Sunday, September 9th, 2012

MAC Always Sunny Pro Longwear Eyeshadow
MAC Always Sunny Pro Longwear Eyeshadow

What a Difference a Year Makes

This review focuses on four new shades of MAC Pro Longwear Eyeshadows ($21.00 for 0.11 oz.) from the latest launch, Office Hours: Always Sunny (light yellow brown), Ever Ivory (pale ivory), Fashion Fix (dark cool slate grey), and Linger Softly (light frosted grey blue).

Always Sunny is a muted orange with a matte finish. It had so-so pigmentation an felt soft to the touch, but it was on the powdery side. This was one of the “best” performing shades out of the four. Chanel Tigerlily is brighter, more tangerine. Inglot #368 is a bit lighter. MAC Samoa Silk is a smidgen lighter.

Ever Ivory is a pale white with a matte finish. It had decent color payoff, but it disappears if you attempt to blend it out. It was very powdery. MAC Laundry Daze is darker, less ivory. Bobbi Brown White is cooler-toned. Inglot #351 is similar, slightly less beige.

Fashion Fix is a gray-tinged brown–taupe–with a mostly matte finish. It had some powderiness, but the color payoff was the best out of the four. Chanel Premier Regard is browner. MAC Satin Taupe is darker and frostier. Inglot #363 is darker and more pigmented–if used lightly, I think you would get rather close.

Linger Softly is a pale medium-dark blue with silver micro-shimmer. It had so-so color payoff, and it was rather dusty. This shade had a tendency to disappear when you applied and blended it. MAC Bright Moon is similar. MAC Frozen Blue has a more frosted finish.

Here’s how MAC describes these: “A unique longwearing Eye Shadow with a silky, creamy texture formulated for maximum colour impact. Easily blendable and buildable; lids are visibly smooth no matter how intense the application. Lasts 8 hours.” These should have a great texture, be nicely pigmented and blendable, while wearing for eight hours.

These shades are not very pigmented, and they’re barely buildable. Trying to layer the color on doesn’t intensify the color, but it does add a layer of powdery dust to your lid that serves to make the lid look drier and drier. I couldn’t yield visible color with the majority of shades without some sort of eyeshadow base/primer underneath, which is really a shame. To show you the products in action, I had to use them over a primer. When I tested the wear, I wore them without and with a primer. Funny enough, you wouldn’t even believe I had applied eyeshadow–after six hours, it looked like I had bare lids–so the reality is they wear for about three to four hours in sum. It was the same wear for alone or over primer.

I actually quite enjoyed MAC’s Pro Longwear Eyeshadow formula! Most of the shades from Styledriven were excellent–rich color payoffs, soft, blendable textures, and long-wearing. The previous shades lasted a full 12-hours (without primer!). I don’t know what MAC did here. The texture feels different; these have a very thin, dusty texture that kicks up so much powder. They’re prone to fall out during application (because it’s so powdery), and often with powdery eyeshadows, they fade once applied–and these do that. Entirely, completely. I’m so puzzled, because I thought I could count on these being pretty good, as they were a surprise to see last year.

At least, because of how soft and powdery the shades are, they are blendable. It could be worse; they could yield patchy payoff with a stiff, dry texture that didn’t want to budge (a la Carbon from Carine Roitfeld). But these are a poor showing after MAC seemed to do so well when they introduced the formula last year. The finishes of all of these is nearly matte, whereas last year’s were more satin to frost. I don’t know if they had to muck around with the formula to accomplish the finish, but something was lost in the translation. At this price point, you can grab top notch matte eyeshadows by brands like Make Up For Ever and Illamasqua (not to mention, at a lower price point, Inglot and Sugarpill).

Sheer eyeshadow has its place, and the most important thing that a brand has to do is make sure to let buyers know that it’s sheer. Then, they still need to deliver color that applies evenly, easily, blends well, and stays in place. Sheer eyeshadow doesn’t have to be bad eyeshadow–these just leave so much to be desired (but of course, these aren’t described as sheer). I’m devestated that what was once a great formula was manipulated into something very different. I don’t think these feel, look, or perform at all like the ones released last year (which are permanent, so you can still grab ’em).

The Glossover

product

MAC Office Hours Pro Longwear Eyeshadows Reviews, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

F
If you like sheer eyeshadow, you might consider purchasing some feathery brushes--most eyeshadows can be used sheerly, with the right tool. Because these disappear after six hours (as in, nothing remains), even as sheer eyeshadow, I could not recommend them.

Product

4/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

4/10

Application

3/5

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Friday, September 7th, 2012

Illamasqua Obsidian Eyeshadow
Illamasqua Obsidian Eyeshadow

Illamasqua Obsidian Eyeshadow

Illamasqua Obsidian Eyeshadow (£15.50 for 0.07 oz.) is described as a “rich black.” It’s a medium-dark black with brown undertones and a mostly matte finish. MAC Dark Dare is comparable. theBalm Serious is a smidgen lighter. MAC Carbon has a similar intensity though it tends to be sheerer.

The texture is soft but not powdery, and it blends easily on the lid.  I think with black eyeshadow blendability is even more important, because you may just want to darken an existing color and other times, you’ll want the color to play a central role in the look.  It had good color payoff, and it applied smoothly and evenly. It’s not the blackest black eyeshadow I have seen, but it has a nice level of darkness that can also be used without looking dramatic right off the bat.  When I wore this shade, it managed to stay on for eight hours (without a base) with no creasing or fading.

The Glossover

product

Obsidian

A
It's not the blackest black eyeshadow I have seen, but it has a nice level of darkness that can also be used without looking dramatic right off the bat.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

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Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

theBalm Balm Jovi Face Palette
theBalm Balm Jovi Face Palette

Rock Out with Your Shadows Out

theBalm Balm Jovi Face Palette ($39.50 for 0.76 oz.) includes twelve eyeshadows (0.38 oz., which is just over 0.03 oz.), one highlighter (0.14 oz.), one blush (0.10 oz.), and two lip colors (0.14 oz.). It will launch today on theBalm’s website.

Metal-ica is a silvery-white with a frosted finish. It had good pigmentation, though the texture was on the powdery side; very soft and dense. We’re definitely seeing a lot of these shades for the holidays; here are a few that compare favorably: MAC Crystal Avalanche, Buxom Sheepdog, NARS Flowers 1-3, and theBalm Sassy.

Adagio is a pale neutral beige with a matte finish. It had nice color payoff, and it was smooth and soft without being powdery. It works well layered over some of the more shimmery shades to tone down the finish if so desired. MAC Brule is very similar. theBalm Matt Smith is slightly pinker. Urban Decay Walk of Shame is pinker. MAC Blanc Type is lighter. Inglot #390 is darker.

Blink 1982 is a muted burgundy with a hint of plum/mauve and a golden shimmer. The texture on this shade was a bit dry, so the color payoff was not quite opaque. Lancome Color du Jour is darker but similar. MAC Trax is more purple.

Iron Maid-in is a dirty gold with a metallic, frosted finish. It was not fully opaque, but it had good pigmentation overall. The texture wasn’t as buttery as other theBalm eyeshadows. Chanel Eclaire is more golden. MAC Sweet & Sour is darker. Giorgio Armani #1 is similar, less metallic. theBalm Snobby is more matte and yellow.

Allegro is a medium brown with yellowed undertones and a matte finish. It’s soft enough to be easy to blend, but not so soft as to be powdery. It had good color payoff. Dior golden Savvanah is a bit darker, slightly grayer, but similar. Urban Decay Naked is less yellow. These were the only two shades that really fit the bill out of all. these. browns.

The Stroke is a dark navy blue with a satiny finish. It had so-so color payoff, because it was on the drier side. It performed better on the lid, and it blended out easily. Bare Escentuals Shaken Not Stirred is similar but a bit darker. MAC Lunar is bluer. Bobbi Brown Blue Onyx is similar. This is not an uncommon shade of blue.

Lead Zeppelin is an olive green with olive and green shimmer over a frosted finish. It had good color payoff, and while very soft and smooth, it was a smidgen powdery. Tarina Tarantino Dandy Lion is greener, lighter. Bare Escentuals Speaker Box is darker, less olive. theBalm Wocka, Wocka is more metallic but similar in color. Inglot #419 is a bit greener.

Moderato is a purple-burgundy with a matte finish. The texture was a little dry, and the resulting pigmentation was so-so. It performed a lot better on the eye, and I didn’t have any trouble with the pigmentation there–I hardly had to use any to get deep color. theBalm Sexy is browner. MAC Real Drama is similar. MAC Rich Core is similar but frosted.

rem is a smoky medium purple with gold-copper shimmer-sheen. It’s an interesting, complex color. It had good color payoff and a soft, smooth texture. Bobbi Brown Black Violet is similar when sheered out. Bare Escentuals Romp is less pink.

Alice Copper is a rich burgundy-red with orange-brown undertones and a frosted finish. It had really rich pigmentation and was somewhat powdery. Chanel Eclosino is less shimmery. Maybelline Pomegranate Punk is more burgundy. Make Up For Ever #17 is more metallic. Inglot #452 has a more metallic finish but is very similar.

Presto is a dark brown with burgundy-ish undertones and a hint of warmth. It has a matte finish, and the color payoff is good. It’s just soft enough to be blendable and pigmented, but it’s not at all powdery. Bobbi Brown Cocoa Berry is similar. Bare Escentuals Foreshadow is a little darker. theBalm Mahna-Mahna has more of a sheen and less red in it.

Third Eye Blinded is a warm, light peach with a fairly frosted finish. The pigmentation was excellent, and the texture was so soft and easy to blend. This worked well as a highlighter. theBalm Swedish Pancakes is less frosted, more metallic, but fairly similar. MAC Naked Lunch has more beige in it. MAC Jest is less peach. Estee Lauder Violet Underground is darker. Chanel Complice is close.

Solid Gold is a slightly paled, warm gold with a shimmer-sheen finish and a hint of beige coloring. It has plenty o’ color, so it will show up on all skin tones. This shade wore for eight hours without fading or separating. MAC Chez Chez Lame is the closest I could think of, but it is a little lighter. theBalm Mary Lou-Manizer is a bit yellower.

Don’t You Want Me is a warm coral-pink with a matte finish. It had decent color payoff, and it is somewhat buildable. The texture was a little dry, but it seemed to blend out easily enough. It wore for eight hours with minor, but noticeable, fading at that point. MAC Supercontinental is more orange. MAC Fleet Fast has shimmer. Tom Ford Flush is more orange. MAC Immortal Flower is softer, just barely pinker.

Milly is a pale pink with a neutral-gray undertone. It had a matte finish and opaque color coverage. When I tested it, it lasted four hours and was neither drying nor hydrating. MAC Pure Zen is less pink. MAC Lazy Day is grayer.

Vanilly is bright red with a mostly matte finish and a barely blue undertone. It was richly pigmented and had opaque color coverage. This shade lasted six and a half hours and left behind a soft stain. MAC Eden Rouge is similar. Edward Bess Midnight Bloom is bluer and darker. MAC Ruffian Red is similar. It’s a fairly common shade of red lipstick.

Overall, it’s a good palette, and at the price point, worth checking out and potentially snagging. There were a few shades on the powdery side in the palette, and a couple were less pigmented initially, but when applied to the eye, I found them to apply much, much better (upgraded to fairly pigmented/opaque in color). There’s a good mix of textures–matte, frosts, shimmers–and very fall-appropriate colors.

The Glossover

palette

Balm Jovi

A-
Overall, it's a good palette, and at the price point, worth checking out and potentially snagging. There were a few shades on the powdery side in the palette, and a couple were less pigmented initially, but when applied to the eye, I found them to apply much, much better (upgraded to fairly pigmented/opaque in color). There's a good mix of textures--matte, frosts, shimmers--and very fall-appropriate colors.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

4.5/5

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Tuesday, September 4th, 2012


NARS Self Portrait 3 Eyeshadow Palette

One Out of Three Isn’t So Bad, Right?

NARS Self Portrait 3 Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) features a variation on Warhol’s Self Portrait (1967) painting. This palette is described as “dark brown with shimmer overspray, rose pink, and heather blue.” It is the second of three palettes, and it will be available at department and specialty stores, NARS’ boutiques, and narscosmetics.com on November 1st (so you have some time to think about it, to the say least!).

Each of the Self Portrait palettes has a black overspray, which will disappear quickly. I recommend taking a large powder brush (I used MAC’s 134) to brush back and forth, up and down, to get the majority off. Now, I say that with the expectation that you’d actually like to use the colors in the palette. Assuming you only intended to keep it as a collectible, then I’d recommend not using it much and would say to avoid the silver-white to maintain the facial structure/details.

The first shade is actually a matte medium-dark brown with warm undertones. It had a stiff, dry texture and, subsequently, poor color payoff. However, when applied to the lid, it was able to pack a bit more color, and at least, it was buildable to mostly true-to-pan color. It required some extra effort to blend. Dior Aurora is more shimmery. Bobbi Brown Cocoa Berry is darker. Benefit Dandy Brandy has more shimmer. Urban Decay YDK has a frosted finish. MAC Lie Low is similar but more pearly.

The second shade is a softened, burnt orange with a faint satin sheen. It’s a little terracotta-like. It was soft without being powdery, smooth, and had good pigmentation. MAC Hot Paprika is a bit brighter.

The third shade is a dusty gray-tinged purple with a hint of blue. It had a matte finish, and it was a bit powdery, but the color payoff was good–some sheerness. It was harder to use on the lid, though, as it was prone to fading and disappearing. Blendable, yes, but so blendable that trying to blend it resulted in most of it billowing off the lid in a little puff of powdery smoke. As a result, it tended to look faded from the get-go. theBalm Matt Horowitz is darker.

Of the three shades, the only one I experienced major issues while wearing them was the purple shade, which faded quickly. The brown shade takes some extra effort, but it’s do-able, and it wears well. This, of course, shouldn’t be necessary at this price point. It’s better than the other palettes, but I don’t think it’s a fantastic palette overall. The color combination can work, but it’s an unusual one, so some may not feel it’s versatile enough.

The Glossover

palette

Self Portrait 3

C+
It's better than the other palettes, but I don't think it's a fantastic palette overall. The color combination can work, but it's an unusual one, so some may not feel it's versatile enough.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

3.5/5

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Tuesday, September 4th, 2012


NARS Self Portrait 2 Eyeshadow Palette

A Trio of Shades for a Fading Smoky Eye

NARS Self Portrait 2 Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) features a variation on Warhol’s Self Portrait (1967) painting. This palette is described as “black, white, and silver.” It is the second of three palettes, and it will be available at department and specialty stores, NARS’ boutiques, and narscosmetics.com on November 1st (so you have some time to think about it, to the say least!).

Each of the Self Portrait palettes has a black overspray, which will disappear quickly. I recommend taking a large powder brush (I used MAC’s 134) to brush back and forth, up and down, to get the majority off. Now, I say that with the expectation that you’d actually like to use the colors in the palette. Assuming you only intended to keep it as a collectible, then I’d recommend not using it much and would say to avoid the silver-white to maintain the facial structure/details.

The first shade is a brown-based soft black that’s a bit dry, somewhat stiff, but it’s not nearly as difficult to use as the black shade in Self Portrait 1–even though they look exactly the same in color. The color payoff is noticeably sheer but such an improvement from the first that you’re almost impressed by comparison. As I mentioned in the previous review, there are numerous matte black eyeshadows that are comparable; finding the intensity you’re looking for is very personal. Brands like Urban Decay, Inglot, Make Up For Ever, and Sugarpill all make excellent rich blacks.

The second shade is a bright silver-tinted white with a frosted, metallic finish. It’s a bit sheer, but it has decent to good color payoff. The texture is soft, mostly smooth, and a little powdery. MAC Misty is slightly darker. MAC Filament is a smidgen darker. It is also a lot like the silver-white in NARS Flowers 1 (and 2 and 3). Buxom Sheepdog is similar.

The third shade is a medium silver-shimmered gray with a pearly sheen. The texture is on the drier side, and the color payoff is decent, though there it is not fully opaque. Chanel Furtif is similar. MAC Electra is more metallic. Inglot #448 is more silver.

From initial swatching, I had higher hopes for this palette, but I encountered some application and wear problems.  All three shades were prone to fading after six hours, both with and without a primer (photos show the look with primer, which was slightly better but still rather unruly).  The silver-white shade separated somewhat, while the gray shade faded more evenly.  The black hue faded quite a bit after being applied, though it was more blendable than the black shadow in the first palette.  The gray and silver-white shades were powdery.  I’d recommend applying your eye makeup first, and then cleaning up and applying your foundation afterward, with this particular palette.

The Glossover

palette

Self Portrait 2

C-
I wish this wore better and wasn't so powdery--it could have made for an easy, classic smoky eye. I think they had a good mix of finishes (matte, satin, frost) and wide range of colors (almost white to black), so you could have played with the intensity and drama of the smoky eye quite a bit.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

3.5/5

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Tuesday, September 4th, 2012


NARS Self Portrait 1 Eyeshadow Palette

Best Left Untouched and Admired From Afar

NARS Self Portrait 1 Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) features a variation on Warhol’s Self Portrait (1967) painting. This palette is described as “black, bright periwinkle blue, and vibrant green.” It is the first of three palettes, and it will be available at department and specialty stores, NARS’ boutiques, and narscosmetics.com on November 1st (so you have some time to think about it, to the say least!).

Each of the Self Portrait palettes has a black overspray, which will disappear quickly. I recommend taking a large powder brush (I used MAC’s 134) to brush back and forth, up and down, to get the majority off. Now, I say that with the expectation that you’d actually like to use the colors in the palette. Assuming you only intended to keep it as a collectible, then I’d recommend not using it much and would say to avoid the blue to maintain the facial structure/details.

The first shade is a brown-based soft black that yields sheer, uneven color payoff and comes complete with a dry, stiff texture that doesn’t like to blend or move much. It was as fussy as MAC Carbon was in its most recent release. There are numerous matte black eyeshadows that are comparable; finding the intensity you’re looking for is very personal. Brands like Urban Decay, Inglot, Make Up For Ever, and Sugarpill all make excellent rich blacks.

The second shade is a cornflower blue–blue with a hint of violet–that’s powdery, sheer, and prone to fading. The texture is soft to the touch, but it is hard to maintain any vibrancy. I’d say the only way to do so would be to layer over a cream base with similar coloring (which is a rather cheater-cheater kind of way to make a really inferior product work). It absolutely needed at least a primer (I used NARS) to show up, because on dry lids, it just wasn’t getting there. I had to pack it on, and after I moved from this color to the next, I had to go back to pat more on, because it does a disappearing act. Bare Escentuals On the Rocks is brighter, and it also has an iridescent sheen. MAC Dynamic Duo 2 is bluer and darker. NARS Rated R is bluer. MAC Cobalt is darker, slightly bluer.

The third shade is a medium grassy green with subtle yellow undertones and a satiny sheen. It had below average pigmentation, and the texture was on the drier side. It was less powdery than the blue shade, not nearly as dry as the black shade. By those standards, it was the best performing shade out of the three, but still rather disappointing. I had to do quite a bit of packing of the color on itself, and over a primer, to get decent color intensity.  MAC Fresh Flare is darker, less yellow. MAC Wondergrass is similar but shimmery. Inglot #384 is darker, more intense. Make Up For Ever #91 is brighter.

It includes 0.42 oz. of product, which is plenty o’ eyeshadow, and it does make it cheaper by the ounce than buying the brand’s duos, trios, etc. However, you’re far better off going for a quality single, duo, or trio, because this palette is really lacking in quality. None of the three shades are redeeming; none of them are even as good as an average-rated eyeshadow.  I have nothing positive to say about the performance of this palette; I had to use an eyeshadow base just to get the colors to show up, and even over a base, there was noticeable (and uneven) fading of all three shades.  As soft as the blue shade is, it’s so powdery and disappears quickly.  If you want to blend the colors together, do so with the most feather-light touch you can muster.

The Glossover

palette

Self Portrait 1

F
If you're a huge NARS and Andy Warhol fan, and if your intention was to collect and admire without using, this review is not designed to talk you out of it. I'm assessing the quality and use of the product itself, and on that front, this was a major disappointment to see from a brand so many readers love.

Product

5/10

Pigmentation

5/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

3/5

Results
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