Sunday, September 12th, 2010

LORAC Private Affair Palette
LORAC Private Affair Palette

An Ill-Fated Private Affair with LORAC

LORAC Private Affair Palette ($38.00 for 0.30 oz.) is an enigma, let me tell you! I’ve experienced shades that swatch poorly but work beautifully in practice (NARS Daphne, I’m lookin’ at you!). I can’t think of many occasions where I’ve encountered a product that swatches so smoothly, so richly and leaves something to be desired when used. Private Affair is just that; far prettier swatched on my arm than when I went to use it in a look.

Now, it’s not like it turns into a muddy mess, disappears on sight (well, at least… not entirely), or looks bad, but it doesn’t look nearly as lovely on as it does swatched–and that’s why it’s a disappointment. This is how it happened:

  • 9:10am: Temptalia is heard excitedly shouting, “OMG OMG OMG BABE! THIS IS SOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL!”
  • 9:15am: She starts to work with the products for a look to post on the blog.
  • 9:18am: Mellan rushes into the bathroom wondering why he hears, “GRRR!”
  • 9:25am: Eye makeup looks like it’s been 18 hours of wear with a nap in-between.
  • 9:30am: Sadface. :(

The palette includes six shades: gilded champagne with a metallic-frost finish, beige champagne with a whitish sheen, medium-dark brown with soft gold sheen, grayed taupe with an antique gold metallic sheen, rich berry burgundy with a satin finish, and blackened purple with burgundy glitter flecks. The texture of these just feels so buttery, incredibly soft, and intensely pigmented; you hardly need any product to achieve true, rich color.

The problem, however, lies in the texture, which is really just too soft. If you thought Stila’s eyeshadows were too soft, these LORAC shadows are softer. This means they kick up quite a bit of powder when used–I advise merely pressing your brush into the shade rather than moving it around, because it will get enough product without loosening the rest. The soft quality of the eyeshadow also means that a lot of it ends up on your face, rather than on your eyes. It rained burgundy and eggplant on my undereye area (which doesn’t need any help looking tired!). Additionally, the softer the eyeshadow, the easier it is to blend, but it can also mean that it is even easier to muddy the color or sheer it out with even a light touch.

At the end of the day, they’re just okay eyeshadows. They feel and look stunning when swatched, but they’re just not nearly as standout when used. There’s a little more fall out than I’d expect, and the color pay off looks fierce initially but fades quickly. I had trouble getting the burgundy shade to stay vibrant; it faded to this rather muted, blah eggplant within minutes. The blackened purple shade lacks the glitter when you apply it–it’s like the glitter doesn’t hold together with the shade and gets lost between the pan and your eye (probably eaten by your brush!).

There is also an eyeshadow primer included in the palette, which is housed in a pull-out drawer that sits beneath the eyeshadows themselves. Along with the primer is dual-ended brush that just feels too scratchy and the ferrules feel rather loose, so I ditched it.

Morbid or not, the packaging reminds me of a coffin. Maybe something a vampire would sleep in, with the dark blood red (faux) snake-skin covering. I also think that they could have ditched the primer and brush, since neither are stellar (the primer is so-so, it doesn’t seem to enhance the vibrancy of the eyeshadows). This could have allowed for a much slimmer palette, which would make it more travel friendly. But you know what really drove me batty about the packaging? It doesn’t stay open. That lid did not want to stay open at all, and I bent that sucker back so far and could see it pulling away from the rest of it, and it still kept closing on me.

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

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: I wanted to love this palette with all my heart, but it left me rather disappointed. I think for $38, I’d rather get a couple of eyeshadows that were excellent than six eyeshadows that require more work and effort than I want to put in!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Sunday, September 5th, 2010

Napoleon Perdis Air Prismatic Eyeshadow Quad
Napoleon Perdis Air Prismatic Eyeshadow Quad

Napoleon Perdis Prismatic Eyeshadow Quads

Several months ago, I swatched four of Napoleon Perdis Prismatic Eyeshadow Quads ($35.00 for 0.47 oz.). I always meant to post a look using one of them, but I never got around to it. Usually, when I test out products, I put a whole smattering of various products on my face and do partial looks but nothing one would really want to be seen wearing… (One eye has one set of eyeshadows while the other might be testing mascara and liner… and don’t even get me started on mismatching cheeks, LOL!) So even though I may not have an actual full look to show you, I did put these through the rigors I normally put eyeshadows through.

I actually thought these were a lot more affordable than they were; I had classified them as drugstore–but to the contrary! The packaging feels a little cheap to me–it’s clear acrylic with visible, gold hinges. Each palette also includes two sponge-tipped applicators that look as cheap as they feel. For $35, the packaging really leaves a lot to be desired. The eyeshadows are textured with a “wave” shape (see the photos–it’s visible!).

  • AIR features a rather spring-y palette of muted sunshine gold, baby pink with silver sheen, frosted lilac with silver shimmer, and silvered brown. I found this one a little on the sheerer side, which is partially owed to the colors themselves as they’re on the lighter end of the spectrum. All four had very frosty finishes to me, though.
  • EARTH includes a dark navy blue with a satin-shimmer finish, subtly yellow-tinged green with muted gold shimmer, sheer seafoam green with soft gold sheen, and lightened peachy orange with peach sheen and shimmer. The blue shade swatched beautifully, but the other three shades were a little on the sheerer side, with the seafoam green shade being notably lacking in pigmentation.
  • FIRE has a darkened orange-copper with a shimmered sheen, medium-dark beige with champagne shimmer, medium-dark violet purple with a blacker base, and a high-sheen pinkish white. I found this quad to be the most pigmented; all four shades went on really smoothly and vibrantly.
  • WATER contains a sheer, shimmery white, cool-toned gray-cast brown with silver shimmer, glowing periwinkle blue with teal sheen, and light, frosted pink with subtle blue undertones. The periwinkle shade is so pretty, and I don’t have anything quite like it, but the white and pink shades were rather sheer.

Even though at first glance, these palettes seemed really pretty, I wasn’t fond of their textures nor color payoff.  They’re incredibly soft, but they veer on powdery, which makes them difficult to work with.  You really have to pack on the color, and inevitably, you’ll need to clean up the noticeable fall out that lands on your under eye area.   A few shades were nicely pigmented but many fell short–a little sheer, which may also be a result of the powdery formula.

For $35, I wouldn’t put it towards these palettes.  You just can’t make the justification of affordability for the reduction in quality here, because this is under the Napoleon Perdis label (rather than NP Set, which is sold at Target), which is “high-end.”  There is a decent amount of eyeshadow in each palette, so it’s a shame that the formula doesn’t have that wow factor.

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

  • Product: 20/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: I don’t recommend these unless you find them on sale.  Each palette has one or two interesting shades in it, but the quality is just so-so with rather soft, rather powdery textures and less pigmentation than I’d expect for a high-end brand.

AVAILABILITY: ULTA

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Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Video: Quick Look at Guerlain Fall

I’m trying to get into the habit of doing more “first impressions” kind of videos–literally me seeing the products for the first time, opening them up, swatching, etc.  They won’t always be focused on reviewing or talking about the specifics of products, particularly if I’ve never tried the product (e.g. it’s not just a new shade but a new product type).  This is a short video featuring Guerlain’s 10 Rue de Franc Bourgeois Eyeshadow Palette, Gwen Rouge G Lipstick, and Violine Kiss Kiss Gloss Serum.  The latter I hope to review soon, but I need to put it through the wear test still! :)

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Guerlain Rue de Francs Bourgeois Eyeshadow Palette
Guerlain Rue de Francs Bourgeois Eyeshadow Palette

Can this palette really be worth $84?

Guerlain Rue de Francs Bourgeois Eyeshadow Palette ($84.00 for 0.25 oz.) contains six different eyeshadows with a dual-ended natural-bristled brush housed in an incredibly luxe compact.

Guerlain is normally on the more generous side with their products, but this palette–by weight–is more per ounce ($336) than their single eyeshadows ($292) or eyeshadow quads ($295). Like Rouge G Lipsticks, you’re definitely paying (more so than usual) for the packaging. It has a beautiful filigree design on the front of the compact along with Guerlain’s signature bee, and then inside is a flip-top mirror that opens to reveal the actual eyeshadows inside. There’s certainly a nice heft to it, and it feels very solid; it’s not cheap or flimsy in the least bit.

Each palette utilizes a mix of three different finishes: iridescent, matte, and satin. In this particular palette, we have a light-medium beige with a matte finish (which nearly matches my skin tone–NC20 for the underarm–for reference) that would make for a nice highlighter on light to medium skin tones; medium-dark grayed brown with a satin finish; brightly shimmered copper with gold sheen in an iridescent finish; dark chocolate brown with a satin-matte finish; medium brown with subtle peach undertones in a satin finish; and a blackened brown with copper flecks in a satin finish.  The darkest shade can also be used wet as a liner.  None of the shadows are named, FYI!

I’m underwhelmed by the overall color palette but more so by the consistency, texture, and intensity of the eyeshadows. They’re just not as soft, smooth, or rich as Guerlain’s other eyeshadows (singles and quads). The formula is entirely different–they don’t have the creaminess that their other eyeshadows have. The pigmentation is just so-so; they’re not particularly sheer or chalky, but you may find yourself going back for seconds in a look. I will say that they perform better in practice than they do simply as swatches on the skin. Each shadow had a very soft, finely milled texture, but I missed the richness of Guerlain’s usual eyeshadow formula. These are not bad eyeshadows–but they’re not out of this world, either; they’re nice but not phenomenal.

Aside from some concerns about the formula itself, the colors seem very basic. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that (and I’m not taking any points away based on the colors themselves!), but I always have admired Guerlain for their ability to bring out nuances in their shades–particularly noteworthy in the Rouge G lipstick line. I’m reminded of Urban Decay’s Naked Palette (Naked, Buck, Half Baked, Darkhorse, Sidecar in particular). They do work beautifully as a palette, though; I was easily able to use several shades in a look with very little effort, and they applied better than they swatched.

I am big fan of Guerlain, and having said so, have been rather hesitant about doling out the $84 it costs for each of the five eyeshadow palettes they launched with their fall collection. Ironically, the fact that this palette didn’t blow me away was what spurned me to finally purchase one! I ordered Rue 2 Vendome and will review that soon. I’m curious if that one will impress me more!

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: I don’t think this is the particular palette that’s worth $84. Unless you’re flush, I’d maybe check out some of the other color variations to find shades with that je ne sais quoi.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Stila Backstage Palette

Shimmer on Backstage with Stila

Stila Backstage Eyeshadow Palette ($28.00 for 0.39 oz.) is an eyeshadow palette with six shimmering shades that range from pale peach to rich teal.  The palette was inspired by the trends seen at Fall Fashion Week, and all six shades are new and can be used either wet or dry.

I’m so pleased to be able to say that THIS is a palette worth purchasing.  The formula of the eyeshadows is exactly like Stila’s normal line.  After my experience with their last palette, I was a little wary of this one.  The texture is incredibly soft (which may take some getting used to if you’ve never used Stila eyeshadows before), pigmented, and almost creamy despite being a pressed, powder eyeshadow.

  • Chiffon is a shimmering medium peach with light yellow undertones.   This is the only shade that seemed a little more on the glittery side; chunkier shimmer rather than very fine.
  • Flamingo is a red-based fuchsia purple with a light iridescent fuchsia sheen.  It’s like a pinker version of MAC’s Stars ‘n Rockets.
  • Pacific is a medium-dark blue with a lighter blue shimmer-sheen.
  • Luster is a mauvey-plum with a slight gray cast and golden sheen–this is a shade I can get down with, because it’s very different.
  • Poetic is a light mauve with a silvery sheen.  It reminds me of MAC Shale.
  • Coal is a rich, darkened teal with a soft teal sheen.

The palette itself has a brocade texture/patterning on the outside but is made out of paper.  There is no mirror inside (which doesn’t bother me, but as many palettes have them, I thought it was worth noting), just a quote. Each eyeshadow is approximately 0.065 oz., which is a little more than your average single eyeshadow, but the palette is priced at just $28 (or ($4.67/each), so it’s a great deal and represents Stila as a brand–quality and all.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love jewel-toned eyeshadows with soft, buttery textures, Stila’s fall palette is a winner.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Thursday, August 19th, 2010

MAC Fabulous Felines - Leopard Luxe

MAC Fabulous Felines: Leopard Luxe Review, Photos, Swatches (Eyes)

Here’s part one of Leopard Luxe — part two coming soon! :)

Leopard Luxe Eyeshadow Quad ($36.00 U.S. / $43.00 CDN)

  • Wild By Nature is a medium-dark nude brown with a matte finish, though it seems like it has just a bit of satin to it.  Reminded me of a lighter Soft Brown.
  • Notoriety is a slightly sheer dirty brown with cool undertones and flecks of gold shimmer with a velvet finish. I really hate the pay off of Notoriety, even though it’s an interesting color. This is a repromote from Makeup Art Cosmetics.
  • Style Predator is a gold-shimmered medium orange base with a veluxe pearl finish. It reminds me of a darker version of Straw Harvest (Spring Colour Forecast) and more of a gold sheen than Off the Page (Makeup Art Cosmetics).
  • Furiously Fabulous is a deep, dark brown-gray with a veluxe pearl finish. This is the best textured eyeshadow of the three quads–it’s smooth and pigmented. I thought it was going to look like Knight Divine from an initial glance, but it’s very different. It’s like Brun and Satin Taupe had a baby.

Superslick Liquid Eye Liner ($17.50 U.S. / $21.00 CDN)

  • Pure Show is a true gold, and it seems a little less pigmented than the average Superslick liner — it’s more shimmery with a sheerer color base. It can be layered for a more intense, opaque line, though.
  • Marked for Glamour is a darkened gray that almost looks taupe when used lightly.
  • On the Hunt is a very deep, dark black.  It has a very semi-glossy look even when dried, but it’s not wet looking (but not 100% matte/flat).

Pigment ($19.50 U.S. / $23.50 CDN)

  • Lithe is a lightly shimmered peach-nude. It reminded me of Dazzleray and Jardin Aires pigments (both limited edition)–the texture is much smoother and finer than either of those pigments, and Lithe isn’t as frosty.
  • Old Gold is a green-based gold with touches of reddish brown. It flashes a green-gold overall. It’s a very interesting and complex shade; definitely worth a look if you haven’t acquired this previously. This is a permanent shade.

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