Monday, April 30th, 2012

Giorgio Armani #20 Obsidian Black Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow
Giorgio Armani #20 Obsidian Black Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Giorgio Armani #20 Obsidian Black Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) has just launched four new and limited edition shades for summer.  I bought these shortly after they became available, and I’ve been testing them out over the past week.  I’m a big fan of this formula, so I’m always eager to see how new shades perform and compare to existing shades.  I will admit that I haven’t been overly wowed by some of the newer shades, though they’re not by any means awful! Just… less impressive, but on the whole, still good.

#20 Obsidian Black is a blackened navy blue with teal-green and navy blue shimmer. It’s not nearly as black or as intense as Giorgio Armani #13. Giorgio Armani #1 is also lighter, grayer, and generally doesn’t look much like this. I do think you could mix the two and come fairly close, though. #20 works best wet; when it’s used dry, the color payoff wasn’t there (and it usually is with this formula). More of the shimmer comes through, as the base color looks mostly like a faded black, when it is applied dry–and it does apply with a little more oomph to the lid with a brush. Some of the complexity gets lost when it’s applied to the lid–it’s very subtle and more noticeable in-person than it is in a still photo (which isn’t completely unexpected given the nature of shimmer and how it plays with the light). Oddly enough, it actually reminded me of Revlon Neptune Star in color and shimmer. It also reminded me of Urban Decay Loaded, which is a little bluer. (9, 8.5, 9.5, 10, 4.5, 4; A-)

#21 Obsidian Grey is a medium-dark gray with a silver shimmer and sheen. It has decent color payoff dry but still works best applied damp.  This shade read more dupeable to me; it doesn’t have as much dimension to it compared to some of the other shades in the range.  That’s not something that affects the overall rating, but it’s a point worth considering if you can’t (or don’t want to) grab all four.  MAC Warm Thunder is similar, perhaps a little less gray. Tarina Tarantino Lovely is slightly darker. Tarina Tarantino Diamond Dusk has a purple tint to it.  This shade applied the smoothest out of the four on the lid. (9.5, 9.5, 10, 10, 5, 4; A)

#22 Ecailles is a pale bluish silver with a metallic finish. It applied about the same both dry and wet, which is decent but not great. I did find it applied better to the lid when I used a brush to do so–more like good pigmentation there. Bare Escentuals Mingle is bluer and a bit darker. MAC Water & Ice is cooler-toned. Lancome Style Section is similar. Wet ‘n’ Wild Enter a New Realm is a bit darker. It is a bit similar to Giorgio Armani #12, which is brighter, lighter. (9, 8, 9, 10, 4.5, 4; B+)

#23 Madre Perla is a pale, iridescent warm white with a frosted metallic finish. It has flashes of blue, green, pink, and purple. It applies better wet than dry with more color payoff and a smoother texture. This one was a little chunky in texture; it wasn’t as smooth as the other shades. It felt like this was more designed to layer over other shades. Illamasqua Beguile is very similar. MAC If It Sparkles… is almost the same as well.  This is the most wearable shade on its own (Ecailles would the the runner-up).  (9, 9, 9, 10, 4.5, 4; A-)

I’ve only tested one shade within the range for a full twenty-four hours, but I have tested several others for twelve to sixteen hours. I did a look using all four of the limited edition shades and wore it for sixteen hours. These wear and wear and wear. No creasing, fading, or fallout during wear, not even after sixteen hours. Because these have an interesting texture and consistency–they are much like a loose powder product that has been compacted by the accompanying plastic insert–it can be easy to use more than you really need and end up with some minor fall out.  The fall out I’m concerned and dock points for is major fall out or fall out that occurs while you wear it (aka during the day); and there isn’t any of that with these.

I think Eyes to Kill Intense is an excellent formula, but it’s not necessary to own every single one of them either. There are some unique and transformative shades, but there are a few that are more basic or end up looking similar to another shade.  These four create a beautiful gradient effect when used together, though Madre Perla is the most versatile of the bunch.  I think it can work as a wash, inner corner highlighter, or as a layering shade that will change-up whatever is underneath it.  The one that is most visually stunning at first is Obsidian Black, but like a lot of ultra dark shades, some of that loveliness gets swallowed up once applied.

The Glossover

product

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow in #20, 21, 22, 23 Review, Photos, Swatches

A
I think Eyes to Kill Intense is an excellent formula, but it's not necessary to own every single one of them either. There are some unique and transformative shades, but there are a few that are more basic or end up looking similar to another shade. These four create a beautiful gradient effect when used together, though Madre Perla is the most versatile of the bunch.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows: #22E, 24E, 26E, 28E, 30E, 32E

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows #22E, 24E, 26E, 28E, 30E, 32E

Please see my first post on the Aqua Shadows for a detailed review, along with photos, of texture, consistency, wear, and so forth. This post is specifically looking at the seven shimmer finish Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows ($20.00 for 0.14 oz.).  Because of the shimmery finish, these are just slightly drier, but as a result, they also wear really well alone over bare lids, over primer, and as a base with powder eyeshadows on top.

The only shade I had real trouble with was #32E, which has the driest consistency of the seven shades, and this translated to uneven color during application, so it didn’t work well as an eyeshadow base and looked like my lids were flaking when used alone.  If they had a smidgen more creaminess to the texture or if #32E was more like the rest, these would have been an A- product, but they’re a really high B+ (89%).

  • #20E is a soft bronzy taupe–it’s just slightly taupe. The color payoff is good in a single pass. It’s much lighter compared to Urban Decay’s Rehab and Urban Decay Underground.
  • #22E is a warm coppery brown with a subtly metallic finish. It is the least shimmery of the seven shimmery shades. The color payoff is really good, too. Urban Decay Lucky is a bit darker.
  • #24E is a warm, yellow-toned light-medium pink with a shimmery finish. The color payoff is just so-so, but it is a bit buildable. I couldn’t think of a dupe for this shade.
  • #26E is a warm tangerine orange with a shimmery finish. It has good color payoff in a single stroke.
  • #28E is a warm medium brown with a subtle champagne sheen. The pigmentation is good overall. It’s lighter than Urban Decay Sin and more copper-based.
  • #30E is a soft champagne beige with a shimmered finish. The pigmentation is good, but it is a little drier texture compared to the other shades in this post. Urban Decay Sin is very similar to this.
  • #32E is a pale white gold with a near metallic finish. This had so-so color payoff, but I found it really uneven during application and rather dry. It’s not quite as yellow as MAC Gilded White. It’s lighter than Benefit Tattle Tale.

The Glossover

product

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows #22E, 24E, 26E, 28E, 30E, 32E Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
The frosted shades are difficult to blend but are long-lasting, while the matte shades are difficult to blend and crease after a few hours of wear. I can recommend checking out the frostier finishes, but if you have oily lids, you may want to be a little more cautious with the matte shades.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

3/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows: #0E, 2E, 4E, 6E, 8E, 20E

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows #0E, 2E, 4E, 6E, and 8E

Please see my first post on the Aqua Shadows for a detailed review, along with photos, of texture, consistency, wear, and so forth. This post is specifically looking at the five matte finish Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows ($20.00 for 0.14 oz.).

  • #0E is a rich black with a matte finish. It has good color payoff in a single pass, and it has a very subtle brown undertone. You’ll find it’s comparable to numerous black eyeliners so long as they’re deeper, richer blacks (instead of a soft black).
  • #2E is a dark red-toned brown with a matte finish. It has good color payoff in a single go, and it builds well. This shade had a creamier consistency compared to some of the other shades. Milani Brown is slighty lighter. Chanel Brun-Teak has similar red tones but is lighter. Urban Decay Demolition is a bit darker, less warm.
  • #4E is a medium-dark gray with a hint of brown and a matte finish. The pigmentation is only so-so in a single go–it’s a bit drier so it doesn’t fill in every space with really rich, even pigment. CoverGirl Silver Spark is a bit like this, but the finishes are very different, and it is also much lighter.
  • #6E is an intense navy blue with a matte finish. It’s very bold, and it has good color payoff, though it’s not as buildable as the other shades. MAC Marine Ultra is similar in finish but lighter. Urban Decay Binge is not quite as dark and has shimmer.
  • #8E is a darkened green-teal with a matte finish. This shade had the best color payoff in a single stroke, and it was a bit creamier than shades like #4E. This shade compares well to Prescriptives Blue Grotto. It’s a bit darker and greener compared to NARS Kaliste.  Urban Decay Clinic is lighter and shimmery.

To summarize my earlier review:  the matte shades are a bit creamier, and as a consequence, they do not hold up as well as the shimmery shades.  I do get significant and noticeable creasing, and it looks pitiful after eight hours, when I’ve worn these alone.  When I wear them with eyeshadow on top, they perform much better, and I didn’t have any creasing problems even after eight hours.  Over a primer but still with nothing on top, they wear marginally better but still have noticeable creasing over the eight hour period.  These are also prone to smudging on their own but also if water hits them, so they’re not quite waterproof or smudge-proof.

The Glossover

product

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows #0E, 2E, 4E, 6E, and 8E Review, Photos, Swatches

C+
The frosted shades are difficult to blend but are long-lasting, while the matte shades are difficult to blend and crease after a few hours of wear. I can recommend checking out the frostier finishes, but if you have oily lids, you may want to be a little more cautious with the matte shades.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

3/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows Review & Photos

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow ($20.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a new product that’s supposed to be a “smudge-proof, long-lasting eyeshadow pencil that enhances and intensifies the eyes.” It’s also “intensely pigmented, “waterproof,” “will not smudge, crease, or fade,” “glides effortlessly,” and “blends easily.” This review is disappointing for me to write, because I love Make Up For Ever as a brand, and they have some really incredible long-wearing products, but these are so-so to good–they’re not excellent and they don’t raise the bar.   Photos, swatches, and individual color descriptions/reviews will follow in two separate posts.

There are twelve shades in total, with five shades being creams (no shimmer) and seven shades having a very frosted, almost metallic-like finish. I’ve been testing these shades for the past two weeks, part of that is because they did not perform flawlessly as I expected them to. These are the ways I have tested the product: alone, three pencils together (but over bare lids), over primer (NARS Smudgeproof, Too Faced Shadow Insurance), as a base (with powder eyeshadow on top), and as eyeliners.   Each pencil is packaged in a plastic pencil, and they are meant to be sharpened–they do not twist-up.  I used Urban Decay’s Grindhouse, and I didn’t have any problems sharpening the plastic exterior off.  In fact, when I tried it, I had nearly no waste.

The creamy shades will crease after four to five hours and be majorly crease and flaking after eight hours, and worse yet, there’s a noticeable amount of smudged product underneath my lid, along my lower lash line, along with flakes of product trickling down my cheeks. It’s creamy yet dry; it applies fairly easily and evenly, but I do recommend going back for a couple of touch-ups because there is slight skipping depending on where your eyeball maneuvers itself while you’re applying the product. It has a quick setting time, and it’s a pain to blend out the edges even if you do so immediately, it will still slightly crease if you don’t let it set for about 5-10 seconds. Over a primer, the creasing was lessened over eight hours, but there was still some noticeable creasing. The best way I found to use the matte shades was as a base with powder eyeshadows layered on top–then I didn’t have any creasing after eight hours.

On the other hand, the frostier finishes hold up much better. They dry very quickly, don’t crease from the get-go, and they don’t crease after eight hours. All of the shades are stiff and more difficult to blend, but with enough elbow grease, it can be done. I wore three shades (#32E, #20E, #2E) together to see just how blendable they were, and I think I managed to get a fairly well-blended look. It’s much more difficult than using three eyeshadows together, though. The frostier shades wear the same whether they were applied to bare lids, over a primer, or underneath eyeshadows (no creasing).

The matte shades are more water-resistant than waterproof, while the frostier shades are pretty waterproof. I took a shower with these on (tests both the effects of humidity as well as waterproofing claims) and had a little smudging from the matte shade I used (#6E) but the frosted shade was fine (#24E). There is a touch of transfer if you press your fingertip against your lid, but it’s very, very subtle. The fact that blending is difficult because the product doesn’t want to budge is both a blessing and a curse! As eyeliners, these are good, though #6E and #8E were more prone to slight smudging and some fading after six to eight hours, but #0E and #2E were fine. It’s not my favorite use for these, because the tip is so large and the formula isn’t as creamy as the Aqua Eyes Pencil, so it doesn’t glide on as smoothly.

These are nicely pigmented with some shades having excellent color payoff and a few having decent to good color coverage, but nearly of the ones I tried were buildable with little trouble–#32E was a trouble maker, though. It was very dry, seemed to apply unevenly, and did not want to build up at all. I was going to use it as a base, but it was horrific that way. The only way I could use it was alone, but even that looked like my lids were dry and flaky.  I recommend MAC #242 and Make Up For Ever’s #14S with these–you want really firm, stiff brushes so you can move these around (at least a little).

Overall, these aren’t flawless.  They don’t provide for immaculate wear–I have normal-to-dry lids, not at all oily–and I do get immaculate wear out of Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Cream formula, which is a bit easier to use because it’s more blendable.   The frosted shades are difficult to blend but are long-lasting, while the matte shades are difficult to blend and crease after a few hours of wear.  I can recommend checking out the frostier finishes, but if you have oily lids, you may want to be a little more cautious with the matte shades.  Please note that the rating is based on an average of all twelve shades; you will see that there’s a difference in the ratings when the finishes are separated, which you’ll see when the next two posts are published.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows Review & Photos

B
The frosted shades are difficult to blend but are long-lasting, while the matte shades are difficult to blend and crease after a few hours of wear. I can recommend checking out the frostier finishes, but if you have oily lids, you may want to be a little more cautious with the matte shades.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Revlon Neptune Star Diamond Lust Eyeshadow
Revlon Neptune Star Diamond Lust Eyeshadow

Revlon Neptune Star Diamond Lust Eyeshadow

Revlon Neptune Star Diamond Lust Eyeshadow ($4.99 for 0.028 oz.) is a muted dark navy blue with multi-colored shimmer (preodminantly blue, green, and violet). The color payoff is sheer and looks almost muddied when it is applied dry, and when it’s applied wet, the navy blue starts to bubble forth. Dry, it has a similar color as Dior Smoking Blue, though it doesn’t have the same shimmer/glitter. Make Up For Ever #147 is closest in terms of overall color but lacks the glitter component.

This eyeshadow takes a LOT of work to get to work well (or decently, I suppose). It suffers from poor color payoff, poor blendability, and fall out (both during application and later on while it is worn). When I saw this, it looked so beautiful and shimmering in its compact, so I had to buy it. I thought it was going to be a finer shimmer application, but it’s fairly large, chunky glitter–the texture actually feels gritty to the touch. This is a product that I’d say is best used patted lightly on top of some other, better performing eyeshadow. It just doesn’t deliver enough pigmentation to be used easily on its own.

The fall out is pretty bad, but I had the most frustration dealing with how difficult this shade was to blend. It is dry and stiff to work with, and when you finally manage to blend it out, there’s a really muddied look to it. It does not play well with others for that reason.  Fall out during application is one problem, and there’s fall out because you’re heavier handed and then there’s fall out because the product is too powdery or doesn’t bind together well, but fall out that continues throughout the time you wear it is the kind I focus most on and am most concerned about.  You will absolutely need to bring out your arsenal of tricks to use with the glitter-bomb–a sticky, adhesive base (like MAC Mixing Medium, Too Faced Glitter Glue, etc.) is a must.

Revlon may describe this has having “rich, refined pigments” and a “velvety smooth texture” that “glides on smoothly, blends effortlessly,” but I didn’t find that any of those things were true.  What is true is that yes, this will provide a really gorgeous dimension to the lid with the high sparkle content, but it will take some patience and additional products to get it to behave (which solves the fall out issue the most, but not so much the pigmentation or the blendability).  It ends up being a novelty purchase for me; something to work with for a very specific type of look when you have enough time to prep and clean up after it. If you like a glittery effect and don’t mind the work to create the look, you may find this is worth checking out. I recommend it as a layering shade over a coordinating eyeshadow.

The Glossover

LE
product

Neptune Star

F
If you like a glittery effect and don't mind the work to create the look, you may find this is worth checking out. I recommend it as a layering shade over a coordinating eyeshadow.

Product

5/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

7.5/10

Longevity

6/10

Application

2/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Dior Aurora Eyeshadow Palette
Dior Aurora Eyeshadow Palette

Dior Aurora Eyeshadow Palette

Dior Aurora Eyeshadow Palette ($60.00 for 0.24 oz.) is a limited edition five-shade palette for summer. The shades were inspired by the emblems of the French Riviera. It’s really rich, deep, and filled with warm tones.

The shade in the upper left corner is a rich, molten orange-gold with a soft frosted finish and excellt color payoff. Bare Escentuals Remix is yellower, not as dark. Chanel Blazing Gold is lighter, paler. MAC Goldmine is a bit more golden. Inglot #430 is yellower. Urban Decay Honey is yellower and not at all orange. MAC Juiced was the closest I could find, though it’s more orange.

The shade in the upper right corner is a medium-dark brown with subtle red undertones. It has good pigmentation. It is actually similar to quite a few shades! MAC Havana is just slightly deeper and has a stronger red undertone. Buxom Golden Retriever is just a smidgen warmer. Benefit Dandy Brandy seems nearly the same. MAC Roasted Chestnut has a stronger red undertone. MAC Buckwheat is less golden. MAC Make Your Mark is darker.

The center shade is a pale, icy pink with a subtle blue undertone. It looked almost yellow-toned in the pan, but it looked rather cool against my skin tone. The color payoff is decent to good, though slightly sheer. MAC Joy & Laughter is similar, slightly more lilac. Dior Garden Roses is slightly darker. Dior Garden Pastels is very, very similar. Tarina Tarantino Diamond Dusk is also incredibly similar.

The shade in the bottom left corner is a beige-peach with a slight iridescent sheen. It had decent pigmentation but was a bit sheer when swatched. It was slightly better when applied to the lid/eye. Inglot #330 is similar but peachier and matte. Giorgio Armani #1 Madreperla had a simialr shade but it was lighter, less yellow. MAC Dazzlelight is a bit lighter. MAC Vanilla is lighter, less yellowed. Urban Decay Skimp is similar but doesn’t have the same sheen.

The shade in the bottom right corner is a medium-dark orange with a subtle dusting of gold micro-shimmer and a satiny sheen. It had pretty good color payoff. MAC Rule is similar but has a matte finish. Dolce & Gabbana Cocoa is slightly lighter. MAC Fresh Daily is very similar. Milani Primary has a similar orange shade as well.

This kind of palette is very effortless to use on warmer complexions–the colors complement not only each other but warm skin tone in a very obvious way.  There has certainly been a fair number of gold/copper/bronze eyeshadow palettes on the market, so while this one is lovely in its own right, it’s not exactly a unique color combination.  It’s practical, wearable, and something that would work well for summer-themed looks.  Cooler complexions may find there are too many orange-based shades here to be as instantly flattering, but like anything, it’s workable if you want it to make it work–usually by pairing it with the right cheek/lip.  For instance, I wear cool-toned products but have to pay attention more closely to coordinating shades.

The pink is kind of a weird addition; it doesn’t really go with the palette, and I think its overall paleness makes it less functional.  If it were a shade that perhaps contrasted more, it could add a complex dimension to the look.   You could certainly do a combination where the pink is the lightest shade and then graduated from orange-gold to copper/brown.  I think a coral would have been a nice shade to have mixed in.

The texture of these is soft, finely-milled, and very smooth.  They’re dense and buttery, and they aren’t too powdery, which is something that Dior’s eyeshadows can sometimes suffer from.  Because of their soft, finely-milled texture, they blend easily on the lid and with each other.  Without a primer, these shades wore for eight hours with very faint fading around the edges.  With a primer, these shades wore for ten hours with very faint fading around the edges.  Overall, the color payoff was good to great.

The Glossover

palette

Aurora

A
This kind of palette is very effortless to use on warmer complexions--the colors complement not only each other but warm skin tone in a very obvious way.  There has certainly been a fair number of gold/copper/bronze eyeshadow palettes on the market, so while this one is lovely in its own right, it's not exactly a unique color combination.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →