Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Eden Eyeshadow Quad
Dolce & Gabbana Eden Eyeshadow Quad

Maybe Some Secrets are Best Left Alone

From Dolce & Gabbana’s Secret Garden Collection emerges a new eyeshadow quad, Eden ($59.00 for 0.16 oz.), and it seems to be somewhat of a mystery, because it swatches well enough, but I really couldn’t make it work on the eyes. The palette includes: an icy white with pink and blue shimmer-sheen; petal pink with yellow undertones; seafoam aqua with a matte finish; and a dove gray with a satin-matte finish.

The most difficult shade to work with in the palette was the aqua, which was worse wet than dry–when used wet, the product would ball up and apply patchy. The easiest shade to work with was the gray, but it didn’t work well wet either. The white shade is a little powdery and sheer, and your lid better be primed to perfection with nary a dry spot, because it emphasizes every imperfection . The pink shade was sheer when used dry but came together better wet.

I actually like the pastel hues of spring, and I think the mix of these four shades is striking but workable, so I was hopeful they would come together well in a look. They didn’t–these shades applied so sheerly when used dry but were even worse when used wet, because it made the whole look patchy. The colors applied so unevenly, and I really had to pack on the color to get anything resembling the shades in the pan. I was so desperate for color that I had to resort to using the included sponge-tip applicators and only then did I get anything significant.

Pale colors are lighter, and sheer can be OK, but when getting an even, sheer wash is troublesome, I’m concerned. When products can’t be layered for an opaque look, I’m more concerned. When the product swatches decently and even opaque in places, but then we end up with ultra sheer colors on the lid–I’m disappointed.

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  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think this palette would work best on paler skin tones, because of the powderiness and slight chalkiness of the pastel shades. I think on darker skin tones it may come across ashy and chalky, rather than soft and spring-y. The quality seemed rather mediocre across the board, but it was the lack of quality was discovered upon application and use rather than purely on swatches.

WHERE TO BUY: Late January/early February @ Saks

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Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Guerlain D'une Ondee Eyeshadow
Guerlain D’une Ondee Eyeshadow

Guerlain D’une Ondee Eyeshadow

Guerlain D’une Ondee (186) Eyeshadow ($36.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a mega-sized medium-dark, silvery gray with a frosted finish. When applied wet, it has more of a frosted sheen, but the color is very much the same whether used wet or dry.  Guerlain’s eyeshadow texture is phenomenal in their singles–smooth, silky, very buttery.  The color is true-to-pan and delivers rich results with little product needed.

I bought this the other day when I saw Nordstrom put up three new Guerlain eyeshadows, and the online photo makes it look rather… pewter-esque, and you know me and my pewters. Unfortunately, in real life, it’s just a silver-gray. It’s a nice shade, but it is rather easy to replicate. It does have slight multi-colored micro-shimmer, but I did not see much of an effect when used. Guerlain’s eyeshadows are massive–over double the average single eyeshadow–and so by the ounce, Guerlain is as expensive ($300/oz.) (or as affordable) as MAC eyeshadows ($290/oz.).

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: Even though it’s a shade you may already own, it is still lovely.  I don’t take away points because a product may be duped by another brand or shade, as that element does not take away from the product’s quality.  I have always really liked their single shadows for their silky smooth texture.

WHERE TO BUY: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Giorgio Armani Transluminence Eye Palette
Giorgio Armani Transluminence Eye Palette

Giorgio Armani Transluminence Eye Palette

Giorgio Armani Transluminence Eye Palette ($58.00 for 0.07 oz.) is new and limited edition from the brand’s Transluminence Collection. It includes four shades of eyeshadow, all of which can be used wet or dry.

It includes a blue-based violet purple with a satiny sheen; jewe-toned teal with a semi-frost finish; grayed white-beige with a soft satin sheen; and a soft black with satin sheen. The finishes of these eyeshadows were more satiny–a soft sheen, not too frosted, and less obvious shimmer. The violet shade was the only one that appeared a touch sheer, while the other three were silky smooth with nice color intensity. I thought the teal was particularly stunning–it’s exactly teal.

I found these eyeshadows to work similarly whether used wet or dry–I didn’t notice a major difference in pigmentation or saturation when used wet. I used the palette on its own over NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base, and it was blendable and none of the colors lost their vibrancy when layered and blended in a look. I’m bummed by the lack of product you get in the compact, though–it doesn’t seem tiny by any means, but once you look at the weight, it’s a different story.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m a sucker for jewel-tones, so I love the way this palette looks together. All four shades coordinate well and can be used together in an assortment of ways, which is nice. It is a cooler-toned palette, but jewel-tones always look lovely on warmer skin tones, despite their often cooler appearance.  The lack of product in it, however, does bring down the overall grade in a noteworthy way.

WHERE TO BUY: Nordstrom

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Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Eyeliner
Dolce & Gabbana Eyeliner: White & Lilac

Dolce & Gabbana Secret Garden: Lilac Eyeliner

Dolce & Gabbana Lilac Crayon Intense Eyeliner ($29.00 for 0.054 oz.) will see the introduction of two new shades, White and Lilac from Dolce & Gabbana’s Secret Garden Collection, which should hit Saks counters and online soon.

  • Lilac is a vibrant blue-violet with a fuchsia-violet undertone. Unfortunately, it is a pain to work with–there is no creaminess, so the color drags and skips when applied. I really wanted to wear it, but I could barely get it to show up, even after working the tip down a bit.

Dolce & Gabbana’s Eyeliners are hit or miss for me; they’re often too hard, so they lack enough creaminess to enable the eyeliner to apply smoothly and evenly. They don’t glide-on, and instead, they can tug on the lash line or skip when applied, which results in an uneven, splotchy look.   Lilac just did not work for me at all; what I managed to apply wore okay for about four or five hours, but it was so faint and sheer.

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  • Product: 16/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: It’s such a shame that it doesn’t apply evenly nor have enough creaminess to glide on and deposit pigment intensely.   It’s a beautiful color but not worth picking up based on a rougher texture, below average wear, and sheer color.

WHERE TO BUY: Saks

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Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Eyeliner
Dolce & Gabbana Eyeliner: White & Lilac

Dolce & Gabbana Secret Garden: White Eyeliner

Dolce & Gabbana White Crayon Intense Eyeliner ($29.00 for 0.054 oz.) will see the introduction of two new shades, White and Lilac from Dolce & Gabbana’s Secret Garden Collection, which should hit Saks counters and online soon.

  • White is exactly as it sounds–it’s a bright, creamy white and is one of the creamiest liners I’ve tested from Dolce & Gabbana’s range.

Dolce & Gabbana’s Eyeliners are hit or miss for me; they’re often too hard, so they lack enough creaminess to enable the eyeliner to apply smoothly and evenly. They don’t glide-on, and instead, they can tug on the lash line or skip when applied, which results in an uneven, splotchy look.

Note, however, that White didn’t have the poor texture that plagues many other Dolce & Gabbana eyeliners–it was very creamy and pigmented; it was easy to work with. This is why I don’t like to combine reviews, because unless a product line is very consistent, there can be enough variance that each product will earn a different grade–and this is exactly why I split this post into two separate ones, even though their content is very similar.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: White looks rather stark on my medium skin tone, so I’m not sure what skin tone this would be ideal for–it is a very bright white, and could offer a lot of contrast for the right look. While it is creamy, I wouldn’t necessarily use it as an eyeshadow base. It wore for only six hours though, before fading away.

WHERE TO BUY: Saks

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Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Hourglass Gypsy Eyeshadow Duo
Hourglass Exhibition Eyeshadow Duo

Hourglass Exhibition Eyeshadow Duo

Hourglass Exhibition Visionaire Eyeshadow Duo ($38.00 for 0.20 oz.) contains a grayish plum mauve with a frost-metallic finish and a blackened burgundy eggplant with a frost-metallic sheen. Hourglass’ Eyeshadow Duos are such an underrated and under-appreciated product–the quality is absolutely phenomenal and the shades are infinitely flattering.

Selfishly, I wish they had about a dozen more duos, because their eyeshadows are easily some of the best I’ve come across–and better yet, the quality is fantastic across the range. There are no duds in their duo line-up. Soft, smooth as silk, and buttery texture paired with intense color pigmentation that glides on, blends effortlessly, and can be used wet or dry.

The $38 may seem steep, but don’t let it fool you: there are two full-sized (actually, more than that) eyeshadows inside. Each eyeshadow is 0.10 oz., which is double the average full-sized eyeshadow, for a total of 0.20 oz. The packaging is also this pewter bronze with a swivel top that reveals a mirror inside along with a pint-sized brush (with real bristles) that’s usable and not scratchy.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: Hourglass as a brand is underrated, but their eyeshadows are easily my favorite product from the brand. There is something to be said for a brand that puts out consistently high quality products with to-die-for textures. This duo will naturally flatter cooler skin tones but it is not so cool-toned that warmer skin tones will find it difficult to work with.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

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