Friday, June 25th, 2010

 

Urban Decay Naked Palette
Urban Decay Naked Palette

Ready to Get Naked?

Urban Decay Naked Palette ($44.00) is new-for-fall and contains twelve shades–eight are incredibly neutral, but four pack a little–much welcome–color punch. There are six permanent and existing shades, one repromoted shade, and five new shades.

The palette includes: Virgin (satin chamois), Sin (champagne), Naked (matte buff nude), Sidecar (cocoa with golden sparkle sheen), Buck (matte nutmeg), Half Baked (subtle, lustrous bronze), Smog (deep coppery bronze), Darkhorse (bronze patina), Toasted (rich copper), Hustle (plum brown satin), Creep (onyx with gold sparkle), Gunmetal (gunmetal gray with silver glitter). The final piece is a double-ended 24/7 Liner with Zero (black) on one side and Whiskey (creamy rich brown) on the other.

  • Virgin is a pale, shimmered nude beige. It’s very, very light, but it’s such a beautiful neutral. It’s a little frosty for a highlighter, particularly on darker skin tones, but it would make for a great all-over wash or pop of light on the inner tear duct.
  • Sin is a champagne with a touch of pink and a frostier finish. This shade is permanently available.
  • Naked is a matte medium beige-brown. It has a very soft, smooth texture–not at all powdery or chalky.
  • Sidecar is a shimmered, medium bronze brown with almost a red undertone. This shade was in the first edition of the Book of Shadows. (I didn’t see it on Urban Decay’s website at all.)
  • Buck is a matte darkened beige-brown. It’s really a darker version of Naked. It has the same silky smooth texture and rich color pay off of Naked, too.
  • Half Baked is a coppery bronze with a frost-metallic finish. This shade is permanently available.
  • Smog is a medium dark bronze with a gilded bronze sheen. This shade is permanently available.
  • Darkhorse is a darkened deep chocolate brown with flecks of bronze.
  • Toasted is a medium dark pinky brown with a shimmery finish. This shade is permanently available.
  • Hustle is a dark plummy chocolate brown with a soft shimmer finish.
  • Creep is a darkened blue-black base with silver and teal shimmer. Urban Decay said “onyx with gold glitter” but I really didn’t see the gold.
  • Gunmetal is a blue-gray metallic that really must be seen to be appreciated. It almost feels like a duochrome, because it flashes blue but it’s dark and smoldering. This shade is permanently available.

The palette also contains a double-ended eyeliner, and Zero is your basic creamy black with a near-matte finish–if you’re an Urban Decay palette collector, you probably have enough Zero eyeliners to get you through the next twenty years. However, it also contains Whiskey, which is a brand new shade of creamy chocolate brown with red undertones. It’s very similar to Bourbon, but it seems a little lighter and doesn’t have the shimmer.

It’s packaged in a velvety chocolate brown exterior, which makes it look sleek and sophisticated–it’s probably one of the classier products I’ve seen come from the brand, actually. It feels very luxe and not quite Urban Decay–but I think it’s a good thing, and it’s nice to see. This is also an amazing value palette. The palette contains 12 x 0.05 oz. eyeshadows, plus 2 x 0.02 oz. liners and a miniature-sized Primer Potion of 0.13 fl. oz. (I actually originally thought it came sans UDPP, because I just received the palette… but the back of it says you do get it, so it probably tags along in a plastic package, but not included in the actual palette case.) The real coup here is the twelve full-size eyeshadows–yes, that’s right–a $17 full-size eyeshadow from Urban Decay contains 0.05 oz. of product, which is exactly what we have here–a value of $204.

I think this is one of Urban Decay’s best palettes to date, actually. It combines incomparable value for the price tag, but the high quality of their eyeshadows really comes through, too. There are no glittery, fussy shades here (and I can’t tell you how happy I am to NOT see Midnight Cowboy Rides Again!). Every shade is soft, smooth, and richly pigmented–even the mattes. For those with a lot of palettes, it may feel a bit redundant, as there are seven shades in it that we’ve seen again–but still five we haven’t. Not that I’m getting through an eyeshadow pan any time soon, but at least you can feel at ease if you fall in love with one of those seven.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re an eyeshadow fiend and love yourself some shimmery finishes, Urban Decay’s new Naked palette won’t disappoint. It even includes two matte shades–something I’ve remarked on for the lack thereof in previous palettes–and a good mix of neutrals, smoldering neutrals, and darker, smokier colors. There is nothing about this palette that’s a miss.

AVAILABILITY: June 29th @ Urban Decay; around August 1st @ Sephora, ULTA, Macy’s, Beauty.com

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Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Chanel Vert Khaki Eyeshadow
Chanel Vert Khaki Eyeshadow

Crazy for Khaki!

There are two single eyeshadows included with the Chanel Les Contrastes de Chanel CollectionVert Khaki (khaki) and Taupe Grise (chocolate grey).  Each retails for $28.50 and contains 0.07 oz. of product.  I originally planned to review them together, but I adore Vert Khaki too much–it deserves its own post!

Confession time:  I ADORE OLIVE GREENS.  (Is it a confession if everybody already knows?  Guess not!)  No, but seriously, I totally have a thing for antique-y earth tones.  I’m so smitten over Vert Khaki as soon as I gazed down upon it… and then fell head-over-heels in love with it after swatching it.  It’s this beautiful concoction of darkened olive green with a metallic gold sheen and flashes of gold and emerald green shimmer.  Divine!  LOVE!

It has the same silky, soft texture of Chanel eyeshadow, and it’s richly pigmented and a little goes a long way.  It’s shimmering without being frosty, and it blends out beautifully with other shadows. Not the most affordable eyeshadow on the  market, but at least they don’t skimp on quantity–a little more than average.

I’m excited to try this over a gold base, just to bring out the golden tones in it!

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

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

Recommendation: If you’re a fan of smoky eyes, Chanel has you covered with the Enigma eyeshadow quad. It’s very dark and seductive, but it seems a little limited in its combinations.

Availability:  July 2010

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Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Denim & Rose Palette
Bobbi Brown Denim & Rose Palette

Bobbi Brown Has the Denim Jeans Blues

Bobbi Brown Denim & Rose Face Palette ($60.00) is new for fall, but it works just as well for the summer, too. It’s available at Nordstrom’s now (at least online), and I suspect we’ll see it roll out to other retailers in the next couple of weeks.  It contains four eyeshadows, one blush, two lipsticks, and two lip glosses all housed in a single palette.

  • Navajo eyeshadow is a light white-beige with a matte finish. This is part of the permanent collection, but the rest of the shades in the palette are new (and limited, of course).
  • Gray Denim eyeshadow is a softened, browned gray with a near matte finish (seems like it has just a little satin in it).
  • Pink Granite eyeshadow is a shimmering pinky champagne with soft flecks of peach glitter-shimmer.
  • Dark Rinse eyeshadow is a blackened navy blue base with brighter blue shimmer and silver flecks.
  • Pink Rose blush is a neutral, matte pink blusher. It’s medium in darkness, and it’s quite wearable for all skin tones, cool or warm. On darker skin tones, it will be a very light flush.
  • Cool Rose lipstick is a semi-sheer light neutral pink with white shimmer.
  • Indie Rose lipstick is an opaque, darkened red with a plummy feel. It has a creamy finish and slightly glossy look.
  • Iced Lilac glitter lip gloss is a sheer confection of white and soft lilac shimmer.
  • Hot Rose lip gloss is a semi-sheer, blue-based milky medium pink. It’s definitely a cooler pink, but it should be wearable by both warm and cool skin tones, since it’s on the sheerer side.

I love the packaging — zipped-up, denim-clad palette. It’s fun without being cheesy, functional and still original, and I really think it fits the collection’s theme. I don’t love when palettes combine both cream and powder products, just because powder products have a tendency to get dust outside their borders and into those creams. I did notice that the palette itself is taller than each pan of product, so the pans sit below an edge, which should combat some powder migration.

Dark Rinse is easily my favorite eyeshadow–it’s just so delectably pigmented, it’s hard to resist. It’s a rather smoldering shade of blue, too, and it would make for an excellent smoky eye shade. It could also work well on the lower lash line for a pop of color.

Overall, I think all of the colors in the palette work with each other, which is really important to me when reviewing a palette. Most palettes are designed to be more of a one-stop-shop, so if shades don’t jive well, it’s an issue. The one downside to this product was the lack of included brushes, even if they do tend to be mediocre, because this does have lip products in it, a miniaturized lip brush is helpful for on-the-go touchups. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s something I noticed when going to swatch the products (I typically use included lip brushes to dig out the product to swatch).

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

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

Recommendation:  I think it’s a solid palette with quality products, and better yet, the products work well together.  However, if you’re not a fan of lip products in palette form, this has four (which is nearly half of the products), so you’re better off skipping.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Chanel Enigma Eyeshadow Quad
Chanel Enigma Eyeshadow Quad

Fall Makeup: Dark & Smoky by Chanel

For fall, Chanel Les Contrastes de Chanel Collection is all about sultry, smoky eyes. It’s dark, sophisticated, and drawn out in hues of gray, purple, and olive. Chanel describes Enigma as a quad of “shimmering peach, chocolate grey, violet grey, and deep plum.

I found the description to be kind of close, but not quite: a shimmering petal pink with peach shimmer; olive-toned brown with flecks of silver; silver-shimmered gray with subtle mauve tones; and blackened plum with silver shimmer.  The lightest shade is the petal pink, and it’s lovely as an all-over lid color or paired with any of the other three shades.  I did find it a little too much for a highlighter on my skin tone, but I think those with cooler skin tones may find it works just right.

This is definitely all about the smoky eye–it’s hard to do anything but a smoky eye with these particular shades.  I see several combinations itching to be tried, but I know they’ll all be on the smoky side–which seems to be exactly the direction Chanel was heading for fall, so it works.  Whether you’re on the hunt for a smoky eye is another story!  I think if this had a less shimmery shade (and perhaps more neutral toned) that could double as a lid color and highlighter, it would make an excellent travel palette.

As usual, the pigmentation was rich and dark, particularly when applied onto the eyes.  Chanel shadows are ridiculously soft, silky, and smooth.  They almost feel powdery, but it’s more the effect of having such an ultra soft texture.  (Similarly, Stila is a brand that comes to mind with the same soft texture.)  All the shades can be intensified a notch or two by using them wet, rather than dry, which is always a nice option to have.

It feels very fall to me, and when the temperature starts to drop down come September, I can see myself using this more often.

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

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

Recommendation: If you’re a fan of smoky eyes, Chanel has you covered with the Enigma eyeshadow quad. It’s very dark and seductive, but it seems a little limited in its combinations.

Availability: July 2010

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Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Becca Loose Shadow

The Jewel of Your Eye with Becca

Becca Jewel Dust ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) are loose multi-purpose powders made without talc or fillers. There are sixteen shades in the full range, from shimmering champagnes to baby blues.  I picked up three shades when Becca was on HauteLook a few weeks back.

  • Erzulie is a soft lavender with a gray cast and lighter lilac and blue shimmer.
  • Luella is a gold shimmered green-toned turquoise with a deeper turquoise base.
  • Erlina is a lightened, spring green with a strong yellow undertone with a near metallic, slightly frosty finish.

One thing I really enjoyed about these was that they work nearly as well dry as they do wet. When they are used wet, they do create a smoother, more solid color, but used dry, they hold together pretty well. They worked well over eyeshadow primers as well as cream eyeshadows.

All three shades I tried out are actually colors that I don’t quite have in loose form, and the way they shimmer is very reflective and sophisticated, actually–particularly when used on eyes. I could see some of the lighter, more neutral shades being used as an all-over dusting on lids for a little oomph without doing much else.

The packaging is stylish and easy to store–small, mostly square, and just elegant. I really wish you received more for the price, though — 0.04 oz. is so underwhelming for a product that costs $24 — and it’s a little less and a little more in cost than other loose shadows by high-end brands. I’m sure most of us will not get through a single container all that quickly, though, and like most loose colors, a little goes a long way.

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

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

Recommendation: I wish you got a little more product in each container, but the colors I tried were beautiful and shades I haven’t seen too often. The quality was lovely with smooth, rich color and beautiful shimmering finishes.

Availability: Becca

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Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Aveda Golden Jasper Eyeshadow Duo

Aveda Does Eyeshadow

Aveda Golden Jasper Eye Color Trio ($22.00 for 0.08 oz.) is an unexpected, but entirely pleasant, surprise from Aveda. I don’t know about you, but I always forget that Aveda actually has a full range of products–I always think hair when I think about the brand.

There is one really fabulous characteristic about Aveda though, that spans their entire range, it’s that they really are eco-conscious. And they don’t make you hunt around for information on whether they’re truly looking to be a greener, more earth-friendly company. The eye trios are packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled clamshell and paper sleeve–it’s something that reader Dusty pointed out about EcoTools: the brushes are packaged in plastic yet there is no information on whether that plastic was recycled or not. Additionally, the eyeshadow trio doesn’t contain talc, mineral oil, or parabens.

The trios are available in several other varieties: Blue Dawn, Plum Mist, Earth Rose, Aqua Pearl, Black Tulip, Sweet Grass, Copper Haze, and Gobi Sands.

Each trio features three complementary shades, arranged from lightest to darkest, and it pretty much makes using them a no-brainer. Lightest on the lid, medium or darkest on the outer lid/crease. Golden Jasper consists of a soft, light beige with a satin shimmer; warmed up medium brown with a soft sheen; and chocolate brown with warm undertones. The eyeshadow is soft, smooth, and pigmented. It melts when applied to lid, and I actually wore them without a base, just as a test, for several hours (I’d say around six), and I didn’t encounter any creasing. (But to be clear, my lids are on the drier side, rather than oily!)

I’m definitely interested in trying out some of the other shade varieties (perhaps Blue Dawn, Aqua Pearl, Sweet Grass, or Copper Haze), to see how those hold up. But so far, I’m impressed by the spirit and story of Aveda and the delivery on the eyeshadow formulation based on Golden Jasper. You can either use your own palettes, keep them in their plastic sleeves, or pick up one of their Environmental Compacts (made of 30% post-consumer recycled and 20% post-industrial regrind aluminum).

Have you tried Aveda’s eyeshadows before?

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Next time you’re near an Aveda counter, you might want to check out their makeup range. I so infrequently hear about the range’s makeup and skincare, and maybe it’s time we check them out!

Availability: Aveda

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