Friday, October 16th, 2009

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Collection
6 Sorceress Eye Shadows

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Review: Sorceress Eye Shadows

I’ve always liked MAC eyeshadow palettes, because I do feel like they represent a chance to get multiple eyeshadows at a more affordable price point, and MAC has put out some great limited edition shades in holiday palettes in the past. This year’s palettes actually reminded me of a bit of the Ornamentalism palettes from a few years ago–which is a good thing. The packaging is better, though, this year, as it’s sleek, functional, and feels like it has more quality than the last few years’ palettes.

6 Sorceress Eye Shadows ($36.00 U.S.)

  • White Rabbit is a frosty silver-tinged white. It’s not a particularly unique shade, and I’d say it’s a little too frosty to work well as a highlighter for most.
  • Hold My Gaze is a gray-green base with golden-green shimmer. This is actually a very unique shade, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an eyeshadow of this color before (which is pretty surprising). It has decent pigmentation. It’s just a very unusual shade.
  • Edge of Dark is a charcoal gray with silver gray shimmer, and I had some issues getting it to go on smoothly. It doesn’t have the best texture, but it is a lustre, so I’m not surprised.
  • Magnetized is a frosty white-purple. It kind of reminded me of a lighter, whiter Beautiful Iris eyeshadow.
  • Hypnotizing is a grayed down mauve. It’s dark yet light, because it’s not an intense shade.
  • Altered State is a dark, almost jewel-toned purple with slight reddish brown tones. I liked this shade a lot.

I liked the combination of colors MAC put into the Sorceress combination, and I was pleasantly surprised by Hold My Gaze. I’d probably buy it just for that shade, simply because I haven’t seen one like that before. I can appreciate the originality of it! Overall, though, it is a cooler palette, so if you prefer warm shades, you might not like this one.

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

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Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Tarte Femme Naturale Eye Palette ($44.00) is an eyeshadow palette that contains ten different shades of Tarte eyeshadow from their fall collection. (Tarte also released the Femme Fatale Eyeshadow Palette with this one.)

  • A pale champagne with slight sheen. This one is a paler version of the color next to it and has more of a frost finish.
  • A champagne with the lightest champagne shimmer. It’s a soft shade, and it makes for a perfect highlighter within this palette.
  • A subdued, semi-matte rose-mauve. I like this shade for two reasons: it’s a subtle way to incorporate a pinker color into your palette without worrying so much it may make you look like you’re crying; but also because I don’t see this particular shade very often. I also dig the finish.
  • A sparkling mix of peachy-gold and soft rose. This reminded me of MAC’s Say Yeah eyeshadow, but a little dark, which is just fine in my book. Say Yeah was always one of my go-to shades. This one has the most frosty/glittery appearance, but I didn’t find it had a lot of fall out issues as glittery shades often do.
  • A deep forest green with a little bit of a grayish tinge. This one had amazing pigmentation and texture–very soft, smooth, and gives you plenty of intensity without having to pack it on.
  • A semi-matte reddish brown. There’s not a whole to say about the shade itself, but it doesn’t read too warm to me (maybe even cool, actually). It has really good pigmentation, and it is surprisingly not chalky for a shadow with such a matte finish.
  • A light, peachy-brown with a frosty finish. This one is similar to the other neutrals in the palette, as it has that frosty look. It’s pigmented and feels soft to the touch.
  • A chalky, cool-toned lilac-pink. Personally, this shade is one I’d find difficult to pull off on my skin tone, but I think those with cooler skin tones will appreciate it. It’s chalky, but I’d say half of it comes from how cool the shade is along with the matte finish.
  • A plummy rose with gold glitter. This color is so stunning! It’s this gorgeous shade that I envision being perfect for fall or holiday. I love the way the gold flecks sparkle in the plummy base. This one wasn’t as pigmented as the others, but it still was pretty good.
  • A rich bronze with gold flecks and a frost finish. This one has a very nice feel to it–very soft–and goes on like butter and has intense pay off.
  • A dark, smoky blue-black with a gray cast. This one was the least pigmented out of the ten shadows, and it kind of dragged a bit when I swatched.

This is a solid palette that gives you a ton of product for under $50. Tarte shadows themselves are high in quality and still affordable.  They’re soft, smooth, and they’re usually easy to blend. The only thing I really wasn’t jazzed over was the product’s packaging.  It just feels tacky to me, and I hate that fingerprints get stuck all over the casing.  The “rose” attached also presents some storage woes.

Each eyeshadow is 0.06 oz., and the palette itself is refillable. Tarte refillable eyeshadows retail for $10 a pop. The palette itself yields you a cost of $73.33/oz. whereas one refillabe Tarte eyeshadow will run you $166.67/oz. Buying these together means you get twice as much for half the cost! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

Recommendation:  If you’d like some neutrals–but not just neutrals–Tarte’s Femme Naturale palette offers a good combination to get you started.

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Chanel Holiday 2009 Collection
Chanel Bird of Paradise Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel Bird of Paradise Eyeshadow Quad ($56.00) is a new, limited edition, colorful palette that’s part of Chanel’s Holiday Collection. It includes four pops of color, which is a surprising twist on what we typically expect from holiday launches. Genius, perhaps? We’ll see…

The shades included in the palette are:

A paled down blue-teal with green-teal shimmer. I love the mix of a blue-teal colored base with green-teal shimmer. The color is muted without being boring; it still packs a punch of color, but it’s not over the top. It’s kind of what I’d expect from a teal by Chanel. It’s pigmented, silky soft, and blends easily.

A warm pop of goldenrod yellow-gold. This is an interesting color, because I think on cooler tones, the yellow is going to come out to play more, whilst on warmer tones, you’re going to get more of a warmer, golden shade. Also, I noticed that it seemed to warm up and cool done depending on the lighting situation (less light = more yellow; brighter light = more golden). This one wasn’t quite as pigmented or smooth as the other three shades, but it was still soft and the shimmer wasn’t too gritty. I really love the shade itself, though, because it’s not a true gold, yet it’s not orange or yellow.

A muted coppery-orange with golden shimmer and sheen. Orange can be a tough color to pull off, particularly for those who naturally have cooler complexions (because many oranges run very warm), so I know some just skip this color altogether. This is a great shade of orange that runs neutral-warm, which means it has some warmth, but it’s not overly so. It’s also not a straight copper. I love how the golden sheen catches light.

A soft olive green with golden olive shimmer. A lovely shade that actually reminds me more of fall than it does winter, but nevertheless, still nice. Pigmentation is true and the shade itself feels smooth to the touch and goes on like butter.

I’m really digging Chanel’s take on holiday this year. The colors are fun and playful, but they’re not hard to wear or even pair together (I was a little weary at first – so much color, could they work together? but alas, they can!). The only shade it’s really missing is a highlight shade, so you will have to tap into your stash to get that, but at least you get four rockin’ colors in it. Each has a metallic shimmer sheen, and I think that’s exactly what the holiday season is about–lots of glitz and glam!

This eyeshadow quad is eons better than Chanel’s Les Folie Noirs Eyeshadow Quad — so I am quite pleased. I was a bit hesitant that this one might not do it for me, but it worked out, thankfully!

As far as value goes, I do believe Chanel quads are around 0.24 oz. (I have some that say 0.24 oz., others that don’t say, and the recent Noirs Obscurs quad was 0.21 oz.), so they’re not a bad deal by the ounce (less than MAC eyeshadows). With colors like these, you may find yourself slower to get through each shade as well, so I think you’ll get plenty of usage out of the palette.

Bottom line: This is a nice palette with quality eyeshadows that give you color to play around with, but it’s not intimidating. It’s inviting, and I think it’s a good mix of colors that can also work together, not just by themselves. It’s also not overly warm or cool on the whole, so it’s more universal. I really like it, overall, but I’m not head-over-heels for it like I am over their Rouge Allure Laques.

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

Recommendation: For a downplayed approach to color, Chanel’s Bird of Paradise eyeshadow quad is stop that might be worth your while.

Availability: Chanel in October/November 2009

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Monday, October 5th, 2009

Guerlain Imperiale Holiday Collection

Guerlain Bal de Nuit Eyeshadow Quad ($58.00) is the latest limited edition palette to be launched with the Imperiale Holiday Collection this October.

This is a stunning, incredibly elegant combination of classic shades that are perfect for year-round, but the shimmer and sparkle make it particularly fitting for the holiday season. This is not necessarily the most original eyeshadow quad of all time–it’s, at the very least, four shades of neutral-toned eyeshadows.

It includes four shades: a soft, sparkling gold-tinged white; a peachy-pink champagne with a frosty finish; a neutral-cool dark taupe brown with brighter bronze shimmer; and a warm-toned chocolate bronze with gold shimmer. All four shades have good color pigmentation, and as is standard with Guerlain eyeshadows, they feel silky smooth and apply like butter. They’re very blendable, and all four shadows work extremely well together. (Sometimes you’ll get a beautiful quad, but it’s not so easy to work with on its own.)

For me, this is just an easy, no-brainer eyeshadow quad that looks good, works well, and great for travel. I can just use the lightest two shades for a quick swipe of lid color, or I can use the two darker colors to add depth to the crease or go for more of a smoky eye. The quality is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Guerlain, so overall, I’m pleased.

It’s pricey, but as far as value goes? These eyeshadows are the same price, by the ounce, as MAC eyeshadows are. This eyeshadow quad contains roughly 6.7 oz. of eyeshadow, which is pretty good for a palette. With Guerlain, you do get the velvety soft case and the luxe, slighty hefty gold-esque packaging. It just all requires more of an initial investment than smaller-sized MAC eyeshadows.

Bottom line: This is a great, easy-to-use eyeshadow quad that has soft, silky colors that are natural and suitable to many. It’s practical and looks elegant while the shimmer is sophisticated.

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

Recommendation: If you’re in the market for a travel-worthy eyeshadow quad or a great set of neutrals, Guerlain’s latest just might work.

Availability: October 2009

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Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Urban Decay Show Pony Shadow Box ($30.00) contains six 0.03 oz. eyeshadows, a miniature sized Primer Potion (0.13 fl.oz.), and miniature sized Zero 24/7 Eye Pencil (0.03 oz.).

The palette contains…

  • Snatch is a peachy-pink champagne kind of shade.  It reminded me a bit of MAC’s Say Yeah eyeshadow, which was limited edition from eons ago.  I felt like Snatch was very glittery, though, so fall out may be a concern for some.  It didn’t feel as gritty as Midnight Cowboy Rides Again from their Book of Shadows, Vol. II.
  • Mildew is a medium-dark forest green with golden green shimmer weaved through it.  It’s very pretty, and it’s perfect for the fall.
  • Flash is a bright, cool-toned violet purple with an icy purple sheen.
  • Painkiller is a bright, lightened blue-based teal with a silvery sheen.  It reminded me a bit of Flipside 24/7 Eye Pencil.
  • Smog is a neutral-warm bronzy brown.  It’s pretty, but you may already have something like it in your stash.  It’s a good kind of shade to own, as it makes for a wonderful smoked out neutral eye.
  • Toasted is a cool-toned taupe brown with softer brown shimmer.

This palette contains some nice shades, and only one of them (Snatch) had a texture that left something to be desired.  The other five were soft and went on very pigmented.  While I like the shades, I don’t think this is the most original combination of colors, and I’m not sure if you’d find it hard to create color combinations within just these six.  I can definitely spot a few, but you’ll need to use a separate highlighter–Snatch is a bit too pigmented and glittery to serve as really a choice highlighter.  In a pinch, you could work it in, though.

Between this and the Book of Shadows, I’d opt for the Book of Shadows.  It’s pricier ($18 more), but you’ll get more shadows, more color combinations, and more use out of it, per my opinion.  I do like that it does come with a miniature UDPP – great for travel.  I personally have so many miniature sized Zeros that I don’t know if I’ll ever run out of Zero, so maybe a fun colored liner would have been nice to include in it.

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

Recommendation:  If you’re a fan of Urban Decay’s palettes, this is a cute little set, but make sure you have a separate highlighter on hand.

Availability: Urban Decay

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Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Chanel Noirs Obscurs Collection

Chanel Les Folie Noirs Eyeshadow Quad ($60.00) is from Chanel Noirs Obscurs Collection.  ( Be sure to check out reviews on the limited edition nail polishes and lipsticks, too!)  It’s a limited edition eyeshadow quad with each shade being embellished with the brand’s signature logo in black.

While I was impressed by the new Rouge Allure lipsticks and Le Vernis shades, the eyeshadow quad was a disappointment.  In fact, I had to let my disappointment simmer a bit in case I was too harsh/expected too much.  I do not recommend this eyeshadow quad unless you’re a Chanel collector–then you’re not really looking to use it so much as own it as a collector.

If you actually want to use it, the shades are poorly pigmented, go on unevenly, and just overall, look mediocre–even with a sponge applicator.  (Swatching with a brush always gives the least amount of pigmentation, whereas swatching with a sponge applicator usually yields the most.)   The swatches included in this post are with a sponge applicator, for your reference.

The dark brown shade (top left) goes on extremely sheerly and almost looks chalky on my skin.  The color itself is a cool-toned dark brown.  Next to it is a dark forest green with a slight bit of shimmer.  This one swatched better and had so-so pigmentation (just not quite as intense as I’d like).  On the bottom right, there’s a muted, dark navy blue with subtle navy shimmer.  This also swatched decently, though not quite as well as the green.  The last shade is a slightly warmed-up medium chocolate brown that isn’t as sheer as the other brown in the quad, but it’s still quite faded when swatched.

Ultimately, if you use a sponge applicator (or even use this product wet) and layer on the color–and I do mean layer–you may find this works well for a range of smoky eyes.  For me, at the price tag, I expect well-pigmented eyeshadows that feel soft, silky, and require minimal effort to work into my eyeshadow wardrobe.

Chanel, I love you, but this one is a miss for me!

  • Product: 16/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  Skip this — opt for a permanent Chanel eyeshadow quad if you’re in the market for eyeshadow or else sneak a peek at the limited edition Rouge Allure Lipsticks!

Availability:  October/November 2009

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