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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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Bobbi Brown Cool Party Eye Palette
Bobbi Brown Cool Party Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Cool Party Eye Palette ($45.00 for 0.33 oz.) consists of six eyeshadows: White (pure white), Iced Blue (pale icy blue), Rockstar (medium metallic grey), Sterling (medium silver blue), Gunmetal (dark charcoal blue), and Onyx (black sparkle). The palette has approximately $73 worth of eyeshadows inside, if you were able to purchase them individually (and with the exact same quantity; full-sized Bobbi Brown eyeshadows are typically larger when sold individually).

  • White is a cool-toned snow white that’s so cool-toned it almost reads bluish white. It has a matte finish and good color payoff; despite its starkness, it’s not chalky. It’s similar to Bare Escentuals Cheers and Inglot #373.
  • Iced Blue is a pale silvery white with a mere hint of blue. It’s more silver than it is blue. It has a metallic finish, which comes off as part metallic, part frost. It has good color payoff. It’s similar to Inglot #447.
  • Rockstar is a soft, mushroomy brown with a touch of gray. It has a metallic finish that looks a bit frosted. The color payoff of this shade was dismal, though; sheer and soft–not much like it looks in the pan. NARS Grand Palais is deeper.
  • Sterling is a medium-dark gray with a subtle silver sheen and blue tone. It has a Shimmer Wash finish. It has decent color payoff but slightly dry in texture. Guerlain Les Ombres de Nuit is a bit lighter.
  • Gunmetal is a silver shimmered brown-black. It had nice color payoff and applied very smoothly. It has a Shimmer Wash finish. Estee Lauder Black Chrome is similar but not quite as dark. theBalm Inspirational is a little lighter, grayer.
  • Onyx is a mostly matte black base color with silver and multi-colored sparkle on top. It’s a brown-based black. Like many silver sparkled blacks, it is dry with uneven and sheer color payoff.

Two of the six shades were less than impressive in this palette: Rockstar was a bit dry and sheer, while Onyx was extremely dry, sheer, and uneven–plus the sparkle was prone to fall out. The other four shades were good, though, and they all work together with strong, cool undertones and a smoky bent. It will work well on cooler complexions, especailly those looking for a solid smoky eye palette.

The Glossover

palette

Cool Party

B+
Two of the six shades were less than impressive in this palette: Rockstar was a bit dry and sheer, while Onyx was extremely dry, sheer, and uneven--plus the sparkle was prone to fall out. The other four shades were good, though, and they all work together with strong, cool undertones and a smoky bent. It will work well on cooler complexions, especailly those looking for a solid smoky eye palette.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Bobbi Brown Black Ruby Sparkle Eye Palette
Bobbi Brown Black Ruby Sparkle Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Black Ruby Sparkle Eye Palette ($45.00 for 0.28 oz.) consists of four Sparkle Shadow shades: Pink Rose (pink multi-colored pearl), Crushed Silver (light diamond pearl), Black Ruby (black plum with pearl), and Onyx (plum charcoal with pearl). Onyx is the only shade that isn’t new (and exclusive) to the palette, and the palette itself is limited edition. Sparkle eyeshadows is Bobbi Brown’s take on glitter; it uses shimmer and fine glitter in a creamy, translucent base that is supposed to apply smoothly and never crease or travel. From what I understand, these are not opaque in color but should provide some color punch.

  • Pink Rose is a semi-sheer light pink with subtle yellow undertones and darker rose and white shimmer and sparkle. It’s similar to Cle de Peau #207 but glittery. Giorgio Armani #8 is less pink.
  • Crushed Silver is a sheer pale white with iridescent pink and white shimmer and glitter. Chanel Fantasme is whiter.
  • Black Ruby sheer is a brown-burgundy color base with iridescent pink and plum shimmer and sparkle. I couldn’t think of a shade quite like this one with all the shimmer/glitter it has going on. The base color here is a little dry, though, so it has an uneven look.
  • Onyx is a gray-mauve brown with silver sparkle. The color actually reminded me of Illamasqua’s Bacterium Nail Varnish, because of the way it shimmers. Urban Decay Bust is somewhat similar but less purple in the shimmer.

These eyeshadows feel almost wet and creamy, but they’re not like a cream. They have a wet-looking finish, because of how high the shine is. While they have a lot less fall out compared to your traditional glitter eyeshadow in powder form, there are still a few stray glittery bits found along the under eye area after eight hours. I don’t find glitter on my nose from it, though! Generally, the color payoff is semi-sheer but can be built up a bit if used wet or patted on.

Bobbi Brown’s formula could be more consistent, because I initially loved these when they first debuted, but I wasn’t impressed by last year’s holiday palette that included these. This year’s holiday palette is much better and more in line with the ones I do like.  The palette contains around $51.69 worth of Sparkle Eyeshadows (normally $24 for 0.13 oz.).

The Glossover

palette

Black Ruby

B+
These are some of my favorite glitter eyeshadows, because they do stick and stay much, much better than glitter eyeshadows in powder form. Though sheerness seems to be part of the design, some of it seems to result in unevenness, not just softer color.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Friday, October 28th, 2011


NARS Arabian Nights Eyeshadow Trio

NARS Holiday 2011: Arabian Nights Eyeshadow Trio

Likely one of the most eye-catching pieces from the holiday collection, NARS Arabian Nights Eyeshadow Trio ($45.00 for 0.17 oz.) looks more complex in the pan than it is on the lid. It consists of three shades: black with red pearls, black with purple pearls, and black with gunmetal shimmer. After reading the color description, the colors pretty much live up to the expectations, but they look more interesting in the pan because the colored pearls are more dominant, while applied, they’re all mostly black.

The first shade is a deep, dark burgundy black-brown with wine red shimmer. It’s a better textured MAC Beauty Marked. It’s soft and smooth with good color payoff; it’s the best shade in the palette.

In the middle, there is a deep, dark blue-based black with violet purple flecks of sparkle. The sparkle seemed to stick better than expected in the swatch, but once applied, the sparkle didn’t translate–it ended up just looking like a deep, dark black. This shade is extremely soft, which makes it blendable, though it is prone to sheering out more than desired as well. I recommend patting it on and then softly blending the edges away. I couldn’t think of a decent dupe for this, because it’s not really purple but none of the blacks I’ve swatched that I can remember seem similar.

The last shade in the trio is a chalky, dry, sheer black with silver sparkle. Compared to the pigmentation levels of the other two shades, it’s beyond disappointing! It just doesn’t belong. It’s an inferior NARS Night Breed. Lancome The New Black is one of the better silver-sparkled-black shades I’ve come across to-date.

I didn’t encounter fall out from the first two shades, though the last shade had some issues with fall out, particularly because there was little base color for the sparkle to cling to. I tested out the wear of the middle shade on the lower half of the lid with the first shade on the upper half of the lid and slightly in the crease. They both applied well with opaque, even color and a smooth texture, and I didn’t have any issues with fading or creasing over eight hours (no primer).

With as much of a dud as the last shade is, I couldn’t recommend this palette–when you shell out this much for a trio, you should be able to expect three high quality shades. This is also a palette you’d mix and match with other products you own, since they’re all very, very dark. Even though there is certainly a difference in color between the first and second shades, it’s even subtler when applied to the lid.

The Glossover

palette

Arabian Nights

B-
With as much of a dud as the last shade is, I couldn't recommend this palette--when you shell out this much for a trio, you should be able to expect three high quality shades.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Thursday, October 27th, 2011


MAC Warm Fabulously Festive Face Kit

MAC Ice Parade: Warm Fabulously Festive Face Kit

MAC Warm Fabulously Festive Face Kit ($59.50) includes a palette with four eyeshadows and blush, along with a metallic, silver bag that also holds a lipstick, lipglass, and three miniature-sized brushes. MAC describes the shades, officially, as: Golden Flurry (beige with sparkle), Soft Brown (soft golden peach brown), Omega (soft muted beige-taupe), Carbon (black), Seasonal Appeal (orange brown), Mellowarm (peach), and Join the Party (pale peach). The brushes included are the 129SE, 266SE, and 275SE. The eyeshadows weigh 0.22 oz. while the blush weighs 0.18 oz. (basically, everything is full-sized).

  • Golden Flurry is a white with iridiescent pink shimmer. The color payoff is low–it’s sheer and sparkly, but it is prone to fall out. This has a lustre finish. Bare Escentuals Muse is more pigmented and less iridescent. theBalm Safe Bet Annette is a touch pinker.
  • Soft Brown is a medium brown with red-orange undertones and a matte finish. It has nice color payoff and a smooth, soft feel. This has a matte finish and is part of the permanent range.
  • Omega is a lightened taupe with subtle beige-yellow tones and a matte finish. The pigmentation is nice, and it has the texture soft. This has a matte finish and is part of the permanent range.
  • Carbon is a medium-dark black with brown undertones. It’s a little dry and stiff to work with but it does work better applied with a brush on the lid, though it can be a touch chalky. This has a matte finish and is part of the permanent range.
  • Seasonal Appeal is a brownish peach with a soft, pearly sheen. This has a satin finish. The pigmentation is good, but it is a more orange-toned blush, so it may not work on really cool-toned complexions.
  • Mellowarm is an orange-coral with a hint of red with a frosted shimmer. It has mostly opaque color coverage. This has a frost finish. CoverGirl Rapture is less red. Milani Coral Bora Bora is pinker.
  • Join the Party is a peach-tinted beige with soft, white shimmer. It’s creamy and milky, so it does settle into lip lines, but the color coverage is semi-opaque. It’s similar to MAC Lust.

Of all of the holiday offerings, the Fabulously Festive Face Kits are the best bang-for-your-buck item and tend to be higher quality overall (maybe that has something to do with the inclusion of mostly permanent products?). Between the eyeshadows, blush, and lip products, you more than get what you spend back, so the subpar brushes are a bonus.

I did not and refuse to purchase any brush kits (for confirmation as to why, see Dusty’s review), but the brushes included in the Face Kits are disappointing. I found both the blush and eye brushes to be scratchy and lacked the density and precise shape of their full-sized counterparts. I had a ton of shedding and dye bleeding with the 129SE (and the full-sized 129 is one of the scratchier MAC brushes, so imagine this one!).

The Glossover

palette

Warm Fabulously Festive

A-
The Fabulously Festive Face Kits are the star products from the holiday collection, because the quality is there overall and as a bonus, they're a good value!

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Thursday, October 27th, 2011


MAC Cool Fabulously Festive Face Kit

MAC Ice Parade: Cool Fabulously Festive Face Kit

MAC Cool Fabulously Festive Face Kit ($59.50) includes a palette with four eyeshadows and blush, along with a metallic, silver bag that also holds a lipstick, lipglass, and three miniature-sized brushes. MAC describes the shades, officially, as: Phloof! (frosted off white), Brun (muted blackish-brown), Quarry (soft muted plum-brown), Dance in the Dark (black-brown), Mocha (soft plum pink), Hot Gossip (mid-tone pinky plum), and Emancipation (light pink). The brushes included are the 129SE, 266SE, and 275SE. The eyeshadows weigh 0.22 oz. while the blush weighs 0.18 oz. (basically, everything is full-sized).

  • Phloof! is a pinked beige with a frosted finish; it has good color payoff and a smooth, soft texture. It has a frost finish and is part of the permanent range.
  • Brun is a dark, cool-toned brown with a hint of gray and a subtle sheen in its finish. The pigmentation is nice and the texture is soft overall. It has a satin finish and is part of the permanent range.
  • Quarry is a rosy mauve with a matte finish. It’s a bit dry and almost powdery with so-so color payoff. It has a matte finish and is part of the permanent range.
  • Dance in the Dark is a purple-tinted brown-black with a satin finish. The color payoff is below average, and the texture is stiff and dry, which contributes to the uneven color application. Wet ‘n’ Wild We’re Blasting Off is very similar but more pigmented.
  • Mocha is a brightened pink plum with a matte finish. It has a matte finish and is part of the permanent range. The color payoff is really nice, and I swear, this seems more vibrant than the permanent version (but I don’t currently own the permanent version to compare).
  • Hot Gossip is a plum-tinted pink with a frosted finish and mostly opaque color coverage. It has a cremesheen finish and is part of the permanent range.
  • Emancipation is a pink-beige with soft white shimmer that yields semi-opaque color coverage. It’s a milkier-looking gloss, so it does have a tendency to settle into lip lines. It is a repromote. It’s similar to Feelign Dreamy, Runway Fave, and Bare Nesceessities.

Of all of the holiday offerings, the Fabulously Festive Face Kits are the best bang-for-your-buck item and tend to be higher quality overall (maybe that has something to do with the inclusion of mostly permanent products?). Between the eyeshadows, blush, and lip products, you more than get what you spend back, so the subpar brushes are a bonus.

I did not and refuse to purchase any brush kits (for confirmation as to why, see Dusty’s review), but the brushes included in the Face Kits are disappointing. I found both the blush and eye brushes to be scratchy and lacked the density and precise shape of their full-sized counterparts. I had a ton of shedding and dye bleeding with the 129SE (and the full-sized 129 is one of the scratchier MAC brushes, so imagine this one!).

The Glossover

palette

Winter Cool Fabulously Festive

A-
The Fabulously Festive Face Kits are the star products from the holiday collection, because the quality is there overall and as a bonus, they're a good value!

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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