Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Smoldering Eyeshadow Palette
Bobbi Brown Smoldering Eyeshadow Palette

Choose Your Glam with Bobbi Brown: Smoldering

Bobbi Brown Smoldering Eyeshadow Palette ($45.00 for 0.15 oz.) includes three eyeshadows and one long-wear eye paint. It features: Ivory (creamy white), Heather Lilac (pink heather), Charcoal (dark grey), and Port (deep plum).

The Long-Wear Eye Paints are new and featured in the three palettes from Bobbi Brown’s Smoky, Sultry, Smoldering Collection. According to Bobbi Brown, they are “high-pigment metallic eyeshadow that can be worn wet or dry.” She recommends “[applying] them with a damp Cream Shadow Brush for a strong, luminous and long-lasting pop of shimmering color that won’t crease.”

  • Ivory is a creamy neutral white with a hint of beige–it’s not a stark white. This shade seems like it’s in the majority of Bobbi Brown’s palettes, though, so you probably have at least one! It is a permanent shade.
  • Heather Lilac is a pink mauve with a frosted metallic finish. It’s nicely pigmented and very smooth. This is exclusive to this palette.  It reminded me of NARS’ Night Rider, sans glitter; NARS Ondine is close, too, but leans brown.
  • Charcoal is a dark black with a matte finish. This is a permanent shade.
  • Port is a blackened burgundy with ruby and bright burgundy sparkle. It reminded me of a less black-based MAC Young Punk. From what I can tell, the Long-Wear Eye Paints are very similar to baked/mineralize eyeshadows–it has a small dome, the same sheer texture when applied dry, and it intensifies ten-fold when applied damp.  The shade is all reminiscent of a shadow from LORAC’s Private Affair palette.

Each of the eyeshadows is 0.04 oz. (full-sized are 0.08 oz. for $20.00; 0.10 oz. for $20.00 for metallic eyeshadow), while the Long-Wear Eye Paint is 0.03 oz. (not currently available on its lonesome; but for valuation purposes, we’ll assume 0.08 oz. for $20.00). In this palette, you receive $20.00 worth of regular Eyeshadow, $8 worth of Metallic Eyeshadow, and $7.50 worth of Long-Wear Eye Paint. This totals to $35.50 worth of product. You do also receive a double-ended brush in the palette, which is usable (and one of the better brushes included in palettes)– we’ll say it’s $7 worth–bringing us to $42.50. It’s not a value-packed palette, but I don’t think you’re losing out.

I see a lot of these shades working together, though I really wish Bobbi Brown would vary the lightest shade–Ivory is permanent and too often included in her limited edition palettes. The packaging is sleek and compact, and I love that they have an actual brush applicator included, rather than sponge-tipped ones!  It is a bit basic, with both a matte white and black eyeshadow, so it might not be the best holiday palette to pick up if you have a sizable stash.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: This would be excellent on cooler skin tones in particular, though warmer ones should be able to use it, too. You may want to opt elsewhere for a highlighter if you are medium to dark in skin tone, as Ivory may look stark.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Clarins Barocco Eyeshadow Palette
Clarins Barocco Eyeshadow Palette

Clarins Holiday 2010: Barocco Eyeshadow Palette

Clarins Barocco Eyeshadow Palette ($40.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a new and limited edition palette for the holidays. It contains three eyeshadows and is housed in an elegant gold-lidded case with a black “scroll’ on the left side. The packaging, though, is extremely prone to capturing fingerprints.

The palette contains a matte charcoal black; antique-gold bronze (almost flashes green); and gilded peach-champagne with a metallic sheen. The first two shade really need to be used wet to get smooth, even color that’s true-to-pan. The peachy shade can be used dry and still provides nice color pay off. These feel very much like a mineralize or baked shadow, but more like Chanel’s than MAC’s. The texture doesn’t feel as silky smooth as Chanel eyeshadows, but the results when applied are similar.

I love the packaging, even though it does hold fingerprints, but I think it’s very elegant and luxurious. I think the inclusion of the double-sided sponge-tip applicator brings it down a bit, though. I’m also concerned over the amount of eyeshadow here — 0.05 oz. I double-checked the box and the palette, and it lists “net weight” of 0.05 oz. There is no “3 x 0.05 oz.” written. What? Are you serious?

It’s a lovely palette with three shades that work well together for a gold-themed smoky eye–perfect for the holidays–and it looks beautiful from the packaging to the shadows themselves. I don’t love the eyeshadows, though; they could be a little more intense (even when they are used wet) and smoother. But I’m really not digging the itty bitty amount of product you are getting. Even for high-end, it falls below average.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If quantity isn’t important to you, the product itself is more of a B product. It’s nice–not the greatest palette ever–and worth a look-see if you favor bronzes and golds.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Guerlain Velours d'Or Eyeshadow Palette
Guerlain Velours d’Or Eyeshadow Palette

Guerlain Les Ors: Velours d’Or

Guerlain Velours d’Or (410) Eyeshadow Palette ($59.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a smoky palette from Guerlain’s Holiday Collection.  I picked this up when Nordstrom was having some super point thing going on (I think it was triple points…), but I’m not sure I’m sold on it!

It contains four shades: a soft coppered gold with subtle gold sparkle; medium-dark violet plu m with blue-violet micro-shimmer; charcoal-mauve with a muted violet shimmer and slight sheen; and dark black with a matte finish. Upon first glance, the charcoal-mauve looked absolutely stunning–it almost gave off a duochrome sheen! It seemed like a mix of violet, plum, gray with green and violet shimmer/sheen. It’s less interesting when swatched, as it appears a bit flat in comparison.

The golden shade has Guerlain’s signature bee embossed, while the other three shades have a raised honeycomb pattern. The patterning will disappear after a few uses, though it doesn’t just disappear at first touch. I do, however, like that these patterns utilize each shade’s colors, rather than an overlay of another color, which ultimately affects the end color result but only as long as the overlay exists.

I found the golden shade to have a frostier finish and having some kick-up, whereas the remaining three colors were very smooth and were easy to apply.  Each shade had nice pigmentation–not sheer at all–and they built up easily, as Guerlain’s eyeshadows often do.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It’s nice, but I don’t think it’s a must-have.  If these kinds of colors call to you, it’s worth checking out, but I do think there are enough dupes available that if you’re not sold on all four shades, you may want to look elsewhere.

AVAILABILITY:Nordstrom, Sephora

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Monday, November 15th, 2010

Dior Five Golds Eyeshadow Quint
Dior Five Golds Eyeshadow Quint

Metallics Done Right!

Dior Five Golds Eyeshadow Quint ($58.00 for 0.21 oz.) is one of two new and limited edition holiday quints.  As indicated, it includes five shades of eyeshadow, and this is a palette with a rather metallic feel and look.  I purchased this as part of my Sephora Friends & Family haul!

It has a similar theme as MAC’s Rockers & Reelers Eyeshadow Palette, because both have a lot of metallic-like finishes, but the colors themselves are a bit different. Dior’s metallic quint is closer to neutral, while MAC’s is on the warmer side.

Five Golds includes a dark charcoal gray with a soft silver sparkle; subdued copper-gold with a metallic finish; semi-sheer icy white-gold with a bright shimmer-shine; chocolate bronze with a metallic finish; and a bright, light silver with a high metallic shine. Every shade had rich pigmentation except the lightest white-gold shade, which was on the sheer side, and it also had more of a glittery feel compared to the smoother texture of the other four shades. It looks a lot yellower in the pan than when used, though. The other four shades were true-to-pan in terms of color.

This is probably one of my favorite Dior quints in terms of quality; the shades are smooth, soft without being powdery, and really rich in color. Dior’s eyeshadow quints are always a better value than their singles or duos, though it is still more expensive than Chanel’s eyeshadow quads (but less than Guerlain’s!). Even though the shades are dupeable by other brands, the finish and texture really hit home.

FYI, Sephora lists this as “001″ while the back of it does list the name as Five Golds alongside the 001 number.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love your metallics, this may be something to add to your holiday wish list.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Monday, November 15th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Sparkle Eyeshadow Quad

When Things Get Too Glamorous

Bobbi Brown Sparkle Glamour Quad ($40.00 for 0.40 oz.) looks prettier in promos than it does in real life, and it’s prettier in the pan than it is on the eyes. This palette requires some practice in addition to patience, because the glitter will get everywhere–you may even find some in your hair… or in your nose!

These work best with a tackier base, like a sticky cream eyeshadow that takes longer to dry down. You could also use this with something like MAC’s Water-Based Mixing Medium, which has a little tackiness to it. No matter what method you use, some tackiness in the method will allow the glitter to stay on better and minimize fall out. I’d also recommend applying your eye makeup first and then using a makeup remover wipe or tape (lightly!) to remove any excess glitter that’s fallen from your lids. Press, rather than sweep, the product against the lid to further reduce fall out.

All of these shades are sheer; if you want any sort of color pay off, your best bet is to use them wet (water, Fix+, mixing medium, etc.). The “purple” shade looks more like a semi-sheer taupe; the lightest beige is a white-beige with large chunks of glitter; the darker beige is a champagne; and the “black” shade is a soft charcoal that almost looks brown if it is used dry. There is a gold trim that surrounds each “pan” of eyeshadow, and it is hard to use alone, but it just looks like a sheer white gold sparkle.

I wasn’t sure how deep each color went through, since there is the surrounding gold trim, but after digging through the black pan of color, it seems to go quite deep. The palette contains: Pink Glitter Sparkle Eye Shadow, Smoky Sparkle Eye Shadow, Moonlight Sparkle Eye Shadow and Sandy Sparkle Eye Shadow–but honestly, I have no idea which shades are what. I imagine “Smoky” is the black shade. I’m not sure about the rest, and the palette doesn’t indicate any shade names on the back.

When I have to write a full paragraph on how to minimize fall out and make the product worth using, there is definitely something wrong! I was really impressed with fall’s Sparkle Eyeshadows, but I found these too sheer and dry–the ones from fall almost felt wet upon use and held together better when applied.

Sparkle Eyeshadows retail for $24/0.13 oz., while this palette of four Sparkle Eyeshadows retails for $40/0.40 oz. This translates to $184.62/oz. and $100.00/oz. respectively–which does mean you’re getting quite the steal in terms of quantity! Keep in mind that the rating system takes value into account, and the value aspect is particularly strong here, which bolsters the overall grade significantly.

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  • Product: 18/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t have patience or keen on glittery bits, I’d skip this palette.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Friday, November 12th, 2010

NYX I Dream of St. Thomas Eyeshadow Palette
NYX I Dream of St. Thomas Eyeshadow Palette

Color That Doesn’t Break the Bank

NYX I Dream of St. Thomas Eyeshadow Palette ($8.75 for 0.28 oz.) contains five eyeshadows and is part of NYX’s Caribbean Collection of eyeshadow palettes. (I reviewed St. Lucia previously.) NYX is one of my favorite brands for more affordable makeup, because the quality is consistently high and the range is huge.

St. Thomas includes: a dark charcoal gray with soft silver shimmer (similar to MAC’s Knight Divine); brightened cotton candy pink with a satin sheen; bright silver with a near metallic shimmer-sheen (similar to MAC’s Electra); pale golden peach with a high sheen; and a medium-dark, mint green with a pearly shine.

The pigmentation was excellent on the pink, peach, and green shades; it was still quite good on the charcoal and silver shades, too, but a touch sheerer than the other three. My favorite shade is the minty green, because you don’t see that kind of color–or with such vibrancy–by every brand.  These shades have a soft, smooth texture, though there is some residual powder kick up during use.  NYX eyeshadows have worked well for me and only fade minimally, but not noticeably so until six or more hours of wear.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re on a budget, NYX’s palettes are worth considering. They maintain quality and pigmentation while still keeping the price down.

AVAILABILITY: NYX

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