Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Smashbox Eye Wish Eyeshadow Palette
Smashbox Eye Wish Eyeshadow Palette

Wish Big with Smashbox for the Holidays

Smashbox Eye Wish Eyeshadow Palette ($45.00) is a limited edition holiday palette that contains twelve eyeshadows, four cream eyeliners, and trial sizes of mascara and eyeshadow primer. It’s housed in a yellow gold flip-top rectangular box (think Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows). Inside the palette is a mirror along with a how-to booklet.

  • 1 is a softened dark orange with gold sheen. It’s a touch sheer.
  • 2 is a plum-tinged silver gray. This one was sheer.
  • 3 is a yellowed beige with a matte finish. It wasn’t really chalky, but it was a little sheer.
    4 is a pale warm pink. Nice pigmentation and very smooth.
  • 5 is a molten bronze with warm amber undertones. It reminded me of MAC’s Amber Lights + Bronze mixed together. This was one of the nicest shades in the palette for its rich pigmentation and smooth texture.
  • 6 is a pink-mauve with a frosted sheen. The pigmentation was nice with this shade.
  • 7 is a medium blue with aqua-blue sheen and shimmer. It looked cooler in the pan, but it’s still pretty swatched–the sheen just seemed more noticeable in the pan.
  • 8 is a soft medium-dark gray with a soft silver sheen. It had nice color pay off.
  • 9 is a chocolate bronze with a soft frost finish. It went on easily and smoothly.
  • 10 is a muted cool-toned purple plum. This was a little chalky.
  • 11 is a deep peacock blue with a satin sheen. It could have been a little more pigmented, but it worked better during application than swatched.
  • 12 medium-dark gray with a satin sheen.
  • 13 is a chocolate brown with red undertones and flecks of pale gold shimmer.
  • 14is a deep plum purple with light purple and pink shimmer.
  • 15 is a deep teal-blue.
  • 16 is a charcoal black with a silver sheen.

I want to specifically call attention to the fact that the liners are noted as generic “cream eyeliners.” Smashbox has a line of cream eyeliners called Jet Set, which have a good reputation, but these liners aren’t labeled as such, so I am going to assume (and hope) that they are not Jet Set liners. These liners take forever to dry, and they smudge easily–which is nice initially–but they don’t seem to stay in place at all for me. They just migrate, migrate, migrate, and this leads to… a migraine. Ha, ha. I couldn’t even get them to work well as a base, because they sheer out quite a bit and don’t set fast enough before settling into the crease.

I did like how Smashbox coordinated the columns of eyeshadows, though–and there are certainly a lot of looks one could do with this palette. There is a good mix of colors and neutrals, but I will say this palette leans on the cooler side, with the exception of the browns which are warmer. Overall, the eyeshadow quality is good across the board, with some shades being more average (like #1, 2, 3, and 4) and a couple (like #5, 6, and 9) being really nice with full pigmentation and smooth application. The lightest shades (#1, 2, 3, and 4) were the sheerest and more problematic. The texture of these didn’t seem quite as soft of Smashbox’s eyeshadows, but they were still soft, and overall, they seemed less powdery than typical Smashbox eyeshadows.

The palette includes 0.63 oz. worth of eyeshadow (works out to be 0.0525 oz. each) and 0.105 oz. (works out to be 0.0263 oz. each) worth of cream eyeliner, along with a miniature-sized Lash DNA Mascara (0.20 oz.) and Lid Primer (0.02 oz.). Compared to the cost of full-sized equivalent products, the palette has $170 worth of eyeshadow, $23 worth of eyeliner, $12 worth of mascara, and $5 worth of lid primer–the whole palette coming to a total of $210 worth of Smashbox products for a price of $45. To sum all that up, yes, this is a value palette–the eyeshadows alone make it worthwhile (in terms of quantity/price).

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

RECOMMENDATION: I wouldn’t rely on this palette for the eyeliners, but if you like the colors included for eyeshadow, then it’s definitely a good value.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom and Sephora

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Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Modern Classic Lip & Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Goes Modern for the Holidays

Bobbi Brown Modern Classic Lip & Eye Palette ($75.00) contains ten eyeshadows and four lip glosses all housed in a sleek palette for the holidays.

It includes: Ivory (creamy white), Oyster Grey (silvery beige), Antique Pink (muted rose), Quarry (steely grey with golden flecks), Taffeta (pale pink bronze), Birch (soft brown), Heather Rose (golden plum), Navy Charcoal (navy charcoal grey), Gold Thread (deep golden copper), and Espresso (dark chocolate brown) eyeshadows; along with Grape (deep plum), Pink Bouquet (bright pink), Golden Topaz (golden bronze), and Paisley Rose (warm pink rose) lip glosses.

  • Ivory is a creamy muted white–it’s not too stark, but it’s not what I’d describe as beige, either. I’ve mentioned it before, but this color is routinely in Bobbi Brown’s palettes. This is a matte eyeshadow. It is also part of the permanent range.
  • Oyster Grey is a pale, frosted champagne. This is a metallic eyeshadow.
  • Antique Pink is a sheer, pink champagne.  I found the pigmentation on this shade to be underwhelming–it could use a boost.   This is a shimmer wash eyeshadow.
  • Quarry is a cool-toned muted brown with a white shimmer-sheen. This is a shimmer wash eyeshadow.
  • Taffeta is a softened bronze with golden sheen. This is a metallic eyeshadow.
  • Birch is a muted medium-dark brown–it has very subtle red undertones. This is a matte eyeshadow. It is also part of the permanent range.
  • Heather Rose is a plummy rose with bronze shimmer.  It is a touch sheer but only negligibly. This is a shimmer wash eyeshadow.
  • Navy Charcoal is a muted navy blue matte base with blue flecks of sparkle.
  • Gold Thread is a browned gold with a bright gold sheen. This is a metallic eyeshadow.
  • Espresso is a cool-toned, smoldering black-brown. This is a matte eyeshadow. It is also part of the permanent range.
  • Grape is a sheer plummy pink with plum and gold shimmer. This is a glitter lip gloss.
  • Pink Bouquet is a sheer medium rose pink. This is a glitter lip gloss.
  • Golden Topaz is a sheer beige nude with champagne shimmer. This is a glitter lip gloss.
  • Paisley Rose is a sheer peach-coral nude with faint champagne shimmer. This is a shimmer lip gloss.

Each regular eyeshadow is 0.02 oz.; metallic eyeshadow is 0.02 oz.; each shimmer wash eyeshadow is 0.02 oz.; shimmer lip gloss is 0.03 oz.; and glitter lip gloss is 0.03 oz. In sum, you are getting 0.08 oz. worth of regular eyeshadow ($20.00 value), 0.06 oz. of metallic eyeshadow ($12.00 value), and 0.06 oz. of shimmer wash eyeshadow ($15.00 value). For the gloss, you are getting 0.03 oz. worth of shimmer lip gloss ($4.30 value) and 0.09 oz. worth of glitter lip gloss ($12.86 value). There is also a lip brush and an eyeshadow brush, both functional and not too scratchy (nowhere near as soft as full-sized Bobbi Brown brushes, but they are decent), which I’d put at $10 of value. The palette contains $74.16 worth of product, but you do get 10 eyeshadows and 4 lip glosses (three lip glosses or three eyeshadows would run you right around ~$60 alone).

I really love that Bobbi Brown separates her eyeshadows and lip glosses; it’s not something we always see in palettes, but this brand often does it, and I can appreciate that. It’s just nice not having to worry about powder getting into your gloss products. I also like the inclusion of brushes over sponge-tipped applicators and wish more brands would do the same.

This is the kind of color palette I would expect from Bobbi Brown, and I think it does suit its name. If you’re after bright colors, this is obviously something quite different. However, this palette is excellent for creating work-safe looks as well as some heavier, smokier looks–but lighter, “safer” shades dominate and make it an easy palette for those needing work-friendly options on-the-go or all in one place. I did find that the pigmentation was a bit sheer in a few of the shades (indicated above), but overall, it’s a nice palette.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: At $75, I would want to make sure to purchase it (or gift it) to someone who would really enjoy and use the majority of the palette–not just for one or two shades, you know?

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow
Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow

Benefit’s New Creaseless Cream Shadow Shades!

Benefit Cosmetics Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner ($19.00 for 0.16 oz.) are now available in four new, Sephora exclusive shades: Purple Snap (lavender violet), Silver Spoon (true silver), Tidal Rave (muted teal with gold shimmer), and Ice Shot (icy white). I have three of the four to share with you today.

I love Benefit’s Creaseless Cream Shadows — I actually gave them an award for best cream eyeshadow last year. They’re just so creamy, smooth, and apply beautifully. They can be applied sheerly for quick color or layered for a more intense look or as a base. I don’t experience any creasing–they last all day for me. And as someone who has owned many for over a year now, they aren’t prone to drying out in their jars, either.

I’m happy to report that these didn’t disappoint! They’re true to Benefit’s cream shadow formula with the creaminess and smoothness I’ve come to love. The colors are easily vibrant but just as easily used sheerly, which makes it a more versatile product.

  • Purple Snap is a brightened medium purple with softened red undertones. It has light violet micro-shimmer with a subtle sheen–not too frosty, but it’s not matte either.
  • Silver Spoon is a bright blue-tinged silver with a little mix of gray. The metallic finish is definitely there, but the bluish cast seems to dull it a bit (which isn’t a bad thing).
  • Tidal Rave is a darkened blue-teal base with green-gold shimmer. This is actually a really cool shade–very lovely–and pretty different from the rest of Benefit’s line-up. It has an almost duochrome nature to it. I was reminded me of MAC’s Surreal Eyeshadow (discontinued).

P.S. — Sephora lists Tidal Rave as Tidal Wave–but my box and bottom of the jar says Rave! So pfft!

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

RECOMMENDATION: I think Tidal Rave is the most unique shade of the three featured in this post–but I’m totally digging the bluish cast of Silver Spoon, too. It’s kind of like stainless steel over traditional bright silver!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Bare Escentuals High Shine Eye Color
Bare Escentuals High Shine Eye Color

Killing Me Softly with Bad Packaging

Bare Escentuals High Shine Eye Color ($16.00 for 0.05 oz.) are kind of amazing. If you’re looking for intensely pigmented, smooth as silk, and bright, metallic-like eyeshadows, Bare Escentuals has you covered. There are six shades available: Frost (silver), Moonshine (deep plum), Patina (gilded khaki), Electric (deep teal), Bronzed (bronze brown), and Glisten (golden sand).

These apply so smoothly–as if they were creams or liquids, but they’re very much a loose powder. The powder seems incredibly finely milled, which helps give it that silky texture and intensifies the color as it holds together impeccably. Though I find these shades rather high-shine to wear alone, I love them as bases or mixed with other shadows. I did try wearing Glisten on its lonesome to test for creasing, and it wore well–no creasing six hours later.

  • Frost is a bright metallic silver.  This is easily the most dupeable shade, as most silvers tend to be on the metallic side in finish (if it’s not, then it’s more of a gray, is it not?)
  • Moonshine is a softened mauve-tinged plum. This shade seemed the least metallic of the bunch.
  • Patina is a gilded olive green with gold shimmer-sheen. This one is gorgeous if you’re a green fiend!
  • Electric is a softened blue that pulls just slightly teal. It’s really not teal to me, though–maybe a dusty teal?
  • Bronzed is a warm bronze with a metallic sheen.  This also felt a bit dupeable; it’s just one of those warm bronzes you see often.  It doesn’t make it bad, just not necessarily the one to get.
  • Glisten is a tarnished gold with a metallic sheen. This was my other favorite, along with Patina, but I’m a total sucker for antique golds…

These are beautiful from first swatch to application, but there is a major drawback to this product line. The applicator/tube is a total no-go! However they managed it, when you pull the applicator out of the tube (which is a large sponge-tipped applicator), it also pulls a ton of product onto the edges. In essence, it pulls out far too much product on the applicator itself as well as leaves a lot along the rim of the tube (which just falls on your floor, lap, or wherever!).

I would recommend dumping the color into a jar or else cutting the applicator off — because it seems like the larger sponge-tip does pull much of the excess to the rim, so if you just snipped it off entirely (and used a separate brush to apply), you could leave it in the tube. (Ironically, they tout the applicator as a “convenient, quick-draw wand [that] allows for easy, on-the-go application.”)

The Glossover

product

bareMinerals High Shine Eye Color Review, Photos, Swatches

A
I think these are all kinds of awesome, but due to the poor packaging design, the product's overall rating gets dragged significantly. If you don't mind fussing with the packaging to make these work, they're definitely worth checking out.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Dupes
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Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Smoldering Eyeshadow Palette
Bobbi Brown Smoldering Eyeshadow Palette

Choose Your Glam with Bobbi Brown: Smoldering

Bobbi Brown Smoldering Eyeshadow Palette ($45.00 for 0.15 oz.) includes three eyeshadows and one long-wear eye paint. It features: Ivory (creamy white), Heather Lilac (pink heather), Charcoal (dark grey), and Port (deep plum).

The Long-Wear Eye Paints are new and featured in the three palettes from Bobbi Brown’s Smoky, Sultry, Smoldering Collection. According to Bobbi Brown, they are “high-pigment metallic eyeshadow that can be worn wet or dry.” She recommends “[applying] them with a damp Cream Shadow Brush for a strong, luminous and long-lasting pop of shimmering color that won’t crease.”

  • Ivory is a creamy neutral white with a hint of beige–it’s not a stark white. This shade seems like it’s in the majority of Bobbi Brown’s palettes, though, so you probably have at least one! It is a permanent shade.
  • Heather Lilac is a pink mauve with a frosted metallic finish. It’s nicely pigmented and very smooth. This is exclusive to this palette.  It reminded me of NARS’ Night Rider, sans glitter; NARS Ondine is close, too, but leans brown.
  • Charcoal is a dark black with a matte finish. This is a permanent shade.
  • Port is a blackened burgundy with ruby and bright burgundy sparkle. It reminded me of a less black-based MAC Young Punk. From what I can tell, the Long-Wear Eye Paints are very similar to baked/mineralize eyeshadows–it has a small dome, the same sheer texture when applied dry, and it intensifies ten-fold when applied damp.  The shade is all reminiscent of a shadow from LORAC’s Private Affair palette.

Each of the eyeshadows is 0.04 oz. (full-sized are 0.08 oz. for $20.00; 0.10 oz. for $20.00 for metallic eyeshadow), while the Long-Wear Eye Paint is 0.03 oz. (not currently available on its lonesome; but for valuation purposes, we’ll assume 0.08 oz. for $20.00). In this palette, you receive $20.00 worth of regular Eyeshadow, $8 worth of Metallic Eyeshadow, and $7.50 worth of Long-Wear Eye Paint. This totals to $35.50 worth of product. You do also receive a double-ended brush in the palette, which is usable (and one of the better brushes included in palettes)– we’ll say it’s $7 worth–bringing us to $42.50. It’s not a value-packed palette, but I don’t think you’re losing out.

I see a lot of these shades working together, though I really wish Bobbi Brown would vary the lightest shade–Ivory is permanent and too often included in her limited edition palettes. The packaging is sleek and compact, and I love that they have an actual brush applicator included, rather than sponge-tipped ones!  It is a bit basic, with both a matte white and black eyeshadow, so it might not be the best holiday palette to pick up if you have a sizable stash.

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

RECOMMENDATION: This would be excellent on cooler skin tones in particular, though warmer ones should be able to use it, too. You may want to opt elsewhere for a highlighter if you are medium to dark in skin tone, as Ivory may look stark.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Urban Decay Scratch Eyeshadow
Urban Decay Scratch Eyeshadow

Wake-up Tired Eyes with a Scratch

Urban Decay Scratch Deluxe Eyeshadow ($18.00 for 0.09 oz.) is a shimmering pink champagne with a frosted metallic shine. It’s smooth, pigmented, and easy to blend. I would say it’s a touch too pigmented and metallic to work as a brow highlighter, but I love it as a lid shade. It’s a hue that brightens well without being overwhelming. I recommend just patting it on the lower lid and buffing upwards so it fades into the crease for a quick, one-minute kind of look. It pairs well with Urban Decay’s bronzes and peaches, too.

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

RECOMMENDATION: Excellent quality–ultra smooth texture with rich color pay off–make this something worth putting on the list, if you’re in need of a pink champagne kind of shade.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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