Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Beautiful, Glittering Eyes with Stila’s Jewel Eyeshadow Palette

Stila Jewel Eyeshadow Palette ($32.00) is a mysteriously glittering, shimmering palette. When I saw the promotional images for the palette, I was definitely curious — who doesn’t love some glitter? (OK, I know a few of you don’t, but shh!)

I find myself at a loss as to how exactly to describe the texture and feel of these eyeshadows. They feel almost wet, but not really creamy and certainly not powdery. They apply fairly sheerly when used, though they can be layered for a slightly more intense look.

Since it has a bit of a creamy feel (but it’s sooo not a cream shadow!), I patted the Golden Topaz shade all over my lid, just to see what kind of fall out we were looking for. I wasn’t even concerned about staying power, because it wasn’t over a base, so I expected it to crease. Well, it didn’t. It didn’t crease after just having patted it on my lid for over an hour. There was also very, very minimal fall out (like I saw three or four sparkles). Typically, I find myself having to strategically apply foundation over glittery bits and doing all sorts of tricks to make sure my undereye area isn’t more sparkly than my eyelid.

  • Golden Topaz is a soft peachy-brown with champagne shimmer/glitter.
  • Amethyst is a medium dark purple with red undertones and soft golden glitter.
  • Black Diamond is black with silver glitter.
  • Rose Quartz is a light-medium rosy pink with silver glitter.

I was pleasantly surprised at Stila’s newest palette for the spring season. I just wasn’t expecting it to knock my socks off, and I admit I was totally expecting the glitter to fall everywhere. But you know what’s REALLY awesome about this? It looked like my lids were wet. The color really does look like shimmering water. Gorgeous!

Now, I just hope they’ll release another one of these, but with vibrant jewel-tones… say a deep blue, mermaid teal…

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love glitter and have always wanted glitter that looks like reflecting water… you have to check this out!

Availability: Sephora, Stila

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Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Too Faced Fun in the Dark Palette

Spring Makeup with Too Faced Fun in the Dark Palette

Too Faced Fun in the Dark Palette ($32.50) is a new, limited edition eyes, cheeks, and lip palette from Too Faced for the spring. It contains four eyeshadows (Pin-Up, Peep Show, Full Frontal, Lucky Charms), two lip products (Tropical Pink, Free Love), one blush (Papa Don’t Peach), and one bronzer (Sun Bunny).  When you flip open the top, there are small, circular lights that go along the border of the palette that light up, and according to Too Faced, the battery life is about thirty hours.

I really, really did not like the light-up mirror included in the palette.  In fact, I will just come right out and say it:  I hated it.  It was a blinding cool-toned white.  The light was neither flattering nor comfortable to look towards.  I disliked it so much, I left the palette open for two days to drain the battery of the lights, because it was just such a distraction.  But seriously, it hurt my eyes a bit when I first flipped the top of this palette open.  Don’t get me wrong, the lighting is a minor point, and like I did, you can always drain the battery for the lights, but it didn’t leave me the best first impression, you know?

The four eyeshadows are of the softer shadow variety, and they’re smooth and well-pigmented.  Pin-up is a neutral, maybe slightly cool, champagne beige with soft white shimmer.  Peep Show is a cool-toned medium pink with gold shimmer–this one was lovely; it reminded me of Urban Decay Naked Lipstick or MAC Stark Naked BlushFull Frontal is a rich chocolate brown with red undertones and a slightly frosty finish.  Lucky Charms is a frosty medium-dark forest green with gold shimmer and green sheen.

Papa Don’t Peach is a pinky-peachy blush, which leans a little more peach.  It has good pigmentation, and it’s similar to NARS Orgasm, but I’d say it’s a little darker and not nearly as shimmery.  If you like Orgasm, though, I imagine you’d like this shade as well.  Sun Bunny is a split-bronzer with a darker, more coppery bronze on one side and a lighter, less shimmery soft copper bronze on the other side.

Tropical Pink is an ultra sheer (aka clear) gloss with a hint of gold sparkle.  I found it pretty disappointing, just because there was no pigmentation to speak of and it felt quite gooey.  Free Love is a medium-pink lipstick with gold shimmer.  I liked Free Love a lot more, because you could get pigmentation out of it with enough layers.  I’m still no fan of lip palettes, particularly when they’re housed near powder-based products, though!

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a palette for easy travel, you might enjoy Fun in the Dark, because it has a little something for all of your face – the eyes, cheeks, and lips.  It’s not the most handy palette, just because the four eyeshadows don’t yield the most combinations, but it’s an interesting pairing of colors, nonetheless.  I like it overall, but I didn’t fall in love.

Edit: It does, indeed, look like they spelled Chronicles wrong on the palette.  I checked the image Sephora’s using, and it’s misspelled there, too.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation:  If you like Too Faced eyeshadows, or have always wanted to try them, this might be a good way to check them out!

AvailabilitySephora

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Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Chanel Les Impressions de Chanel Collection

Chanel Les Impressions de Chanel: Kaska Beige Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel’s Kaska Beige Eyeshadow Quad ($56.00) from Les Impressions de Chanel Collection is my very favorite piece from the collection.

When it comes to eyeshadows, Chanel and I don’t always get along; it’s always very hit or miss. (I find I’m a much, much bigger fan of Chanel’s lipglosses and lipsticks… hello, Dragon anyone?) Their Bird of Paradise eyeshadow quad from holiday was nice, but it didn’t quite hit the spot; we all know how I loathed their Les Folie Noirs eyeshadow quad. Even though some quads have been nice, I haven’t seen greatness since Beiges de Chanel.

Beiges de Chanel still wins over Kaska Beige, but the two are very close in terms of versatility, usability, and overall quality. Not everything that’s exciting has to include bold and bright shades, and Kaska Beige proves this with its subtle, neutral shades. It includes a soft fleshy beige with a matte finish that’s neither chalky nor dusty; a medium-dark chocolate brown with a slight reddish undertone and a matte finish; a lightly shimmered deeper chocolate brown with a copper sheen and red undertone; and a neutral-cool tanned brown with gold shimmer.

All four shades are very smooth, soft, and silky. Each one is pigmented without being too intense–they’re easy to use and coordinate with each other. I love that the fleshy beige shade can be used on the lid or as a highlighter.

I’ll definitely be doing a look with this soon, so you can see it in action, but ’til then, hopefully swatches can win you over in the meanwhile!

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

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

Recommendation: For soft, smooth eyeshadows in a very neutral, easy-to-use, and classic color scheme, Chanel has you covered this spring.

Availability: January 2010

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Friday, December 18th, 2009

Guerlain Jeu d'Ombrelles Eyeshadow Quad

The many shades of purple… Guerlain Jeu d’Ombrelles Eyeshadow Quad

Guerlain Jeu d’Ombrelles Eyeshadow Quad ($59.00) is the other new product featured in Guerlain’s Cherry Blossom Collection. You can expect to see the eyeshadow quad hitting counters in the next two weeks or so.

Guerlain describes the four shades as: pink and white tones with violet and mauve. For some reason, I was surprised with how the colors actually swatched — this just didn’t strike me as a definitively cool-toned, purple-inspired kind of quad, but that is very much what it is. In order to swatch with meaning, I pretty much wiped off the overlay prior to actually doing swatches. The results are an icy white-pink with soft shimmery sheen, a deepened eggplant plum with a matte finish, a fresh, medium pink with subtle shimmer/sheen, and a matte cool-toned medium purple.

The shades don’t immediately say “unique, buy me!” but I don’t think I have exact dupes in my collection. If I had to list MAC dupes for these shades, I’d suggest Crystal Avalanche, Shadowy Lady, Sweet Lust, and Fig. 1/Satellite Dreams — none of which would be that close. It’s just one of those situations where the shades don’t look particularly original and yet somehow they’re not exactly repeated shades either.

All four eyeshadows swatched smoothly, felt like silk, and were decently pigmented. Both the matte shades felt soft to the touch and didn’t feel or look chalky. The other two shades are noticeably shimmery, but they didn’t feel frosty on me. (They may appear frostier on darker skin tones, though.)

Like the Cherry Blush Blush, it’s housed in an elegant black lacquered compact. The total eyeshadow weight is 0.20 oz. (0.05 oz. per shade), which means you are getting a good amount of product per shade. The compact also includes two double-sided sponge applicators, but I only found them useful for swatching and wouldn’t use them for actual eyeshadow application myself (I’m a brush snob, what can I say?).

Bottom Line: I like this eyeshadow quad, but I’m not quite in love with it yet. It’s very soft, pretty, and certainly reminiscent of spring. The more I use it, though, the more I appreciate it for its subtly and how easy it is to use (all four shades coordinate really well with each other, since they all lean a little purple).

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

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

Recommendation: If you like purple eyeshadow, this just might be a match for you.

Availability: January 2010

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Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Holiday Palettes Revealed:  Too Faced Glamour Revolution Palette

Too Faced Glamour Revolution Palette ($39.50) is a new, limited edition holiday palette available exclusively at Sephora. Too Faced calls it a “makeup book,” actually. It contains nine eyeshadows, three lipglosses, a bronzer, blush, and Shadow Insurance (eyeshadow base).

Face

  • La Vie En Rose Brightening Blush is a bright pop of petal pink with gold flecks of shimmer. It’s not a neutral nor warm-toned pink, but it’s not too cool to make it difficult to wear for warmer skin tones. It’s actually a very pretty shade. It has a soft texture and is quite pigmented. The shimmer could be more subtle/integrated, but it works well.
  • Chocolate Soleil Bronzer is a surprisingly cool-toned chocolate brown. It’s not too pigmented, and I don’t think it’d be my favorite bronzer on my skin tone (which is warmer). It is shimmer-less, but it does have a soft sheen.

Lips

There are three nameless lip glosses in this palette, and I can see why they didn’t bother to name them — they’re unremarkable. They are all incredibly sheer, with the first one looking like a nude-pink in the pot and coming out slightly pink-tinged gloss if I look hard enough. The second is a deeper-nude in the pan, but the actual color in a swatch is just sheer glossiness. The most pigmented is the third, which looks like a medium deep pink in the pan, but it’s just a soft pink gloss. I think Too Faced could have omitted these lip glosses (even if I liked lip glosses in pan-form, these are pretty poor performing) and gone with maybe a highlighter to round out the blush and bronzer.

Eyeshadow

Naturally, the eyeshadow portion of the palette is the highlight of the product, and the eyeshadows are smooth, pigmented, and the texture, overall, is good. The shade range is interesting – a few neutrals, but there are also some pops of color. The palette of eyeshadows does seem to run more cool-toned, though.

  • Milk Chocolate is a tauped-up chocolate brown with a matte finish. It feels pretty smooth and doesn’t look chalky.
  • George & Weezie is a green-tinged gold with a frosty finish. It has almost a green-gray cast.
  • Boy Toy is a frosty cool-toned blue-based pink with silverish sheen.
  • Label Whore is a reddish brown with a green-teal shimmer/sheen. I thought this shade was really fun and different — it reminded me of a tealer, more pigmented version of MAC’s Club eyeshadow. This shade is also available as a single.
  • London Calling is a soft white-gold with a slightly frosty finish.
  • Glamazon is a soft taupe with a pink undertone. It has almost a metallic finish. This shade is also available as a single.
  • Dirt Bag is a brown with a touch of burgundy. It has more of a satiny finish than frost, too. This shade is also available as a single.
  • Party Girl is a medium purple with a sheen and deeper purple shimmer.
  • Neptune is a bright green-based teal with a soft sheen (less frost, more sheen!). This shade is also available as a single.

Bottom Line: It’s a fun, cute palette. It’s not my favorite holiday palette, but it’s a solid one. Everything in the palette seems to run on the cooler side, so it may be a better palette for cooler skin tones. Even though there’s a good assortment of eyeshadows, I felt like they had a few too many frosts and no standout highlighter shade–if this is a palette to get me ready from face to lips to eyes, that’s something I’d look for. Some might find the packaging cute, others may find it cumbersome, because it is a bigger palette and could have easily been made smaller (and thus more portable).

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you’re a fan of Too Faced eyeshadows, this is a great way to get several for less!

Availability: Sephora

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Thursday, December 10th, 2009

LORAC Silver Screen Palette ($30.00) is a face palette that contains eight shades of eyeshadow, two shades of blush, a double-ended brush, and a lipgloss. It’s from LORAC’s Hollywood Ice Collection.

The palette is actually divided with both cool and warm eyeshadows — the first row of eyeshadows are warm, while the second row of eyeshadows are cool. The idea behind the palette is having the ability to go from day to night within a single palette. I definitely think LORAC hit a home run on that mark — this can be easily used to create several softer, more neutral looks, while the mauve, silver, and black-blue shade can add drama to any look.

  • Warm eyeshadows: a warmed up champagne, a peachy-pink, copper-brown, chocolate brown
  • Cool eyeshadows: an icy, semi-matte white, a silvery mauve-plum, a brownish-green-blue (reminded me of MAC’s Club eyeshadow), and a blue-black with blue-green sparkles.
  • Blushes: a bright, peachy-apricot and a semi-matte to matte dirty pink
  • Lip Polish: a semi-sheer, reddish-brown with gold shimmer

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use palette with both eyeshadows and blushes in one (but thankfully no lip color wells!), I think you might find LORAC to your liking. The quality of the eyeshadows is great — they’re smooth, soft, and pigmented. They’re not ultra pigmented, but I don’t think ultra pigmentation is always necessary (good pigmentation is enough — ultra can actually make a color harder to work with at times!).

The palette is housed in sleek, silver packaging and it’s pretty lightweight. The brush is a throw-in; it’s not spectacular, but it’ll do ya in a pinch. I think they could have gone with a more neutral lip color (I know, gasp!), because I’m not sure that deep of a shade will work for the majority of looks.

Bottom Line: The colors weren’t necessarily to my personal taste, but these are quality shades at an affordable price. It’s hard to beat $30 for this much product!

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

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

Recommendation: Still hunting for a holiday palette? Wanting something with variety? Try LORAC!

Availability: LORAC Cosmetics, Ulta

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