Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Dolce & Gabbana Champagne Smooth Eye Colour Quad

Dolce & Gabbana: Champagne Smooth Eye Colour Quad

Dolce & Gabbana Champagne Smooth Eye Colour Quad ($59.00) is D&G’s take on the smoky eyes palette. It contains four shades of eyeshadow: a pale, silvery-white; a medium-dark matte black; a mauve-tinged silver; and a subdued, cool-toned dark brown.

Like Dazzling, the Champagne consists of smooth, well-pigmented eyeshadows that feel like buttery goodness to the touch. They apply easily and softly, and they never look garish. They blend seamlessly together, and they work well with all of your favorite eyeshadow bases. They also still blend well when used with other brand eyeshadows.

One of things I like about the Dolce & Gabbana quads I’ve tried so far is that the colors go on as they’re pictured. They’re apply and swatch true-to-color, so there is a whole lot less guesswork to be done. I can also appreciate the “honesty” of the palette in that sense, too. Champagne, in particular, works well together, because the shades are diverse enough to create gradients, but they can be worn in pairs of triplets.

For those who find the price a bit steep, D&G is priced competitively with other major high-end brands like Chanel ($56), Dior ($56), and Guerlain ($58). The packaging is hefty and looks like gold (though it does hold fingerprints). It’s sleek and elegant, so it does look lovely when you hold it. If it didn’t hold fingerprints, the packaging would definitely help sway me even more.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you’re a fan of high-end, luxury brands, Dolce & Gabbana has put out a quality line of makeup. Champagne is a great quad to travel with to be able to create several evening smoky eyes.

Availability: Saks

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Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Bobbi Brown Metallic Long Wear Cream Eyeshadows
Bobbi Brown Chrome Patina, Goldstone, Starry Night Metallic Long Wear Cream Eyeshadows

Bobbi Brown Metallic Long Wear Cream Eyeshadows: Chrome Patina, Goldstone, Starry Night

Bobbi Brown Metallic Long-Wearing Cream Eyeshadow ($22.00 for .12 oz.) is a new product launched this September from Bobbi Brown. They’re inspired by and yet a bit of a departure from her classic Long-Wear Cream Eyeshadows. They seem to be the same on the surface, but when I played with three of them, I found them to be a bit different.

“With these shadows there’s no need to choose function over style. They’re longwearing and come in the most glamorous, eye-catching shades ever.” – Bobbi Brown

The Metallic Long-Wear Cream Eyeshadow is available in eight shades:

  • Antique Gold A deep gold sparkle
  • Black Pearl A medium purple
  • Brown Metal A warm brown sparkle
  • Chrome Patina A golden pewter
  • Goldstone A gold sparkle
  • Mercury A silver sparkle
  • Starry Night A navy blue sparkle
  • Starry Purple A deep purple sparkle

I tried three: Chrome Patina, Goldstone, and Starry Purple. Chrome Patina is a sheer, glittery wash of pewter with gold sparkle. Goldstone is a semi-opaque toned-down gold with a brown cast and brighter gold sparkle. Starry Night is a sheer, glittery navy blue concotion with almost multicolored sparkle.

I’m actually surprised by Bobbi Brown’s introduction of these glittery shadows to her line-up, just because they’re a bit over the top with how glittery they are. I do, however, think they’re fun and will definitely wear them myself, but I can see some avoiding these because the glitter finish feels inappropriate or accentuates signs of aging on the eyes (as frosts and glitters often do).

Sheer or opaque?

It seems like your mileage will vary from shade to shade, because Goldstone had the best finish and pigmentation, going on nearly opaque, while both Chrome Patina and Starry Night were sheerer and therefore the look glitter was emphasized (instead of a more metalized look). I do wish they were more pigmented so they had a much smoother look and were more the metallic finish they’re touted to be than glitter. (I would personally call these Glitter Long-Wearing Eyeshadows from my experience so far.)

How well do they wear?

They wear very well, just like the original Cream Eyeshadows. They are long-wearing and hold up throughout day without smudging, fading, or creasing. I actually wasn’t sure if they would work out, because they feel very wet when you initially apply them, but they do dry down completely and aren’t subject to creasing (even when worn alone). I found it a bit difficult to blend cream shadows on top of this color or with it once it was dry, so you do have to work quickly if you are trying to use cream shadows together. If you just want to layer on powder shadows over the glittery base, there’s no need to be concerned over timing.

Wait — you can wear these as liner, too!

If you aren’t so much a fan of glitter eyeshadow, there is one alternative usage that I actually may find myself using these more for than as shadows — eyeliner!  I think these are excellent to layer over (or for some, worn alone — again, depends on how sheer the shade is) say a fiercely intense black liner for an extra kick.  Ohh!  I’m getting excited just thinking about experimenting now…

Are they worth the price tag?

As far as value goes, Bobbi Brown provides enough product in each pot to make it about as much and priced as I’d expect for the Bobbi Brown product range. Benefit cream eyeshadows are slightly cheaper ($19.00 for .16 oz.), while these are more affordable than NARS cream eyeshadows ($21.00 for 0.1 oz.) and less of an investment as shu uemura’s ($30.00 for .17 oz.). Despite the pot feeling and looking small (reminded me of gel liner sizes), it does hold more product than it seems. The packaging is classic Bobbi Brown: clear, glass with a black screw-on lid. It’s hefty, but I don’t mind — I like seeing non-plastic packaging.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you love shimmering glitter, you might love these to layer underneath your eyeshadows or as a quick wash of color (at least, some of the more neutral shades). I definitely recommend checking them out in person and seeing how the shade you’re most interested in swatches, because it may or may not be pigmented enough for your liking.

Availability: Nordstrom, Bobbi Brown

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Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Benefit Velvet Eyeshadows for Superior Use & Value

Benefit Velvet Eyeshadow ($18.00 for 0.11 oz.) are velvety, silky-soft eyeshadows with smooth color that go on effortlessly and blend seamlessly. Seriously, I absolutely fell head-over-heels in love with these from the moment I swatched them on my skin. They’re ridiculously soft and exactly as they’re named–velvety. There’s little else that is as suitable to describe it as like velvet. I find that these also blend really easily both within the Benefit brand but with other brands’ shadows, too (always a plus).

Benefit currently has ten shades of their velvet eyeshadow available: Bikini Line (desert sand), Fawn Over Me (cafe au lait), Leggy (pink nude satin), Buckle Bunny (rosa mocha), Rich Beach (brown sugar), Where There’s Smoke (smoky pewter), Dandy Brandy (copper spice), “Gimme Some” Plum (iced plum), Like What You Sea? (misty blue), and I Cannes and I Will (golden mulberry). I’ve only tried six of the ten shades, but I’m comfortable saying that the entire range is worth checking out, because the six I tried were amazing.

  • Bikini Line is a soft, shimmering warm-toned gold. This has my name written ALL over it, duh. I cannot resist a gold eyeshadow to save my life!
  • Rich Beach is a warm-toned bronzy shade with just a bit of gold shimmer.
  • Dandy Brandy is a lightly cool-toned chocolate brown with copper flecks of shimmer.
  • Buckle Bunny is a muted rosy mauve with soft gold sheen.
  • I Cannes & I Will is a plum purple with gold flecks. I really loved this shade, because it has a very unique look to it.
  • Like What You Sea? is a soft, cool-toned silvery-blue with silver sheen.

They’re also really reasonably priced relative to the amount you get. For $14 at MAC, you’ll get 0.05 oz. of eyeshadow, whereas Benefit’s giving you double that for $18. From that perspective, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth with Benefit’s Velvet Eyeshadows!

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 9/10
  • Packaging: 9/10

Recommendation: If you’re all about a super soft and silky eyeshadow, these are most definitely for you. I just can’t get over the texture and how soft these are!

Availability: Benefit, Sephora.com

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Sunday, August 23rd, 2009


Tarte Femme Fatale Palette

Tarte: Get Killer Eyes on a Budget

Tarte Femme Fatale Eye Palette ($44.00) is one of two palettes from Tarte’s Fall 2009 Collection.  It’s a refillable eyeshadow palette that contains ten different eyeshadows.  The top row contains:  shimmering blush, iridescent smoke, shimmering violet, shimmering indigo, shimmering onyx; the bottom row contains:  shimmering light gold, shimmering copper-rose, shimmering deep bronze, shimmering jade, shimmering garnet.  It also includes a double-ended eyeliner and double-ended brush.

Now, I’m going to give you my take on the top row’s shades:  a soft, buttery semi-matte pale dusty pink; a frosty, icy silver with pink pearl; a deep red-tone purple with magenta; a dark navy blue with gray; and a gray-black with light sheen.  The second row’s shades:  a soft, semi-sheer peach with a buttery feel; a peach-toned copper with a frost finish; a warm-toned golden caramel brown; a muted teal with gray-blue; and a rich, deeply pigmented burgundy-black with purple flecks.

I found all ten shades to have a soft, smooth texture and all of them had decent to great pigmentation.  The only two that has slightly less pigmentation were the first shades in each of the rows–which I’d attribute more to them being softer shades overall, and thus just not appearing as pigmented as the other eight shades.  It’s an interesting mix of colors, and I can definitely see several combinations just jump out at me, which is something in its favor.

It’s actually a very value-heavy palette, because each shadow is 1.75g/0.06 oz.–which is more than a single, standalone MAC eyeshadow (which is 1.5g/0.06 oz.)!  If it’s cheaper than MAC, it’s pretty much going to be a better deal than most other high-end brands, too.  It’s actually great to see a palette that gives you plenty of product while pricing it right.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation:  Palette lovers, rejoice!  Value, pigmentation, and usability combine to make this a very worthwhile palette.  I personally didn’t love the packaging, but it’s such a minor point when what’s inside is so good!

Availability: Sephora

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Friday, August 21st, 2009

Bobbi Brown Goes Green for Fall

Bobbi Brown Bash Metallic Eyeshadow ($20.00) is one of three eyeshadows featured as part of Bobbi Brown’s Ivy League Collection for the fall season.  Bash is a glimmering shade of deep forest green with gold-green flecks of shimmer sheen.

The shade itself has a metallic-frost sheen, and the color is intense without being too bold or dark (and thus looking more black-green than like a green).  It’s even prettier when layered over Forest Shimmer Ink Gel Eyeliner, actually!  It turns it into a darker, fiercer green.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation:  If you’re a green fiend like I am, this is definitely a must-have forest green.  It’s vivid without leaning too green nor too black, and it has just enough shimmer and gold sheen to make it easy to blend and use.

Availability: Nordstrom, BobbiBrownCosmetics.com

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Thursday, August 20th, 2009


Off the Page Eyeshadow

MAC Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection: Eyeshadow

Six vibrant eyeshadows debuted with the MAC Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection: Off the Page, Maira’s Magic, Crest the Wave, Purple Shower, Haunting, and Violet Trance.

Eyeshadow ($14.50)

  • Off the Page is a vibrant, bright orange with golden orange shimmer and sheen. This reminds me of the ever-fabulous Fab & Flashy eyeshadow that came out with C-Shock two years ago. It has a frost finish.
  • Maira’s Magic is a subdued medium pink with a satin finish, so it just has a subtle bit of sheen. It’s like a more matte and muted version of Da Bling.
  • Crest the Wave is a frosty yellow with gold sheen. It has a frost finish. This originally came out with the Naughty Nauticals quad.
  • Purple Shower is a soft, satiny fuchsia-purple with subtle sheen. I’ve always liked this color, and I’m glad to see it cropping up again for a spell.
  • Haunting is a sheer wash of blue with just a hint of aqua. I’ve never been found of this shade, just because the pay off isn’t tops. It really does need a good base to work.
  • Violet Trance is a matte dark blue-based violet purple. This originally released two or three years ago, so avid collectors may already have this in their stash. As lovely as it appears in the pot, it’s not the easiest matte to work with. I’d have to vote Make Up For Ever #92 if you’re looking for a deep, intense purple, just because this one doesn’t have a dream texture. It’s so-so, a bit chalky and thus drags a bit, and pigmentation is decent but not intense.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: This just may be the closest we come to a C-Shock redux (though not as good as C-Shock). If you like bright pops of color, you should play with these. I really liked Off the Page and Purple Shower the most. Crest the Wave is pretty, but I’m not sold on it (at least not for my skin tone).

Availability: MACCosmetics.com

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