Friday, November 4th, 2011

MAC Smoky Plum Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit
MAC Smoky Plum Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC Dazzlesphere Smoky Plum Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC’s Dazzlesphere Collection launches on November 10th, and the next set I’m reviewing is MAC Smoky Plum Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit ($32.50 for 0.40 oz.), which contains four shades: Light Violet (pale violet), Grape (purple), Seasonally Cool (sparkling taupe), and Misty (pale silver). Crushed Metallic Pigments are described as having “intense colour payoff” with “medium coverage” and “highly reflective metallic sparkle.” They are “creamy, crease-resistant, [and] long-wearing.”

  • Seasonally Cool is a subtly cool-toned bronze. The gray tint is minor, so it comes off as more of a brown than it does a taupe. This one has a fair amount of sparkle, so I did encounter some fall out when it was applied dry, but this was lessened when it was applied damp. Similarly, it’s sheerer when applied dry and much more intense when applied damp. It’s similar to Urban Decay Lost and Make Up For Ever #15.
  • Misty is a bright, lightened silver with a strong, metallic finish. It’s slightly sheer when applied dry and more opaque when applied wet. Giorgio Armani #12 is similar but cooler-toned.
  • Light Violet is a pink=lavender with a metallic shimmer-sheen. It’s very, very chunky; I did not find I could really “crush” these into becoming smooth, even on my arm. It reminded me of a much pinker Kitschmas. The color is also similar to theBalm Curtain Call. It’s warmer and pinker than Stacked 1.
  • Grape is a rich, red-toned purple with a softer but still metallic sheen. It had good color payoff both dry and wet, with the metallic finish coming out more when it was applied wet. It’s more vibrant and red-toned than Stacked 1. MAC Plush is similar but a touch darker and less metallic in finish. MAC Half-Wild is redder. Inglot #446 is less purple.

In my experience, these pigments wear well as long as you ensure you’ve really “crushed” them against the skin/lid. I’ve worn them with and without a base and the difference is minimal. There is some noticeable but relatively minor fading after eight hours when applied without a base (or mixing medium). For more on how they wear, please see this post where I went in-depth on that particular characteristic.

I loved the smoothness and vibrancy of Grape, while Light Violet was one of the worst shades out of the three sets entirely. It was very gritty and chunky–it was much harder to work with and extremely prone to fall out. I also had some fall out issues with Seasonally Cool from the sparkle when used dry, but it was lessened if it was applied damp. Generally, the finishes are extremely frosted, metallic-like, and add a lot of oomph to a look–but they may be better when mixed and matched with other finishes (like mattes) for more textural contrast as all of these at once can almost look heavy on the eye.

The Glossover

product

MAC Smoky Plum Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit Review, Photos, Swatches

B-
This particular stack/kit had some drawbacks that Smoky Berry didn't have, which is a very finicky shade in Light Violet and slightly problematic Seasonally Cool.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

3.5/5

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Friday, November 4th, 2011

MAC Smoky Berry Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit
MAC Smoky Berry Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC Dazzlesphere Smoky Berry Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC’s Dazzlesphere Collection will debut in-stores on November 10th, and the first I’m reviewing is MAC Smoky Berry Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit ($32.50 for 0.40 oz.) contains four shades: Pearl (pearl), Rose Light (rose), Spicy Smoke (dark strawberry), and Roasted Chestnut (deep chocolate with gold pearl). It took a bit of digging, but I found the official description from when these were originally released, and they’re described as having “intense colour payoff” with “medium coverage” and “highly reflective metallic sparkle.” They are “creamy, crease-resistant, [and] long-wearing.”

  • Pearl is a warm, frosted white. It looks very peach in the pot, but it’s white when applied. I actually thought I had swatched things out of order but lo and behold, it really is that drastic of a difference. The high frost element of these seems to translate into lighter-than-pot shades overall. Pearl was less pigmented than it should be, especially when used dry; you really need to pack on the product to get better color payoff dry. When used damp, it’s better and the metallic finish is brought to the forefront, though there is still an underlying sheerness. It’s warmer and smoother than MAC Forgery.
  • Rose Light is a softened rose pink with a metallic, frosted finish. It seems a little lighter and much smoother than Rose pigment. It’s a bit pinker than the base color of Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy. Inglot #399 is darker, as is Giorgio Armani #7. It applies decently dry, but it performs best when applied wet.
  • Spicy Smoke is an orange-red with a soft, frosted finish. It’s less metallic than the previous two shades. The red gets pulled out more when it is applied damp, while it is more orange when applied dry. It’s a touch redder than Milani I Heart You. MAC Coppering is similar – a bit more metallic in finish.
  • Roasted Chestnut is a dark chocolate brown with bronzy sparkle and shimmer. This one needs to be pressed and “crushed,” because it is one of the chunkier pigments of the four. It holds together nicely once it’s been applied, though. It has opaque color when applied dry, though it is softer and less intense than when it is applied damp. The dry color is a bit like MAC Buckwheat, while Laura Mercier Cedar compares favorably to the color it is when applied damp.

I wore this set as a look (used all of the shades except Rose Light) without a base on one eye and with a base (MAC Mixing Medium) on the other (double-duty testing!). I applied Pearl and Spicy Smoke with a dampened brush, while I applied Roasted Chestnut dry into the crease. I’m pleased to report that I didn’t have any fall out while I wore the look; there was some minor fall out from Roasted Chestnut being used dry during initial application, but I did not find lots of sparkle and shimmer underneath my eye hours later. On the eye without a base, it looked only slightly faded eight hours later as it did when I first applied the shades (with a base, it was fine). The real trick is really pressing the pigment against the lid so it combines and binds together. I recommend using a firmer brush like the 242.

The consistency varies, though they tend to be a little chunky, with some (like Roasted Chestnut) being very chunky in the pot, while some are finer (like Spicy Smoke). Generally, the finishes are extremely frosted, metallic-like, and add a lot of oomph to a look–but they may be better when mixed and matched with other finishes (like mattes) for more textural contrast as all of these at once can almost look heavy on the eye.  I’m not particularly keen on the packaging; it’s a cute concept–the stackable jars–but they’re messy.

P.S. — It’s interesting how grams/ounces work; each stack of two is labeled as 6g/0.21 oz., while the bottom of the outer packaging said 12g/0.40 oz.. According to a Google conversion from 12g to ounces, it was 0.423 oz. I’m not sure why the math is a little off here.

The Glossover

product

MAC Smoky Berry Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
For those used to working with loose colors and not minding some of the inherent mess in this type of product, they're nice overall. You get plenty of product in each pot, and they wear well without a base and have decent to great pigmentation (depending if you use it dry/wet).

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, November 3rd, 2011


Estee Lauder Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo

Estee Lauder Fall 2011: Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo

Estee Lauder Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo ($30.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a limited edition duo from fall’s Modern Mercury collection (but it’s still available!). Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Eyeshadow formula is purported to be long-wearing, crease-resistant, and fade-proof (without a primer). In my experience, they manage to get to eight hours with minor fading but no creasing.

The lightest shade is a white-silver with a soft shimmer-sheen; it’s not too metallic, which is nice to see as many silvers tend to be full-on metallics. Bobbi Brown Iced Blue is cooler-toned. MAC Forgery is brighter. I wish the color payoff was better–it’s a bit sheer and doesn’t apply as smoothly as I’d like. The darker shade is a silvery gray with a shimmer-sheen finish. Inglot #339 is a bit darker but similar in tone. It has a slightly powdery texture, so it does not apply smoothly. It has decent pigmentation but could use more intensity to yield true-to-pan color.

The Glossover

palette

Estee Lauder Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B
The colors coordinate well with each other for a softer smoky eye, but the quality is so-so. It's not too impressive for such a basic combo; you're better off investing in really excellent basic shades like these.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Bobbi Brown Cool Party Eye Palette
Bobbi Brown Cool Party Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Cool Party Eye Palette ($45.00 for 0.33 oz.) consists of six eyeshadows: White (pure white), Iced Blue (pale icy blue), Rockstar (medium metallic grey), Sterling (medium silver blue), Gunmetal (dark charcoal blue), and Onyx (black sparkle). The palette has approximately $73 worth of eyeshadows inside, if you were able to purchase them individually (and with the exact same quantity; full-sized Bobbi Brown eyeshadows are typically larger when sold individually).

  • White is a cool-toned snow white that’s so cool-toned it almost reads bluish white. It has a matte finish and good color payoff; despite its starkness, it’s not chalky. It’s similar to Bare Escentuals Cheers and Inglot #373.
  • Iced Blue is a pale silvery white with a mere hint of blue. It’s more silver than it is blue. It has a metallic finish, which comes off as part metallic, part frost. It has good color payoff. It’s similar to Inglot #447.
  • Rockstar is a soft, mushroomy brown with a touch of gray. It has a metallic finish that looks a bit frosted. The color payoff of this shade was dismal, though; sheer and soft–not much like it looks in the pan. NARS Grand Palais is deeper.
  • Sterling is a medium-dark gray with a subtle silver sheen and blue tone. It has a Shimmer Wash finish. It has decent color payoff but slightly dry in texture. Guerlain Les Ombres de Nuit is a bit lighter.
  • Gunmetal is a silver shimmered brown-black. It had nice color payoff and applied very smoothly. It has a Shimmer Wash finish. Estee Lauder Black Chrome is similar but not quite as dark. theBalm Inspirational is a little lighter, grayer.
  • Onyx is a mostly matte black base color with silver and multi-colored sparkle on top. It’s a brown-based black. Like many silver sparkled blacks, it is dry with uneven and sheer color payoff.

Two of the six shades were less than impressive in this palette: Rockstar was a bit dry and sheer, while Onyx was extremely dry, sheer, and uneven–plus the sparkle was prone to fall out. The other four shades were good, though, and they all work together with strong, cool undertones and a smoky bent. It will work well on cooler complexions, especailly those looking for a solid smoky eye palette.

The Glossover

palette

Cool Party

B+
Two of the six shades were less than impressive in this palette: Rockstar was a bit dry and sheer, while Onyx was extremely dry, sheer, and uneven--plus the sparkle was prone to fall out. The other four shades were good, though, and they all work together with strong, cool undertones and a smoky bent. It will work well on cooler complexions, especailly those looking for a solid smoky eye palette.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Bobbi Brown Black Ruby Sparkle Eye Palette
Bobbi Brown Black Ruby Sparkle Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Black Ruby Sparkle Eye Palette ($45.00 for 0.28 oz.) consists of four Sparkle Shadow shades: Pink Rose (pink multi-colored pearl), Crushed Silver (light diamond pearl), Black Ruby (black plum with pearl), and Onyx (plum charcoal with pearl). Onyx is the only shade that isn’t new (and exclusive) to the palette, and the palette itself is limited edition. Sparkle eyeshadows is Bobbi Brown’s take on glitter; it uses shimmer and fine glitter in a creamy, translucent base that is supposed to apply smoothly and never crease or travel. From what I understand, these are not opaque in color but should provide some color punch.

  • Pink Rose is a semi-sheer light pink with subtle yellow undertones and darker rose and white shimmer and sparkle. It’s similar to Cle de Peau #207 but glittery. Giorgio Armani #8 is less pink.
  • Crushed Silver is a sheer pale white with iridescent pink and white shimmer and glitter. Chanel Fantasme is whiter.
  • Black Ruby sheer is a brown-burgundy color base with iridescent pink and plum shimmer and sparkle. I couldn’t think of a shade quite like this one with all the shimmer/glitter it has going on. The base color here is a little dry, though, so it has an uneven look.
  • Onyx is a gray-mauve brown with silver sparkle. The color actually reminded me of Illamasqua’s Bacterium Nail Varnish, because of the way it shimmers. Urban Decay Bust is somewhat similar but less purple in the shimmer.

These eyeshadows feel almost wet and creamy, but they’re not like a cream. They have a wet-looking finish, because of how high the shine is. While they have a lot less fall out compared to your traditional glitter eyeshadow in powder form, there are still a few stray glittery bits found along the under eye area after eight hours. I don’t find glitter on my nose from it, though! Generally, the color payoff is semi-sheer but can be built up a bit if used wet or patted on.

Bobbi Brown’s formula could be more consistent, because I initially loved these when they first debuted, but I wasn’t impressed by last year’s holiday palette that included these. This year’s holiday palette is much better and more in line with the ones I do like.  The palette contains around $51.69 worth of Sparkle Eyeshadows (normally $24 for 0.13 oz.).

The Glossover

palette

Black Ruby

B+
These are some of my favorite glitter eyeshadows, because they do stick and stay much, much better than glitter eyeshadows in powder form. Though sheerness seems to be part of the design, some of it seems to result in unevenness, not just softer color.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Saturday, October 29th, 2011

NARS Mandchourie Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Mandchourie Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Holiday 2011: Mandchourie Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Mandchourie Eyeshadow Duo ($33.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a new shade for the holidays described as a “gold-infused denim” and “rich navy.” It will be added to the brand’s permanent range. NARS line of pressed powder eyeshadows are supposed to be “highly pigmented, long-wearing, and crease-resistant.” They don’t wear all day on me without a primer, though some perform better than others. I typically get around eight hours with subtle creasing and marginal fading, but the usage of a primer will get me to twelve hours without any creasing or fading.

The first shade is a medium-dark navy blue with indigo undertones and golden shimmer. It had decent color payoff, but it wasn’t perfectly opaque, though the softness of the powder itself made it extremely easy to blend. The hue reminded me instantly of MAC Blue Spruce, though the two are noticeably different; Blue Spruce is greener and has more of a copper-colored sparkle, whereas Mandchourie is golden and distinctly blue.

The other shade is a dark navy blue with subtle indigo undertones and a matte finish. Make Up For Ever #147 is the only shade that seemed to compare at all, but it is shimmery and not quite as dark. Like the first shade, the texture is silky soft and smooth, but it is so soft that it is a little powdery. It blends easily, and you can tap it on for better color payoff on the lid, but be wary of fall out. I’d recommend doing the eyes first and foundation after when using this particular duo.

The Glossover

palette

NARS Mandchourie Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B
There's a fine line between soft and powdery, and this duo seems to be caught between the two. The softness gives a beautiful, smooth application that's easy to blend out, but it also makes it prone to sheering out and powdery fall out during application.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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