Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Urban Decay Sephora Exclusive Eyeshadows

Urban Decay Hits All the Right Notes with These Sexy Six!

There are six Urban Decay Eyeshadows ($17.00) newly released and Sephora exclusives. All six shades are richly pigmented, smooth to the touch, and easy to blend. They really represent why Urban Decay eyeshadows are so raved about. Not a single one is sheer, and none of these have gritty or glittery textures, so they’re just beautiful, seamless shades for the color lover.

  • Woodstock is a vibrant medium hot pink with subtle fuchsia shimmer. It has a low pearly sheen. It’s not frosty at all!
  • Free Love is a warmed-up peach melon with a golden peach sheen and slight frost finish. It’s like a darkened version of X.
  • Psychedelic Sister is a medium-dark purple with red undertones and an iridescent violet sheen-shimmer. It’s not as blue-based as Flash.
  • Aquarius is a pale aqua-teal with a silver-metallic sheen. This was the frostiest of the new six.
  • Haight is a slight teal-blue with a frost finish and silver sheen. It’s different than Dashiki, but it’s not super teal like Shattered.
  • Dashiki is a brightened medium sky blue with a soft pearled sheen.

My favorites were definitely Woodstock, Free Love, and Dashiki. I don’t have anything quite like Dashiki in my stash, so it’ll be a nice shade for the summer season.  If you’ve been thinking about these, they really are fantastic.  These are some of Urban Decay’s more impressive shades, just in terms of texture and pigmentation.

Have you checked out Urban Decay’s new shades?

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

Recommendation: Excellent quality, richly pigmented, buttery texture–the best of Urban Decay’s eyeshadow textures.

Availability: Sephora

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Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

YSL Eyeshadow

YSL Single Eyeshadows:  Fawn, Mogador Blue, Slate Green

YSL Ombre Solo Lasting Radiance Eyeshadows ($30.00 for 0.06 oz.) are a new, recent release from YSL. Accordingt o YSL, they are to deliver “vibrant” and “pure” color for “hours.” Each palette contains both a sponge-tipped and brush applicator.

These single eyeshadows are available in twelve shades: #01 Midnight Black (black), #02 Cashmere Brown (brown), #03 Perian Blue (gray blue), #04 Midnight Purple (dark purple), #05 Slate Green (forest green), #06 Pink Nude (soft pink), #07 Smokey Grey (gray), #08 Fawn (soft brown), #09 Mogador Blue (blue), #10 Lunar Purple (purple), #11 Garden of Eden (light green), and #12 Parisienne Pink (pink).

I’ve tried three shades, and I think now would be the best time to review them, given that I was so disappointed with the spring palette–because I don’t think it’s representative of the entire YSL line. (Their eyeshadow palettes have never wowed me, but they have never entirely disappointed me, either.) The new single eyeshadows are much, much better.

  • #08 Fawn is a softened, peach-toned brown with soft peach-gold sheen. It’s not too warm, so I think it would work on both cooler and warmer skin tones. It would make a good all-over lid color on medium skin tones, too.
  • #09 Mogador Blue is a silver-shimmered sky blue. This shade had the frostiest finish out of the three I tried, but it’s not an over-the-top frost. It was surprisingly pigmented (I feared for the worst on this pastel-ish shade!), and it went on very smoothly.
  • #05 Slate Green is a darkened forest green. This shade of dark forest green is one of my favorite shades, and I didn’t have any eyeshadow in this shade until now, so I’m really enthused over this one on a personal level.

I’m so, so pleased to say that these are soft, smooth, and pigmented. They actually feel a bit different than YSL’s palettes and duos–a little thicker in a sense, not at all powdery, and seem more pigmented. The packaging is traditional YSL with the “gold” case. The two applicators included in the eyeshadow are so-so — nothing ground-breaking, and I’d only use them in an emergency situation, but I like that they had a bristle-based one, too.

I’m not particularly keen on the price/quantity situation here — it’s closer to luxury brands like Cle de Peau than high-end, designer brands like Chanel and Dior. The quality is fantastic, but I could see these better priced at aroun $26 or $27.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Based on the three shades I tried, the new single eyeshadows are silky smooth and richly pigmented. They apply evenly and easily. The price tag is a bit steep, so it may not be for everyone.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

YSL Spring 2010 Palette

Weekend Quickies: YSL Parisian Sky Eyeshadow Palette

YSL’s Spring Look may have offered some pretty lipsticks and glosses, but they really failed on the eyeshadow palette as far as I’m concerned. The whole thing is a sheer, chalky mess. I haven’t been this disappointed in a product since Chanel’s Les Folie Noirs Quad from last fall–which is a good thing, because these really bring me down. So uninspiring!

Parisian Sky ($56.00) consists of a pale sky blue with silver glitter, satin-y navy blue, iridescent lilac, satin-y pale pink, and muted plum-brown with silver glitter. None of the five shades was what I would call pigmented. The more satin/matte shades were chalky, and the light pink was a bit powdery, too. The shimmery shades were dusty and felt a bit loose, like the glitter would easily travel elsewhere on your face if you used it on your eyes.

If you showed me these swatches, I would never have guessed it was a YSL palette. Not in a bajillion years! I think this may be the first true F of a product — I’m at a loss of positive things to say about it. There are sheerer, softer shades, but these just look like they were meant to be more – they required such heavy swatching just to show up. At least with Chanel, half of the shades showed up decently, and it could also be used wet to intensify the shades.

A part me wonders if I somehow got a bad palette, because I can’t believe what swatched. I’ve tried several YSL eyeshadows in the past, and none of them have been even near as poor as these were for me. In fact, I just finished up testing their new single eyeshadows, and those had excellent pigmentation and texture!

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  • Product: 10/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  I would most definitely not recommend this to anyone.  If you like sheer shades, I would recommend testing this in person first to see if you get better results than I did.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Korres Eyeshadow

Korres Eyeshadows ($16.00 for 0.06 oz.) are smooth, blendable, and pigmented.  I’m actually surprised at how well-rounded Korres’ line is, just because I came to know them as a skincare brand first, rather than a makeup brand, but they can do both well.

  • #42S Green White is a sky blue with a silver-white frost sheen.
  • #44S Golden Green is a light, springy chartreuse green with yellow gold sheen.
  • #46S Olive Green is a smoked out gray-brown with a taupe sheen.  I really don’t see much green in it, but it’s a lovely cool-toned brown with maybe a smidgen of khaki olive in it.
  • #84S Sky Blue is a darkened periwinkle blue with violet and a bright, nearly metallic sheen.  This one is more like a stormy blue sky, maybe.  Not at all sky blue (in fact, they could have named #42S Sky Blue without missing a beat).

I’ll definitely put together a look using some of these shades, but after playing around with some combos on my eyes (nothing finished!), I like the way these blend together.  They’re very smooth and apply evenly. The packaging is simple and functional–plastic square flip-top compacts.  The back of the compact has a colored label and labeling information, so while I could see clear lids being more functional, the backs do give you a good idea as to what’s inside.  I would, though, like to find out who names the colors, because they never seem to quite work…

At the moment, Korres has their eyeshadows marked down to $7–so, I’d say at that price, these are most certainly a steal!

Also available in:  #12 Base, #22 Orange, #34 Golden Brown, #74 Light Purple, #27 Golden Bronze, #82 Light Blue

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you like softer, more muted variations on color, Korres Eyeshadows seem to offer a selection of shades that will give you color without being bright or too bold.

AvailabilityKorres

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Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Clarins Eyeshadow Palette

Clarins Summer 2010:  Instant Sun Light Eyeshadow Palette

Clarins Instant Sun Light Eye Palette ($36.00) is a really wearable, easy-to-use summer palette that’s particularly suitable for those with warmer skin tones.  The palette includes four shades of eyeshadow:  a pale, shimmering champagne-peach; shimmering copper; satin medium-dark brown; and shimmering peachy-melon.  It also includes a gel eyeliner in a light chocolate brown with gold shimmer.

Each eyeshadow is smooth, pigmented, and blendable.  What I really love about this palette is how workable it is–all the shades belong and work together with ease.  This is a great everyday palette, but it’s also perfect for traveling.  Whether you want a lighter, softer neutral eye or a smokier eye, you can do both with this one palette.  Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t necessarily the most innovative shades, but they are high-quality eyeshadows that will do you well, if you’re in the market for some neutrals or want them all in a convenient palette.

The eyeliner also suits the palette, because it’s dark enough to be smoldering, but it’s not so dark that it can’t be worn during the day, too.  I like the subtle shimmer in it, and I didn’t experience any smudging or fading when I wore it.  The included brushes are just mediocre but will get the job done if you’re in a pinch.

Clarins packaged this well–just a nice metal compact with a velvety brown bag–and I’m really surprised at the price.  Typically, Clarins eyeshadow quartets retail for $40, while this limited edition summer palette is just $36.  This made me curious to see if perhaps they just went with minimal quantity, but you get 0.15 oz. of product here.  Quartets contain 0.21 oz.–so I can see why there is a price differential.

Nonetheless, while it’s always great to get a ton of product for your money, we don’t always need the amount we buy, so sometimes just the initial investment cost is more important at the end of the day.  I think the amount you get is plenty to last you, even if this becomes an everyday palette (think of it as about 0.03 oz. per shade, as compared to the average eyeshadow at 0.05 oz.).

I really love this palette because of how well each shade coordinates with the others.  I see so many possibilities, and it’s definitely something I’d take with me on a weekend getaway.

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

Recommendation:  If you love warmer neutrals, Clarins Instant Sun Light Eyeshadow Palette is a good match for you.  Each shade is well-pigmented, smooth and soft to the touch, and blendable.

AvailabilityClarins

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Monday, May 17th, 2010

Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams
#5, #7, #18, #21

Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams:  #5 Peach, #7 Fuchsia, #18 Purple, #21 Turquoise

Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams ($22.00 for 0.21 oz.) have finally debuted at Sephora. These are AMAZING. There are twenty-one shades in total, but some are designed for the lips and cheeks while others are formulated for the eyes and cheeks (p.s. why isn’t there #19?).

Lips & Cheeks: #5 Peach, #6 Fresh Pink, #7 Fuchsia, #8 Red, #9 Coral, #10 Orange
Eyes & Cheeks: #1 Anthracite, #2 Steel, #3 Silver, #4 Snow, #11 Gold, #12 Golden Copper, #13 Warm Beige, #14 Satin Brown, #15 Taupe, #16 Pink Beige, #17 Plum, #18 Purple, #20 Intense Blue, #21 Turquoise, #22 Emerald Green

  • #5 Peach is a spun-gold peach with such a pretty sheen. It’s such a fresh pop of color on the cheeks. It reminded me of MAC Say Yeah eyeshadow a bit, actually–I was a little bummed to find out it wasn’t meant for eyes.
  • #7 Fuchsia is a bright fuchsia-purple with a soft sheen. It’s certainly intense, so go easy for a softer look.
  • #18 Purple is a softened lilac purple with a frosty finish. It was the least pigmented of the four I tried, though.
  • #21 Turquoise is aqua-teal with a frosty shimmer-sheen. It’s wickedly gorgeous. I’ve seen plenty o’ teal in the past few years, but this one is absolutely stunning.

These are creamy without being ultra creamy–I think I’d actually prefer them to be just a smidgen creamier. They’re blendable, but they dry down quickly. These didn’t budge, smudge, or crease on me one bit, whether they were on my eyes, lips, or cheeks. In fact, you really have to use an oil-based makeup remover to get all the last bits of it off. I tried using these as eyeliners, bases, and blushes, and they worked fabulously at each job. In fact, I enjoyed these four so much that I ordered five more (Fresh Pink, Coral, Gold, Warm Beige, and Intense Blue).

The only complaint I have–a minor one at that–is that the packaging feels a little cheap. They’re easy to store, since they’re small and rounded, but the plastic feels a bit on the thinner side, and there is also a lot of air in the jar from the get-go, which concerns me in regards to whether these will dry out after six months or so.  You do get a fair amount of product for your money, which was nice to see.

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

Recommendation: If you love color and rich, creamy textures, you may find the new Aqua Creams right up your alley.

Availability: Sephora

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