Thursday, March 29th, 2012

MAC Blue Orbit Extra Dimension Eyeshadow
MAC Blue Orbit Extra Dimension Eyeshadow

MAC Extra Dimension Eyeshadows (Part 1)

MAC Extra Dimension Eyeshadow ($20.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a new formula for the brand, but it may seem and look familiar! Estee Lauder’s Powder Gelee formula is very comparable to this one. Since Estee Lauder is the parent company of MAC, I’m not surprised! MAC says this is a buildable formula that can yield sheer to heavier coverage, and they state that it lasts up to six hours. These are ten shades in total, and this post looks at the first five (and the next post will cover the remaining five).

Here are official color descriptions for the five in this post: Blue Orbit (light iridescent purple), Dark Dare (charcoal black), Grand Galaxy (dirty mid-tone violet), Havana (dirty copper brown), and Lunar (royal blue).

  • Blue Orbit is a violet purple with blue undertones and a soft silvery-purple sheen. This was one of the sheerest shades out of the ten–it was fairly sheer when applied dry, and there was still some underlying sheerness when used damp. I tried to test this one dry, but it was difficult to get it to show up! MAC Wintersky is bluer, less purple. Urban Decay Blue Bus is darker.
  • Dark Dare is a medium-dark black with brown undertones and a very subtle silver and teal micro-shimmer (hardly noticeable, looks almost matte from afar). It has a slightly dry look when it is applied dry to the skin, but it takes on a smoother result when applied damp. This one has a “glow” finish, and though I don’t know what that means in MAC-speak, it has a low-level sheen compared to the other shades. It’s similar to a lot of other black eyeshadows.
  • Grand Galaxy is a medium purple with red undertones and a silvery metallic sheen. It is less metallic and almost redder-toned when applied dry, while when it is applied damp, it takes on a more metallic quality to the finish. theBalm Lavish Latoya and Urban Decay AC/DC are similar to the dry swatch of Grand Galaxy. Bare Escentuals Encore is in-between the dry and damp swatch.  Estee Lauder’s Cyber Lilac is not a dupe!
  • Havana is a medium-dark warmed-up amber brown with subtle orange undertones (but it doesn’t read red at all). This is one of the more pigmented shades, as it is opaque both dry and damp. The damp swatch makes the color appear a little darker, but there’s a very low-level sheen in the finish either way. MAC Buckwheat is very similar. MAC Make Your Mark is a touch red-toned. Laura Mercier Cedar is a little yellow-toned.
  • Lunar is a midnight navy blue with a subtle violet purple shimmer over a blackened navy base. The blackened base is most apparent when it is used dry, while it takes on a very smooth blue result when applied damp. It is rather sheer when used dry as well. MAC Naval Blue is purpler. MAC Blue Flame is similar but has a more intense black base. MAC Shop & Drop is darker and more purple-tinted. MAC Blue Storm is slightly purpler.

I’ve put off the writing of this post for the majority of the day for two reasons: 1) readers voted highlighters over eyeshadows first, and 2) I really wanted to test a few more shades for wear, since MAC made a very specific wear claim. These are the shades that I have worn and tested for wear: Blue Orbit, Dark Dare, Havana, Modern Pewter, and Rich Core. I wore them alone over bare skin, over a primer, and used them both wet and dry.

Without a primer, they do hold up fairly well for six to eight hours when applied damp (with water), but if they are applied dry, they do seem to fade after three to four hours, with it looking rather sheer at the sixth hours. The worst thing is that when they are applied dry, they don’t stick as well, so if you rub your eye even briefly (oops!), it wipes away instantly. Over a primer, they do very well; no fading or creasing even after ten hours of wear. I was definitely surprised at how well they held up over bare skin when used damp–there was only a little fading after six to eight hours, but it was not really noticeable from afar. My eyelids are normal-to-dry, but they’ve been closer to normal these past few days.

The texture of these is that same unexpected combination of dry, soft, and smooth. There’s just this inherent dryness to it and then a real softness so it ends up applying really smooth. These can be used wet or dry, so all swatches are dry and then wet (using just water). These will look more intense, opaque, and smoother when applied damp, but overall, they were fairly pigmented when used dry. Over a primer, you can get closer to the damp results, but I still liked using these damp best. I also liked that it retained a lot of the intensity even after it dried on the lid.

The Glossover

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MAC Extra Dimension Eyeshadows Reviews, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

A-
If you want to wear these without a primer, I strongly recommend using them damp during application, because when they are applied dry, they do fade within a few hours and are mostly gone by six, but damp, the results are much, much better. The payoff is a similar story--always more intense when applied damp.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

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Wednesday, March 28th, 2012


Urban Decay New Eyeshadows (Reformulation) Review, Photos, Swatches

Urban Decay Eyeshadow ($18.00 for 0.05 oz.) has recently undergone a reformulation so that they’re “richer and smoother” with better color payoff. I compared the original and new formulas for the four shades I have, which were Last Call, Loaded, Mushroom, and Rockstar. Chase has only been released in the new formula, I believe. I could not find Shattered (and I tried to see if I reviewed it previously but only found the Loose pigment version).

  • Chase is a medium bronze with a subtle red undertone and a glitzy golden shimmer-sheen. Urban Decay Suspect is more subdued, less golden. Bare Escentuals Cognac is a bit darker, more red-toned. MAC Woodwinked is slightly more red-toned. Inglot #406 is deeper.
  • Last Call is a plummy burgundy with a hint of pink sheen. Inglot #450 is redder, less purple. I couldn’t think of a dupe for this one–everything is either too red or too purple!
  • Loaded is a blackened green-teal. It goes on very, very dark–you will lose some of the strength of the overall green/teal if you blend it out, but it doesn’t look full-on black. Bare Escentuals Max Volume is a bit lighter and greener. OCC Poison is greener. theBalm Jealous Jordana is less intense, slightly greener.
  • Mushroom is a gray-brown–it’s a very intense taupe. MAC Keep Your Cool is more muted. Chanel Illusoire is less brown.
  • Rockstar is a dark, smoky purple with subtle red undertones. MAC Indian Ink is almost like a matte version, though it is a little darker. Lancome Zip Me Up is a bit lighter. Estee Lauder Cyber Lilac is a touch lighter.
  • Shattered is a silvered blue with a green-gold duochrome. Dior Garden Pastels is slightly greener. Urban Decay Aquarius lacks the duochrome.
  • Walk of Shame is a pink-tinted light beige nude with a matte finish. I imagine it will work as a nice highlighter on lighter, cooler complexions. When I tried to use this, it looked a little chalky. It reminded me of a matte version of MAC Phloof!.

Consistently, all four reformulated versions were better than the original versions, but the difference is minor. They’re better, but not so much better (because they were already rather good) that I’d rush out to replace them. Primarily, the difference is a softer texture that has a little more give, so it almost feels creamy to the touch. The softness can result in a little more powderiness, but it is such a small amount that it is a minor concern. With Walk of Shame, there was more powderiness than with the more shimmery shades–if you’re familiar with the softer matte textures, it’s as much as expected.

I tested the wear, specifically, of these shades: Chase, Last Call, Shattered, and Loaded. None of the shades I did in recent testing (in actually comparing the formulas) had Urban Decay’s famous (or, perhaps, infamous) micro-glitter, so I’m not yet ready to do a full review on that finish. The original launch date for this was supposed to be a week out yet, which was when I was going to do the bulk of my testing, so I’m really sorry for having to scramble a bit!  With a primer, I didn’t have any wear issues, and I didn’t have wear issues with the originals previously.  Without a primer, these did seem to adhere better to bare skin than the original formula, and after eight hours of wear, there was only minor fading (it wasn’t particularly noticeable except at a very close distance).

I’ll be testing additional shades in the next few weeks and will keep you informed on how the wear goes with those!  These particular shades are some of Urban Decay’s best, so they may represent that end of the spectrum, while other shades more prone to being troublemakers may not do so well in a wear test.

The Glossover

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Urban Decay New Eyeshadows (Reformulation) Review, Photos, Swatches

A
I really appreciate the color accuracy between the original formula and the new formula--I couldn't detect any differences between the four I was able to compare side-by-side. The new formula does wear a bit better without primer, though the results were the same when used with a primer. These are softer, smoother, and as a result, more pigmented in a single pass.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

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Monday, March 26th, 2012

shu uemura P Dark Brown (861) Eyeshadow
shu uemura P Dark Brown (861) Eyeshadow

shu uemura P Dark Brown (861) Eyeshadow

shu uemura P Dark Brown (861) Eyeshadow ($15.00 for 0.049 oz.) is a warm, reddish-toned medium-dark brown with a golden shimmer-sheen. The “P” stands for pearl finish, which is described as a “silky shimmer of light for luminous radiance.” It’s very similar to Urban Decay Snakebite, which is a touch darker and less red-toned. Bobbi Brown Chocolate is darker, less orange. Make Up For Ever #15 is darker. MAC Buckwheat is redder, less warm. MAC Bronze is similar but a little more golden. MAC Tempting has a stronger golden sheen.

The color coverage is great, with rich pigmentation. The texture is very, very soft–almost too soft–so it has a slightly more powdery feel as a result. It applies so opaquely onto the lid, though, and the powderiness didn’t seem to lead to fall out when I was testing it out in practice. The softness enables effortless blending, too. It’s a basic brown–certainly dupeable–but lovely to use and extremely flattering on warmer skin tones. When worn over a primer, it lasts for eight hours without creasing or fading (which is quite a feat!), and I didn’t have any issues at ten hours when used over a primer.

What is pictured is an eyeshadow refill, and refills are $15 a pop, while the compacts that contain them (from shu uemura) range from $8.00 for a single, $9.00 for a duo, and $14.00 for a quad. They’re similar to other pan eyeshadows, so you could fit these into other custom palettes (like Z-palettes and the like) as well. I have a shu palette, and the shades slide into the compact, which I haven’t seen before, and I did like it. It was lightweight, slim, and held the products inside easily. I did not take the palette into account for packaging score here – the packaging with this is so minimal, there’s nothing to complain about per se. These are designed to be put into a palette, so obviously this would not be practical to keep on its own. It does come with a plastic exterior case, which is good enough to hold it until you do have a palette.

The Glossover

coming-soon

shu uemura P Dark Brown (861) Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Swatches

A
It's a really high-quality shimmering brown with warm undertones--you may have shades that are very similar already, but if you don't, this is the kind of shade that easily becomes a staple!

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

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Sunday, March 25th, 2012

NARS Surabaya Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Surabaya Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Surabaya Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Surabaya Eyeshadow Duo ($34.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “brown sugar” and a “chestnut.” This is an interesting duo that desperately needs to be swatched! I can’t emphasize that enough, because it looks very, very different swatched and in practice than it does in its pretty pans. Both shades are much darker–so much so that not only did I swatch this duo twice, but I googled and looked through dozens of other images and saw similar results. In my old school NARS Duo product photos and swatches, the products look lighter than they do when swatched.

The left side of the duo is a rich, orange-red-toned dark brown with a smattering of gold shimmer and finer burnt red micro-shimmer. It has such a beautiful, silky texture with excellent color payoff. NARS Galapagos is slightly darker, more of a yellow-toned brown. Bare Escentuals Pumped is similar but not as red-toned. MAC Roasted Chestnut is similar, just a touch lighter and more metallic in finish. MAC Make Your Mark is not quite as intense or as red-toned. Laura Mercier Cedar is slightly less red-toned. MAC Swiss Chocolate is very similar but matte and a bit browner.

The right side of the duo is a warm, red-toned medium-dark brown with red shimmer. Like the left shade, this has a soft, smooth texture that yields rich, opaque pigmentation. Make Up For Ever #14 is more metallic and a deeper brown. theBalm Tres Moi is similar but more frosted. MAC Take Root is less intense and red-toned. MAC Antiqued is browner. theBalm Racy Kacy is a bit lighter and less brown.

This duo represents what NARS is capable of:  soft, silky smooth textures combined with rich pigmentation.  Both shades blended out beautifully and with ease, though a little goes a long way.  These shades could be used together, but you’ll find they work even better when paired with a lighter shade for more contrast.  When applied over the lid without a base, it lasted for eight hours with very, very minimal fading but no creasing; and when applied over the lid with a base, there were no issues after ten hours.

The Glossover

palette

NARS Surabaya Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

A
Luxurious textures, intense color payoff, and beautiful colors to boot--NARS really nailed this duo. It's virtually an A+, if you always use an eyeshadow primer, since you shouldn't have any wear issues (NARS does, however, state these are long-wearing and crease-resistant).

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

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Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Bobbi Brown Ultra Nude Eye Palette
Bobbi Brown Ultra Nude Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Ultra Nude Eye Palette ($45.00 for 0.30 oz.) includes six shades of neutral eyeshadows. These include: Chino (light cool beige), Praline (nude with golden pearl), Pink Chandelier (warm pink with golden pearl), Stone (neutral grey brown), Champagne Truffle (warm pink beige), and Cocoa Berry (rich brown plum).

  • Chino is a soft, gray-tinted light-medium brown with a mostly matte finish. This has a matte finish (officially). It was smooth and soft with good color payoff. Chanel Beige Lame is similar but has shimmer. Urban Decay Naked is browner.
  • Praline is a warm medium brown with a champagne-gold shimmer and sheen. This has a Shimmer Wash finish. As such, the color payoff is good but there is an underlying sheerness that’s intentional with this finish. The shimmer seems to be more integrated with the base color, so it didn’t have a lot of fall out issues. MAC Love Connection is darter, more coppery. Urban Decay Chopper is more of a coppery-orange. Wet ‘n’ Wild Dancing in the Clouds is darker. MAC Moleskin is close but doesn’t have shimmer.
  • Pink Chandelier is gold and copper shimmered beige. This has a Metallic finish. For whatever reason, this shade was horrible. The color payoff was beyond sheer, and the texture was dry and gritty. Absolute miss! I couldn’t even give you a dupe, because it’s hard to determine what this color is actually supposed to be.
  • Stone is a medium-dark brown with subtle warm undertones. This has a matte finish. MAC Lie Low is a bit darker and redder in tone, plus it has a shimmery finish. MAC Texture is darker, more yellowed. Inglot #357 is the closest, though slightly warmer.
  • Champagne Truffle is a medium coppery brown. This has a Shimmer Wash finish. It has good color payoff overall. Wet ‘n’ WIld Comfort Zone is slightly darker. Urban Decay Blaze is similar.
  • Cocoa Berry is a burgundy-brown with a satiny sheen. This has a Shimmer Wash finish. It’s very, very dry and difficult to work with, because it doesn’t want to apply. It’s supposed to be sheer, so even though it looks awful in the payoff department, that’s what it’s supposed to be! Inglot #378 is a bit darker and matte. Chanel Ebloui is similar but more burgundy.

The palette starts out on a good note, but once you reach the third shade, it starts going downhill.  Pink Chandelier and Cocoa Berry were both troublemakers, though the former was truly an awful shade to work with.  These eyeshadows all felt a little drier than Bobbi Brown’s usual formula.   Ultra Nude is a decent palette but with two under-performers, it’s not the best bang for your buck or one of the top five neutral palettes on the market.  When I test drove this palette, I used Chino, Praline, Stone, and Cocoa Berry together, and they wore fairly well with only minor fading after eight hours when applied without a primer–with a primer, there were no problems with the wear.  Cocoa Berry made me want to tear my hair out, because it was so difficult to blend.

The Glossover

palette

Ultra Nude

B
One-third of the palette is a let-down, and I think it's better to buy individual shades that you really love and would use than a palette that's just so-so. I did appreciate that Bobbi Brown included multiple finishes within a single palette, though.

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Tarina Tarantino Jasper/Agate Eye Dream Highlight Duo
Tarina Tarantino Jasper/Agate Eye Dream Highlight Duo

Tarina Tarantino Jasper/Agate Eye Dream Highlight Duo ($19.00 for 0.26 oz.) is described as a “soft golden beige” and “muted light fawn.” The compact doesn’t seem too large, though it’s certainly bigger than most eyeshadow duo compacts, but each eyeshadow is over twice the size of your average full-sized eyeshadow at a whopping 0.13 oz. each. I can’t envision running out of either shade in a hurry!

Jasper is a warm, yellowy beige with a frosted finish. The color payoff is good (even better on the eye, though still good in the skin swatch), and the texture is soft, smooth, and very blendable. Cle de Peau #207 is slightly pinker, less yellow. Urban Decay Skimp is less yellow, more beige. theBalm Hiii-Yaaa! is less yellow, more peach.

Agate is a light-medium brown with warm undertones and a frosted finish.  It has the same soft, smooth texture I’ve come to expect from the brand, along with good pigmentation. MAC Arena is similar but a little darker. MAC Sweet Satisfaction is similar, a little less frosted. Chanel Eclosion has a slight pink tinge to it. MAC Grain is similar in color but not frosted.

Undoubtedly, this is a straight-forward eyeshadow duo–it’s not particularly unique or inspiring, but it is extremely useful for anyone who reaches for neutrals often. I think of all duos/palettes, the neutral ones tend to be the most successful, because they’re easy to use and versatile. I absolutely love Tarina Tarantino’s eyeshadow formula–it is one of the best on the market–so having go-to neutrals with such amazing textures is worth having. It’s not a must-have if you rarely wear neutrals or have a ton already, but if there’s a gap of neutrals in your stash, this is worth checking out.  Without a base, these two wore for eight hours without creasing/fading but did have some slight fading after ten hours.  With a primer, I didn’t have any issues.

The Glossover

palette

Tarina Tarantino Jasper/Agate Eye Dream Highlight Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

A

Undoubtedly, this is a straight-forward eyeshadow duo--it's not particularly unique or inspiring, but it is extremely useful for anyone who reaches for neutrals often. I think of all duos/palettes, the neutral ones tend to be the most successful, because they're easy to use and versatile. I absolutely love Tarina Tarantino's eyeshadow formula--it is one of the best on the market--so having go-to neutrals with such amazing textures is worth having.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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