Friday, July 2nd, 2010


Dior Misty Mauve Eyeshadow Palette

More Plums for Fall — Dior-Style

Dior Misty Mauve Eyeshadow Palette ($58.00 for 0.21 oz.) is one of two new-for-fall eyeshadow quints (the other being Pink Design #808). It contains a soft, sparkling icy lilac; satin-matte gray purple; deep black-purple with silver shimmer; frosty white with just a hint of yellow; and muted pink-mauve with a shimmer sheen.

The pigmentation was decent overall, but the icy lilac was on the sheerer, powdery side while the gray purple definitely needs to be layered for a smooth, even look. The center shade–the blackened purple–is the most intense and will easily smoke out any look you desire. I see this quint working best on those with cooler skin tones, and I do see paler skin tones rocking this easier than darker ones, just because of the lighter, shimmery shades.

Are you plummed out or ready for more?  Does this quint make your heart pitter-patter?

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: For cooler, paler skin tones, I think this is a great way to wear darker, plummier shades. It’s not quite as pigmented as some of the other quints I’ve reviewed in the past few years, so I’m a little bummed by that.  I like, but I don’t love.

AVAILABILITY: August 2010

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Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Kat Von D Memento Mori Palette

Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette: Memento Mori

Kat Von D Memento Mori Eyeshadow Palette ($34.00 for 8 x 0.05 oz. eyeshadows) has been on my radar for awhile, but I’ve only now been able to really try it out! It contains eight eyeshadows, each pretty much the equivalent of a full-size eyeshadow (MAC eyeshadows are 0.05 oz., for reference), so it’s a great affordable palette. It’s also a rather colorful selection, so it’s very fun to play around with and apropos for summer.

  • True is a violet-blue cream shadow that goes on glossy but seems to dry down to a nearly matte finish. I found the surface of mine a bit dry, but once I got deeper, it was fine. I thought it was an eyeliner at first, actually!
  • Solitude is an iridescent lilac purple with a soft sheen. It’s the least shimmery shade of the bunch.
  • Meditation is a light bronze with a little copper in it. It has a frosty finish.
  • Agatha Pink is a pale peach with a shimmery/frosty finish.
  • Sugar Skull is a shimmery white-gold.
  • Peggy is a true teal base with flecks of white-gold sheen/shimmer. Almost strikes me as a duochrome. It’s so pretty, but I found that this shade seemed to fade a little when worn.
  • Hard Luck is a deep forest green mixed with gray.
  • Tijuana is a darkened black-brown base with flecks of gold and copper glitter-shimmer. This shade at ridiculous fall out, even when used sparingly. It’s a beautiful shade, but clean-up seems to be a must. Use less rather than more, too, and tap brush against your wrist to avoid excess fall out.

I thought the box the palette comes in was beautiful, and I was a bit let down by the cheap, white plastic palette inside. It just looked and felt like something I’d buy for $10 at the drugstore–not something that’s $34 and from Sephora. The included dual-ended brushes are actually bristled brushes, but they’re rather flimsy.  They just kind of flop and make it a pain to really pack on color–plus they’re so tiny, I don’t have the patience to use ‘em myself!

All of the shades have a very smooth texture, and they go on evenly and are richly pigmented. I do find that they’re a little on the powdery side, and may even work best with sponge applicators–at least with some of the shades (like Peggy and Tijuana). Tijuana was the troublemaker of the group, which frustrated me as it was also the prettiest (to me), so I really wanted it to be as beautiful on as it was swatched!

Overall, though, I think these are solid eyeshadows worth taking a look at if a particular palette color scheme grabs you. It took some getting used to using these before I was able to minimize the fall out with these. They also blend very easily, which is nice, but it means use softer strokes and feather rather than sweep for most of the work!  I have heard that the Beethoven palette is one of her best palettes, so I might check that out next.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: I like the palette overall, and I’m impressed at the level of pigmentation of the shadows. I think it’s a great option for a palette of colorful eyeshadows, especially if you’re on a budget.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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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).

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  • 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.

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  • 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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Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

YSL Spring 2010 Palette

Weekend Quickies: YSL Parisian Sky Eyeshadow Palette

YSL’s Spring Look may have offered some pretty lipsticks and glosses, but they really failed on the eyeshadow palette as far as I’m concerned. The whole thing is a sheer, chalky mess. I haven’t been this disappointed in a product since Chanel’s Les Folie Noirs Quad from last fall–which is a good thing, because these really bring me down. So uninspiring!

Parisian Sky ($56.00) consists of a pale sky blue with silver glitter, satin-y navy blue, iridescent lilac, satin-y pale pink, and muted plum-brown with silver glitter. None of the five shades was what I would call pigmented. The more satin/matte shades were chalky, and the light pink was a bit powdery, too. The shimmery shades were dusty and felt a bit loose, like the glitter would easily travel elsewhere on your face if you used it on your eyes.

If you showed me these swatches, I would never have guessed it was a YSL palette. Not in a bajillion years! I think this may be the first true F of a product — I’m at a loss of positive things to say about it. There are sheerer, softer shades, but these just look like they were meant to be more – they required such heavy swatching just to show up. At least with Chanel, half of the shades showed up decently, and it could also be used wet to intensify the shades.

A part me wonders if I somehow got a bad palette, because I can’t believe what swatched. I’ve tried several YSL eyeshadows in the past, and none of them have been even near as poor as these were for me. In fact, I just finished up testing their new single eyeshadows, and those had excellent pigmentation and texture!

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  • Product: 10/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  I would most definitely not recommend this to anyone.  If you like sheer shades, I would recommend testing this in person first to see if you get better results than I did.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Clarins Eyeshadow Palette

Clarins Summer 2010:  Instant Sun Light Eyeshadow Palette

Clarins Instant Sun Light Eye Palette ($36.00) is a really wearable, easy-to-use summer palette that’s particularly suitable for those with warmer skin tones.  The palette includes four shades of eyeshadow:  a pale, shimmering champagne-peach; shimmering copper; satin medium-dark brown; and shimmering peachy-melon.  It also includes a gel eyeliner in a light chocolate brown with gold shimmer.

Each eyeshadow is smooth, pigmented, and blendable.  What I really love about this palette is how workable it is–all the shades belong and work together with ease.  This is a great everyday palette, but it’s also perfect for traveling.  Whether you want a lighter, softer neutral eye or a smokier eye, you can do both with this one palette.  Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t necessarily the most innovative shades, but they are high-quality eyeshadows that will do you well, if you’re in the market for some neutrals or want them all in a convenient palette.

The eyeliner also suits the palette, because it’s dark enough to be smoldering, but it’s not so dark that it can’t be worn during the day, too.  I like the subtle shimmer in it, and I didn’t experience any smudging or fading when I wore it.  The included brushes are just mediocre but will get the job done if you’re in a pinch.

Clarins packaged this well–just a nice metal compact with a velvety brown bag–and I’m really surprised at the price.  Typically, Clarins eyeshadow quartets retail for $40, while this limited edition summer palette is just $36.  This made me curious to see if perhaps they just went with minimal quantity, but you get 0.15 oz. of product here.  Quartets contain 0.21 oz.–so I can see why there is a price differential.

Nonetheless, while it’s always great to get a ton of product for your money, we don’t always need the amount we buy, so sometimes just the initial investment cost is more important at the end of the day.  I think the amount you get is plenty to last you, even if this becomes an everyday palette (think of it as about 0.03 oz. per shade, as compared to the average eyeshadow at 0.05 oz.).

I really love this palette because of how well each shade coordinates with the others.  I see so many possibilities, and it’s definitely something I’d take with me on a weekend getaway.

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

Recommendation:  If you love warmer neutrals, Clarins Instant Sun Light Eyeshadow Palette is a good match for you.  Each shade is well-pigmented, smooth and soft to the touch, and blendable.

AvailabilityClarins

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