Monday, April 25th, 2011

MAC Big Bounce Shadow
MAC Black Diamond Big Bounce Shadow

MAC Big Bounce Shadow Review

MAC Big Bounce Shadows ($16.50 for 0.17 oz.) is a brand new product launching with MAC’s Flighty Collection (which will hit counters/stores on May 5th). I don’t have all sixteen at this time, and I will, of course, purchase the remaining shades as soon as they are available, but for now, I hope these five shades will suffice: Black Diamond (black with gold pearl), The Cool Elite (white with silver pearl), Count Your Assets (rich blue purple with multi-color pearl), Reward Yourself (bright peach coral with gold pearl), and Spread the Wealth (dirty olive with gold pearl.

Updated @ 6:00PM on 4/25: (Consider re-reading the review, as I changed up about 60% of it!)  The hardest part about evaluating these new shadows is trying to figure out what they’re supposed to do (and conversely, what one shouldn’t expect them to do).  After obtaining more information (see this Q&A), these are supposed to “last for hours” along with “luminescent washes that build from sheer to medium easily.”

Once you throw that little piece in, however, it really does change the efficacy of these, because they do not wear for hours on their own.  I tried four of the five shades alone on the lid, and I spent three days working through them trying to find techniques that would make them work.  I couldn’t find a way to make these work well all alone or as a wash.  Over primer, they still creased (just less creasing than if they were applied to bare lids), but the real zinger is how quickly they crease.  It’s not creasing after four, eight, twelve hours but within an hour.

To achieve the best wear alone, a brush (like the 242) seems to work the best for applying the product without sliding it all over the place.  Just like with any really slippery product, you’ll want to work a little slower and pat the product on and gently smooth out the color or else it will slip and slide and result in uneven color coverage.

  • Black Diamond is a dark charcoal black with teal and silver shimmer.
  • The Cool Elite is a brightened white with a shimmery finish.
  • Reward Yourself is a muted copper with a golden champagne shimmer-sheen.
  • Count Your Assets is a cool-toned purple with silver and gray.
  • Spread the Wealth is a dirty olive green with multi-colored micro-shimmer and metallic sheen.

The texture is very wet and more like a liquid than a cream or mousse–it has a watery feel, though not runny, but a bit like a gel. Initially, I tried applying it to the lid with my finger (but first getting product out with a metal spatula), but I found it did not work well to create a smooth, even layer of color. It’s so very emollient that it glides on easily, but the color slides around and looks rather messy.

The collection does promote the 242 brush (which is part of the permanent range), so I figured I’d try that, and it did work much better. I used other brushes (194, 239, 249), and the 194 and 249 didn’t work as well as the 239 and 242, so the key seems to be some fluffiness in the brush shape (as the 194 and 249 are flatter and firmer) and a patting motion.

Worn alone: I couldn’t wear the Big Bounce Shadows alone without experiencing creasing. I tried three different shades alone (Black Diamond, Reward Yourself, and Spread the Wealth), and Reward Yourself was the only one that didn’t crease immediately. Based on working with the formula for a few days, I think it’s the long dry down time that makes these difficult to wear alone. Unless you keep your eyes closed and lids perfectly taut, the product will settle into any creases while it’s drying down. The dry down time for me was about 45 seconds to a minute. Once they dry down, they do seem to hold on fairly well, but there is some shimmer fall out that occurs.

Worn over a primer: When worn over a primer but with nothing to set it on top, I still experienced creasing within the hour. I found that using it over more opaque primers like MAC Soft Ochre or Urban Decay Eden helped to avoid creasing as soon as it was applied, because the creaminess of the opaque primer helped to fill in some creases, but I still had creasing after an hour of wear.

Set with shadow: They work much better as eyeshadow bases–I had the nearly the same wear regardless of using the Big Bounce Shadow as a base or using an eyeshadow primer, then applying Big Bounce Shadow, and finally setting with eyeshadow. I would say that those with oilier lids may find that the primer, Big Bounce, and powder shadow sandwich would work better for them, as I have normal lids. After twelve hours, I noticed very slight creasing on the inner lid when used without a base, but used with a base, there was none of that slight inner lid creasing.

BOTTOM LINE

SET WITH POWDER. Like most cream products, to prolong wear, set with a powder product.  USE A BRUSH. Fingers seem to create very uneven finishes, and it’s difficult to build up color that way–the color always seems sheer.

Pigmentation varies from shade to shade, and so does the buildability. For instance, Reward Yourself applies semi-opaque from the get-go, but Spread the Wealth needs two to three layers to achieve the same result. I found Spread the Wealth to be the most finicky shade of the five I tried, because it was difficult to apply evenly (even when using a brush!) and build up color.

The packaging is similar to Paint Pots, and the Big Bounce Shadows contain the same amount of product as Paint Pots as well (0.17 oz.).  Big Bounce Shadows come with a thin, plastic insert, but I don’t know if you’d want to dispose of it, even though it is rather flimsy.  The shadow does move around and lots of gets stuck to the insert, so it’s probably better to keep it than to toss it.

I just think the texture of these gives to more uneven application, and the dry down time is too long.  I might consider grabbing shades that really appeal to you to use as a colored eyeshadow base, because they work well for that purpose, but with some of the texture issues, I wouldn’t necessarily feel driven to grab ‘em all.

These wear well if set with powder and made to last all day (8-12 hours).  Are they worth the effort?  Personally, I don’t mind, because they work well enough as a colored base, which is how I would use them myself, but it’s not how I need/want them to work that plays into the actual rating but whether it works the way it’s supposed to.

At the end of the day, these seem to take more work/experimentation that most customers will want to put in.  If you don’t mind some layering and really wanted to like these, buy from a retailer with a generous return policy–if they work for you, I’m a happy camper, and if they don’t, you can return.

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Big Bounce Shadow Reviews, Swatches, Photos

D-
It's really too bad that there is so little wear time when worn alone (Reward Yourself had maybe a half hour of nice wear, but the others I tried were done in fifteen minutes), because I feel like these don't deserve such a low score. If you intend to set with powder shadow, these perform much, much better and would see a B- rating instead.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

7.5/10

Longevity

/10

Application

3.5/5

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Monday, April 25th, 2011

NYC Union Square Eyeshadow Palette
NYC Union Square Eyeshadow Palette

NYC Union Square Eyeshadow Palette

NYC Union Square IndividualEyes Custom Compact ($4.99 for 0.33 oz.) is an excellent choice for an affordable, neutral-themed palette. Though it’s marketed as for “brown eyes,” I think it would work well with a variety of eye colors and skin tones. It contains four eyeshadows, an illuminator, and eyeshadow base.

The eyeshadow base worked a treat when I wore it under these eyeshadows — no creasing or fading for the twelve hours I tested the product out for. The texture was creamy without being slippery and the product more opaque than not, so it worked well to create a solid base for the eyeshadows. I didn’t find the illuminator as useful, as it is a little glittery and almost tacky, so it was a miss for me. Both of the products are cream-based, so you may find that excess powder from the eyeshadows travels over as a result of the palette’s design.

All four eyeshadows were really pigmented and soft to the touch. They were a touch stiff to blend, but I was still able to blend them out for the most part–not perfect but good. The shades included are: an eggplant purple with red undertones and soft silver sparkle, bronzy brown with a golden bronze shimmer-sheen, medium-dark neutral brown with a matte finish, and warmed ivory beige with a satin sheen.  I did a look with this palette here.

The Glossover

nycUnionSquare

NYC Union Square Eyeshadow Palette Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
I love that it's an all-in-one palette but I love that the products work well in it. It's nice to have an eyeshadow base included in the palette, because it makes it more travel-friendly.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Monday, April 25th, 2011

Giorgio Armani Moonlight (12) Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow
Giorgio Armani Moonlight (12) Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Pretty in Pink Turns Silver!

Giorgio Armani Moonlight (12) Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a bright, metallic silver with a subtle blueness.  It’s interesting how it looks pink and silvery-blue in the pot, but once applied, it’s this grayer silver but still with noticeable blue in it.

Recap:

This is a product that lives up to its claims–it wears all day without budging, creasing, or fading–and blends as well on its own as it does with other eyeshadows (or on top of an eyeshadow base). Giorgio Armani describes the Eyes to Kill Intense formula as neither powder nor cream but a hybrid that creates a “smooth, lasting color film” that can be applied wet or dry.  Giorgio Armani explains, “Each shade is intensified with a second pigment for a multi-dimensional effect. In just one swoop, create a wet, shimmering smokey eye … Base color covers eyelid, and second pigment adds drama to the contour.”

The texture of these feels almost like a cream eyeshadow, but it has the thinness of a powder eyeshadow while retaining some of the blendability of the hybrid cream-powder eyeshadow.  It also works well with other eyeshadow (see this look using #6).  It’s almost like a really dense loose powder that’s been pressed down, because if you dig at it, it loosens.

Though pricey, each shade comes with 0.14 oz. worth of product, which is a hefty amount (normal eyeshadow averages around 0.05 oz., no matter the price).  The only aspect I didn’t love was the little black stopper inside the jar (once you unscrew the black lid), because my longer fingers felt awkward grabbing it (so I just unscrew it upside down so it falls into the cap).

The Glossover

P
product

#12

A
It's an eyeshadow you can wear alone, as a base, or on a base, because it's budge-proof, crease-proof, and wears all day long.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Friday, April 22nd, 2011

MAC Aqua Eyeshadow
MAC Aqua Eyeshadow

MAC Fashion Flower: Eyeshadows

The collection features six shades of Eyeshadows (each $14.50 for 0.05 oz.) — three are limited edition, while three are available in the permanent range; though, all of the editions in this launch are imprinted with the flower design, while permanent editions will be normal. The six shades include: Aqua (aqua blue), Bows & Curtseys (metallic hunter green), Free to Be (bright true coral), Fresh Daisy (frosty white yellow), Groundcover (mid-tone warm grey), and Lucky Green (frosted mid-tone lime).

  • Aqua is a bluish aqua with a matte finish. This is a permanent shade but I felt like it was a little less pigmented here than my permanent pan.
  • Bows & Curtseys is a blackened forest green with bluish shimmer. It looks nearly black when swatched on my arm with the green being hinted at as the color plays with light. When I wore it in a look (albeit with a sheer green base), it seemed to pull out the forest green more. This has a satin finish.
  • Free to Be is a medium-dark coral-red with a matte finish. This is a permanent shade, but I felt like it was a little less pigmented here than my permanent pan.
  • Fresh Daisy is a very bright white with only a hint of warmth. It has a frost finish, but it really looks rather metallic. I tried to wear it as a highlighter, but it’s too frosted and stark on me–I imagine it would be more appropriate on someone with a lighter skin tone. It is, however, very pigmented.
  • Groundcover is a matte, taupe-ish brown gray. It is nicely pigmented but lacks the buttery texture that makes mattes easier to use.
  • Lucky Green is a bright, chartreuse-shimmered grass green with strong yellow undertones. It has a veluxe pearl finish. This is a permanent shade. It’s one of my favorite colors, because it is so pigmented and soft.

The Glossover

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MAC Fashion Flower Eyeshadows Swatches, Photos, Review

B+
I took an average of each eyeshadow to get actual scores for each characteristic, so while shades like Fresh Daisy and Lucky Green are much better than shades like Aqua and Free to Be, it rounds out to the scores seen here. I'd recommend reading through the individual review for each shade!

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Milani Pink Twice Baked Eyeshadow
Milani Pink Twice Baked Eyeshadow

Milani Baked Metallic Eyeshadow: Pink Twice

Milani Pink Twice Baked Metallic Eyeshadow ($7.49 for 0.05 oz.) is medium-dark pink with a frost finish. Milani’s Baked Metallic Eyeshadows can be used wet or dry–wet for more intensity, dry for more luminosity (which, given the context, must mean sheerer color).  With Pink Twice, I found it applied about as well regardless of whether it was used wet or dry, but it did bind together a smidgen better wet so it had a smoother feel. I liked how this shade of the baked formula did not have any fall out issues, though, and the pigmentation level was nice–very true-to-pan color.

I do wish they’d ditch the sponge/brush applicator, though, because the bristles are splayed and scratchy, while the sponge is thin and surprisingly scratchy. I did like the switch to a black interior, over the champagne gold from the Runway Eyeshadows. The lid is also quite secure, and I had to pry it open with my nails.

The Glossover

P
product

Pink Twice

B+
This has been the best shade I've tested from the spring shades of the baked eyeshadow so far--the pigmentation is nice, texture is smooth without fall out, and it wears well.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Chanel Khaki-Discret Eyeshadow Duo
Chanel Khaki-Discret Eyeshadow Duo

Chanel Summer 2011: Khaki-Discret

Chanel Khaki-Discret Eyeshadow Duo ($42.00 for 0.09 fl. oz.) is a new (and permanent!) combination of a really deep, dark forest green with subtle khaki brown undertones and gold and emerald green micro-shimmer paired with a much softer, lighter pastel green with yellow undertones. I found the darker shade to be beautifully pigmented–very rich and intense with little product required to achieve that result–while the lighter shade was sheerer. Lighter and softer shades will always look light, but they can still suffer from sheerness (which you can identify by how much skin you can see when the eyeshadow is swatched on top). The formula itself is very soft and smooth; easy to apply and effortless to blend out.

I found interesting how this duo compares to the Lilium palette–the green is warmer, rather than bluish, it is distinctly green and pulls yellow, while the lighter, pastel green is even lighter in the duo than in the quad. The darker green shades certainly differ enough that I wouldn’t say they’re really similar to each other, but the lighter shades do compare a lot more closely.

The $42 price tag is seemingly painful, but it is to be expected within the Chanel line–a single eyeshadow retails for $28.50, while the quads are the best bang for your buck at $57 (for four shades, of a total weight of 0.24 oz.). The average eyeshadow is 0.05 oz., so this duo is just under the expected size for two eyeshadows–except that Chanel’s single eyeshadows weigh in at 0.07 oz. Overall, the pricing is: $407/oz. for singles, $467/oz. for duos, and $238/oz. for quads. (MAC single eyeshadows are $290/oz. for a comparison against a mid-end brand.) Keep in mind, though, that while we all want more for our money, we have to think realistically whether we’ll actually use all of it!

The Glossover

palette

Chanel Khaki-Discret Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
I wish the duos were more of a value--I just feel they should be a little less (by the ounce) than singles, but still more than quads. If you were waffling between a duo and quad, I'd opt for the quad, since it is a better value.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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