Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Dior Crush Glow Palette

Summer Preview: Dior Crush Glow (659) Eyeshadow Palette

Dior’s Addicted to Dior Collection is a short and sweet collection of a mere eight pieces (that’s only $365 to own it all–the fact that I say “that’s only” indicates how deeply addicted I am to beauty!).  It includes two “luggage” tags that slide open and reveal lipgloss inside, available in Coral and Pink for $60, two Eyeshadow Quints in Ready-to-Glow (649) and Crush Glow (659) for $58, Golden Spotlight Extreme Eyeshadow for $28, Rose Trendsetter (574) High Shine Lipgloss for $28, Crystal Gloss (001) for $26.50, and Nude Glow, a Bergdorf Goodman’s exclusive, for $46.

While Ready-to-Glow looks like a slightly cooler variation of Crush Glow, Crush Glow is fabulously warm. This is excellent news for those warm-toned beauties, but cooler skin tones may want to swatch in person before deciding. I personally think that cooler skin tones can still wear this palette, and I’d recommend pairing the eyeshadows with a cooler cheek and/or lip to bring everything together.

There are five shades in the Crush Glow palette: a peachy-gold with a frosty finish; lightly iced pink with champagne shimmer; muted mostly pink coral with a low frost finish; plummy-mauve with brown with a light frost finish; and ambered bronze with more of a pearly sheen than frost finish. All five shades were well-pigmented, smooth to the touch, and easy to use.

I don’t always have good luck with Dior’s Quints, but Crush Glow is definitely a palette that appeals to me, on a personal level (I am a fiend for golds and coppers!). It’s a fitting color palette for summer, because it’s warm and shimmering.  I love that all five shades coordinate really well with each other.  Sometimes you find palettes that look lovely and swatch beautifully, but you’re not always sure how you’ll make them work together. It’s a very travel-friendly palette, because you can create easy daytime looks or smoke it up with the plummy or bronzy shades in the palette for a more sultry evening look.

I think this is one of Dior’s better palettes in the past few years that I’ve followed the brand.  The eyeshadows are high-quality with good color pay off, a smooth, buttery texture, and they work exceptionally well together.  This is a palette you can take with you on your summer travels or enjoy at home.

Though the official details indicated April 2010 as a release date, I already saw the “luggage tags” available on Nordstrom.com — so I think it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing Dior’s summer collection launch in full quite soon!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

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

Recommendation: All five shades do have a shimmery appearance, so those who prefer a mix of shimmers and mattes may find themselves wanting with this palette. If you say “No thanks!” to shimmer typically, I don’t see this palette changing your mind. On the other hand, if you say “Yes, please!” to shimmer and are looking to add some warmer toned eyeshadows to your collection, this is a nice palette to own.

Availability: April 2010

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Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Laura Mercier Zen Palette

Going Zen with Laura Mercier for Spring

Laura Mercier Zen Face Palette ($60.00) is a new-for-spring (into summer!) palette that includes one blush, four eyeshadows, and four lip glazes housed in a metal-rimmed palette with a cushy, dusty blue cover.

I was surprised at how much I liked the palette packaging, but I thought it was cute without being cheesy. It’s definitely apropos for spring! The palette also feels sturdy, weighty, but it doesn’t feel bulky, so I like the slimness and overall shape of it. I also LOVED! that they included a little plastic sheet with the names printed on top so you knew what product was what. Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out in a palette!

Eyeshadows

  • Willow is a soft, pastel green with yellow undertones and a silvery shimmer. It has a bit of a frostier finish. It almost seemed un-Laura Mercier-like to me, just because it was such a nice pop of color, though it is a light pop of color!
  • Haze is a powder blue with silver shimmer. It’s more of a satin finish, less frost, in comparison to Willow.
  • Wisteria is a browned plum with a frosty sheen. It’s quite pigmented and smooth.
  • Midnight Jade is a darkened, grayed teal with a pearly sheen and just a light dusting of shimmer. I found this shade to be the least pigmented out of the four, but it still had decent pigmentation.

Blush

  • Plum is a very rosy plum shade. It’s less purple plum as it is red-plum. It has a low-level pearly sheen that’s very, very subtle. There’s no obvious shimmer here!

Lip Glazes

  • Black Currant is a brownish red that goes on very sheerly and has a glossy sheen.
  • Lotus Bloom is a sheer tinge of pinky-red with flecks of red shimmer.
  • Stone Beige is a creamier, semi-sheer nude beige with subtle gold shimmer.
  • Peach Blossom is an orange-y peach cream with a high gloss finish.

The good: It’s a fun palette with a good range of eye colors to give you a few new looks for spring. The pigmentation is pretty good (Midnight Jade needs to be layered for better pigmentation, though), and the texture is smooth, soft, and applies evenly. I like that there’s a good variety of colors in the lip glazes as well, because it gives you a lot of ways you can mix and match. I also think the packaging is fun, travel-friendly, and classy.

The bad: Palettes that mix powders and creams (or glazes, in this particular case) are not my favorite, because sometimes the powder finds its way into the creams, which is kind of gross. For most, it’s probably not a deal-breaker, but it’s something I thought I should mention. I don’t think the Plum blush is the most suitable for the palette–it almost seems too dark for this palette. I think it could work, but I’m not totally sold on it being the best match here.

There’s one thing I noticed right at end: there are no brushes!  It’s almost curious and yet I’m not displeased that they didn’t include them.  I know some think for the price that they should have, but I never find myself using those brushes that are included in palettes.  I always find them so inferior to my normal brushes and much prefer to take my brushes with me when I travel (even if it’s just a few), so it’s more of a neutral to me.  It just depends on your preference!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you like Laura Mercier’s eyeshadows and have always wanted a little more color, you might enjoy the way she’s played with color in this spring palette. I think cooler skin tones will find this especially flattering, as most of the shades tend to be on the cooler end of the spectrum.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Midnight Bloom Collection

Dolce & Gabbana — Summer Preview — Laguna Eyeshadow Duo

Laguna Eyeshadow Duo ($36.00 for 0.17 oz.) is new for Dolce & Gabbana’s summer collection (due out in May), and I’m excited to show you a sneak preview of this perfect-for-summer duo! It includes a softly teal-shimmered muted sky blue and a rich, blackened forest green with gold and green shimmer.

At first, I thought that the bluish side was like Benefit’s Mermaid Eyeshadow, but it’s not. It’s more like a blue version, if anything, but after looking at both, they’re definitely not similar. The forest green shade originally reminded me of NARS Night Porter, but the finish is softer and smoother and it’s a shimmer/sheen rather than a glitter finish.

The texture of Dolce & Gabbana eyeshadows is amazing. It’s soft, smooth, and buttery. I love that Dolce & Gabbana puts out colors amongst more muted shades, too, because I think it gives them more variety. But even better is that their colors actually show-up true-to-pan!

Surprisingly, Dolce & Gabbana is cheaper by the ounce than NARS Eyeshadow Duos–$211/oz. vs. $228/oz. (and not so surprisingly, cheaper than NARS, Make Up For Ever, and MAC singles), but you do get the luxe, “gold” metal casing for your buck, too (but it does hold fingerprints as is typical with metal packaging). I’m actually surprised that these are priced so similarly to NARS Eyeshadow Duos, because the Dolce & Gabbana line-up is more comparable to Chanel and Dior in terms of pricing, typically.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

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

Recommendation: If you love really smooth eyeshadows that go on like butter, Dolce & Gabbana Eyeshadow Duos hit the mark. If you’ve been hunting for a blue that’s not too bright or overwhelming, you may find this duo works well. I think this duo in particularly is suitable for both cool and warm skin tones, too!

Availability: May 2010 at Saks Fith Avenue

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Monday, March 15th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Aquamarine Palette

Bobbi Brown Color Strips Collection:  Aquamarine Palette

Bobbi Brown Aquamarine Palette ($60.00) includes five eyeshadow shades (Lightening , Aquamarine, Storm, Ivory, and Grey Sky) and three pot rouge shades (Sand Pink, Pale Pink, Powder Pink). This is the third palette from Bobbi Brown’s Color Strips Collection, which also featured Bonfire and Orchid.

  • Ivory is a cool-toned white beige with a matte finish.
  • Lightning (Sparkle) is a shimmering softened gray with silver shimmer.
  • Aquamarine (Metallic) is a muted sky blue with a frosty sheen and shimmer.
  • Grey Sky is a medium gray with almost a brownish-taupe cast with a matte finish
  • Storm is a deepened blue-black with a matte finish.

The Aquamarine Palette is more on the cool-toned side, so it’s definitely more suitable for those with cooler undertones. However, it’s not unwearable for those with warmer skin tones, but you’ll want to mix and match with some slightly warmer hues just to bring everything together. What I really like about this palette, though, is that the shades work really well together, like in the Bonfire Palette.

For a review of the Pot Rouges, head on over to my Orchid Palette review, which includes the same shades of Pot Rouges. The packaging remains the same as the other two palette variations–sleek Bobbi Brown case that opens up with plastic “windows” that keep out dirt and dust from the products (which is really something you don’t see often and much appreciated).

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love a cool-toned smoky gray eye, you might dig Aquamarine.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Maybelline Eye Studio Copper Chic Eyeshadow Quad

Maybelline Eye Studio Copper Chic Eyeshadow Quad

Maybelline Eye Studio Copper Chic Eyeshadow Quad ($9.99) is a stunning combination of slightly warmed-up neutrals.  I was really hoping Maybelline was going to knock it out of the park with this combination, but they didn’t quite hit the mark for me.  They’re so-so but just not stellar.  I’d still consider it pretty good by drugstore beauty standards, though–but it’s only decent against popular favorites like MAC, Make Up For Ever, and Urban Decay.

It includes a champagne-pink with a frosty finish, subdued copper, muted golden bronze, and darker chocolate bronze with light gold shimmer.  My biggest issue with these eyeshadows was just that they applied sheerly, so it was difficult to get as much dimension as I’d like on my eyes.  Like the other Maybelline palettes, these are softer eyeshadows that have to be applied with less sweeping and more packing/tapping techniques.

These excel best over a more metallic base (think MAC Indianwood or Rubenesque Paint Pots), because these eyeshadows grab onto the base well and then you can get the colors to pop and look more like themselves!  I’m still, overall, impressed by the quality of the Maybelline Eyeshadow Quads, but none have been quite as good as Good with Gold thus far.

More Maybelline Eye Studio Eyeshadow Quad Reviews…

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for soft, almost velvet-textured neutrals, you might like Copper Chic for a budget-friendly option.

Availability: Target

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Friday, March 5th, 2010

Maybelline Legendary Lilac Eyeshadow Quad

Spring Pastels with Maybelline are a Little Too Light

Maybelline Eye Studio Legendary Lilac Eyeshadow Quad ($9.99) includes an icy silver with very faint, icy lilac shimmer; a lilac-lavender with gold shimmer; a blue-based blue-purple with subtle gold shimmer; and an eggplant purple with red undertones. This is probably my least favorite Eye Studio Eyesahdow Quad I’ve tested–it’s very faint overall. The pigmentation just isn’t there in three of the four shades (all but the eggplant-y one). I like the concept of four different purple shades, but I must say the blue-based purple might have been nicer with another, stronger medium purple with red undertones.

The eyeshadows themselves are soft and smooth, they just lack pigmentation. I’ve been happier with some of the other variations in this product type, like Good with Gold. This is definitely a skip variation to me — if the colors had more pay off, it could be a nice a way to try out purple eyeshadow, but since they’re already so soft, it’s hard to build up the intensity with these.

More Maybelline Eye Studio Eyeshadow Quad Reviews…

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  • Product: 22/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: Skip this one — it’s just too faint — unless you love really soft, subtle color!

Availability: Target

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