Monday, November 21st, 2011

Video Review: theBalm Nude ‘tude Eyeshadow Palette First Impressions & Swatches

A short (at least, for me!) video with preliminary commentary and swatches of theBalm’s Nude ‘tude Eyeshadow Palette (link will take you to full written review).

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Tarina Tarantino Delightful Jewel Eyeshadow Palette
Tarina Tarantino Delightful Jewel Eyeshadow Palette

Tarina Tarantino Delightful Jewel Eyeshadow Palette ($32.00 for 0.32 oz.) is a cooler toned set of more neutral shades. I think we could hedge and say it’s more neutral-cool than really, truly cool-toned. The formula is designed to have intense color payoff, and the eyeshadows are long-wearing and can be used wet or dry (always good to know–more brands should note this!).

I reviewed Dreamy initially, which I was really digging, and I like this one a lot, too–it’s not my personal favorite just by preference, but the quality is lovely and lives up to my readjusted expectations for Tarina Tarantino’s beauty line. I think Sephora is doing these palettes an injustice by not even taking the time to describe each palette’s colors! You just get this ridiculously tiny photo of the palette, but I think with a smaller brand like this, more would be better. I noticed this mostly because I like to start off each review with the brand’s official description of the shade as well as the formula. It helps me to breakdown what I should be looking for and hit on in the review.

The top shade in the palette is a cool-toned medium-dark brown with a frosted finish; it’s almost taupe, but I don’t think it has quite enough gray tint to make it a true taupe. The pigmentation is excellent, and the texture is dense, buttery, and applies smoothly. It’s much lighter than the taupe-ish shade in Dreamy (just because at first glance, they seem similar). It’s a little darker than MAC Magical Mist, cooler-toned and less red-based than Urban Decay Wreckage, and it’s just a touch cooler-toned compared to Bare Escentuals A-Ha.

On the left, there is a bright, frosted gold-tinged white. It’s almost too light to call it a white gold. It has good color payoff and applies smoothly. It is extremely similar to the white gold shade in Dreamy, but it’s also similar to several other shades, including theBalm Envious Erin, theBalm Tempting Tara, Urban Decay Zephyr, and Bare Escentuals Breathtaking. It’s the warmest shade in the palette and definitely not neutral or cool-toned.

In the middle, there is a pale neutral pink with a white frost finish. The payoff is decent but could be better here (think 8/10); it’s not as intense as the other shades in the palette. MAC Fresh Ice is cooler-toned, almost lilac in comparison, while Bare Escentuals Muse is similar but less frosted and more opaque.

On the right, there is a barely warmed golden peach with a metallic finish. It’s smooth and soft, while the pigmentation is good. Inglot #330 reminded me most in terms of color, but it has a matte finish. I couldn’t think of anything else that was similar, though.

The last shade, on the bottom, is a slightly cool-toned dark brown with this slightly warm undertone peeking through. It’s interesting, because the sheen on this looks gray tinted, but the edging has a warmer tone to it. The texture is almost matte, kind of like half-matte, half-satin; and the color payoff is nice. It’s a bit grayer and lighter than MAC Charcoal Brown. MAC Double Feature 3 is a bit closer but not quite.

Looking at the general range, I think they could have made one or two of these colors more cool-toned, because then they’d have a genuinely cool-toned but fairly neutral palette to offer. This palette will work well universally, though, because it’s a mix of cool and warm but for the most part, nothing leans too far in either direction. The color payoff was good on all the shades except the center shade, which was so-so–better than average but not as good as the others. I tested out this palette without a primer (just used three shades on one eye), and it made it to eight hours without creasing or fading, but it had very subtle creasing after ten.

The Glossover

palette

Delightful

A+

Looking at the general range, I think they could have made one or two of these colors more cool-toned, because then they'd have a genuinely cool-toned but fairly neutral palette to offer. This palette will work well universally, though, because it's a mix of cool and warm but for the most part, nothing leans too far in either direction. The color payoff was good on all the shades except the center shade, which was so-so--better than average but not as good as the others.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Monday, November 14th, 2011

Dior Couture Gold (554) 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette
Dior Couture Gold (554) 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette

Dior Holiday 2011: Couture Gold (554) 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette

Dior Couture Gold (554) 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette ($59.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a limited edition palette for the holidays that contains five shades, which tend to skew on the warmer side and keep in the spirit of all things glittery, glam, and metallic.

The first shade, on the upper left, is a white gold with a frosted finish. It has good color payoff and a really soft, buttery texture. This particular shade has several viable dupes: Tarina Tarantino Dreamy, Urban Decay Zephyr, Bare Escentuals Breathtaking, and MAC Manila Paper. Opposite that, on the upper right, is a burnt gold–more orange than yellow kind of gold–with a frosted, metallic finish and sheen. The pigmentation is good, and the eyeshadow feels silky soft. It’s similar in color to Urban Decay Blunt, Milani Drenched in Gold, and Bare Escentuals Aspire.

In the middle of the palette is a pale, sparkling gold with a really glimmering finish. The texture is a bit gritty, because this shade has more of a glitter finish than anything else. I didn’t think it was going to hold up well on the eye, but surprisingly, the fall out was minimal (and surprisingly little for this type of finish). The color seems similar to MAC Femme-fi but the finishes are completely different. It’s also similar to Bobbi Brown Gold Bar and MAC Nylon. This shade is yellower than the shade on the upper left of this palette.

On the bottom left, there is a very dark brown with flecks of ruby and gold shimmer. The texture of this is the type that separates the base color from the sparkle on top; the brown shade is dry, powdery, and only so-so in delivering true-to-pan color payoff, while the overlying sparkle tends to get lost when the shade is actually applied to the eyes. These shades are similar though the color of the sparkle differs slightly: Bobbi Brown Black Gold, Tarina Tarantino Dreamy, MAC Legendary, and Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone.  The last shade, which can be found on the bottom right, is a lightened copper with a golden sheen. The texture is really soft and smooth, and the hue has good color payoff. It’s not as copper as Urban Decay Limelight.

Couture Gold is a warm-toned palette, but it doesn’t contain a lot of strong yellow or orange-based shades, so it should be wearable on cooler complexions. This palette was a sleeper hit for me; I didn’t think I’d love it, even though it is pretty, but the way it comes together works really, really well.

The Glossover

palette

Couture Gold

B+
One of my favorite holiday palettes that I've reviewed so far! It should work on both cool and warm skin tones, because the golds are not too yellow or orange.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Bobbi Brown Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette
Bobbi Brown Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette

Bobbi Brown Holiday 2011: Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette

Bobbi Brown Chocolate & Gold Eye Paint Palette ($45.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a limited edition, warm-toned palette that features four shades of the brand’s Eye Paints, which seems like a baked eyeshadow formula. If you’re familiar with MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadows, these perform and feel very alike. The shades the palette contains are: Gold (pale gold), Bronze (beige gold), Chocolate (rich brown with gold pearl), and Black Gold (black with gold pearl).

  • Gold is a light-medium yellowed gold with a frosted, metallic finish. It isn’t an overly warm gold–it’s as close to a neutral gold as you’d get. The color payoff is sheer when it is applied dry, and it intensifies to decent pigmentation when applied wet, but it’s never quite opaque. It’s much smoother when used damp as well and has less fall out when used that way. Bare Escentuals Standing O, MAC Treasure Hunt, and Givenchy Lune Mordoree are all similar.
  • Bronze is a medium-dark gilded bronze with a metallic shimmer-sheen finish. Like Gold, the color payoff is fairly sheer and the shimmer feels and looks chunky when it is applied dry. When it’s applied damp, the product binds together better so it is smoother and more pigmented. It is similar to MAC Retrospeck,
  • Chocolate is a warmed-up chocolate brown with bronze shimmer. The pigmentation is pitiful when it’s applied dry, and it has a very dry, powdery texture. It’s infinitely better when used wet, where it comes together for a really opaque, smooth result. NARS Galapagos is deeper, but they are similar.
  • Black Gold is a blackened brown color base with cool-toned bronze and champagne shimmer. It’s just like Chocolate–dry, sheer payoff when used dry, but it’s intense and smooth when applied wet. Tarina Tarantino Dream is browner, warmer. The base color is a bit similar to MAC Legendary.

My experience with this palette was as poor as it was with Bobbi Brown’s Onyx & Silver variation. First, if you’re a big fan of MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadows, you may like these more than the overall rating indicates–because I pretty much have the same issues with these as I do with MAC’s, which are fading and fall out.

These shades have to be used damp, because the results when used dry are too chunky and sheer. However, when you use them damp, the color result fades over time, even over a primer, and I had a good amount of fall out underneath my eyes after eight hours of wear. I was flabbergasted at how much fading at occurred over eight hours–I thought my eyeshadow was missing on the lid (which is where I used the lighter color, Gold). Those are two big no-nos when it comes to powder eyeshadows as far as I’m concerned.

The Glossover

palette

Chocolate & Gold

D+
Fading and fall out -- two big no-nos when it comes to eyeshadow, and they're too prevalent in this palette to make it worth recommending. As far as baked eyeshadows go, these are some of the more basic shades, so I think using pressed alternatives is your best bet.

Product

6.5/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

7.5/10

Longevity

6/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Tarina Tarantino Dreamy Jewel Eyeshadow Palette
Tarina Tarantino Dreamy Jewel Eyeshadow Palette

Tarina Tarantino Dreamy Jewel Eyeshadow Palette ($32.00 for 0.32 oz.) is part of the newly repackaged and launched beauty line by jewelry designer Tarina Tarantino. The eyeshadow formula in the palettes is supposed to have “intense, shimmery payoff” with “ultra high pigmentation.” The eyeshadows are touted as long-wearing and can be applied wet or dry. Each compact contains a good amount of eyeshadow, too, with each eyeshadow averaging out to 0.064 oz. (the average eyeshadow is around 0.05 oz.). For the price of two high-end eyeshadows, you’ll get five.

The top shade is a rich copper with hints of orange; it’s a lighter, rusted copper shade with a frosted finish. It’s brighter and more orange than a lot of coppery shades I’ve come across. Make Up For Ever #12 is browner, more bronzy. Urban Decay Baked and MAC Amber Lights are also more bronze. The pigmentation is amazing–intense and vibrant–with a dense, buttery texture.

On the left, there’s a frosted white gold with a soft, smooth texture and good color payoff. This shade is common enough that there are a few shades similar to it, including: Givenchy Lune Mysterieuse (yellower), theBalm Tempting Tara, theBalm Envious Erin, Urban Decay Zephyr, and Bare Escentuals Breathtaking.

In the middle, there’s a golden peach, which comes out more like a pale, muted gold than it does a peach. It has a metallic finish; the pigmentation is good but not as intense as the top shade, but it’s still very soft and smooth to the touch. It’s similar to Bobbi Brown Gold Bar.

On the right, there’s a rich, chocolaty brown with a bronze shimmer and sheen. It has a frost finish, rich pigmentation, and a smooth texture. Like the left shade, it is common and these shades are similar: Inglot #409, Inglot #422, and Urban Decay Lost.

The bottom shade is a deep, dark brown with copper and bronze sparkle that tends to sit atop the color rather than completely embedded within it (like a typical frost). When I applied it, I did find that some of the shimmer transferred but it didn’t look quite as noticeable on the eye as it did in the swatch. The color payoff is very intense, though, and it’s so smooth when applied. It’s warmer and more shimmered than MAC Legendary Black.

I wore this palette (all five shades) with the muted gold on the lid, the softest touch of copper on the very outer lower lid, bronzy shade in the crease with the darker brown to add more depth in the crease, and the white gold on the brow bone. I wore it with and without a primer, and the results without a primer lasted for eight hours without creasing or fading but started to show faint signs of creasing by the tenth hour. With a primer, it was unmoved at ten hours.

I was pleasantly surprised by the texture and color payoff of this palette! I didn’t have particularly high expectations (I was thinking middle-of-the-road), but this was really, really good. This particular palette consists of a lot of dupeable shades, so long-time makeup aficionados will likely have similar shades already, but newcomers with warmer skin tones will find many reasons to fall in love with this palette. I’d love it if each shade had a name, though!

The Glossover

palette

Dreamy

A+

I was pleasantly surprised by the texture and color payoff of this palette! I didn't have particularly high expectations (I was thinking middle-of-the-road), but this was really, really good. This particular palette consists of a lot of dupeable shades, so long-time makeup aficionados will likely have similar shades already, but newcomers with warmer skin tones will find many reasons to fall in love with this palette.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

theBalm Nude 'tude Eyeshadow Palette
theBalm Nude ‘tude Eyeshadow Palette

theBalm Nude ‘tude Eyeshadow Palette

theBalm Nude ‘tude Eyeshadow Palette ($36.00 for 0.382 oz.) contains twelve eyeshadows inside a slim palette with a dual-ended eyeshadow/liner brush. There are two variations, though both have the same eyeshadows inside–one is “Feeling Naughty” (which is the one pictured in this post) which features nude women with eyeshadows covering various parts, while the other is “Feeling Nice” that has no nude women at all. Each eyeshadow is about 0.032 oz.

  • Sassy is a frosted white with good color payoff and a buttery, smooth texture. It reminded me of MAC Forgery but with a much, much better texture. theBalm Lab Coat is also similar but has a more metallic finish.
  • Stubborn is a light-medium peach with a soft frost finish. It looks lighter swatched than in the pan because of the frosted finish. It’s a frosted version of MAC Nubile. Urban Decay Scratch is pinker.
  • Snobby is a gold shimmered medium-dark yellow. This shade was a bit sheer and dry, yet powdery; it didn’t bind as well as I’ve come to expect from theBalm. It’s a lighter version of Chanel Blazing Gold. It is similar to Urban Decay Eldorado.
  • Stand-offish is a light-medium bronze-shimmered brown with warm, red undertones and a frost-metallic finish. It was smooth and had good color payoff. Urban Decay Spotlight is similar in lightness but is much cooler-toned–way less golden.
  • Selfish is a frosted taupe–it’s brown and gray; very mushroom-like. It was very smooth and easy to work with, plus it had good pigmentation. It’s much warmer and browner compared to Urban Decay Mushroom. It’s more like a frostier version of Bare Escentuals Wanderlust. NARS Grand Palais is a bit warmer. MAC Satin Taupe is redder and darker.
  • Sophisticated is a dark brown with subtle warm undertones and a bronze shimmer. It had nice pigmentation and applied smoothly. It is a bit cooler-toned compared to Urban Decay Darkhorse with less of a gold shimmer/sheen, but they are similar.
  • Sultry is a warmed-up, medium brown with a satiny finish. It has a very soft texture, which makes it easy to blend, but it is just on the edge of being too soft so it can sheer out if you are heavy-handed. It is a little lighter than Urban Decay Buck. Bare Escentuals Namaste is darker and redder. MAC Moleskin is more red-toned. MAC Wedge is a touch darker.
  • Schitzo is a warm, golden bronze-brown with a soft, pearly finish. It’s less than a frost, more than a satin. The texture is very, very smooth with good color payoff. MAC Amber Lights is a shade that gives me a similar vibe in terms of color, but the finish makes them so distinct (plus, Amber Lights has much more copper). MAC Tempting has a darker overall color but similar golden bronze sheen. The brown shade from Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone is similar, actually.
  • Sexy is rich burgundy with hints of red and brown and a matte finish. It has good color payoff (especially for a matte); the texture is a good balance between soft and matte–not too dry that it’s stiff, but not so soft that it’s powdery. MAC Festive Delight is much redder and lighter. Make Up For Ever #131 is less brown.
  • Serious is a medium-dark black with a matte finish. It had surprisingly good pigmentation for a matte black, though it could be more intense–it looks much blacker in the pan than it does swatched out. MAC Carbon is less pigmented/intense. Make Up For Ever #4 is much darker.
  • Silly is a red-tinted brown with flecks of copper sparkle. This shade was the most disappointing in the palette–the payoff was very soft and sheer; it seemed more like a layering shade than something that could stand on its own. This was the only shade I had concerns with fall out. Bobbi Brown Black Ruby Sparkle Eye Palette has a slightly similar shade, though it’s glittery and more ruby-shimmered.
  • Sleek is a dark black-brown with a matte finish. It is more intense than Serious, actually! It had good color payoff and was soft enough to blend but not powdery. I couldn’t think of a dupe for this–I had a lot of darker browns but nothing as dark as this.

It’s packaged in theBalm’s usual cardboard outfit, which makes it lightweight and droppable (I dropped it from four feet over tile and everything was pristine). It has an outer sleeve of thick cardstock that has the exact same design as the actual palette, which can be kept or recycled; it’s kind of like a protector–think the jacket of a hardcover book. Inside, there’s a full-length mirror that spans the inside of the lid, and then below are the twelve eyeshadows and dual-ended brush. The palette has a strong enough magnet that the palette seemed to have no problem staying closed.

Overall, the quality is high and consistent with theBalm’s eyeshadow formula (which is one of my favorites). I only had major issues with Silly, which was much sheerer and drier than any of the other eleven shades, and then very minor issues with the softness (which led to slight sheerness) of Sultry. When applied, the concerns I had about Sultry disappeared, though, while Silly just never quite worked out. The other ten eyeshadows, though, were excellent–soft, smooth, buttery, and pigmented.

This palette is similar in size to Urban Decay’s Naked Eyeshadow Palette, and the theme of nudes/neutrals is similar, but there isn’t much overlap in the shades themselves. This palette is $12 less but each shadow is also less (0.032 oz. vs. 0.05 oz. in the Naked palette), and while you do get a brush in this palette like Naked, you don’t get a miniature-sized primer. Let’s just assume that you really care most about the eyeshadow portion and anything else is a bonus; Naked is $80/oz. while Nude ‘tude is $94/oz. They’re both great deals either way, but Naked is still more bang for your buck; note, of course, if you’re more concerned about total cost (for those who are unlikely to finish an eyeshadow pan), then Nude ‘tude is 25% less at $36.

I think a comparison between the two is valid, but the colors are not the same, so they are still two different palettes more than they are the same. Those who wished there was more color variation, less warm-toned shades, or more matte finishes in the Naked palette might find this one more to their liking.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Nude' Tude

A
This is a great palette that's neutral, not necessarily nude--it has really wearable colors but enough shade variation to yield many looks and not just ones that are all brown. The darker shades can also double as eyeliner in a hurry.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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