Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Burberry Taupe Brown Eyeshadow
Burberry Taupe Brown (07) Eyeshadow

Could You Taupe Me Off?

Burberry Taupe Brown (07) Eyeshadow ($29.00 for 0.088 oz.) is a rich grayed brown with a softened, cool-toned edge. I love the pay off of it, and the texture is soft and smooth as silk. It has a semi-matte, semi-satin kind of finish, so while it’s not without a smidgen of sheen, it’s not frosty in the least bit. By its nature, it is a rather neutral shade, but it will pair well with so many colors from neutral to blues to greens to pinks. This kind of shade–particularly with its semi-matte finish–makes an excellent contouring shade, too, to really carve out the crease and emphasize eyes.

It’s a pricey pick, of course, as it is a designer brand. The packaging is as luxe as one would expect from Burberry with a hefty, gunmetal-metallic case with the check pattern and a matching velvet pouch. Each shadow comes with a decent amount of product, though, which should last you quite awhile. As with any higher-end/luxury brand, worth is very much determined by the purchaser and the products they like or what they’re looking for.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you like taupes and have a hankering for one with a semi-matte finish, Burberry’s Taupe Brown may be one to consider.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, July 19th, 2010

NARS Rajasthan Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Rajasthan Eyeshadow Duo

Prettiest NARS Eyeshadow Duo? Perhaps!

NARS Rajasthan Eyeshadow Duo ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a stunning mix of golden taupe brown and smoky peacock blue. I’m not always a huge fan of NARS eyeshadows, to be honest–I’ve had a lot of misses, particularly with their singles in the past few seasonal collections–but Rajasthan blew me away. It is such a gorgeous duo that’s wearable and so perfect for fall. I love that it’s not a smoky plum but a charcoal black smoked out base with layers of metallic and navy blue all woven together. It may look a little on the cooler side, but warmer beauties will have no problem turning this into something lovely on the eyes.

The pigmentation is spot-on–it looks just like it does in the pan–while the texture is exactly what you’d expect from NARS: smooth and buttery. NARS’ eyeshadow duos are always a better value than their eyeshadow singles–you get twice as much for only $9 more.

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

RECOMMENDATION: This is a must-have in my book. The pigmentation and texture are exactly where they should be, and the colors are incredibly wearable for both cooler and warmer as well as lighter and deeper skin tones.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Sunday, July 18th, 2010

AVEDA Aqua Pearl Eyeshadow
Aveda Aqua Pearl Eyeshadow

Pretty in the Pan; Not So Much on Skin

After being really happy with Aveda’s Golden Jasper Eye Color Trio, I knew I had to try some of the other eyeshadow trios. I decided to go with Aqua Pearl ($22.00 for 0.08 oz.), which looked like a pretty trio of yellow, muted green, and a green-teal. Unfortunately, the eyeshadows themselves are a far cry from what they look like in the pan. I didn’t experience the same soft, melts-on-skin feeling as I did with Golden Jasper. Aqua Pearl was incredibly sheer and all three shades looked muted when swatched. I did like that they weren’t powdery, and they did apply smoothly for the most part–just very, very different than they look in the pan.

I do still like that the eyeshadow trio is packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and paper, and the eyeshadow itself doesn’t contain talc, mineral oil, or parabens.

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  • Product: 20/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I would definitely pass on this shade unless you want something very sheer that doesn’t ever get to be intense.

AVAILABILITY: Aveda

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Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Burberry Khaki Eyeshadow
Burberry Khaki Eyeshadow

Burberry Khaki (08) Eyeshadow ($29.00 for 0.088 oz.) is an olive green with subtly warm-toned, brown undertones. It had a soft, smooth texture that applied well. The color payoff was good, though Burberry’s formula is confusing, as it’s called “Sheer Eyeshadow,” but then it’s supposed to have really true, long-lasting color. MAC Flourishing is greener. Lancome Designer is darker, greener. Dior Khaki Design #3 is more shimmery. bareMinerals Eureka is more shimmery. bareMinerals Speaker Box is darker, more shimmery. See comparison swatches.

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Monday, July 12th, 2010

Burberry Beauty Eyeshadow
Burberry Trench (02) Eyeshadow

Burberry Trench (02) Eyeshadow ($29.00 for 0.088 oz.) is one of twenty shades of soft, subtle eyeshadows launched in the Burberry Beauty line. I bought Trench, because it seemed like it would be a very fitting shade for the brand.  From the packaging to the color range to the feel, it’s high-end and stays true to the Burberry line and philosophy.

Trench is a smooth, buttery shade of light beige with a soft, satin sheen. It may seem hard to see on my skin tone, because it very much matches my skin tone, but it’s a beautiful barely-there shade. It’s perfect as a highlighter for lighter skin tones as well as an all-over wash for a touch of lightness. The texture is soft to the touch, but it’s pigmented.

The packaging is luxe with the gunmetal case with the signature Burberry check patterning on the cover. It also has the Burberry logo stamped across the front side. The eyeshadow compact does come in a velvet check-patterned pouch, and there is also a sponge-tipped applicator included inside. I don’t care for most included applicators, whether they’re actual brushes or sponges, because they’re often too stubby to provide enough control and precision, so it’s a throwaway for me. I like that the packaging feels weighty enough that it’s substantial and not flimsy, and the darker gunmetal hides some of the fingerprints (but you will see some). It stays closed when you want it to, and it also has a mirror inside.

Surprisingly, each eyeshadow contains a bit more product than the average eyeshadow–0.088 oz., whereas Chanel and Dior single shadows usually weigh in around 0.07 oz. and are similarly priced. Guerlain still comes in as one of the weightier high-end shadows at 0.12 oz. a pop, though!

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you like subtler color and enjoy soft, buttery textures, you may like Burberry eyeshadow.

AVAILABILITY: Burberry, Nordstrom

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Monday, July 12th, 2010

Urban Decay Vegan Palette

Can You Resist Cute Packaging?

Urban Decay Vegan Palette ($34.00) is a new and limited edition eyeshadow palette for fall, and it features six eyeshadows, one eyeliner, and a miniature-sized eyeshadow primer.  It features only products that are vegan-friendly.

The packaging is my favorite part about this product, which is creative, pretty, and functional. Otherwise, the eyeshadows are every bit of quality you’d expect from Urban Decay, but with the Naked Palette released simultaneously and featuring three of these shades (Smog, Gunmetal, Half Baked), it makes getting both of them rather redundant.

These are pitfalls of Urban Decay’s limited edition palettes, because long-time collectors often end up with multiples of several shades, since the brand reuses certain shades with great frequency. (I am personally tired of seeing Twice Baked and Baked in their palettes!) On the other hand, for newer Urban Decay fans, the palette is a cute palette with six great shades from the brand’s range. Each eyeshadow is 0.03 oz. in weight, along with a 0.03 oz. Zero 24/7 Eye Pencil and 0.13 oz. Sin Primer Potion. It’s a decent amount for the price tag, but…

The Naked Palette gives you so much for–double the eyeshadow shades (12 in total)–but every single shade in it is full sized at 0.05 oz. For $10 more, you’re getting 0.6 oz. of eyeshadow, instead of 0.18 oz. Pretty awesome, right? All six of the Vegan palette shades can be purchased individually, in case you’re dead-set on one of them. I guess what I’m really saying is if you were waffling between the Vegan and the Naked palette, I would recommend the Naked palette and not even think twice about it.

  • Minx is shimmering aqua green with tiny flecks of teal glitter.
  • Urb is a softly shimmered olive green with a golden sheen. It was the least pigmented shade of the six, though I wouldn’t call it sheer or lacking in pigmentation overall.
  • Gunmetal is a blue-toned gray-black with silver sheen. Very pigmented!
  • Twice Baked is a satin-y medium-dark chocolate brown.
  • Smog is a shimmering bronze with a copper-gold sheen.
  • Half Baked is a lightened copper with a near metallic finish.

The palette also includes a miniature-sized Zero 24/7 Liner (true black) and Sin Eyeshadow Primer Potion (a shimmery burnt champagne base). I need another Zero like I need another eyeliner, period, but it’s a solid black eyeliner which will work well with any of the six shadows and any combinations thereof. I find Sin very, very shimmery–so frosty that it’s hard to use as a base, particularly with frost finished shades like these. I think Eden would have been a better choice here to make it more versatile.

Minx and Urb are the only shades that are on the glittery side, though neither is a glitter bomb. The other four shades are smoother and don’t feel glittery–just shimmery. All six shades are very true-to-color with nice pigmentation and a soft, smooth texture. I really do like and enjoy the palette, and there is nothing wrong with it. It just depends on what Urban Decay palettes you already own and how much overlap you have between them all.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t plan on getting the Naked eyeshadow palette (how could you not?!) and you don’t have too much overlap with previously released palettes, it’s an adorably packaged palette with quality in mind.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora, Urban Decay

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