Monday, April 16th, 2012

NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo ($34.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as an “iridescent orchid” and “regal blue.” The left shade is a pale pink lilac with a lavender iridescence. The color payoff is sheer and translucent. MAC Light Violet is a bit similar, though not as pink. Inglot #346 is also more lavender, less pink, and has a matte finish. Wet ‘n’ Wild We’re Blasting Off is similar, though perhaps a little pinker, and has more of a satin-like finish. The right shade is a darkened navy blue with a violet shimmer and sheen, which becomes more pronounced when applied (it looked less blue, more purple). The pigmentation on this is decent, but there is some sheerness in the swatch as well as when applied. Tom Ford Cobalt Rush is very, very similar–less iridescent. MAC Starless Night is much darker, deeper. MAC Imaginary is purpler.

This eyeshadow duo creased after six hours over an eyeshadow primer (NARS Smudgeproof, actually), and on top of the creasing, there was significant fading of both shades from this duo (the blue was on the upper half of the lid and in the crease while the lilac shade was blended above the crease). I have normal-to-dry lids, and NARS Smudgeproof is my go-to primer normally, and while NARS eyeshadows do, typically, have some minor creasing and/or fading when worn without a base after eight hours, the wear here was abnormal. The creasing became more apparent after eight hours, but the fading was surprisingly noticeable after six and steadily worsened as the day wore on. There was some minor fall out from the shimmer in the shades from this duo as well that occurred while it was worn (but I didn’t see any during application). The wear was just as bad without a primer–the creasing/fading just became noticeable at the four hour mark– I thought maybe the glaze-like finish would adhere better to bare lids but no dice.

The texture of this particular eyeshadow duo is unlike anything I can remember seeing from NARS. It has a very glaze-like finish, that’s almost a little wet, but still a powder. If you’re familiar with Stila’s Sparkle eyeshadows, Tom Ford’s Sparkle eyeshadows, or Urban Decay’s Stardust eyeshadows, you may have a better grasp of that kind of texture–these aren’t quite as “wet.” The closest texture would be to Tom Ford’s sparkle-finish eyeshadows. The bluer shade looks really lovely when applied–wet and shimmering–but it actually seemed to disappear as I was applying it. I went back three times to darken the color before leaving it alone. The lilac shade was pretty soft and didn’t want to build up in color at all; the iridescence in it is a lot less noticeable compared to the blue (it just looked like a pink-lilac).

I was exceptionally disappointed in the results of Marie-Galante.  As far as wear went, it killed me with three major no-nos:  creasing, fading, and fall out.  It had issues with color payoff, too, which was really just icing on an inedible cake–like a cake that looks delicious but turns out to be made out of plastic.

The Glossover

palette

NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

D
I was exceptionally disappointed in the results of Marie-Galante. As far as wear went, it killed me with three major no-nos: creasing, fading, and fall out. It had issues with color payoff, too, which was really just icing on an inedible cake.

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

7/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

4.5/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Tom Ford Cobalt Rush Eye Color Quad
Tom Ford Cobalt Rush Eye Color Quad

Tom Ford Cobalt Rush Eye Color Quad ($75.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a cool-toned, blue-themed palette. Tom Ford released eight different quad variations, and within the range, there are four finishes. There is sheer sparkle, satin, shimmer, and matte. He describes the formula as having “incredible shade fidelity” and “outstanding adhesion.”

Tom Ford has done many things right, and if you go through past reviews, it’s obvious that I’m a fan of the brand. I don’t like the eyeshadow quads. I’ve only tried two, and this is the better one of the two, but it’s just so-so. It leaves me feeling lukewarm. In an ideal world, you’d get what you paid for, but this is an industry where price rarely correlates to quality–there’s just the hope that, if you’re going to shell out $75 for an eyeshadow palette, that you’re going to get really, really good results. Right? There are so many winning eyeshadow formulas for under $25.

Cobalt Rush contains four hues, and this palette seems to have both satin and shimmer finishes, but it does not contain any sheer sparkle or matte finishes. I wish the shades would be labeled with the finish, but they’re not, so I’m merely guessing. The first shade is a pale, icy white with a shimmery finish. It appears to have fall out without a base, but it still has some minor fall out with a primer after several hours. It’s similar to MAC Pearl is similar in both color and texture, while Buxom Sheepdog is similar in color but not in texture. MAC Forgery is not quite as icy.

The next shade is a darkened purple with blue undertones and a shimmery sheen. It has just so-so pigmentation–you can see it looks a little dry and faded. MAC Starless Night is much more intense, but it has a similar vibe. MAC Indigo Noir is matte and much, much deeper. Estee Lauder Untamed Violet is less silvered, more purple.

The third shade in the quad is a medium-dark blue with a satiny sheen. It had good pigmentation and applied smoothly, but the color itself is likely one of the most common shades of blue on the market. MAC Love Cycle is a richer, more intense blue. Bare Escentuals Climax is just slightly purpler but barely. Guerlain Les Ombres de Nuit is a bit darker. Le Metier de Beaute Lapis is brighter. Wet ‘n’ Wild Earth Looks Small From Down Here is slightly purple-tinted. MAC Deep Truth is slightly bluer. Inglot #428 is brighter. Make Up For Ever #81 is a touch darker.

The final shade is a blackened blue-teal with hints of green and blue shimmer in a satiny finish. It has good color payoff, but it’s a bit dry. Make Up For Ever #60 is deeper, more intense, and has no shimmer. MAC Prussian is bluer. MAC Blue Spruce is grayer. Guerlain Les Aquas is very similar but slightly less blue, but Guerlain Les Gris has a shade that’s just a little bluer.

Color payoff is just average to good–the only shade I would expect to have sheerness is the “sheer sparkle” finish, which there are none of here, so these four shades have no excuse but to have “incredible shade fidelity,” which I can only imagine is marketing-speak for color trueness or true-to-pan color. These do not adhere to the lid well without a base, and even with a base, some of them are more prone to fading than others. When applied without a primer, I see a paltry four hours of wear before there’s noticeable fading, and after six hours, there’s minor creasing. Without a primer, I don’t see creasing, but there is noticeable fading after six hours.

The white and purple shades were the least pigmented, while the blue was the most, followed by the blackened blue/teal.  I was surprised that the textures didn’t feel as buttery, creamy, or as finely-milled as some other luxury brands’ eyeshadows are (like Le Metier de Beaute).  It’s soft, and it applies fairly smooth, but it has a drier consistency that seems to make it less blendable than I’d like.   I’ve sat on this review for awhile, because I keep alternating between testing this quad and another one, having been unimpressed by both, while I kept reading rave reviews. I can’t say I’ve had the same experience no matter what technique, base, or combination of shades I used–so maybe I’m just the odd one out.  In fact, had this been the only Tom Ford product I had ever tried, I think I’d be put-off enough to stay away.  I tried and tried, but I couldn’t find any enthusiasm for this. It’s not terrible quality, but it’s not excellent quality (more like average), and it has to be at this price tag for me to be excited about it, let alone impressed. There’s just no excuse not to.

I suppose the highlight of the palette is that it comes with 0.35 oz. of product, which is 0.0875 oz. per shade, compared to the average brand at 0.05 oz.  But realistically, you’ll have to weigh whether investment or per-use cost is more important to you.  The idea that “you’ll never run out” is great in theory, but how close do you even get on 0.05 oz. of product?  If you do finish products, sure, but if you have a larger stash, it may be a less compelling argument.  It’s always good to see more rather less, though!

It’s packaged in the shimmery bronzed plastic compact that the rest of the line is in. The palette itself is actually very lightweight, which is great for traveling, but those looking for the heft of a luxury compact will find it missing here. It has a full-sized mirror underneath the lid and comes with two dual-ended brushes (that are about as useless as they often are; just slightly softer and the sponge stays in place better).

The Glossover

palette

Cobalt Rush

C

I tried and tried, but I couldn't find any enthusiasm for this. It's not terrible quality, but it's not excellent quality, and it has to be at this price tag for me to be excited about it, let alone impressed. There's just no excuse not to.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Estee Lauder Dramatic Black Pure Color Intense Kajal Eye Crayon
Estee Lauder Dramatic Black Pure Color Intense Kajal Eye Crayon

Estee Lauder Dramatic Black Pure Color Intense Kajal Eye Crayon

Estee Lauder Dramatic Black Pure Color Intense Kajal Eye Crayon ($22.00 for 0.08 oz.) is an intense black with brown undertones. It looks pure black in person, but as is often the case with photos, blacks will either lean brown or black, depending on their actual undertone. Urban Decay Perversion is still a little more intense and has better color payoff in a single stroke. It’s also comparable to MAC Black Black, though this has less of a sheen.

This formula is approved for usage on the lower inner rim of the eye (also known as the water line), which is important to note. It’s also long-wearing, smudge-proof, and budge-proof–once it sets. Because it is Kajal, it is smudge-able for about thirty seconds, but once it sets, it stays put all day long on the lower lash line. On the lower water line, it lasts between six to seven hours. The consistency is very creamy and smooth against the skin, but the pencil itself feels and seems hard–though there’s absolutely no tugging or pulling at the lid whatsoever. I recommend swatching it against your hand once, just to get past the initial sharpness of the point when you first receive it.

It’s fairly opaque in a single pass, though it could use a wee bit more pigment to be truly opaque in one go. It builds up and layers with itself nicely, so it enables even, opaque color coverage with two passes or so.

The Glossover

LE
product

Dramatic Black

A
I love the creaminess of the formula and how well it wears on the lash line! I also love the really matte finish this particular shade has. My only wish is for more color payoff so it would be really opaque in one stroke!

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Monday, April 9th, 2012

Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette
Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette

Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette

Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette ($8.99 for 0.32 oz.) contains six shades arranged as thin strips inside a clear, plastic compact. It comes with a dual-ended sponge-tipped applicator (not particularly useful). The product can be used dry for a sheerer, shimmery color, or it can be used damp for greater intensity.

The last time I tested one of these palettes, I wasn’t particularly impressed (see this review), but I was pleasantly surprised with Milani’s latest addition to their Runway Eyes line-up. Primary packs a lot more color payoff both wet and dry! It’s an excellent buy if you’re looking for really bright pops of color and don’t want to spend a lot.

The first shade is a primary canary yellow with warm undertones and a shimmery finish. It has good color payoff both dry and wet–when it’s wet, it’s just slightly brighter, but it’s opaque color either way. MAC Bright Sunshine is similar, slightly lighter. Wet ‘n’ Wild Bright Idea is a bit darker, almost more orange-y (but not orange at all). Inglot #370 is matte and not as sunshine-yellow.

The second shade is a shimmery red with subtle orange undertones. When it’s applied dry, it has more of a brick red hue, whereas when it is applied damp, it appears redder and the orange tones become muted. Milani I Heart You is similar to the dry swatch. Wet ‘n’ Wild Enter a New Realm isn’t as shimmery.

The third shade is a medium orange with a tangerine orange shimmer and sheen. The color payoff when it is applied dry is a bit faded/muted, and when it is applied damp, it’s better, though it is one of the softer shades in the palette. MAC Fresh Daily is similar but a touch darker. MAC Rule has a matte finish and is a bit darker.

The fourth shade is a blue-based purple with a soft, shimmery finish. When applied dry, there’s a noticeable sheerness to the color, which does improve when applied damp. Urban Decay Ransom is similar, slightly cooler. MAC Pink Union is richer, more intense. MAC Parfait Amour is bluer.

The fifth shade is an aqua-teal with a shimmery sheen. This was one of the sheerer shades both wet and dry, though it does intensify to get to good color payoff when used wet. MAC Shimmermoss is a bit greener, more opaque. Make Up For Ever #302 is very similar but more metallic in finish. MAC Rain Drop is darker.

The sixth (and final!) shade is a medium-dark blue with a hint of violet. It looks more navy blue when applied dry, because the sheen disappears and there’s some sheerness in the hue. When applied damp, the color intensifies tremendously and has a lovely sheen that’s glowy without being metallic. MAC Love Cycle is darker, bluer, no violet in sight. Tarina Tarantino Violet Storm is lighter. MAC Blue Storm is darker. NARS Outremer is matte.

I don’t love the overall setup of the palette, because each strip of color is too thin. I usually use MAC’s 239 eyeshadow brush to apply eyeshadows, but it was a little too big–I ended up using the MAC 213, which worked better.  Each strip is fairly soft–if you pressed your finger against it, you could flatten it out with medium pressure, so the palette is a little fragile.  The texture of the eyeshadows is soft and smooth, and the color payoff is fairly good to great when applied damp.

When I tested this palette, it wore well both with and without a primer, though it did perform better with a primer–no creasing though very subtle fading around the edges with a primer after eight hours, but there was minor creasing after seven hours without a primer.  What I did really like was how much intensity remained when using these wet!  Typically, when you use a product wet, it often loses some of its vibrancy as it dries back down, but these really retained their color. Milani didn’t mention that these were long-wearing, crease-resistant, etc. on their own, so longevity is based on wear with a primer.

The Glossover

palette

Primary

A-
This is one of the better pigmented products I've found at this price point for shades like these--it's not always easy to find really vibrant yellows, reds, or purples. Milani does each shade fairly well to exceptionally well.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Sunday, April 8th, 2012

shu uemura G Bronze Eyeshadow
shu uemura G Bronze Eyeshadow

shu uemura G Bronze Eyeshadow

shu uemura G Bronze Eyeshadow ($15.00 for 0.049 oz.) is a bronze-glittered golden copper. The base color is similar to MAC Sweet & Sour, which is more opaque. Bare Escentuals Remix is yellower. Dior Couture Gold is more orange. Milani Drenched in Gold is similar. None of the shades that I could think of have the same glitter component, though.

It’s sheer, and the glitter is fairly loose; it doesn’t seem to bind with the underlying color, so some of it gets lost between the pan and the eyelid during application, and the rest? It falls out like crazy throughout the day. I had absolutely no fun trying to make this work, because I’d find glitter on my forehead, beneath my eyelid, or on my chin throughout the day. Fall out that occurs while you’re applying a product can be easier to deal with, but fall out that continuously occurs while you wear it is much more frustrating.

This type of texture needs an adhesive base, perhaps something like Too Faced’s Glitter Insurance, MAC’s Mixing Medium, and so on, because it doesn’t stick to the lid on its own or over a regular primer (like NARS Smudgeproof, Urban Decay Primer Potion, etc.). It has a slight grittiness as a result of the amount of glitter in it (and that it doesn’t seem to bind the shadow portion).

The product I have shown in the photos is a pan refill, which is designed to be put into one of their palettes (though you could certainly put it into any magnetic palette, as it is held in a metal tin).

The Glossover

coming-soon

shu uemura G Bronze Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Swatches

F
Don't bother with the glitter finishes unless you're prepared to use an adhesive base, but on their own, they don't yield nearly enough color payoff and the all-day fall out is more than just a little problem.

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

4/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

5/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Friday, April 6th, 2012

Tom Ford Platinum Cream Color
Tom Ford Platinum Cream Color

Tom Ford Platinum Cream Color

Tom Ford Platinum Cream Color ($40.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a medium-dark brown with subtle, warm red undertones. There is an ever-so-slight hint of gray that makes it almost taupe when it’s not sheered out, but it kept looking brown, brown, brown on me. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, because it’s called Platinum and the online “swatch” shows it as more of a pewter-like hue. Even in the pot, it looks more taupe-brown.  But here’s the thing: it does seem to go on less brown on the lids–it does look a little closer to platinum, but it is one finicky shade to photograph. So to that end, all of the possible dupes are browner.  It appears that the silver sheen comes out when there’s a lot of light; as I sat in my office with just a floor lamp on, it looked decidedly brown-taupe.  This is the sign of a complex shade, I suppose.

To me, it seemed like this color was more dupe-able than not. I had so many shades pulled up to compare this to. Urban Decay Midnight Rodeo is very similar, perhaps less red-toned. Bobbi Brown Champagne Truffle is more metallic but similar in color to the sheered out swatch. MAC Aloha is a little grayer. Buxom Mutt is similar to the sheered out swatch, though less warm. Urban Decay YDK is similar but a hint redder. MAC Buckwheat is darker, less shimmered. Urban Decay Wreckage is grayer. MAC Sable is richer, deeper. Urban Decay Toasted is similar to the heavier swatch, no gray tint.

Tom Ford describes the formula as “highly reflective,” “ultra-pigmented”, “non-creasing”, and “long-wearing.” Boy, I had some mixed emotions when I tested these. First, PR had already informed that these were nearly sold out in-stores, which lit some fuel under my butt to test it ASAP. The spring collection just launched on both Saks and Neiman Marcus, though, and everything appears to be in-stock, so not to fear if you’ve been looking for a way to blow $40. Second, as soon as I opened the pot and saw the consistency that awaited me, I was like, “This is going to be a big ol’ mess!” Looks are, thankfully, extremely deceiving!

Platinum delivers good results overall, though it does crease faintly after eight hours of wear without a base. It’s not smudge- or budge-proof–if you press your fingertip against your eyelid, you’ll see a fair amount of product transfer. I didn’t experience any fading, fall out, or migration while wearing this shade yesterday (ten hours in total). The consistency is a lightweight cream, almost more like a mousse because of its airy quality, that spreads and smooths out easily and evenly. From recent memory, the texture reminded me of a lighter, more airy version of MAC’s Big Bounce eyeshadows (you can see why I was wary!).

I used MAC’s 242 brush, which is a firm, flat bristled brush, to apply it to my eyelids, and I had no problem getting an opaque layer of color in one go. If you want a sheerer look, I’d recommend dabbing on very little and then blending. I figured I’d go crazy and opt to apply a good layer of it, as it was described as “ultra-pigmented.” I really thought it was going to crease right then and there, but it dries down quickly but remains smudgeable around the edges, since it is not smudge-proof.

What’s hard to see in photos is the soft, luminous side of the shade. It plays with the light in a subtle way that’s both dazzling and sophisticated. This is not glitter, and it’s not even a frost. I’d like to coin the phrase “satin metallic,” because I feel like that’s the most apt description of the finish here. Platinum was really lovely all on its lonesome, not as a wash, but as a full-color coverage product, just taken above the crease and blended out.  It’s packaged in a screw-top glass jar and holds a little more than the average cream eyeshadow does. I’m a little surprised to see that the TF logo is a sticker pressed on top. At first, I thought it was just a clear sticker over the actual TF, but I peeled it all the way off and the entire thing came off.

The Glossover

product

Platinum

A

I'm torn--there's a part of me that's still chafing at the price tag. For a cream eyeshadow? Really? What? And then another part of me that knows this is Tom Ford, this is luxury, and that is really the point. Thankfully, it performs fairly well, and it is extremely well-pigmented. The texture is what will sell it, though, because it's so smooth.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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