Saturday, April 17th, 2010

NYX Jumbo Pencils
Hot Pink (621), Yellow (622), Horse Raddish (607), Oyster (610), Yogurt (611)

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil ($4.00) are oversized (hence the jumbo!) pencils that can be used as eyeliners or shadows, according to NYX. It’s available in twenty-four shades, ranging from black to blue to yellow.

I like them best as an eyeshadow base–I find that it’s easier to blend on top of it than it is to blend it with other Jumbo Eye Pencils. They work great used alone as a base or layered on top of your favorite eyeshadow base (like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance). I used them as a base alone and didn’t experience any creasing or fading.

  • Hot Pink (621) is a slightly blue-based medium pink with no shimmer or frost.
  • Yellow (622) is a paled sunny yellow with no shimmer or frost.
  • Horse Raddish (607) is a frosted leafy green with silver sheen.
  • Oyster (610) is an iridescent purple with red undertones and icy sheen. It was the sheerest of the five I tried–you can see that it doesn’t quite go opaque.
  • Yogurt (611) is a frosted copper brown with a gilded champagne sheen.

I like that they have so many shades available, and they’re an incredibly affordable option for those looking for a product to help their eyeshadows stay on longer and appear more vibrant. I’ve always found colored bases can make colors really pop, and these are a great way to add some colored bases into your stash without breaking the bank.

The only downside is that it’s a pain in the butt to sharpen these with anything but NYX’s Sharpener. Luckily, NYX’s Sharpener is only $4, so it won’t set you back an arm and a leg. I also find these a little difficult to line with unless they’re freshly sharpened, just because they are oversized.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you’re on a budget and looking for a new eyeshadow base, NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils may fit the bill!

Availability: NYX Cosmetics

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Friday, April 16th, 2010

Tarina Tarantino Hypershadow

Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hypershadow ($19.00 for 0.09 oz.) is a range of twenty-four eyeshadows from neutral to bold and everything in-between. I was particularly impressed with the size of the range, just because it seemed quite large for a first launch.

Available shades: Amulet (deep moss green with green micro glitter), Baby Sparkle (pale pink with silver glitter), Bangle (bronzed gold shimmer), Beaded (dark maroon shimmer), Bow (matte hot pink), Brooch (dark chocolate with gold and green micro glitter), Butterfly Black (matte black), Chain (smoky gray shimmer), Cord (warm cocoa with gold micro glitter), Crimp (matte ivory), Cuff (light golden shimmer), Facet (peachy beige with iridescent glitter), Headband (pink beige shimmer), Hoop (bright yellow gold shimmer), Memento (dark lapis blue with blue micro glitter), Organza (mother of pearl shimmer), Pave (dark purple with iridescent glitter), Peacock Pearl (bright turquoise shimmer), Ribbon (intense lavender with magenta micro glitter), Rivet (rich plum shimmer), Stick Pin (golden beige shimmer), Sweetzer (bright jade with silver glitter), Trim (light brown with gold micro glitter), and Trinket (pale gray with iridescent glitter).

I’ve been hanging onto this review for about two months. I did all my pre-review work for Ribbon all the way in early February, but I was unimpressed with the shade, and I wasn’t sure if perhaps it was just a dud in the line-up, since there were so many. I tried Stickpin at the end of March, and it gave me a little hope, but since the Sephora V.I.B. sale as right around the corner, I figured I’d try two more shades. I think it’s kind of obvious that I really wanted to like these, ha!

  • Ribbon is a matte, darkened lavender/lilac. It’s supposed to have magenta micro glitter, but I didn’t see it translate when swatched. I could see it in the pan, but it never transferred when I used it. It’s a dusty, chalky matte shade that doesn’t blend easily. It kind of just sits there.
  • Stick Pin is a yellowed golden peach with a frosty shimmer sheen. This one felt a little dusty, but it was only slightly. Overall, it had a smooth feel and look while still being pigmented. Way better than Ribbon!
  • Peacock Pearl is a bright blue. I’m not sure why it seems like companies are calling things turquoise/teal when they’re really not so much. This has the same texture and finish as Stick Pin, so it was smooth, soft, and had a lightly frosted sheen. It wasn’t as pigmented as I’d like or expect, though. It took a little layering to get truly bright color.
  • Sweetzer is a medium grassy green with silver glitter. It’s more like a matte green base topped with an overlay of silver micro glitter. The glitter isn’t overdone, but it doesn’t stick too well in the shadow, so there is some fall out.

After trying four different shades, I won’t be buying any more myself. Two of the shades I tried (Ribbon and Sweetzer) have a more matte finish with glitter on top, while the other two shades I tried (Stick Pin and Peacock Pearl) had a more frosty/shimmery finish. The more shimmery the finish, the better the eyeshadow seemed to be, overall–it was smoother, not chalky or powdery, and it had decent pigmentation.

However, these eyeshadows are advertised to utilize “the maximum pigment load, 20-50% more pigment with less binder.” They’re less pigmented than other mainstream brands known for their brights (e.g. MAC, Make Up For Ever, and Urban Decay), and their texture doesn’t make them any more desirable.

They’re difficult to blend–even the shimmers, not as difficult as the more matte shades, but noticeably off–and I found that they seemed to fade. I had to pack on the color to get it vibrant, but I felt like it just kept disappearing on me after several minutes passed.  (You can see the look I did with Peacock Pearl & Sweetzer here.)  I had no troubles with them wearing for hours without creasing (over a base, of course!), but the fading was really a huge disappointment. Again, the shimmery finishes held up better and faded less than the more matte shades.

It’s such a shame, because they are beautifully packaged and you do get a lot for your money (these are a little cheaper than Make Up For Ever by the ounce). I also love how each eyeshadow comes in a pink satchet with an “intro to my line” card by Tarina. They’re just nice details to see done. You’re better off grabbing some Make Up For Ever Eyeshadows, since they’re the same price (you get 0.08 oz. instead, though) and the quality is much, much better.

I feel like they’re almost a poor quality eyeshadow you find at the drugstore, rather than a high-end eyeshadow that costs $19 a pop.  It’s not the worst eyeshadow I’ve tried, but it’s nowhere near a high-quality eyeshadow, particularly for high-end.  What saves the overall rating from falling into D/F range is that they are a good value (in terms of quantity/price) and the packaging is adorable–but the product itself is an D-.

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

  • Product: 18/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: I would swatch in-store before buying, if it’s possible. Otherwise, stick to the shades with “shimmer” as the finish, rather than matte or anything with “micro glitter,” for your best bet. If you want a Tarina Tarantino piece of makeup in your stash, I’d recommend the Eye Dream Hyperliners instead.

Availability: Sephora

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Saturday, April 10th, 2010

YSL #17 Eyeshadow Duo

YSL #17 Ivory Beige/Deep Black Eyeshadow Duo ($41.00 for 0.09 oz.) features a yellow-toned beige with a matte finish and a deep black with a near matte finish (just a smidgen of shimmer).
I purchased this eons ago when YSL had their (first!) Friends & Family Sale, because I fell in love with it when they promoted it during a fall or holiday launch (I think in 2009). I was totally head-over-heels for the depth in the black, so I figured, maybe it was time to splurge on it finally. It’s a very dark, rich black, but it’s probably not the darkest black I’ve tried. Funny how memory blurs those things!

This is an excellent smoky eye duo, and surprisingly, the yellowed beige is pretty workable on my warmer toned skin without looking too chalky (as some light mattes can be). The eyeshadows are soft, smooth, and both are pigmented. The matte isn’t chalky, but it isn’t the softest matte eyeshadow I’ve tried. The black shade is really the star of the duo, though.

It’s packaged in classy, traditional YSL packaging with the faux gold metal look and logo emblazoned on the top of the compact. The logo is also embedded into the eyeshadows themselves as well. Even with the hefty price tag, you don’t get that much eyeshadow — it’s about the same as buying other high-end eyeshadows in singles. Usually, you do see a little bit of value savings when you buy duos, even in high-end brands like YSL, but not so much here. This was definitely a splurge item to satisfy a long-time want, so I’m happy with it.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Pretty but incredibly pricey, so I’d consider it an indulgence and luxury, rather than a must-have.

Availability: Sephora

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Thursday, April 8th, 2010

MAC Prep for Colour Collection
Just Add Colour Lipglass (note, sample packaging)

MAC Prep for Colour Collection

The Prep for Colour Collection is a short and sweet collection. I’m not even sure why they bothered with any color cosmetics, and I could have gone for repromotes of great permanent neutrals, too — just because MAC does have a great neutral range. The collection includes one lipglass ($14), three eyeshadows ($14.50), Prep + Prime Skin Brightening Serum ($40), Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50 ($30), and Prep + Prime Fortified Skin Enhancer SPF 35/PA+++ ($30).  I don’t have photos of Prepped for Glamour Eyeshadow yet, which I will purchase when it launches in-store on Thursday (so check back then!).

  • Hey Eyeshadow is is a gilded beige-champagne with a touch of peach.  It was a very shimmery, frosty finish.  For reference, it is a veluxe pearl finish, though!  This is a repromote from Fafi, but I know a lot of you love this shade.
  • Sorcery Eyeshadow is a burgundy-brown with a satin finish–it’s not entirely matte, but it’s not overly shimmery, either.  It has more of a satin sheen.  It reminded me of a a lighter version of Sketch.
  • Prepped for Glamour Eyeshadow is a darkened chocolate brown with a taupe edge to it.  It’s sheerer and lighter than Satin Taupe, but it also has less of a frosty sheen.  Pretty, but if you already have Satin Taupe, you could probably skip this.
  • Just Add Colour Lipglass is a reddened, dark fuchsia pink with fuchsia-pink shimmer.  It’s a frost finish lipglass, and though my sample comes in a square tube, online shows it in a regular lipglass tube, so don’t buy because it’s square :)  It’s a very pigmented, color-rich gloss–so if you’ve always wanted a darker pink than Pink Poodle but still very intense, this might be it.
  • Prep + Prime Brightening Serum is a clear, slightly watery liquid that pumps out.  It’s hard to describe — it’s cool and thin, and it absorbs into skin quite quickly.  I haven’t used it long enough to really be able to tell you about results, but I can at least tell you about the consistency!  Hopefully will have more for you later on in April…

There are no must-haves in this collection from me. While all the color products in this launch are high quality and well-pigmented, they’re not necessarily must-haves.  Hey is the closest to a must-have, but I think you could easily substitute All That Glitters, Gleam, or Retrospeck in its place.  Sorcery is too similar to Sketch and Beautymarked, while Prepped for Glamour is quite similar to Satin TaupeJust Add Colour Lipglass is pretty, but again, just doesn’t strike me as a must-have.  You can’t go wrong with any of the four, so this is more of a “there’s nothing super-duper original or so awesomely pigmented you have to get it” kind of a review.

Skip if you have…

  • Skip Hey if you have All That Glitters, Gleam, or Retrospeck (unless you use these 24/7, then you’ll probably love Hey!).
  • Skip Sorcery if you have Sketch or Beautymarked, particularly if you don’t use those very often.
  • Skip Prepped for Glamour if you have Satin Taupe, unless you’ve always secretly wanted Satin Taupe but didn’t like how frosty it was.

So, are you stopping by MAC (or shopping online!) for Prep for Colour or are you waiting until Pret-a-Papier?

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Thursday, April 8th, 2010

An Intro to Paul & Joe Beaute with Purple Clover

Paul & Joe Purple Clover (066) Face & Eye Color ($20.00 for 0.10 oz.) is one of three limited edition shades from Paul & Joe’s Sparkle Collection. What always stands out about Paul & Joe, to me, is how cute the products are from top to bottom. The packaging is elegant, despite being made out of paper (and cardboard) — it’s cute, lightweight, and fun to look at.

Purple Clover is decorated in a purple with teal butterflies outlined in orange and an orange polka dot overlay. Inside, there are little clovers in a deeper, darker purple with the surrounding shade a plummy pink mauve. Together, they create a sultry, smoky plum-mauve with silver sparkle. It’s a really stunning color — it reminded me a bit of Cle de Peau #107 Eyeshadow initially, but #107 is a little lighter and has a golden sheen. The texture of Purple Clover is smooth, soft, and blendable with a nice level of pigmentation that’s not overpowering or sheer.

And oh, did you see that you get a whopping 0.10 oz.? Most eyeshadows are about 0.05 oz., and the largest single eyeshadow (that I know of) is made by Guerlain (at 0.12 oz.). Nice to see that you’re not just paying for pretty packaging! :)

This is/was my first Paul & Joe beauty product, and I’m so happy I liked it! Sometimes, I fear that I’ll try a new brand, be less-than-impressed with it, and then there’s always this hesitant to try it again in the future.

What are your favorite Paul & Joe products?

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: 5/5

Recommendation:  If you’re a sucker for cute packaging, soft and smooth eyeshadow, Paul & Joe may have your number.  If you live in NYC, you can head on down to the counter at Bergdorf!

Availability: BeautyHabit.com, Bergdorf Goodman (in-store only)

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Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Two-Minute Reviews: CoverGirl Eyeshadow Palette, Physicians Formula Healthy Glow, Smashbox Heartbreaker

The concept behind two-minute reviews is mostly products that I photographed, swatched, but I never ended up reviewing.  Rather than just bury the photos into the “Unlikely to Review” folder and never let them see the light of day, I decided that perhaps a quickie review was better than no review at all… Let me know if you’d rather a quickie review than no review :)

CoverGirl Vibrant Browns (#700) Eyeshadow Palette ($7.49) is a palette that features four shades of eyeshadow: a softened, matte black with glitter overlay, subdued blue-toned sheer gray with silver sheen, muted copper with orange-gold shimmer and frost finish, and an incredibly sheer white with sheen. The colors are all on the sheerer side, and the shadows themselves just don’t grab me. I think one or two more muted shades might work, but these altogether just don’t. I find the gold too warm to work with the coolness of the black and gray. Quick Rating: C-

Physicians Formula Healthy Glow Shimmer Strips ($11.95) reminded me of Bobbi Brown’s Shimmerbricks. Healthy Glow is a gradation of light, icy pink to a muted raspberry pink. The colors are better used together rather than alone, as individually, they’re not very pigmented. Together, they create a lightened raspberry with a frosty white sheen. This is great for those with closer-to-flawless skin, because it’s pretty and shimmery–but if you have larger pores, the high frost finish will accentuate them. For a drugstore blush, though, the price is a little steeper than I’d like to see. Quick Rating: B

Smashbox Heartbreaker Collection looked super cute in the promos, but I wasn’t loving it when I saw some of the pieces in person. In fact, I loved the actual box packaging infinitely more than the product packaging! The boxes are cute with doodles and polaroids on it–just sweet and fitting for the theme. The shiny white plastic makes it look and feel on the cheap side, and Smashbox really isn’t a cheap brand. I tend to think of Smashbox as more of a mid-to-high end brand. I tried three products: Starlight Fusion Soft Lights ($30), Rollerball Lip Gloss ($21), and Liquid Liner Pen ($24). I reviewed the eyeliner previously, but I never got around to the other two products. Despite looking rather vibrant in the pan, Starlight is a very soft, lightened raspberry sorbet with a soft champagne sheen. It didn’t show up very well on my medium skin tone, so I wasn’t never driven to wear it in a look (hence this quickie review!). Quick Rating: C+

The Rollerball Lip Gloss was very much the same — it’s clear gloss with icy white shimmer. It’s very slightly pink tinged, but on lips, it looks clear. I also felt like the Rollerball packaging made me feel like I was using Bonne Bell (which is fine… if I’m paying Bonne Bell prices!). Quick Rating: C-

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