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  • Muse BeautyBuy any 2 Viseart eyeshadow palettes for $128 (plus get three Esum eyeshadow brushes), ends 8/21.
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MAC Strength: Inner Strength Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Inner Strength Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Inner Strength Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Strength: Inner Strength Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Inner Strength Eyeshadow Quad ($40.00 for 0.21 oz.) consists of three new shades and one repromote: Lithe Spirit (palest white pink), Inner Strength (light cool mauve taupe), Fabulous Fit (mid-tone cool grey), and Heatherbelles (deep charcoal).  This is a rather cool-toned quad, more so than All Woman, with the only warmth coming from Inner Strength, which isn’t all that warm, so if you like cooler tones, you’ll be in luck with this color composition!

Lithe Spirit is a cool-toned white with a matte finish. It is listed as a satin finish, but I didn’t see much sheen in it (or any). It had good pigmentation, but it was a touch powdery. Urban Decay Venus is a touch warmer and more shimmery. MAC Vanilla is warmer.

Inner Strength is a warm peach with subtle pink undertones and a barely-there sheen, though it is listed as a matte. It had good color payoff, and it was soft to the touch. Too Faced Peach Fuzz has gold sparkle. Urban Decay Freestyle has less pink. MAC Nubile is similar in color but is a cream product.

Fabulous Fit is a light gray with blue undertones and has a matte finish. It was a bit weak on pigmentation, and it had a drier texture that made blending harder. Estee Lasuder Modern Mercury is more metallic. MAC Scene is darker. Chanel Gris Exquis is also darker. Inglot #339 is somewhat darker but closest with respect to its cool undertone.

Heather Belles is a dark gray with a mostly matte finish but there’s a touch of sheen; the sheen becomes more apparent when blended out. It has a satin finish, and the color payoff is so-so–it is a stiffer, drier shade. Urban Decay Ace is more shimmery. Guerlain Les Gris is matte. Estee Lauder Black Chrome is darker.

The quality of Inner Strength as a quad is below-average to average.  It’s not impressive, and it’s not the most heinous release we’ve seen from MAC.  It’s middle-of-the-road.  The problem with this palette is in the textures, which tended to be a bit dry and stiff (in the case of Fabulous Fit and Heatherbelles).  Lithe Spirit was somewhat powdery, which can have a tendency to make such a pale color look chalky on darker complexions.  Inner Strength was the best-performing shade here, as it wasn’t so soft that it was powdery, but it wasn’t too dry or firm that you couldn’t get color payoff out of it.  The shades lasted for seven and a half hours and looked just a smidgen faded after eight hours.

MAC Strength: Inner Strength Eyeshadow Quad

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Chanel Raffinement Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel Raffinement Eyeshadow Quad
Chanel Raffinement Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel Raffinement Eyeshadow Quad ($58.00 for 0.24 oz.) is described as a palette of “rich mauve, pearly pink beige, shimmering lilac, and deep eggplant.”  It’s a new for spring but will be joining the permanent range.

The first shade (top, left) is a medium-dark brown with hints of plum/mauve and a frosted finish. It had nice color payoff, and it applied smoothly and evenly. Chanel Variation has a darker brown. MAC Smut is a richer version of this shade. Urban Decay Stray Dog is similar, perhaps a bit warmer.

The second shade (top, right) is a pale, peachy beige with a frosted sheen and subtle warm undertones. The pigmentation was lovely, and it applied nicely. MAC A Natural Flirt is warmer, more shimmer. MAC Double Feature #5 is similar but less frosted. Urban Decay Sellout is similar–a little darker. Illamasqua Slink is a touch warmer.

The third shade (bottom, left) is a medium-dark cognac brown–a little orange-red to it but very, very subtle and slight, so it doesn’t take on an overly warm coloring. It had fantastic color payoff, and it was really soft, finely-milled, and smooth when applied. Too Faced Hot Cocoa is lighter. Illamasqua Focus is a cream product, and it is redder. Tom Ford Platinum is similar but a cream product. Urban Decay Wreckage is less red-toned.

The fourth shade (bottom, right) is a deep, dark reddened brown with a satiny sheen–just a step or two above matte. This shade packed quite the punch of pigment; really don’t need much to define the crease at alL! It blended out easily, which is absolutely necessary with anything that’s very pigmented and/or dark in color. Make Up For Ever #162 is matte, slightly richer/more intense. theBalm Presto is a bit darker. MAC Embark is matte and browner. Chanel Ebloui is more shimmery, a touch lighter, and a cream. It compares favorably with Tom Ford Enchanted.

I can see some looking at this quad and going, “Borrrrring!” and others reaching for it all the time. That’s the problem with basics and essentials–they tend to be kind of boring, but they work well and are still shades that most core collections have. I think it is wearable on both cooler and warmer complexions, and the colors offer a good range of light/dark for contrast.  The depth and richness of the darkest shade makes this quad as wearable for work as it does for evening, because it’s so rich, it can really add definition, darkness, and general smokiness for an evening look.

The quality of the quad is lovely, with all four shades having great color payoff, soft, smooth textures, and tip-top wear of eight hours (without a primer) and no signs of fading or creasing.  There was only a very, very slight excess of powder in a couple of shades but so slight–it’s really being nit-picky. All in all, while dupable, a very wearable, easy-to-use quad that will be a nice travel pick as well as a go-to for anyone who is need of more work-friendly shades.

Chanel Raffinement Eyeshadow Quad

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Guerlain Attrape-Coeur (501) Eyeshadow Palette

Guerlain Attrape-Coeur (501) Eyeshadow Palette
Guerlain Attrape-Coeur (501) Eyeshadow Palette

Guerlain Wants You to Embrace Purples for Spring

Guerlain Attrape-Coeur (501) Eyeshadow Palette ($59.00 for 0.25 oz.) is described as “mauve, violet, white, and purple.” It’s a mix of purples, really, with varying finishes from iridescent to frosted to satin (no mattes here, though). I wore the lightest shade as an inner corner highlight, then used the mauve shade on the inner half of the lid with the lavender shade on the outer half of the lid, and used the darkest purple shade to define the crease.

The first shade (left) is a pale, icy mauve with an iridescent, frosted finish. It had so-so color payoff; it is buildable, but it does have some sheerness. Bobbi Brown Cool Lilac is more mauve.

The second shade (top, middle) is a frosted, metallic cool-toned white. This shade, too, had some translucency but performed better on the lid than it swatched. It is really similar to any number of metallic white eyeshadows, but MAC Crystal Avalanche (less metallic) and Cinderella Midnight Hour (slightly brighter) were quite similar.

The third shade (bottom, middle) is a medium-dark, red-toned purple with a satiny shimmer and sheen. It had excellent color payoff, but it was slightly powdery. This shade was particularly impressive when applied, because it blended out so easily and well. Urban Decay Freakshow is a bit darker. MAC Grape is very similar in color–more metallic. MAC Plush is more muted, less red-toned.

The fourth shade (right) is a pink-lavender with a subtle cool undertone and a satiny finish. It had good pigmentation and was very soft and finely-milled. Inglot #346 is slightly purpler and has a matte finish. OCC Datura is lighter, more metallic. Benefit Fancy Pansy is a touch purpler.

The best part of this palette is how well the four shades coordinated with each other–they just naturally went together in a rather effortless kind of a way.  The white wasn’t so stark or cool-toned that it looked odd against the pinker purples, but it was still bright and shimmery enough to highlight/contrast.  On my skin tone, it is too bright to be used as a brow bone highlight, so I only used it on the inner corner and along the lower half of my lash line.  The darker purple was the best-performing shade in the palette; it had fantastic color payoff and blended well.  All four shades lasted for eight hours without creasing or fading both with and without a primer.  Two of the four shades had some sheerness, though, and the darker purple shade did kick up some excess powder when used.

I’m hoping Coup de Foudre is better–I just purchased it this weekend online from Nordstrom, so hopefully I get it sometime this week!

Guerlain Attrape-Coeur (501) Eyeshadow Palette

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NARS Night Series Eyeshadow Palette

NARS Night Series Eyeshadow Palette
NARS Night Series Eyeshadow Palette

Quick Review: NARS Night Series Eyeshadow Palette

NARS Night Series Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.31 oz.) was a limited edition eyeshadow palette that included six of the Night series eyeshadows: Night Star (sheer peach shadow with pearls), Night Clubbing (black with pearls), Night Porter (black with green pearls), Night Rider (soft plum with glitter), Night Flight (black with cobalt pearls), and Night Breed (black with glitter).

  • Night Star is a subtly, warm-toned light peach with a mostly matte finish. It actually had more pigment than you’d expect for something described as sheer.
  • Night Clubbing is a dark black with brow undertones and a very fine dusting of bronzy micro-shimmer that’s really not visible on the lid.
  • Night Porter is a darkened forest green with a metallic sheen. This shade had the best color payoff and texture of the six shades.
  • Night Rider is a pinky-mauve with massive, chunky shards of glitter. This might be the largest glitter size I’ve ever come across in an eyeshadow. It’s horrible–it doesn’t sit on the lid well at all, as it just falls out immediately.
  • Night Flight is a blue-tinged black with very fine navy blue shimmer that all but disappears on the lid. The underlying black shadow is very dry and chalky.
  • Night Breed is a dark black with silver sparkle. Again, the sparkle doesn’t translate well, though it’s more apparent than the other shades here. The single is softer and more pigmented than the version in the palette.

Generally, I didn’t like this palette.  The Night series is hit-or-miss, and the shades can be very redundant, as they tend to look more differentiated in the pan than on.  With mostly blackened bases, they tend to look black on and the colored pearl/sparkle disappears or isn’t visible.  Night Rider is a monstrosity of an eyeshadow; the chunky glitter doesn’t stick at all but doesn’t even look flattering on the eye, should you manage to get a few bits to stay on long enough to look!  Night Clubbing, Night Flight, and Night Breed had drier, firmer textures that made blending difficult.

You can find the palette are third-party retailers, like Amazon and Izzy’s, but I didn’t spy it available at regular retailers (like NARS, Nordstrom, etc.). All of the eyeshadows, however, are available individually from NARS at $23 a pop.

** A Note on Quick Reviews: In an effort to be more on-the-ball for 2013, I’m digging through my photo folders and getting as much posted as I can. These are not full-length, in-depth reviews, and instead, I’m writing brief reviews. For dupes, I highly suggest checking out The Swatch Gallery; it’s my first stop whenever I am looking for possible dupes. All of the swatches in this post are automatically added to the gallery, so you can compare them for yourself.

NARS Night Series Eyeshadow Palette

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bareMinerals Strike It Rich Primer Shadow Kit

bareMinerals Strike It Rich Primer Shadow Kit
bareMinerals Strike It Rich Primer Shadow Kit

Quick Review: bareMinerals Strike It Rich Primer Shadow Kit

bareMinerals Strike It Rich Primer Shadow Kit ($18.00 for 0.05 fl. oz. x 5) includes five mini-sized shades of bareMinerals’ Primer Shadow: Sundance (sunlit peach), Bronzed Twig (iced chocolate), Gold Nugget (radiant gold), Gunmetal (midnight silver), and Sandalwood (golden taupe). Though this was a kit from last year’s holiday collection, it’s still available for purchase!

  • Bronzed Twig is a warm, chocolate bronze with a soft shimmer-sheen finish.
  • Gold Nugget is a coppery gold with a metallic sheen.
  • Gunmetal is a silvered gray with a hint of brown.
  • Sandalwood is a bronzy gold with a metallic finish.
  • Sundance is a golden-orange shimmered peachy-orange with a metallic finish.

I have reviewed three of the five shades in-depth here. The Prime Time Shadow formula is supposed to be crease-proof and water-proof while delivering “rich, vivid metallic color” with a “creamy, lightweight texture.” This formula dries down very quickly (fifteen seconds or so), and once they’re set, they don’t budge at all. I’ve worn some shades for as long as twelve hours without creasing, fading, or smudging. The only downside to these is the amount you get in the full-sized version at $18 a pop–I just checked both Beauty.com and bareMinerals.com, and the full-sized versions are discounted to $12, but this little kit is a good value, since you get five shades and twice the amount you would in a single full-sized tube at $18. (Here, you’re getting 0.25 fl. oz. for $18.00.)

** A Note on Quick Reviews:  In an effort to be more on-the-ball for 2013, I’m digging through my photo folders and getting as much posted as I can. These are not full-length, in-depth reviews, and instead, I’m writing brief reviews. For dupes, I highly suggest checking out The Swatch Gallery; it’s my first stop whenever I am looking for possible dupes. All of the swatches in this post are automatically added to the gallery, so you can compare them for yourself.

bareMinerals Strike It Rich Primer Shadow Kit

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bareMinerals The Cocktail Hour Eyeshadow Palette

bareMinerals The Cocktail Hour Eyeshadow Palette
bareMinerals The Cocktail Hour Eyeshadow Palette

Quick Review: bareMinerals The Cocktail Hour Eyeshadow Palette

bareMinerals The Cocktail Hour Eyeshadow Palette ($24.50 for 0.28. oz.) is a holiday palette from last year, but it’s actually still available through bareMinerals at a discounted price of $24.50–it originally retailed for $40.00–and it is a truly fantastic palette. I’m a huge fan of the Ready eyeshadow range, and this palette is and was excellent. This palette contains these shades: Black Tie Optional (black velvet), Icebreaker (pink pearl), Swanky (dazzling plum), Spiked (copper blush), Elixir (luxe lilac), Invite Only (taupe slate), Libation (sugared cinnamon), and Shaken Not Stirred (jeweled envy).

  • Black Tie Optional is a dark charcoal black–there’s a hint of gray there. It has cool undertones, excellent color payoff, and has a mostly matte finish.
  • Icebreaker is a pearly pale pink with subtle warm undertones and a frosted finish. Super soft, smooth, and intensly pigmented.
  • Swanky is a red-toned medium-dark purple with a satiny finish. It had nice color payoff and was soft and smooth to the touch.
  • Spiked is a warm, medium orange with a hint of reddish-copper and a frosted sheen. Good pigmentation and smooth texture.
  • Elixir is a pink lavender with a frosted finish. It was very soft and had good pigmentation.
  • Invite Only is a soft, metallic finished taupe–a great balance of gray and brown. Nice color payoff, smooth finish.
  • Libation is a beige-copper with a champagne metallic sheen. It has a very, very reflective finish with good pigmentation.
  • Shaken Not Stirred is a darkened navy blue with fine navy blue shimmer over a matte base. This had good color payoff, especially when applied, but the shimmer isn’t very noticeable on.

This is a fantastic palette, and at $24.50? a total steal. The quality is excellent across the board; there are no duds in this palette. These wear well, apply beautifully, and blend out easily. If you love soft, buttery eyeshadows with rich color payoff, this palette has your number.

** A Note on Quick Reviews: In an effort to be more on-the-ball for 2013, I’m digging through my photo folders and getting as much posted as I can. These are not full-length, in-depth reviews, and instead, I’m writing brief reviews. For dupes, I highly suggest checking out The Swatch Gallery; it’s my first stop whenever I am looking for possible dupes. All of the swatches in this post are automatically added to the gallery, so you can compare them for yourself.

bareMinerals The Cocktail Hour Eyeshadow Palette

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