Saturday, August 14th, 2010

MAC Venomous Villains - Cruella
MAC Venomous Villains — Cruella de Vil

MAC Disney Venomous Villains Collection: Cruella de Vil Review, Photos, Swatches

There are four “parts” to the collection, with each part being represented by each of the characters. After much indecision, I finally committed to reviewing everything by character, rather than product type! First up is Cruella de Vil, the villainness from 101 Dalmatians. Cruella’s “collection” includes two lipsticks, two lipglasses, three eyeshadows, one Penultimate eyeliner, one beauty powder, and one blush.

All of the character images are stamped on the products; they are not stickers. You can find official promotional imagery and color descriptions here. The collection launches on September 30th, 2010 at all MAC locations, October 2010 internationally, and approximately September 28th for online. You may also want to check your local store to see if they are holding an unveiling/preview party for the collection.

Lipglass ($15.50 U.S. / $18.50 CDN)

  • Wicked Ways is a brightened cherry red that’s semi-opaque with subtle golden shimmer.  I think this is going to be a very nice red on both warm and cool skin tones.  It leans just a tiny bit blue, I’d say… but very close to neutral.
  • Devilishly Stylish is a semi-sheer white-shimmered, slightly champagne nude. Not exactly the most original shade, but with some darker eye/lip products, will be a nice relief for those who need something softer.

Lipstick ($15.50 U.S. / $18.50 CDN)

  • Innocence, Beware! is a semi-opaque pinky nude with a cremesheen finish. It’s a little glossy, not overly creamy, and I found it accentuated every imperfection on my lips. Make sure to exfoliate shortly before applying this shade. It seems like a pinker Blankety or paler Plink!, as well as in the family of nudes like Creme d’Nude and Hue.  This shade is more opaque than the latter three, but the texture is best in Hue (smoother, less accentuating of flaws).
  • Heartless is an almost neutral red that applies nearly opaque; if it leans in any direction, I would say slightly orange, but it really seems closer to neutral. It has an amplified finish. The closest dupe in the permanent MAC range seems like it would be Brave Red or perhaps Ladybug (which is probably a bit sheerer).

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

  • Darkly My Dear dirtied brown with just a mere hint of plum. It looks plummer in the pan than it is in actuality–it’s rather brown when worn. It can be built up or used sheerly depending on the look you’re going for. It’s kind of like a browner, much darker version of Blushbaby. It’s supposed to have a matte finish, but it seems like it has a hint of pearl/satin sheen to it, though very near matte on cheeks.

Eyeshadow ($15.50 U.S. / $18.50 CDN)

  • Sweet Joy is a pale gold with soft yellow undertones and a frost finish. This was originally included in the Passions of Red holiday palette (quite awhile ago). It’s similar to Dreammaker (Starflash) but less frosty; also similar to Creme Royale (Hello Kitty) and Creme de Miel (Style Warriors). It’s yellower than Nylon, much less gold/yellow than Goldmine.
  • De-vil is darkened, orange-y copper with a veluxe pearl finish. It’s just the tiniest bit less red and a hair darker than Coppering, darker and deeper than Amber Lights (not even really comparable, IMO). It seems a little darker than Brash (Cult of Cherry), possibly similar to Courage (Untamed).  But it’s really close to Coppering.
  • Carbon is a matte black–can be packed on for an intense black, but like some mattes, better applied than swatched. This is a permanent shade.

Beauty Powder ($25.00 U.S. / $30.00 CDN)

  • Her Own Devices is a sheered out champagne-shimmered medium nude. It gives just a hint of color on my NC25 skin (“medium”), but I think it maybe a nice shade for highlighting medium to dark skin tones, because it’s natural but it has shimmer–since it’s not pale, it won’t turn darker complexions ashy.  I’ve had a few readers ask about how it compares to Shell Beauty Powder, but the two look completely different on me.

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Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Video Review:  Urban Decay Book of Shadows 3

I’m way more articulate in my written review, but this might be helpful as an overview or if you are a more auditory learner. :)  I do recommend watching the video in HD.  So much prettier that way!

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III
Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III

Exclusive: First Look @ Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows Vol. III

For the holidays, Urban Decay will be launching the third installation in their Book of Shadows palette series. The palette will retail for $54, and while I don’t have an exact date yet, based on past releases, mid to late September is a good bet. If you’re in the NYC area on August 28th, you can snag one of 1,000 pieces available for sale at the Times Square Sephora (details here).  It’s expected to launch online at urbandecay.com after Labor Day and at other retailers on October 1st.

The palette includes 16 eyeshadows (0.03 oz. each, total of 0.48 oz.), 2 miniature-sized eyeliners (0.03 oz. each, total of 0.06 oz.), and 1 minature-sized Primer Potion (0.13 fl. oz.). To break down the value for you, this represents $163.20 worth of eyeshadow ($340/oz.), $25.50 worth of eyeliner ($425/oz.), $6.88 of Primer Potion ($52.94/fl. oz.). In sum, it’s the equivalent of $195.58 worth of Urban Decay products. You will, of course, have to spend much more as individual products are all slightly bigger (e.g. each full-size eyeshadow retails for $17).

Anyway, the point is that no matter how you slice it, Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows palettes have a lot of value. The quality of the shadows is exactly what their full-size and permanent shades represent; there is no skimping here.

Eyeshadows

  • Perversion is a matte charcoal black. It’ll darken anything you want to, and it’s a good black, but it’s not an ultra deep black. Not at all chalky! This is a permanent shade, and it has been featured in BoS I and II.
  • Uzi is a whitish-silver with flecks of silver glitter. I’ve found this shade has some fall out, but it’s not too bad. This is a permanent shade, and it has been featured in the Sustainable palette.
  • Loaded is a deep forest green with a metallic shimmer sheen. It is hands down my favorite shade in the palette — it’s like a greener version of NARS’ Rajasthan! This is new and exclusive to this palette.
  • Kush is a medium grassy green with a subtle cool undertone. This is a nice shade with excellent color payoff, and it is new and exclusive to this palette–but it does have some cousins. It’s a darker version of Graffiti (permanent) and Absinthe (BoS I), and it’s a greener, darker version of Homegrown (BoS II).
  • Midnight Cowboy Rides Again is a pink-tinged champagne with champagne flecks of glitter. It may be one of my least favorite eyeshadows of all time, because it has so much fall out, even though it feels very smooth. I recommend using it with a stickier base and make sure you have Q-tips and makeup remover to control the fall out. This shade is permanent, and it has been in BoS II and BoS Alice in Wonderland, as well as the Sustainable palette.
  • Last Call is a medium plum with strong red undertones and shimmer finish. This is a permanent shade that’s also a popular palette shade–it’s been featured in BoS I, BoS AiW, and Ammo.
  • Rockstar is a deep shade of eggplant purple with burgundy-red undertones and a shimmer-sheen. This is a new and exclusive shade to the palette–but the color is like Rockstar 24/7 Eye Pencil (duh!).
  • Money is a silvered blue with a metallic blue-green sheen. Very pretty and will be a great shade to layer over colored bases to bring out different undertones. This shade is new and exclusive to the palette.
  • Haight is a brightened medium blue with a frost finish that pulls just an itsy bit teal. This is shade is permanent, but it’s a Sephora exclusive. It hasn’t been in any other palettes.
  • Maui Wowie is an antique gold with a nearly metallic gold sheen. It also has flecks of dark gold glitter, so it can have some fall out issues. This is a permanent shade, and it’s also been in BoS AiW and Ammo.
  • Smog is a medium-dark bronze with a shimmer-frost finish. This is a shade that’s been in a ton of palettes! It’s permanent, but it has also been released in BoS I, Ammo, Naked, and Vegan.
  • Bordello is a mauve-tinged pink with soft flecks of dark pink shimmer-glitter. It’s smooth, pigmented, and has an almost metallic sheen. The glitter is similar to Uzi’s, but it feels a little finer. This is a new and exclusive shade.
  • Radium is a true medium blue with a cooler undertone and a softer frost finish. Great pigmentation! It is new and exclusive to this palette, and I imagine its color gets inspiration from Radium Cream Eyeshadow.
  • Snatch is a peachy-pink with a frosty finish. It’s very smooth and has nice pigmentation. This was originally in the Show Pony palette.
  • Suspect is a medium bronze that pulls a smidgen taupe and has a rather cooler undertone. I thought it was similar to some of the browns in previous BoS palettes (like Sidecar, Nylon, Gridlock, etc.), but those all have obvious red undertones in comparison. This is a new and exclusive shade.
  • Psychedelic Sister is a brightened medium purple with red undertones. It’s a nice shade of purple that’s pigmented and has a soft frost sheen. It’s a permanent, but it is a Sephora exclusive. This is the first time it’s been in a palette.

Eyeliners

  • Zero is a deep black. Very pigmented, definitely a handy shade to have. Even if I do have five of them at this point. But really, black eyeliner in a palette makes sense.
  • Ransom is an iridescent violet purple with more of a violet flash/sheen and some red undertones. This is available in full-size, but it’s one of my favorite liners. (Try patting Fishnet over it for some real va-voom!)

New vs. Old vs. Repromoted

There are seven new and exclusive shades to the palette (Bordello, Kush, Loaded, Money, Radium, Rockstar, and Suspect). There are two Sephora exclusive shades (Haight and Psychedelic Sister) that were released a few months ago but have never been sold in any of the previous palettes. There are seven permanent shades (Snatch, Last Call, Maui Wowie, Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, Smog, Perversion, and Uzi), with Perversion, Snatch, and Uzi being in just one or two previous palettes and the others being in three or more. The worst case scenario? You’ll get seven brand new eyeshadows.

Overall, it’s another solid eyeshadow palette. I didn’t have any pigmentation issues with these eyeshadows, and I like the addition of seven new and two of the Sephora exclusives (which I really liked, but know some readers were hesitant to pay $17 a pop). There are two shades that do run on the glittery side (Midnight Cowboy Rides Again and Maui Wowi) and two on the slightly glittery side (Uzi and Snatch).

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you like Urban Decay eyeshadows, the Book of Shadows is always a good buy. If you’re not into shimmery/frosty shades and prefer more matte or satin finishes, then this might not be your thing.

AVAILABILITY: Holiday 2010

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Monday, August 9th, 2010

Tarte Lock & Roll Eyeshadow
Tarte Lock & Roll Eyeshadow: Bronze & Moss

Eyeshadow that lasts and lasts and lasts…

Tarte Lock & Roll Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.14 oz./cream, 0.05 oz./loose) is a dual-ended eyeshadow product that has a cream eyeshadow on one side and loose eyeshadow on the other.

  • Bronze contains a loose, dirtied brown with a gray cast and green and gold shimmer, while the creamy side is a richer, more bronzy brown. When layered, it gives the loose shade a darker appearance with a smoother finish. Color-wise, it takes on much of the loose shade’s color rather than the cream ‘s color.
  • Moss contains a loose olive green with a green-gold sheen, while the creamy side is a cooler, darker green with subtler olive tones. When layered, the two create a slightly deepened yellowed olive green with a smoother finish.

If you have trouble with products staying on your lids without creasing or fading, you might want to try out Tarte’s Lock & Roll Eyeshadows–these don’t budge for nothing on my lids.  The cream is as budge- and smudge-proof worn alone as it is underneath the loose eyeshadow.  You can sheer out the cream shade for more of an all-over wash on the lids, or you can use it in its opaque form and layer on an eyeshadow.  I do find that loose shades seem to apply best over these.

The cream formula is really more of a liquid than a cream to me; it’s rather thin and almost runny but surprisingly pigmented and applies quite opaque.  Both the cream/liquid and the loose shades have a shimmery finish, with the cream side having a slightly metallic finish, too. Since both of the shades I tested out are on the darker side, lighter shades do tend to get eaten up, so it may take some packing to really lighten it up if that’s what you’re going for.  (There are, however, several lighter shades, too, for those who prefer softer looks.)

The packaging is functional, but the rollerball on my lid took a few tries to really get it down–the learning curve isn’t bad, though, but I recommend trying it once or twice before any big events!  The loose eyeshadow does go on very smoothly with the rollerball applicator, though (which I was surprised by!).

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 have incredibly oily lids, the creamy shadow makes an excellent base that just doesn’t move!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Burberry Almond (06) Eyeshadow
Burberry Almond (06) Eyeshadow

Burberry Almond (06) Eyeshadow ($29.00 for 0.088 oz.) is a soft, medium brown with just a touch of warmer, more golden undertones, but very subtly so.  This would make a great contouring shade for those with fairer, paler skin, and it would work well as an all over color on medium to medium-dark skin tones.  It pairs well with Trench for a quick neutral eye.

The texture is soft and smooth–buttery and feels like silk.  It adheres well to the lid, over a base or without, though I haven’t worn it sans a base for twelve hours or anything (I always prefer a base–it feels like I’m committing a cardinal sin otherwise!).  It’s pigmented but it’s a buildable shade–you can sheer it out with ease for a very soft look or apply in layers for something deeper.  Burberry eyeshadows uncomplicate makeup; it’s hard to go wrong if you use their shadows.  I also like the amount you get for the price tag; a little more than the usual high-end shadow.

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

  • 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: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Shiseido YE406 Tropicallia Eyeshadow Trio

Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio: Tropicalia

Shiseido Tropicallia (YE406) Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio ($33.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a stunning trio of bright, summery shades: a shimmered fuchsia-purple, shimmered sunshine yellow, and soft grass green with yellow undertones. According to Shiseido, this particular trio was inspired by a “vividly colored succulent plant” in southern California. For fall, Shiseido launched seven different eyeshadow trios inspired by Dick Page’s–Shiseido’s Makeup Artistic Director–travels.

Shiseido’s Luminizing eyeshadows have an incredibly butter, almost creamy kind of texture. They’re so soft and finely milled they feel like silk when applied. The shadow holds together so well and deposits evenly. Every shade in the Tropicallia trio is richly pigmented; nothing sheer or untrue here–exactly as pictured. After trying Shiseido’s formula, it’s definitely one of the nicest formulas I’ve ever tried.  The purplish-fuchsia shade did remind me of MAC’s Stars ‘n Rockets, though in a more pigmented and creamier formula that applies pinker (less blue-toned).

The only downside (which isn’t major) is they could give you a little bit more of each color–the quantity is just a little below what I’d expect at the price tag. Each shade is about 0.033 oz. (0.10 oz. in sum), so you’ll still get plenty of usage out of each, and it’s not too high of an investment cost ($11 per shadow).

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: Give Shiseido’s eyeshadow trios a swatch next time you’re at the counter. I think you’ll be surprised at how lovely the formula is.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora.com

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