Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

NARS Kuala Lumpur Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Spring 2010:  Kuala Lumpur Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Kuala Lumpur Eyeshadow Duo ($32.00) is a newly-released eyeshadow duo from NARS Spring 2010 Collection.

On one side, it’s a melon-y peach kind of shade with a shimmery, slightly frosted finish–it would appear that this is just one of those shades for the spring season (like Benefit Nice Melons, MAC Flip, Urban Decay Muchness; or even MAC Melon Pigment).  The other side is a reddened burgundy with a softer frost finish and sheen.

I don’t love this eyeshadow duo, and I really thought I’d be all over it, given the way it looks.  However, this is an eyeshadow duo one really needs to use wet, because the color pay off is not up to my expectations for a brand like NARS when they’re used dry.  When used dry, particularly on the lid, they tend to look incredibly sheer and have a good deal of fall out (primarily of the shimmer).  I didn’t expect to have any fall out troubles with this, considering they’re pressed powder shadows with shimmer, rather than glittery bits!

The texture of Kuala Lumpur is very soft–the shadows are smooth and soft to the touch but powdery, and when swatched, they look nicer than it was when I attempted to use the colors dry in a look.  In order to make the look come together better, I ended up using the colors wet, which definitely helped quite a bit.  I didn’t love it even wet, though, because once it dries, it does fade back a bit.  It’s like, when you use the eyeshadow wet, it doesn’t remain looking like it does when wet, but it doesn’t completely become how it looks when dry.  Instead, it settles somewhere in between.  (You can see me wearing this duo in this look.)  I also found that when used dry, it just didn’t seem to apply evenly and I really had to pack on the color to get an even (though sheer) application.

For $32, I want an eyeshadow I can truly use wet or dry, not just wet.  I also don’t want to have to work too hard to make it work for me, either.  I can get down with having to experiment a bit for just the right application method when we’re talking about a $2 eyeshadow, but if you’re going to buy high-end, it should work right outta the compact, you know?

The good news, for those concerned with the $32 price tag, is you get plenty for your money.  The math works out to NARS eyeshadow duos being cheaper by the ounce than both MAC and Make Up For Ever.  But maybe you’re better off picking up a different duo…

Oh, p.s. if you dig these colors, you may find that layering them over a more metallic base will help enhance their colors.  Like say MAC Rubenesque Paint Pot.  I always find poor performing shadows seem to work better when layered over colored and shimmery/metallic bases.

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

Recommendation:  If you like your colors soft, I think you’ll still enjoy this new shade for spring.

Availability: BlueMercury

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Monday, February 8th, 2010

Physician's Formula Bronze Brown Eyes Shimmerstrips

9 Eyeshadows for the Price of $11: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips

Physicians Formula Bronze Brown Eyes Shimmer Strips ($10.95 for 0.26 oz.) is a strip of nine different shades designed to complement brown eyes specifically. Bronze Brown Eyes includes: a neutral lilac, soft bronze brown, coppery bronze, golden champagne, soft copper, bronze, light copper, plummy brown, and burgundy brown. All nine shades apply smoothly, give good color pay off, and have a frosty finish. (If you’re into matte textures, Shimmer Strips are not the way to go.) Physicians Formula describes the shades as “three blendable trios perfectly paired to color, contour, and line your eyes.” Sort of handy if you’re not quite sure how to pair your shades yet.

Physicians Formula’s Shimmer Strips line-up always reminds me of Bobbi Brown’s Shimmerbricks. They’re not-so-elegantly packaged in comparison, as they come in a clear, slightly glossy plastic packaging. Shimmer Strips come in a slim compact that skinny and long that snaps open and includes an angled sponge-tip applicator (which is as good as sponge applicators are, which is not very). Otherwise, they do have a very similar feel and look–soft, not ultra intense in pigmentation but not sheer, and frosty.

I found these worked just fine using regular makeup brushes, though less is more–piling too much on the brush can lead to excess fall out. Overall, I found fall out to be minimal and the color to stay on fairly well with just some fading after the eighth hour of wear. Physicians Formula also designed Shimmer Strips for Hazel, Blue, and Green eyes, if you’ve been looking for a how-to on how to make your [insert color here] eyes.

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

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

Recommendation: If you’ve been looking for easy-to-use eyeshadows on a budget, Physicians Formula’s Shimmer Strips give you nine all in one!

Availability: Physicians Formula

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

MAC Cosmetics Spring Colour Forecast
MAC Colour 4 Eyeshadow Quad: Manila Paper, Flip, Aztec Brick, Creole Beauty

MAC Spring Colour Forecast: Colour 4 Eyeshadow Quad Reviews, Photos, Swatches

Colour 4 is decidedly for those who enjoy their golds and warm-toned browns. So, you know this is my favorite, personally. I love all four shades, and I’m excited that all four are pigmented and smooth. It’s so rare to like *all* the shades in a palette, so it is a nice surprise. I don’t think this is the most original color palette ever, though. I could see duping it with Nylon, Motif, Amber Lights, and Bronze. Not that it’d be exactly the same, it just brought instant “similar but not the same” shadows to mind when I first saw and swatched it.

Eyeshadow Quad — Colour 4

  • Manila Paper is a shimmery white-gold (more white than white-gold!) in a veluxe pearl finish. This is fairly pigmented, but you could probably dupe it with Nylon (which is a little frostier and yellower).
  • Flip is a peachy-gold with gold shimmer sheen with a frost finish. This came out previously, though it was limited edition. I’ve always liked this shade–not quite like anything MAC has in the permanent collection. The closest is something like Gleam or Motif, but it’s not a dupe for either.
  • Aztec Brick is a rich, shimmery copper with gold sheen in a veluxe pearl finish. It reminded me of Amber Lights eyeshadow quite a bit, though perhaps a little more bronzy than Amber Lights.
  • Creole Beauty is a warmed-up, medium-dark bronze with lighter bronze-gold sheen and shimmer with a frost finish. It’s like Romp and Bronze had a baby. Nice pigmentation–probably one of my personal favorites from the launch.

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

MAC Cosmetics Spring Colour Forecast
MAC Colour 3 Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Spring Colour Forecast: Colour 3 Eyeshadow Quad Reviews, Photos, Swatches

Parts 3 and 4 each have an eyeshadow quad, complete in the brand spankin’ new eyeshadow quad packaging. I have to say that I don’t love the new packaging — it’s glossy, so it holds fingerprints a bit, and it looks dirtier once you’ve used the quad a few times compared to the older packaging. It also feels a bit bulkier and not as slim as the older packaging. It looks sleeker and certainly more modern/updated, though. I just hate fingerprints on packaging!

Colour 3 is definitely a cool-toned, purple dominated quad. None of the four shades really grab me personally, but I can see this appealing to others. If you love smoked out purples and plums, this is definitely a quad worth checking out.

Eyeshadow Quad — Colour 3

  • Mink Pink is a soft, dusty fleshy beige pink with a veluxe finish (though it feels more like a matte finish to me).
  • Bruised Plum is a mauvey plum with a silvery sheen. It’s like a more purple version of Shale. It’s a veluxe pearl finish, but it’s not as pigmented as I’d expect for a VP.
  • Black Tulip is dark purple with just a touch of sheen. The finishes of this quad don’t make sense to me, because this doesn’t feel like a frost at all.
  • Jungle Moon is a matte, darkened brown with a plummy feel. MAC describes it as a blackened deep eggplant, and I think that’s a fairly accurate description. It’s a soft, well-pigmented matte eyeshadow that doesn’t feel chalky or dusty.

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

MAC Cosmetics Spring Colour Forecast 1
MAC Crush Metal Pigments: Stacked 1!

MAC Spring Colour Forecast: Crush Metal Pigments Reviews, Photos, Swatches

The Crush Metal Pigment stacks contain four shades per set, but they actually come packaged in two “stacks,” though you can technically stack all four together. They look much like MAC’s travel packaging jars–they’re definitely much larger than typical 5 gram sample jars. They are roughly the same diameter as a MAC eyeshadow. The texture of these is reminiscent of Solar Bits, though I’d say they’re not chunky bits. It’s like a cross between Solar Bits and some of MAC’s frostier pigments (e.g. Kitschmas).

For your reference, these retail for $32.50 and must be bought either in Stacked 1! or Stacked 2! sets, they are not available for individual purchase.  The total weight of the Stacked sets is 12 grams / 0.42 oz.

Stacked 1!

Stacked 1! consists of four shades: a shimmery medium-dark pink with gold flecks; a lightened, pale pink with light sheen; a dark violet with red undertones and soft violet sheen; and a shimmery icy lilac. I found the icy lilac shade to be the chunkiest, frostiest, and the most difficult to work with out of the bunch. The first two shades didn’t remind me of any pre-existing or previous pigments, but the darker purple reminded me of Push the Edge pigment (but without the violet sheen), while the icy lilac one is like a lighter, icier version of Kitschmas.

Stacked 2!

The four shades included in Stacked 2!  are: a metallic light tan with a gilded gold sheen; a lightly frosted tan-gold with golden shimmer; a metallic yellow-based golden green with gold sheen; and a light, olived-toned green with slightly golden sheen. The tan shade reminds me of a slightly lighter, more metallic version of Tan pigment, whereas the beige-y tan is kind of like Blonde pigment. Neither green really has a great dupe, but they’re in the vein of maybe a much, much lighter and yellower version of Golden Olive pigment.

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

MAC Cosmetics Spring Colour Forecast 1
MAC La La Eyeshadow

MAC Spring Colour Forecast: Eyeshadows Reviews, Photos, Swatches

There are eight single eyeshadows that debut in this launch. There are four from part one and four from part two. Additionally, there are two eyeshadow quads being released in parts three and four, respectively, that will be reviewed separately.  My favorites: La La, Very Violet; Hot Hot Hot, Straw Harvest.  What are your favorites?

Spring Colour 1 Forecast — Eyeshadows

  • Rosy Outlook is a dusty medium pink with a satin finish. I think there was a shade called Riviera Rose–this reminds me of it, only not as cool-toned, but still has that dusty pink feel.
  • Very Violet is a crisp darkened violet-purple with very little sheen, not at all frosty like its frost finish would suggest. I can’t remember MAC doing a purple quite like this in recent history.
  • La La is a rich magenta fuchsia with fuchsia shimmer-sheen. It reminds me of Brash & Bold Pigment from Makeup Art Cosmetics last fall, but in eyeshadow form (so more convenient and easier to work with overall). Very nicely pigmented and smooth–and surprisingly not that frosty, despite its frost finish.
  • Da Bling is a slightly paled medium pink with a frosty sheen but excellent color pay off in a veluxe pearl finish. This is a permanent eyeshadow, though, so no need to rush to purchase.

Spring Colour 2 Forecast — Eyeshadows

  • Nanogold is a semi-sheer pinky beige. This is probably one of the nicest lustre-finish eyeshadows I’ve ever come across. It feels nothing like a lustre! This one has come out previously, though always limited edition.
  • Hot Hot Hot is an intensely pigmented orange-based red that looks mostly matte, though it has very subtle shimmer, since it is a satin finish eyeshadow. I don’t think I’ve seen MAC put out a shade like this since being a fan (about five years).
  • Straw Harvest is a gorgeous shade of warmed-up peach gold with a lighter gold sheen in a veluxe pearl finish.
  • Perky is a satin finish light salmon-y pink with good color pay off. Not quite like anything in the permanent line from what I can see.

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