Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Holiday Glitz & Glamour with Dolce & Gabbana Gold Smooth Eye Colour Duo

Dolce & Gabbana Gold Smooth Eye Colour Duo ($36.00 for 0.17 oz.) contains two eyeshadows housed in a “gold” compact and two sponge-tipped brushes.

The two shades included are a shimmery, true yellow gold with a metallic sheen and a coppery bronze shade with a metallic/frost finish. I already know what you’re thinking — because I thought the same, too — these are exact dupes of MAC’s Goldmine and Amber Lights eyeshadows. And you know what? They are and they aren’t. The gold shade in this duo is truer gold, a little yellower (less orange), and it’s not as frosty. The coppery shade is smoother, not as coppery (slightly more golden), and also not as frosty.

At the end of the day, they are reasonably similar, though, so it’s a matter of what poison you prefer. These are ultra smooth, silky shades that blend effortlessly and both shades pack plenty of color pay off. I recommend you check out a swatch of Goldmine and see how it differs, as well as do the same for Amber Lights.

Surprisingly, Dolce & Gabbana provides you with a good amount of product in this eyeshadow duo. You get 0.17 oz. for $36 or $18.00 per 0.085 oz. eyeshadow (or $211.76/oz.). This makes Dolce & Gabbana (by the ounce) less expensive than MAC ($290.00/oz.) and NARS ($314.29/oz.). I love comparing by the ounce, because it gives you a way to compare across any and all brands and just see how much you’re getting for your money. For some of us, the amount isn’t really that important, because we know we’re unlikely to finish an eyeshadow! (You know, maybe it’s not “us” but it’s me, and I feel better if I believe I’m not alone.)

Bottom Line: Dolce & Gabbana surprised me with how high quality their eyeshadows were. When I first started trying out their products, I had a fear that they’d be gimmicky and very reliant on their name rather than their product, but I was completely wrong. I’ve been pleased with the majority of their products, and the Gold Eye Colour Duo is no exception. The eyeshadows have a smooth texture, lovely metallic finish, and color pigmentation is very true.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: I love that you’re getting your money’s worth in eyeshadow, even if I may not use it all up myself, and I happen to adore these kinds of shades (hello, I’m a total gold-eyeshadow girl!). I think if these shades appeal to you, it’s worth checking out. If they don’t, maybe check out one of their other duos!

Availability: Saks

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Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Bobbi Brown Chrome Palette ($75.00) is the stunning eye and lip palette include with Bobbi Brown’s Chrome Collection, and it is also limited edition (of course!). The palette includes ten shades of eyeshadow and four shades of lip glosses.

For Eyes

  • White Eyeshadow is just that, a matte snowy white. It’s slightly cool, but it isn’t frosty or cold.
  • Polar Ice Eyeshadow is a soft, light gray with a blue tinge and silver shimmer. It goes on a bit sheer, but it can be layered for a slightly more solid look.
  • Storm Cloud Eyeshadow is a sparkly medium dark brown. It doesn’t really have anything special about it to make it unique, but it still looks pretty (you just may already have something similar in your stash).
  • Iron Eyeshadow is a matte slate gray. It didn’t go on as smoothly as the White eyeshadow, and it felt a little more dusty.
  • Thunder Eyeshadow is a glittery dark gray with a touch of black and silver shimmer. This reminded me of MAC’s Knight Divine, though not quite as glittery or gritty.
  • Moonlight Eyeshadow is a glittery soft pink with a little champagne tone. Bobbi Brown describes it as a cool purple sparkle, which is clearly not. The back of my palette shows that this is where Moonlight is supposed to be, but I really feel like this and Foil were misplaced/mislabeled.
  • Cyber Grey Eyeshadow is a slightly purple tinged smoky silver shimmer shade.
  • Foil Eyeshadow is a glittery soft purple-gray — very similar to Cyber Grey, but it has more of a glittery texture. As I mentioned earlier, I think this is really Moonlight and Foil is the other one… as Bobbi Brown describes Foil as “a pale bronze.” Again, I’m just going off the back of my palette (and Bobbi Brown’s website).
  • Chrome Eyeshadow is a silver with a little brown thrown in – kind of reminds me of Pewter Chrome Eyeshadow, but not nearly as pretty. (Sorry, I *love* that eyeshadow, so not much can compare.)
  • Charcoal Haze Eyeshadow is a matte medium gray-black. This one had the same texture as Iron, but it did seem a little smoother.

For Lips

  • Pink Mist Lip Gloss is a medium yellow-pink with multi-colored sparkle. It’s pretty sheer, but I found I could actually see some color when I swatched it on my skin (which I barely could with the Earth Metal palette).
  • Winter Bronze Lip Gloss is a copper sparkled bronze shade. On lips, it looks a bit burnished, but it’s not ultra pigmented so it’s more wearable than it looks.
  • Berry Lip Gloss is a muted plum-berry with soft sparkle. I liked this shade the most, as it seemed opaque enough to add color to lips, but still soft as I’d expect from Bobbi Brown.
  • Chrome Pink Lip Gloss is beige-rose with gold sparkle. It’s pretty, and it’s a shade I could see people loving for everyday.

You know me — I don’t like lip palettes. I don’t like them alone, and I don’t like them when attached to eyeshadow palettes, either. They’re just a no-go for me. I will say that the gloss in these are more pigmented than in Bobbi Brown’s Earth Metal Eye & Lip Palette, which is a plus.  I’m not going to drop points on this product because of that personal bias, so I’m judging on the product included itself, which is better than a lot of lip palettes I’ve tried.

In the palette, you get 10 eyeshadows, each weighing 0.02 oz. (total weight of 0.20 oz.), and you also get four lipglosses, each weighing 0.03 oz. (total weight of 0.12 oz.). A single Bobbi Brown eyeshadow retails for $22 for 0.10 oz. and a single lip gloss retails for $20 for 0.14 oz. The reason for all these conversions is to see exactly how much you’re paying for what and whether it’s worth buying a palette if you like a few shades or if you should look towards Bobbi Brown’s permanent line-up instead. The eyeshadows (by weight) would yield about $44 in value, while the lip glosses yield about $17 — which gives you a total “value” of $61. The palette is priced at $75, so I do think it’s a bit steep, even when you consider the fact that you’re getting a variety of shades all housed in a pretty chrome palette.

I also don’t think there’s quite enough variety between the ten shades of eyeshadows — a few are quite similar (like Cyber Grey and Foil). This is definitely a cool smoky eye palette with a little purple kick. I like that they included three different matte shades in the palette, because I think mattes are often missed in palettes. I do wish they had included a highlighter shade, as I think the White eyeshadow will be too garish on bolder skin tones to work well as a highlighter. In a palette of this size, I’d expect a really obvious highlighter shade.

For me, this palette is just okay. It’s not the best value, and I think Bobbi Brown has better shades (or the equivalent) available in her permanent range. In fact, I definitely recommend her Chrome Eyeshadows (and duh, my #1 recommendation would be for Pewter!) if you’re not liking the majority of the shades in this palette. The eyeshadows are soft, have a smooth texture, and they’re all pigmented. There is nothing wrong with them, but I’m just not loving the color combination overall. Nice but not amazing, you know?

Bottom Line: for those who DO love the majority of the shades in the palette and don’t mind lipgloss in pan form, I think you may like this. It’s housed in chromed-out package (which does hold fingerprints, FYI!), offers plenty of smoky eyeshadow combinations, and is appropriate for the upcoming holiday season.  I also think Bobbi Brown fans may enjoy this more than I did, and I think it’s worth at least a peek next time you’re near a Bobbi Brown counter to see for yourself.

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

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:

Availability: Bobbi Brown, Nordstrom

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Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Bobbi Brown Earth Metal Lip & Eye Palette ($60.00) is a new, limited edition holiday palette from Bobbi Brown’s Holiday Collection, which also features a Velvet Plum Eye Palette, Glitter Lip Balm Palette, and Chrome Eyeshadows (I mentioned those last week–love them!!).

For Eyes

  • Autumn Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow is a slightly green-tinged golden brown with shimmer.
  • Earth Metal Metallic Eyeshadow is a plummy brown with shimmer.
  • Zinc Metallic Eyeshadow is a light taupe brown with kind of a silver sheen. This shade wasn’t quite as pigmented as the others (it was just so-so).
  • Black Spruce Metallic Eyeshadow is a dark forest green with metallic shimmer.
  • Sunset Gold Metallic Eyeshadow is a pale, light melon-y gold with light shimmer. Like Zinc, it wasn’t as pigmented the majority of the eyeshadows.
  • Antique Gold Metallic Eyeshadow is a coppery bronze with a metallic sheen. (It doesn’t look like antique gold to me!)

For Lips

  • Paisely Rose Creamy Lip Color is a pale, peachy pink.
  • Rose Garden Creamy Lip Color is a light medium yellow pink.
  • Rose Bud Creamy Lip Color is a plummy-pink.
  • Barefoot Shimmer Creamy Lip Color is a shimmery peach-brown.

First, as some of you know, I’m not of a fan of lip palettes. As such, I probably wouldn’t purchase this palette, just because I don’t extract any value out of the lip palette portion. I don’t think the eyeshadows are so stunning as to warrant the price tag ($60) by themselves, either. (I’d rather splurge on the Chrome Eyeshadows instead!) The lip colors, as in most lip palettes, are very sheer and don’t do much on my lips. They all kind of look the same, so this isn’t a lip palette designed to change my mind on how I feel about lip palettes in general.

I like the eyeshadows, because they’re definitely my kind of colors – earthy, metallic, and lots of gold thrown in. All of the eyeshadows felt very smooth and had a metallic look to them, and I only found pigmentation problems in two (Zinc and Sunset Gold), but the problems were minor – they just weren’t as pigmented as the majority of the palette, but there was still plenty of color pay off. I think this palette is actually a really good mix of shades that go together easily, and there’s just not much fuss when you use these.

Bottom Line: If you like the lip palette portion, I think this is a great buy. If you’re more like me and have no use for lip palettes, this is more of a skip item. I just can’t get with a palette knowing I’m not going to use half of it and still paying the full price for it, you know? I really wish they made these shades available separately or split the palette in half!

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

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

Recommendation:  I would rather just be able to purchase the eyeshadow portion of the palette as a set over the lip and eye combination.  If you like both sides, I definitely think it’s a good buy in that instance!

Availability: Bobbi Brown, Nordstrom

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Friday, October 16th, 2009

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Collection
6 Smoke & Mirrors Eye Shadows

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Review: Smoke & Mirrors Eye Shadows

A good smoky eye palette is never a bad thing to have on hand. It’s useful, easy to travel with, and it’s classic. I’m not loving this year’s version of the smoky eye palette, because it’s more of a brownish eye, and I’ve always felt the classic smoky eye is monochromatic. I still hold that last year’s was better. (And I still contend that you can make your own smoky eyeshadow quad with permanent MAC eyeshadows just as well.)

6 Smoke & Mirrors Eye Shadows ($36.00 U.S.)

  • Fire In Her Eyes is a super soft, slightly sheer beige with a light frost finish. In the swatch, you can tell it hardly shows up on my skin without a base. It’ll make a nice highlight, though.
  • Wide-Eyed Wonder is kind of a taupe-y brown with a reddish touch. There’s nothing about this shade that makes it jump off the page for me.
  • Black Magique is a velvety smooth deep dark black with brown tones. It has slight gold shimmer, but it’s hardly noticeable.
  • Spell No. 9 is a satiny neutral pink. It’s sheer, and it doesn’t do much for me.
  • Deception is a sheer, glittery copper bronze. Even though it’s a frost finish, it had more of a lustre feel to me.
  • Smoke & Mirrors is a cool-toned chocolate brown with a little gray sheen.

I”m not sold on this year’s. It reads more like a neutral eye palette than a smoky eye palette to me. It’s useful, and the colors are easily worn by many, so in that aspect, it’s a solid choice for those looking for a go-to palette.

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

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Friday, October 16th, 2009

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Collection
6 Devil May Dare Warm Eye Shadows

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Review: 6 Devil May Dare Warm Eye Shadows

MAC’s Warm eyeshadow palette usually gets me. I’m warm-toned, and I naturally gravitate towards warmer shades. Give me gold and I’m a happy lady! This year’s warm eyeshadow palette isn’t my favorite, but I like half of it a lot. The other half is just so-so, but I’ve been known to purchase a palette for just one color… so I suppose half isn’t bad! I think the reason I don’t love half of the palette is that it doesn’t feel very “warm” to me.

6 Devil May Dare Warm Eye Shadows ($36.00 U.S.)

  • Oh My Darling is a soft, slightly warmed up beige with a frost finish. I like that this color is included, if only because it’s a very nice shade for a highlight. It’s not too frost or white, so it will work well on the brow bone.
  • Dare Ya! is a medium pink with kind of a peachy tone to it. It went on a bit sheerly on me, though.
  • Sorcery is a reddish-toned eggplant purple with a soft finish.
  • Gold Tease is a gorgeous shade of gilded gold with a metallic sheen. It reminded me of the Rushmetal pigments a bit, actually.
  • Prankster is an antique gold; kind of like a green-gold that’s played down. Again, gold, so of course I love it. I told you – three shades rocked my world!
  • Devilishly Dark is a warmed-up light chocolate brown with gold shimmer.

I would have bought this palette just for the two gold shades, but I have an unhealthy obsession with gold eyeshadow. (Particularly if they’re antique golds!)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

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Friday, October 16th, 2009

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Collection
6 Mystic Cool Eye Shadows

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Review: Mystic Cool Eye Shadows

Mystic Cool is an interesting mix of eyeshadow shades. It’s not the most cohesive palette MAC has put out, but if you’re just looking to boost up your color collection and aren’t so concerned with a palette that works together easily, you shouldn’t mind. It’s not to say that there aren’t color combinations to be created from the palette, but it just requires a little more thinking than your average eyeshadow palette where there are so many obvious combinations to work with.

6 Mystic Cool Eye Shadows ($36.00 U.S.)

  • Cool Incantation is a frosty golden-white with an almost gray tinge to the white base. It reminded me a little of Nanogold but yellow.
  • Blue Enchantment is a deep turquoise with subtle shimmer. Surprisingly, MAC doesn’t have a shade like this in their permanent line. It’s almost as if Shimmermoss and Bottle Green had a baby.
  • Deep Secret is a shimmery, jewel-toned indigo-blue. It’s incredibly pretty, and it reminded me of a darker Cinders eyeshadow (one of my all-time favorite limited edition shades).
  • Shhh, Don’t Tell is a satiny pale neutral pink that goes on like a dusty rose pink. It was hard to get it to show up really well on my skin tone without a base.
  • Rose Potion is a frosty rose. It’s a fairly simple shade, but it’s not one I’ve seen often by MAC either.
  • Violet Vow is a cool-toned, dark brown with kind of a purple edge to it. I found this one harder to work with, and I felt like it wasn’t as pigmented as it could have been.

I didn’t fall head over heels in love with this palette, but I did like it. I think there are some great colors in this palette, but long-time collectors may find they have similar shades (at least, similar enough) in their stash already.

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

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