Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Beauty on a Budget:  Maybelline Irresistibly Ivy Eyeshadow Quad

Maybelline Eye Studio Irresistibly Ivy Eyeshadow Quad ($8.49) is a mix of four eyeshadows that can be used together or alone. They’re very soft, slightly powdery shades, so it’s better to use a tapping technique, rather than sweeping/brushing it on a lot. Think less windshield-wiper motions when applying these with a brush. I find that this is just something that holds true for all softer shadows (e.g. Stila and Urban Decay).

Irresistibly Ivy includes a softly shimmered champagne beige; rich, orange-copper with golden shimmer; matte teal with glitter sparkle; and reddened bronze-copper. I found that the orange-copper shade had the best texture and color pay off–very smooth and true-to-color. The teal had a little more of a dusty feel to it, since it’s more of a matte base with shimmer on top.

For drugstore beauty, the pay off is intense and over a good primer (e.g. UDPP), I had no problems with the color popping and staying true. I found minimal fading after eight hours, so they’re not quite as good as some of my favorite eyeshadows, but for the price, they’re an excellent alternative for those on a budget–or would like to try certain colors without shelling out $15+ for one.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you like soft shadows and want something affordable, Maybelline Eye Studio Quads might be up your alley!

Availability: Local drugstores

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Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Laura Mercier Golden Brown Eyeshadow Duo

Laura Mercier Polished Collection: Eye Colour Duos in Golden Brown & Plum Spice

Laura Mercier Eye Colour Duos ($22.00 each, 0.09 oz. each) come in three different finishes: luster, matte, and sateen. From Laura Mercier’s Polished Collection, there are three new Colour Duos: Golden Brown (Luster), Cocoa Rose (Matte), and Plum Spice (Sateen). The new shades are–surprise, surprise–limited edition.

  • Golden Brown is a mix of a softened metallic gold and light bronze with copper-bronze sheen.
  • Plum Spice is a satiny smooth dirty peach and lightly shimmered dirty pinked plum.

Both duos had a very smooth, soft texture and the shadows swatched easily. Golden Brown had more color pigmentation and an even smoother feel than Plum Spice, which had more of a semi-sheer appearance and required some layering to get a higher intensity.

I think Laura Mercier fans will enjoy these limited edition shades, because both duos include colors that are easy to use, perfect for spring, and can be mixed with many products you may already own. If you’re more of a bright color eyeshadow kind of person, these probably weren’t designed with you in mind!

Everything I’ve tried from Laura Mercier has been all about creating soft, flattering looks with sheer or buildable color for everyday wear–these fit that philosophy to a T. I think this best describes the line (taken from the “about” section on her website): “She personally created the colors to satisfy the needs of her clients, based on a classic and always-current palette, rather than seasonal trends only.”

The duos actually contain a decent amount of product–it’s like you get enough to use in your lifetime, without having to invest a ton into it. By the ounce, Laura Mercier’s Eye Colour Duos are more affordable than MAC and just a little above Make Up For Ever eyeshadows. I’ve always liked her packaging–it’s kind of like a chocolate brown with bronzy shimmer/sparkles in the mix. Pretty, functional, and a little fun.

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

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

Recommendation:  If you like soft, smooth color that applies evenly and without fallout, Laura Mercier is worth checking out!

Availability: BlueMercury

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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.

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

  • 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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