Monday, May 9th, 2011

NARS Queen Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Queen Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Queen Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Queen Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as “majestic and modern citrus gold glitter, can be swiped on lids and blended with a fingertip.” Although I haven’t had good experiences with NARS Soft Touch Shadow Pencils, I still held out hope, but Queen also disappointed. Despite NARS saying it can be applied to the lid and blended with a fingertip, it only lasts for a half hour or so, and even then, I’m not exactly sure what look NARS was going for.

Queen contains chartreuse glittery bits suspended in a colorless base–there is no color whatsoever, just glitter. It’s not a very densely-packed glitter, either, because it applies sheer and doesn’t seem to be buildable at all. The glitter is large and chunky, and though it didn’t feel quite like sandpaper, it wasn’t soft or smooth when used against the lid. I could definitely feel the grit and unevenness of the glitter as I attempted to apply it on my lid (I applied it directly, using the pencil against the lid).

When I used my fingertips to “blend,” I ended up with half the glitter on my finger with the rest on the lid. Just like several other shades I’ve tried, it creases within an hour (faster, too, but I just took a photo after an hour). The glitter migrated into the crease and collected with its friends. There was even some that had traveled beneath my lower lash line.

I attempted to apply it over an eyeshadow look to add glitter, but it made the look crease, and even before it creased, the glitter didn’t seem to apply evenly or smoothly at all. I also applied it over a clear eyeshadow base, and I still experienced the same creasing and migration of the glitter as without a base. When applied to the lower lash line, it travels down to cheeks and with the sheerness of the product (you can’t get a really dense, rich line of glitter), it just doesn’t apply well.

The Glossover

LE
product

Queen

It doesn't work alone, over a base, over eyeshadow, and if you apply eyeshadow over it, you end up covering a lot of the color of the glitter. You'd be better off applying glitter eyeliner (many are colored glitter suspended in a clear base) and applying that onto the lid, because at least it'll adhere for more than an hour.
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Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners
Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners – 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners

Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner ($23.00 for 0.058 oz.) is a new liquid liner that launched recently at Sephora. It claims to be “weather, tear, and sweat-proof color” and “100% waterproof.” There are fifteen shades in total (there is no #2 shade), all of which have been photographed and swatched in this post.

  • #1 is a semi-sheer yellowed gold base with gold shimmer.
  • #3 is a darkened forest green with olive and green shimmer.
  • #4 is a medium-dark blue-teal with silver and teal shimmer.
  • #5 is a bright blue with soft silvery-white shimmer.
  • #6 is a blackened, cool-toned blue-purple with silver and blue shimmer.
  • #7 is a blackened violet purple with blue-violet and purple shimmer.
  • #8 is a medium-dark red-based purple with violet and fuchsia shimmer.
  • #9 is a bright, neon pink with a soft sheen.
  • #10 is a neutreal red with soft ruby red shimmer.
  • #11 is a burgundy wine with fuchsia and pink shimmer.
  • #12 is a lightened black with a touch of brown.
  • #13 is a deep, dark black.
  • #14 is a black-brown with multi-colored shimmer.
  • #15 is a silvered black with multi-colored shimmer.
  • #16 is a colorless base with white shimmer.

It’s clear that there’s a new liquid liner formula on the block, and a lot of brands have taken advantage of it: MAC Superslick ($17.50/0.06 oz.), Illamasqua Precision Ink ($27.50/0.06 oz., only available in Abyss and Glister), Laura Mercier Liquid Eyeliner ($26, only available in Gold Thread), Stila Sparkle Liquid Liner ($22.00/0.05 oz.), and Bobbi Brown Glitter Liquid Liner ($20.00/0.05 oz., only available in Silver and Gold during the holiday). I couldn’t tell the difference between the majority of these when it came to the formula (Laura Mercier’s I haven’t tried; Stila’s is chalked full of shimmer/glitter, so they feel a little different).

Make Up For Ever definitely changed up the formula and tweaked the packaging, which is something I didn’t see in the other brands. The brush is actually more tapered and shorter, though still made out of foam. The shorter length actually enables you to have a little more precision and makes it easy to never have too much product on the brush (this makes these edge out just oh-so-slightly ahead, but the longer applicator is still easy to work with). I also felt like the formula was thinner, almost watery, but it wasn’t watered down, because each liner was intensely pigmented. You also have to shake up these Aqua Liners (you’ll hear something rattling inside when you do) — and this isn’t something common to the other brands.

Aqua Liners are budgeproof, smudgeproof, and waterproof. These don’t budge until you’re ready to remove them, and they removed easily with an eye makeup remover like Lancome Bi-Facil or Make Up For Ever’s Sens’Eyes. MAC’s Makeup Removing Wipes also did a fine job of removing these from my arm. The product will flake off more than it will dissolve, but I didn’t experience any flaking while wearing–only when I went to remove it; the best way to describe it is to analogize it to tube mascara.

Though Aqua Liners have a different applicator and the formula is definitely tweaked (at least, in consistency/feel), but in wear, I’ve found that all of the variations on this new type of liquid eyeliner wear extremely well. Make Up For Ever has the largest range at 15. The two shades that overlap across nearly every brand is gold (for MUFE, it’s #1), though Make Up For Ever’s #1 seems a little darker, less metallic gold, more sun-gold, and plain ol’ black (for MUFE, it’s #15).

P.S. — I’m still waiting for a few Stila Sparkle Liquid Liners, and then I’ll post some comparisons for any shades that do compare.

The Glossover

mufAquaLiners

Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners Swatches, Photos, Reviews

A+
The color range is amazing--it's exactly what I'd expect from Make Up For Ever and totally useful for liquid liner fanatics. There are fun, brightly colored shades, but also some interesting takes on black. And then it's delivered in a formula that holds on all day, through showers and workouts!

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

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Friday, May 6th, 2011

MAC Surf Baby Powerpoint Pencils
Gilded White, Blue Noon

MAC Surf Baby: Blue Moon, Gilded White Powerpoint Pencils

MAC Surf Baby Powerpoint Pencils ($15.50 for 0.04 oz.) come in two shades: Blue Noon (teal with gold pearl) and Gilded White (yellow white frost).

  • Blue Noon is a medium-dark, bluish teal. It’s a touch sheer–it’s hard to see in the swatch, but I saw it immediately and felt it translated in application, too.  It is tealer than Float on By, which looks rather blue in comparison.
  • Gilded White is a warm white gold with a metallic sheen.

I like MAC’s Powerpoint Pencil formula quite a bit; the pencil is soft without being crumbly or near-melting, so it retains its shape but glides across the lash line with effortless ease. It deposits enough color in one pass, which means you don’t have to build up the color in layers. Powerpoints last all day on my lash line, and make it to four to six hours on my water line. They’re also waterproof, and I find that they don’t smudge or budge, even during hot days.

The Glossover

product

MAC Surf Baby: Blue Noon, Gilded White Powerpoint Pencils Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
The Powerpoint Pencil formula glides on really easily, so they're gentle on the eyes and apply with a good amount of color without having to layer on the product--but it could be a touch more pigmented.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Friday, May 6th, 2011

MAC Summer Stash Crushed Metallic Pigment Stack
MAC Summer Stash Crushed Metallic Pigment Stack

MAC Surf Baby: Summer Stash

MAC Summer Stash Crushed Metallic Pigment Stack ($32.50 for 0.40 oz.) comes with two stacks of colors, with each stack having two shades. The Summer Stash stack’s shades are described as “light pink champagne, light white pearl, light violet with silver pearl, brown bronze with gold pearl.” The individual colors do not have shade names, just the stack itself.

  • The first shade I swatched is a pinky plum–it’s purple and yet it’s pink. Just a touch a sheer. It reminded me of Plum Dressing with a purpler base.
  • Next, I swatched a rich, decadent chocolate brown with a bronzy shimmer and metallic finish. It’s a darker, more lush version of Chocolate Brown pigment; richer, deeper than Bronze eyeshadow.
  • The third shade is a bright white-beige with a metallic finish–also a little sheer. It’s similar to Phloof! but more frost in the finish.
  • Finally, the last shade is a gilded champagne beige with a bright metallic finish. It’s a slightly pinked, more metallic version of Sunnydaze. It’s a little less pink than Naked Lunch.

Each stack is about 2.5x the size of a regular, full-sized pigment–essentially, the value here is about $52 worth of product. The texture of these is chunkier than pigments, though they don’t apply that way. For the most part, they have a tendency to stick together, which is why I can see the “crushed metal” name coming from, and obviously, the finishes are very strong frosts/metallics (also, expected, from the name). The gold shade was the chunkiest, unusually so (it looks nothing like the previous stacks I’ve had nor any of the ones from this launch)–made it look like little nuggets of gold goodness!

These are best used over a slightly tacky base (like MAC Mixing Medium) or wet, because they are more like a loose color than a pressed one, but the pigment itself does bind well over an eyeshadow base or regular eyeshadow without having to be used wet, because as you press the product on, it doesn’t poof everywhere. These adhere well, and for all intents and purposes, I find them very much like MAC Pigments. When applied wet, they adhere really well without a base; when applied dry, you really have to press and ensure it’s been smoothed out to wear it alone without a base.

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Summer Stash Crushed Metallic Pigment Stack Swatches, Photos, Reviews

B+
This stack had two shades that were a little sheer, so the rating differs from the Surf the Ocean stack slightly. These are more wearable shades, and I think the colors coordinate better together here than in the other stack, too. Summer Stash also has a warmer leaning, but it's not too warm.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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Friday, May 6th, 2011

MAC Surf the Ocean Crushed Metallic Pigment Stack
MAC Surf the Ocean Crushed Metallic Pigment Stack

MAC Surf Baby: Surf the Ocean

MAC Surf the Ocean Crushed Metallic Pigment Stack ($32.50 for 0.40 oz.) comes with two stacks of colors, with each stack having two shades. The Surf the Ocean stack’s shades are described as “frosty platinum, light yellow green, gold bronze, and dirty graphite with silver pearl.” The individual colors do not have shade names, just the stack itself.

  • The first shade of the stack that I tried was a medium-dark silvery gray with a metallic finish. It’s like a lighter version of Silver Ring, seems comparable to Silver pigment (long discontinued).
  • Next, we have a really blackened navy blue with multicolored shimmer of teal, green, and blue with more of a frost finish. Deep Blue Green would seem the closest but this is definitely bluer.
  • The third shade I swatched was a medium-dark, bronzy gold with a metallic finish. It’s a little less copper than Amber Lights eyeshadow.
  • Finally, there is a seafoam green that is really iridescent and a little sheer (even when swatched wet), and it photographs less seafoam and almost like this mauve-gray. I can’t think of any similar shades in the permanent line, but it almost seems like a lighter version of NARS Dogon.

Each stack is about 2.5x the size of a regular, full-sized pigment–essentially, the value here is about $52 worth of product. The texture of these is chunkier than pigments, though they don’t apply that way. For the most part, they have a tendency to stick together, which is why I can see the “crushed metal” name coming from, and obviously, the finishes are very strong frosts/metallics (also, expected, from the name). The gold shade was the chunkiest, unusually so (it looks nothing like the previous stacks I’ve had nor any of the ones from this launch)–made it look like little nuggets of gold goodness!

These are best used over a slightly tacky base (like MAC Mixing Medium) or wet, because they are more like a loose color than a pressed one, but the pigment itself does bind well over an eyeshadow base or regular eyeshadow without having to be used wet, because as you press the product on, it doesn’t poof everywhere. These adhere well, and for all intents and purposes, I find them very much like MAC Pigments. When applied wet, they adhere really well without a base; when applied dry, you really have to press and ensure it’s been smoothed out to wear it alone without a base.

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Surf the Ocean Crushed Metallic Pigment Stack Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
The stack is an interesting mix of colors, and I would expect that these are more versatile mixed with other products than worn together because of how strong the frost is in each shade's finish--together, it might be overkill. I see this one being more popular than Summer Stash because of the seafoam-y shade.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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Friday, May 6th, 2011

MAC Saffron Eyeshadow
MAC Surf USA Eyeshadow

MAC Surf Baby: Eyeshadows

MAC Surf Baby Eyeshadows ($15.50 for 0.05 oz.) come in five shades: Saffron (deep coral caramel), Short Shorts (frosty white champagne), Sun Blonde (dirty yellow gold), Surf USA (frosted teal), and Swell Baby (mid-tone grey).

  • Saffron is a rusty orange-red with a soft sheen. It has a satin finish, and it was originally launched with Mickey Contractor (’11).
  • Short Shorts is a pale white gold with a frosted finish. It has a frost finish. This is a shade we’ve seen before–think Soft Force, White Tie, Manila Paper, etc.–for a permanent dupe, Nylon is your best bet, though is a little yellower and more metallic in the finish.
  • Surf USA is a vibrant medium-dark teal that leans green. It has a frost finish–but it is a very, very subtle frost. It’s more like a cross between a satin and frost finish, actually. It’s a more vibrant version of Gulf Stream–the closest permanent dupe would be Shimmermoss, which is bluer and not nearly as vibrant. You’d be better off trying NARS Misfit as a dupe, though it’s a little greener.
  • Sun Blonde is a golden mustard yellow with a satiny sheen. It’s this great mix of gold and mustard yellow. It has a frost finish, but like Surf USA, looks less like your typical frost and more like a satin. It’s kind of like a much richer Gorgeous Gold (without the duochrome, obviously!). I can’t think of a dupe for this one in MAC’s past/present line. Maybe a darker, metallic version of Jasmine.  NARS Mangrove would be comparable though.
  • Swell Baby is a medium, silvery gray. It has a satin finish. It’s a little lighter than Print.

These are some of the best eyeshadows MAC has put out in the past year (excluding Peacocky’s Mega Metal Eyeshadows, which were some of the best eyeshadows put out by MAC ever, if you didn’t pick up any, FOR SHAME!), and the reason being is that all five have excellent color pay off with smooth texture. To hit all five out of the park, I think, is quite a feat–for any brand–and MAC does so well with these.

The Glossover

product

MAC Surf Baby: Eyeshadows Swatches, Photos, Reviews

A
Every shade is worth getting--it just depends on your personal preferences for colors and the like. Short Shorts is the least unique of the five, while Sun Blonde is the most unique.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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