Thursday, December 1st, 2011


Urban Decay Naked 1 vs. Naked 2 Palette Dupes & Comparison Swatches

  • Foxy doesn’t have any comparable shades in Naked 1.
  • Half Baked is a repeat from Naked 1, so yes, there is a dupe–in fact, it’s 100% the same!
  • Booty Call is a peachier version of Virgin (Naked 1), but they’re really, really close. It’s just slightly warmer.
  • Chopper is more orange than Sidecar (Naked 1); I wouldn’t say they’re dupes, but they’re not totally different.
  • Tease doesn’t have any dupes, because it’s matte, so it doesn’t really appear the same as contenders like Sin and Toasted (both from Naked 1).
  • Snakebite is not as golden as Smog (Naked 1), but it’s nowhere near as dark as Darkhorse (Naked 1); however, if you mix both Smog and Darkhorse together, you get something rather similar.
  • Suspect is just a little more beige compared to Sidecar (Naked 1).
  • Pistol doesn’t have any comparable shades in Naked 1.
  • Verve doesn’t have any comparable shades in Naked 1.
  • YDK looks pretty similar to both Sidecar and Toasted (both from Naked 1), and Sidecar is closer.
  • Busted is very, very similar to Hustle (Naked 1); at best, it might be a little less red-toned. It’s not like Darkhorse (Naked 1), though.
  • Blackout doesn’t have any comparable shades in Naked 1.

See comparison swatches! Continue reading →

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette
Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette Swatches, Photos, Reviews

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette ($50.00 for 0.71 oz.) contains twelve eyeshadows: Blackout (blackest black with matte finish), Booty Call Shimmery cork), Busted (deep brown with shimmery finish), Chopper (copper shimmer with silver micro glitter), Foxy (cream bisque with matte finish), Half Baked (golden bronze with shimmery finish), Pistol (light greyish brown with shimmery finish), Snake Bite (dark bronze shimmer with metallic base), Suspect (pale golden beige with shimmery finish), Tease (creamy pale brown with matte finish), Verve (oyster with shimmery finish), YDK (cool bronze shimmer with metallic base), and Lip Junkie Naked (sheer shimmery pinky neutral) and Good Karma Shadow/Crease Brush. The brush is good; it’s like Urban Decay’s full-sized brushes–same size, feel, density, and softness.

  • Foxy is a pale yellowed beige with a matte finish. It’s on the sheer side and a bit powdery. On my forearm (around NC20), it’s almost invisible. It could work for highlighting the brow on light to medium complexions. It’s similar to Bare Escentuals Daydream, Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone, and MAC Brule.
  • Half Baked is a coppery brown with a golden shimmer-sheen. It’s very frosty but has good color payoff and a smooth texture. It’s part of the permanent range and is also in the Naked 1 palette. This shade is similar to a whole slew of others: theBalm Manic Maribel, Bare Escentuals Louder, MAC Amber Lights, theBalm Meep Meep, and Inglot #405 (and there are probably more).
  • Booty Call is a peach-tinted white-beige with a frosted finish. It’s new for this palette. It’s just a little peach compared to Urban Decay Virgin. It’s also similar to shades like MAC Vanilla, MAC Baby It’s Cold, Urban Decay Skimp, Inglot #353, and MAC Brule.
  • Chopper is a medium orange-red toned rown with coppery flecks of shimmer. This shade is permanent. It has good color payoff, but the sparkle is prone to fall out. It’s similar to shades like Wet ‘n’ Wild Dancing in the Clouds, Dolce & Gabbana Cocoa, and Make Up For Ever #12 (sheered out). Sidecar from Naked 1 is browner, not as orange.
  • Tease is dirty mauve-brown with a matte finish. It’s an interesting shade, but the color payoff is mediocre and texture is very dry and stiff. You really have to jab at it with the bristles of your brush to loosen enough product in order to apply it. It’s similar to MAC Quarry, which is truer-to-pan color than Tease, actually, plus it has more pigmentation. It doesn’t compare favorably to either Sin or Toasted (the two closest shades from Naked 1), partially because the difference in payoff and finish is too dramatic.
  • Snakebite is dark bronze with a dirty golden shimmer-sheen. It has a really lovely dense, buttery texture with excellent color payoff. It is deeper than MAC Tempting but warmer than Inglot #409. It looks similar to Smog, which is warmer, but not so much Darkhorse, which is more of a blackened brown; however, mix the two together, and you pretty much get Snakebite–both Smog and Darkhorse are in Naked 1 (and even right next to each other!).
  • Suspect is a soft champagne-bronze with a frosted, metallic sheen. It has good color payoff but felt a touch powdery. theBalm Schitzo is more golden and smoother. Sidecar (from Naked 1) is just pinker.
  • Pistol is a dirty gray-brown with a frosted finish. I’m hesitant to call it a taupe, because it has a lot of brown in it. The payoff is good, and the texture is soft and smooth. It’s similar to theBalm selfish and NARS Bali (but matte). It doesn’t compare to any shades from Naked 1.
  • Verve is a pale beige-gray with a pink tinge. This was in the Rollergirl palette. It doesn’t have a dupe or similar shade in the Naked 1 palette. NARS Grand Palais is several shades darker, while Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone is more golden and gray (less pink). Urban Decay Ruthless is more beige.
  • YDK is a warm, coppery red-toned medium brown with a frosted finish. The color payoff is good with a smooth texture. Inglot #421 is deeper and more intense. Urban Decay Shag has more copper. Urban Decay Wreckage is a little less warm. MAC Buckwheat is a bit darker. It is very similar to Sidecar and just a little less warm compared to Toasted from Naked 1.
  • Busted is a burgundy-tinted, deep brown with warm, golden undertones. It has a soft, frosted finish. The color payoff was good and the texture smooth, though a little less dense than other shades. It’s almost the same as Hustle from Naked 1. MAC Midnight Flurry is a bit more burgundy. theBalm Mahna Mahna is more intense, more red-toned. Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone is darker, as is MAC Smut.
  • Blackout is a really intense, deep dark black with a matte finish. It has really great payoff and goes on very black. It doesn’t have a comparable shade in Naked 1. Make Up For Ever #4 and Sugarpill Bulletproof are also very deep dark blacks with matte finishes.
  • Naked is a sheer neutral pink with white micro-shimmer. The gloss is non-sticky and mint-scented.

Naked 2 is a phenomenal value ($204 worth of eyeshadow, $24 worth of brush, $6 worth of lipgloss–$234 total), just like Naked 1, but I don’t think you need both. There are too many similar shades to merit both (seriously, why even include Half Baked again?). Like the original palette, this is a warm-toned neutral outlay of shades. I’m really not sure why they went with warmer shades (over neutral or cool) when Naked 1 encompassed mostly warm-toned shades already. I know that several readers with cooler complexions felt like Naked 1 wasn’t as flattering on them.

It’s packaged in a metal tin that closes shut really well, but it is a bit heavier than Naked 1; it’s the same size in terms of length and width. I’ve traveled with the Naked 1 palette many, many times, and I haven’t had any issues with it opening, ripping, looking worn, etc. I expect that the packaging of Naked 2 will appeal to others, though, as it feels more secure and hefty. If you’re less inclined to have a dual-ended brush, an Urban Decay 24/7 Liner will fit in the slot as well.

The color payoff of Tease is really disappointing; it’s dry, stiff, and applies unevenly. It takes a lot of packing and blending to make it work, which is a real shame given that mattes in Urban Decay palettes can be hard to come by! Foxy is also on the sheerer side but not terribly so, but it has some powderiness to it. Chopper has that micro-glitter texture Urban Decay loves but is prone to fall out.

Half-Baked is a repeat, Bootycall is just warmer than Virgin, Snakebite is similar to Smog (and exactly the same as Darkhorse + Smog together), Suspect is just a touch less warm than Sidecar, YDK is quite close to both Sidecar and Toasted, and Busted is almost the same as Hustle. The shades that didn’t have comparable shades already in Naked 1 were Foxy, Chopper, Tease, Pistol, Verve, and Blackout; that’s five of twelve.

I don’t know how this really measures up to Urban Decay’s “12 Taupe + Greige Neutrals” remark on the product page, because I don’t really see those shades well represented in this palette. The quality, overall, is good; I don’t think it’s as good across the board as the first palette, but for $50 and twelve full-sized eyeshadows, it’s certainly worth taking a look at. I just don’t think it lives up to the hype here, and again, if you have Naked 1, Naked 2 isn’t much of a leap.

I will have comparison swatches in a separate post.

The Glossover

palette

Naked 2

A-

If you have Naked 1, I don't think you need to have Naked 2. Naked 2 is a solid palette, but it is a lot like Naked 1, and both palettes are permanent, so it's really a matter of what colors you prefer and how often you wear neutrals. The palette would have benefited from making it more complimentary to Naked 1 rather than being so comparable, perhaps with a mix of cooler tones and less shimmery finishes.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

theBalm Balmbini Vol. 2 Palette
theBalm Balmbini Vol. 2 Palette

theBalm Balmbini Vol. 2 Palette

theBalm Balmbini Vol. 2 Palette ($28.00 for 0.59 oz.) is a limited edition follow up to Vol. 1 (which is still available, but I don’t have it and haven’t seen it myself). It includes one highlighter, four eyeshadows (or liners), lip/cheek color, and a lipgloss.

As other theBalm products are packaged, this one is also in cardboard packaging with a full-sized mirror on the interior of the lid. The palette opens about two-thirds of the way down so that one side covers or reveals the powder products and the other side covers or reveals the cream products–this is a really nice feature, because it helps to limit any loose powder from contaminating the cream products. It contains a good amount of product and is a good value overall.

  • Promiscuous Pearl is a pale beige with champagne shimmer. It adds a soft glow on cheeks without being overwhelming. If you like Mary Lou-manizer, you’d like this one, just as a more neutral version. The texture is still really buttery and soft, so it is blendable and finely-milled and doesn’t emphasize pores. It reminded me of Chanel Beiges Ombres Tissees.
  • Jinxy Jasmyne is a sooty black that looks morre intense in the pan than it does on the skin. It has a mostly matte finish, but it’s rather dry and ends up being chalky and uneven. When applied, it can easily darken the crease, but you really need to use a fluffy brush (remember to tap off any excess!) to make this one work. Application is better with a damp brush, like one might use if you were to use it as an eyeliner. It’s similar to a lot of matte blacks, like MAC Carbon.
  • Manic Maribel is an orange-y copper with a frosted golden sheen. The pigmentation is opaque with soft, blendable color. It’s almost the same as Bare Escentuals Louder. It’s a little lighter than shades like theBalm Meep Meep, Urban Decay Baked, and MAC Amber Lights.
  • Open to Offers Olwen is a muted teal-blue shot through with silvery-blue shimmer. This shade is also in the Shady Lady Vol. 3 palette. It has good color payoff and a dense, buttery texture. Inglot #413 is a bit lighter but similar.
  • Lavish Latoya is a medium-dark purple with subtle red undertones and a frosted finish. It was on the sheerer side, though. Urban Decay AC/DC is quite similar with a slightly more metallic sheen. Bare Escentuals Encore is also similar. Milani Purr-fect Purple is a little lighter. theBalm All the Way Annie is a bit darker but still close.
  • Strawberry is a poppy red that can be applied opaque or blended out for a sheerer look. On lips, it’s much pinker–more like a slightly coral-pink with a creamy finish. The color coverage is mostly opaque. It’s not as dark as MAC Ultra Darling. NARS Niagara is more coral. It’s pretty close to Bobbi Brown Pink.
  • Nude is an opaque beige nude with a cream finish. MAC C-Thru is similar in color, but this is much more opaque.

It’s not my favorite palette by theBalm; I think it has promise and potential, but it’s not fully there.  The color combination is off for me–this is not a palette that lends itself to a lot of versatility.  I feel like you really need to pull in products from your stash to make the palette really pop.  The cheek/lip color is pretty but vibrant enough that it doesn’t pair well with the eyeshadows.  I was disappointed in the texture and payoff of Jinxy Jasmyne and Lavish Latoya was just slightly under-performing.   Shades like Manic Maribel and Lavish Latoya are found in a lot of brands, so this wouldn’t be a palette for long-time beauty aficionados.  As a face palette, I’d have liked to see a powder blush, rather than a mega-sized black eyeshadow.

The Glossover

palette

Balmbini Vol. 2

B+
The overall quality of the palette is there, but the color combination doesn't resonate as well with me--as a face palette, it needs more in the cheek department; it's too eye-heavy.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Sunday, November 27th, 2011

bareMinerals The Playlist Holiday Eyeshadow Palette
bareMinerals The Playlist Holiday Eyeshadow Palette

bareMinerals The Playlist Holiday Eyeshadow Palette

bareMinerals The Playlist Eyeshadow Palette ($40.00 for 0.28 oz.) includes eight shades: Pumped (cocoa sparkle), Chart Topper (pewter silk), Max Volume (smoky jade), Louder (burnished copper), One Hit Wonder (butter chiffon), Most Requested (burgundy sparkle), Remix (burnished gold), and Speaker Box (shimmering gunmetal).

  • Pumped is a warm, red-toned chocolate brown with gold sparkle. The undelrying color is more matte in finish. I don’t find the sparkle translates 100% on the lid, but some of it does show up. NARS Galapagos is similar but has more of a yellow undertone. Laura Mercier Cedar is very similar in color but doesn’t have the gold sparkle (though since it doesn’t show up much, they’re more similar than not).
  • Chart Topper is a neutral-cool tarnished gold with a frosted, metallic shimmer-sheen. It’s a touch sheer and a wee bit powdery. It’s not as silvered as Wet ‘n’ Wild Dancing in the Clouds, but it is cooler-toned than MAC Retrospeck. Urban Decay Maui Wowie is the closest, but it’s a bit darker and has silver sparkle (and the accompanying fall out!).
  • Max Volume is a deep forest green over a blackened base. OCC Poison is greener, less teal. Inglot #414 is also a bit greener and lighter. theBalm Jealous Jordana is much more similar but is a touch greener. Make Up For Ever #80 is also a touch greener but has the same blackened base.
  • Louder is a medium-dark copper with a metallic finish. This is a fairly common color, so you may have something similar already–like Urban Decay Limelight, theBalm Meep Meep, Urban Decay Baked, and MAC Amber Lights.
  • One Hit Wonder is a white gold with noticeable yellow undertones and a frosted finish. It’s a really dense shade with amazing payoff for a white gold. It is similar to bareMinerals Breathtaking, though. MAC Nylon is a touch yellower.
  • Most Requested is a brownish burgundy with ruby red flecks of sparkle over a satiny finish. It’s a bit browner compared to Lancome Color du Jour but still quite close.
  • Remix is a bright yellow gold with a frost-metallic finish. It’s a little less orange compared to MAC Goldmine. It’s nearly the same as Make Up For Ever #10.
  • Speaker Box is a dark olive green over a black-brown base with gold shimmer and a pearly finish. Lancome Designer is a little lighter. Inglot #419 has a more metallic finish.

Overall, this eyeshadow palette is good–the color payoff for almost all of the shades was excellent with really soft, smooth textures and blendable colors. Pumped’s sparkle doesn’t translate as well on the lid as it looks in the swatch or the pan, and there was a few sparkles that had fallen by the end of the day (like three). Chart Topper was on the sheerer side with a slightly powdery feel. I’ve been impressed with Bare Escentual’s entry into pressed eyeshadows, because they’ve done a good job with the texture and pigmentation, and they also wear well with or without a base.

The palette is housed in a metallic gold compact with a mirror inside and a dual-ended brush. The outer case does hold fingerprints, which is a common drawback for metal or metal-like packaging. The brush is so-so; it’ll get the job done, but it’s a bit scratchy. Remix was a bit drier than other bareMinerals eyeshadows, but it still had good color payoff.

The Glossover

palette

The Playlist

A
It's festive without being over-the-top, and the mix of shades is good with bolds, neutrals, and pops of colors to give the palette versatility and variety. The quality is quite good overall, and you get a good amount of eyeshadow for your money.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Jewels (142) Eyeshadow Quad
Dolce & Gabbana Jewels (142) Eyeshadow Quad

Dolce & Gabbana Jewels (142) Eyeshadow Quad

Dolce & Gabbana Jewels (142) Eyeshadow Quad ($59.00 for 0.16 oz.) is part of the Precious Stones collection, just in time for the holidays. Everything is inspired by the “sumptuous shades and textures” of precious stones and gem colors. It’s not exactly the interpretation I would expect when one is looking at jewels and gems–I always think turquoise, sapphire, ruby, but there are certainly lighter, less dramatic stones, too.

The first shade in the palette is a pale pink-lilac with a soft, frosted finish that is just slightly sheer. theBalm Curtain Call is purpler. It’s actually very, very similar to MAC Seedy Pearl. Make Up For Ever #303 is pinker and frostier. Next to that is a softened orange–kind of like a peach shimmered pale orange with a frosted finish. Like the first shade, it’s a touch sheer. The hue is similar to theBalm Stubborn Eyeshadow.

On the bottom left, we have a frosted, cool-toned white. It’s just shy of being silver-tinted. The theme of the quad is definitely softer color, because this one was also a little sheer. theBalm Sassy is similar in color. MAC Forgery is also similar but has a chunkier texture. Inglot #453 is similar but more opaque and has a more metallic finish.  The last shade is medium-dark red-tinted brown with a champagne sheen. This was the most pigmented shade of the four. Bare Escentuals Vow is similar in color but has a satin finish, so it doesn’t look quite the same.

From Dolce & Gabbana’s press release on this collection, this quad is supposed to be a contrast between highlighting and shading, though I’m not sure where they’re getting “light jet” or “dark topaz.” I’m going to assume “light jet” is somehow the white shade. At some point in the press release, they describe the eyeshadow colors of the collection as “soft pearl hues to vibrant jewel shades.” Nothing about the Jewels quad is at all vibrant. They’re all very soft and muted. If you want intense color, look elsewhere, but if you like your eyeshadow soft and more natural, this should be right up your alley.

The confusion as to the pigmentation level aside, the texture of these was a bit powdery, with the peach-orange shade being the least powdery . It’s a very soft formulation, but it’s too soft, because it creates a lot of excess product without enough binder. I find I have to pack and pack and pack on the color to get a noticeable, even layer of color. They don’t just blend but disappear. You have to use a heavy hand to get enough color to show on the lid, but then you have to use the lightest hand to blend away any edges.  It’s marginally better when they’re used wet, but not by much, because the color still fades–there’s just a little less fall out.

I always find Dolce & Gabbana eyeshadows require more work and patience than an eyeshadow ought to.  I think these can work for someone who only sweeps on a single color and loves the idea of variety in color but really loves the idea of barely-there color on the lid (I have a friend just like this!) and is happy to see a visual difference in the pan but doesn’t mind the actual results.  They just don’t cooperate well when they’re used together.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Dolce & Gabbana Jewels (142) Eyeshadow Quad Review, Photos, Swatches

C+
I haven't been impressed with a lot of Dolce & Gabbana's eyeshadows lately, which is a shame. They can do an excellent lipstick, but their range of eye products has been full of misses.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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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).