Thursday, August 18th, 2011


theBalm Cast Your Shadow Face Palette

theBalm Cast Your Shadow Face Palette Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

theBalm Cast Your Shadow Face Palette ($44.50) includes 16 eyeshadows (1.0 oz. total), two lip/cheek stains (0.14 oz. total), and one lip gloss (0.07 oz.) and is a palette designed with The Muppets in mind. It is a limited edition palette to-be-related (late September/early October) and only 1,000 will be available (each one is numbered). The approximate value of this palette is $160.00 worth of eyeshadows, $17.00 worth of lip/cheek stains (I didn’t see a really comparable product, so I went with the value of lipsticks, since these can be used as lip stains!), and $7.00 worth of lipgloss–at the very least, this palette is worth $170+ with some uncertainty as to total value because of the lip/cheek stains (totally different formula compared to Stainiac).

I am splitting this review into two parts because of how photo-heavy it is. I will speak on the cheek/lip stains and gloss in the second part, along with the other eight eyeshadows.

Overall, the quality of the eyeshadows is fantastic. They are rich and buttery in texture, so they apply beautifully and smoothly across the skin, and the pigmentation is intense and true-to-pan. I only had issues with two of the sixteen shades: Curtain Call (slightly sheer in places, not as smooth) and Swedish Pancakes (slightly sheer, a bit rough)–but admittedly, I’m being nitpicky. Both shades are still good–just not excellent like the other fourteen. If you’ve had experience with theBalm’s Shady Lady palettes, you won’t be disappointed. You’ll find the same quality and textures in this palette as well. I really do appreciate consistency–I can write one paragraph rather than having to describe each individual shade and how it varies!

  • Tres Moi is just-barely warmed over bronzed brown with subtle red undertones. It is similar to MAC Twinks but the finish gives Tres Moi a more frosted appearance.
  • Wocka, Wocka is an olive green with a soft, golden sheen. The sheen is almost metallic. It is very similar to Bare Escentuals Spectacular. MAC Sumptuous Olive is browner and less green, while Inglot #419 is darker. theBalm Makeout Mary is a brighter green with yellowy gold sheen.
  • Meep Meep is a slightly played-down copper–it is not quite as intense as most coppery shades are–with a frosted finish. It’s similar to Urban Decay Baked, MAC Amber Lights, and Inglot #405, but it’s not quite as intense.
  • Mahna-Mahna is a deep, dark brown with subtle burgundy undertones and a satiny finish. It’s not quite as burgundy as MAC Sketch, but it is similar in color to Inglot #423 though the finishes are different enough to make the two less comparable, so Inglot #326 may be a better match.
  • Sensational is a muted, medium blue with a silvery sheen. It is similar to Urban Decay Mary Jane but slightly less cool-toned. It is darker and grayer compared to MAC Moon’s Reflection.
  • Inspirational is a dark gray with a frosted finish. It is similar to Urban Decay Gunmetal, though slightly warmer. It’s not quite as dark (and has a frostier finish) compared to theBalm Sexy Stacey. Inglot #451 is much darker.
  • Celebrational is a softened gray-tinged brown–it’s not quite what I’d call a taupe, but it’s somewhere near it. It has a satiny sheen for a finish. It’s cooler-toned than Bare Escentuals Magnetism and MAC Era. MAC Caviar Dreams is closer but Celebrational is less brown. theBalm Insane Jane is a touch warmer.
  • Muppetational is a soft gray shot through with silver. It’s right there on the border of gray and silver–there is enough metallic sheen to make it lean more silver, but it’s not the full-on metal finish you’d expect from a true silver. Inglot #339 is a bit darker and bluer-based, but MAC Swell Baby is very similar.

The palette is packaged in firm cardboard with an outer cover that slips off the revaeal the actual palette, though both have the exact same design (and both the sleeve and the palette are numbered). To open the palette, it actually splits towards the bottom fourth of the front. Most of the palette opens and reveals all of the eyeshadows along with a mirror, but the smaller bottom flap stays closed. When you flip open the smaller bottom flap, it reveals the two lip/cheek stains and lipgloss. I thought it was a rather clever way to prevent cross-contamination of the powder eyeshadows into the creamier lip/cheek products. Both flaps stay closed with magnets.  There is also a dual-ended bristle-based brush that is usable (not my first choice, but it is soft and not at all scratchy).

The quality of this palette is absolutely fantastic.  Even the two shades I had minor issues with couldn’t bring down the average scores for pigmentation/texture of the palette itself.  I had good luck working with the lip/cheek stains and gloss as well (more in the next post).  theBalm knocked this one out of the park–the shade includes neutrals as well as pops of color, while the finishes are mostly soft frosts and shimmers, there are a couple that are more semi-matte.

Depending on the size of your stash, the palette may be more dupable than original–I do see there are several shades that are similar to previous theBalm shadows from palettes as well as the permanent range.

The Glossover

palette

theBalm Cast Your Shadow Face Palette Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

A+
theBalm knocked this one out of the park--the shade includes neutrals as well as pops of color, while the finishes are mostly soft frosts and shimmers, there are a couple that are more semi-matte.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Thursday, August 18th, 2011


theBalm Cast Your Shadow Face Palette

Sneak Peek: theBalm Cast Your Shadow Face Palette Swatches

Took me until midnight last night to get the photos ready, so now I’m up bright and early to crank out the review :) As always, please hold all questions until I’ve had a chance to post the review! Thank you!

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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011


Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 2)

Here is the review for the second half of the Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 ($64.00) limited edition makeup palette. For an overall review of the product, along with packaging, please see part one. Because there are differences in quality for each shade, I have listed a pigmentation and texture score for each (both scores are out of 10), which I then averaged across all sixteen shades to give the scores found in The Glossover below.

Midnight Cowgirl is a warm, pale, peach-gold with a frosted finish. The color payoff is really lovely, as it is rich and buttery, though it does have flecks of gold micro-glitter. This shade is part of the permanent range. I find the majority disappears before you even apply it, but you may find that some fall out underneath the eye. It is a bit lighter than Bobbi Brown Desert Sand. It’s similar in color but lighter compared to Urban Decay Blunt. It’s also a lighter, less brown version of MAC Retrospeck. (9, 8.5)

Sin is a pink-tinged champagne with a frosted finish and rather metallic sheen. This shade is part of the permanent range. Urban Decay Scratch is much pinker. Giorgio Armani #8 is similar but more metallic in finish. Inglot #397 is similar in color, less pink-tinged. (9.5, 9)

Midnight Rodeo is a sparkly taupe brown. It does have glitter, but it’s subtle and doesn’t seem as large as Urban Decay’s other glitter-finished eyeshadows but may still have some fall out. The color payoff is good, and the texture is fairly smooth. I thought Urban Decay Toasted might be similar, but it’s not–much browner, less of a taupe. theBalm Insane Jane is grayer (more cool-toned), while Inglot #402 is nearly indistinguishable from Midnight Rodeo. This shade is a repromote from the 15th Anniversary Palette. (9, 8.5)

Crystal is a bluish-purple gray with a silvered sheen. It lacks pigmentation, and the texture is dry and stiff to work with–you’ll have to pack it on to achieve the color you see in the pan. This shade is new and exclusive to this palette. Inglot #420 is similar but darker and lacks the bluish tones. Urban Decay Stripped has less purple and is much, much darker. (5, 7)

Bust is a softened, gray-tinged taupe brown with a soft, frosted finish. This shade is new and exclusive to this palette. It has a really smooth application with a buttery texture, while the shade itself has excellent color payoff. NARS Grand Palais is slightly browner, MAC Street Cool is darker and browner, MAC Satin Taupe is much, much darker, and Inglot #402 is warmer and less gray. It’s like a frosted version of Urban Decay Shakedown. (9.5, 9)

Missionary is a soft, beige-taupe with a frosted finish. It’s like a lighter version of Sin. It has good color payoff, but it’s not fully opaque. This shade is new and exclusive to this palette. It is pinker than MAC Butternutty. It’s a little lighter and has more of a sheen compared to Urban Decay Virgin. (9, 9)

Skimp is a beige-peach with a pearled sheen. The color payoff here was a bit sheer, and the texture surprisingly dry. This shade is a repromote. It is similar to Bare Escentuals Serendipitous. It is a little lighter than MAC Brule. (8, 8.5)

Zephyr is a warm white with a golden sheen. It has good color payoff, but it is a bit powdery. This shade is new and exclusive to this palette. It less yellow compared to Urban Decay Vanilla and MAC Nylon, but it is comparable to Bare Escentuals Breathtaking. (9, 8.5)

The Glossover

LE
palette

Book of Shadows Vol. 4

B
If one wants a neutral palette, Urban Decay's Naked palette does it better. If one wants pops of color, the 15th Anniversary Palette does it better. This palette lacks the quality level of previous Book of Shadows--it's not the colors but the color payoffs and textures that make this palette less than stellar.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011


Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 ($64.00) is a limited edition makeup palette slated for a September launch. It contains 16 eyeshadows (0.03 oz. each), one Liquid Eyeliner (0.058 fl. oz.), Original Primer Potion (0.13 fl. oz.), and Supercurl Mascara (0.18 fl. oz.). The palette also contains a mini-speaker along with QR codes so that one can watch video tutorials designed for the palette. The value breakdown goes like this: $163.20 worth of eyeshadow, $18.00 worth of liquid eyeliner, $6.68 worth of Primer Potion, and $12.00 worth of mascara. Though you cannot purchase the items separately even if you wanted to, it amounts to the equivalent of $199.88.

Because of how photo-heavy this review is, and how long it is, the first eight eyeshadows are reviewed in this post, while the second set of eight will follow. The overall review for the palette along with packaging is included in this post.  Because there are differences in quality for each shade, I have listed a pigmentation and texture score for each (both scores are out of 10), which I then averaged across all sixteen shades to give the scores found in The Glossover below.

Blue Bus is a cool-toned, blue-based purple with a soft, frosted finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. The payoff is disappointing–it’s dry, stiff, and applies unevenly. It lacks the density of other Urban Decay eyeshadows along with the smoothness that comes from a softer powder product. The color is very similar to MAC Parfait Amour. Inglot #379 is similar in color but matte, so it has a darker appearance. (7/5)

Gunmetal is a darkened blue-based gray with a silver shimmer and sheen. This is a permanent shade. The color payoff is good, though it feels a touch less soft compared to the pot version of Gunmetal. Inglot #451 is similar but slightly darker–has more of a black base. (9/8.5)

Cobra is a dark, cool-toned brown with a mostly matte finish that’s layered with green-gold shimmer. This shade is a repromote from the Black Palette. It doesn’t reflect very green when I swatched it–more like a brown with gold shimmer. The color payoff is decent but it has a drier texture. If you wanted more of the color in the pan, Laura Mercier’s Pine Bronze is similar. Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone has a shade that is similar in the pan but also swatches browner–they are surprisingly similar. Milani Melange is also similar but has a blacker color base. (9/8)

Baked is a bright copper with a high frost finish. The color payoff is excellent, and it has a dense, buttery texture that applies very smoothly. This is a permanent shade. It is similar to Giorgio Armani Gold Blitz, Inglot #405, and MAC Amber Lights. (10/10)

Bender is a dark, forest green with a subtle green-gold sheen. The finish is a softened frost. This is a new and exclusive shade. It is one of the best performing shades in the palette–very buttery and smooth, while the pigmentation is tops. It is more yellow-based compared to Make Up For Ever #310. It has less green and more olive compared to Inglot #418. It is very similar to MAC Humid. (10/10)

Gravity is a plum-tinged medium purple with a frosted finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. It has decent color payoff, but it applies unevenly and splotch in places (see the bottom half of the swatch). Make Up For Ever #142 is similar in color but has a matte finish. theBalm All the Way Annie is a touch plummier. It is more pigmented than Milani Purr-fect Purple. It is not as intense as Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister, but it is darker (and plummier) than Urban Decay Ecstasy. (7.5, 7.5)

Lost is a dark bronze brown with subtle red undertones. It has a frosted finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. The color payoff is beautiful here–like Bender, it is one of the better quality shades in the palette. The texture is soft, smooth, and buttery. It is darker and browner compared to MAC Sable. It has slightly cooler tones compared to Inglot #422. There is a darker quality and a more reflective finish compared to Milani Rich Java. (10/10)

Hijack is a bluish-teal with a silvered sheen–a part frost, part metallic finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. The pigmentation in this shade was good, and it applies smoothly overall. The color is very similar to Bare Escentuals Vapor. It is darker and less teal compared to Urban Decay Aquarius. (9/9)

I’m usually really impressed by Urban Decay’s palettes, because the majority of the eyeshadows are high-quality with excellent color payoff, even if a few textures may be more prone to fall out because of the inclusion of glittery shades. I found Blue Bus, Crystal, and Skimp to be difficult to use, while Cobra and Gravity have a few concerns The standout shades were Baked, Bender, Lost, and Zephyr in terms of pigmentation and texture.    If one wants a neutral palette, Urban Decay’s Naked palette does it better.  If one wants pops of color, the 15th Anniversary Palette does it better.  Last year’s Book of Shadows Vol. 3 was much better (and still available at urbandecay.com).

The packaging is extremely bulky–it’s large and heavy. If you thought prior Book of Shadows editions were bulky, then you will loathe the size of this one, as it is 1 3/4″ wider (only marginally taller). I had issues sliding the drawer out, because the mini-speaker tends to get caught against the top. The drawer was not glued in, though, so it did pull out all the way for removal. The top flap opens up with pop-up butterflies, small-sized mirror, and a pocket for your phone along with instructions for using the QR codes. The upside of bulky cardboard packaging is that it will absorb impact better than a hard plastic case would if you were to drop it. I dropped mine a few times on the bathroom tile to no ill effects.

I didn’t play around with the technology too much myself, as I relegated that duty to our resident tech guy (I was busy cropping photographs). I did watch some and saw how it all came together. I think it’s an interesting concept, but in reality, it ends up more gimmicky than useful. The drawer is so large to accomodate a mini-speaker, which does enhance the sound of the videos, but your phone would likely do an adequate job with its own speakers. The QR codes are a bit close together, but it is a minor concern. We have iPhones here, so that is what we tested it out with, and if you have a case around yours, you’ll need to remove it or else the plug will not connect properly.

The Glossover

palette

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

B
This palette lacks the quality level of previous Book of Shadows--it's not the colors but the color payoffs and textures that make this palette less than stellar.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011


Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Sneak Peek: Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 Swatches

Full review, photos, and swatches to come. Please hold ALL questions until I have had a chance to review.

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Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

bareMinerals The Truth Eyeshadow Quad
bareMinerals The Truth Eyeshadow Quad

bareMinerals Ready Eyeshadow Quads: the Truth

bareMinerals The Truth Eyeshadow Quad ($30.00 for 0.17 oz.) contains four shades: Serendipitous, Magnetism, Fate, and Apropos. This quad launches in October, and it’s touted as a solid eyeshadow with SeaNutritive Mineral Complex that is “creamy, silky smooth” with “seamless blendability” and “stay-true color” that is long-wearing when worn alone without creasing or budging. When worn alone, I was able to wear several of the new duos (which have the same formula for pressed eyeshadows) for 10 hours without an eyeshadow primer. For more details on packaging, please read my original review.

Serendipitous is a soft, warm beige with a hint of peach. The finish is a soft frost–shimmered but not too much. The color payoff is good with a dense, buttery texture. It’s not as peach as MAC Double Feature 5 or as warm as MAC Brule. It is warmer and less white compared to Chance. It is less yellow comapred to Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone. It’s reminiscent of MAC Butternutty is a pressed eyeshadow form.

Magnetism is a dirty brown with a subtle gray-cast. The finish has a more reflective sheen, but it has less obvious shimmer than with Serendipitous. The texture is very smooth, and it applies well and lies nicely over skin, but it is a touch sheer. It’s similar to MAC Era, which appears slightly browner. It’s less gray than MAC Caviar Dreams. It has a higher sheen and a grayer cast than Burberry Almond.

Fate is a warm, red-toned bronze-brown with a satiny sheen. It has good color payoff (but could be a touch more intense), and it has the same softness and smoothness that Magnetism does. Milani Rich Java is darker with more gold shimmer. MAC Twinks is darker and redder, while MAC Sable is a bit darker but also redder. Laura Mercier Cedar is warmer, with less red, and darker.

Apropos is a taupe brown–kind of a mushroom brown–with a flecks of silver shimmer over a semi-matte finish. It has nice pigmentation, and the texture is silky smooth and soft, but the shimmer doesn’t translate very well whether swatched or applied to eyes. Somewhere between the brush and the lid, it disappears–must be into some glittery fairyland–which means there’s no real fall out concerns, since most of it doesn’t make it to your lid in the first place, but at the same time, the shade doesn’t come out as true-to-pan. Apropos not as dark as MAC Concrete, but it is more pigmented, less warm, and slightly darker than MAC Double Feature 3. It’s a touch cooler than NARS Bali. Urban Decay Shakedown is very similar.

Overall, it’s a solid neutral eyeshadow quad, but it does mix warm and cool-tones, so depending on your skin tone, you may find it more or less workable.  I think Serendipitous is only barely warm, while Fate has a distinct red tone, which gives it that warmer, richer feel.  Both Magnetism and Apropos are cool-toned.  I like that there is a variety of finishes, too–even though Apropos is supposed to have more shimmer, it still has a near-matte finish, so it will add a lot of depth to a look (it would work well in the crease).

The Glossover

palette

The Truth

A-
Overall, it's a solid neutral eyeshadow quad, but it does mix warm and cool-tones, so depending on your skin tone, you may find it more or less workable. I like that there is a variety of finishes, too--even though Apropos is supposed to have more shimmer, it still has a near-matte finish, so it will add a lot of depth to a look (it would work well in the crease).

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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