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).

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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