.  I also think Bobbi Brown fans may enjoy this more than I did, and I think it’s worth at least a peek next time you’re near a Bobbi Brown counter to see for yourself.

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

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:

Availability: Bobbi Brown, Nordstrom

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Thursday, October 22nd, 2009


Bobbi Brown Chrome Eyeshadow: Gold, Silver, Pewter

Bobbi Brown Chrome Eyeshadow ($22.00 for 0.1 oz.) are new and limited edition from Bobbi Brown’s Holiday Collection for the holiday season.

These are stunning metallic finish eyeshadows — ultra pigmented, feel like butter, and blend easily. There are three shades available: Gold, which is a darker bronzy-gold; Silver, which is a bright metallic silver-gray; and Pewter, which is a taupe-brown gold with a silver-gold sheen. All three are equally amazing, just from the first use. They’re so soft, and each shade packs plenty of color. I think I may have to get a back-up of Pewter, because it’s just such an excellent color in a stellar formula. (I’m totally planning to use Pewter as a one-swipe-and-you’re-done shade!)

Bottom Line: Considering the size of the shadow (they’re cheaper than MAC, by the ounce!), the sleek packaging of Bobbi Brown (though it does hold fingerprints), and the amazing quality of these shadows… I am in love! So smooth, so rich in color, and I’m all over anything metallic. Perfect shades for holiday, too!

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 metallic, shiny, or otherwise gilded eyeshadows… I think you’ll enjoy Bobbi Brown’s Chrome Eyeshadows!

Availability: BobbiBrownCosmetics.com

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Friday, October 16th, 2009

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Collection
6 Smoke & Mirrors Eye Shadows

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Review: Smoke & Mirrors Eye Shadows

A good smoky eye palette is never a bad thing to have on hand. It’s useful, easy to travel with, and it’s classic. I’m not loving this year’s version of the smoky eye palette, because it’s more of a brownish eye, and I’ve always felt the classic smoky eye is monochromatic. I still hold that last year’s was better. (And I still contend that you can make your own smoky eyeshadow quad with permanent MAC eyeshadows just as well.)

6 Smoke & Mirrors Eye Shadows ($36.00 U.S.)

  • Fire In Her Eyes is a super soft, slightly sheer beige with a light frost finish. In the swatch, you can tell it hardly shows up on my skin without a base. It’ll make a nice highlight, though.
  • Wide-Eyed Wonder is kind of a taupe-y brown with a reddish touch. There’s nothing about this shade that makes it jump off the page for me.
  • Black Magique is a velvety smooth deep dark black with brown tones. It has slight gold shimmer, but it’s hardly noticeable.
  • Spell No. 9 is a satiny neutral pink. It’s sheer, and it doesn’t do much for me.
  • Deception is a sheer, glittery copper bronze. Even though it’s a frost finish, it had more of a lustre feel to me.
  • Smoke & Mirrors is a cool-toned chocolate brown with a little gray sheen.

I”m not sold on this year’s. It reads more like a neutral eye palette than a smoky eye palette to me. It’s useful, and the colors are easily worn by many, so in that aspect, it’s a solid choice for those looking for a go-to palette.

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

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