Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Smoldering Eyeshadow Palette
Bobbi Brown Smoldering Eyeshadow Palette

Choose Your Glam with Bobbi Brown: Smoldering

Bobbi Brown Smoldering Eyeshadow Palette ($45.00 for 0.15 oz.) includes three eyeshadows and one long-wear eye paint. It features: Ivory (creamy white), Heather Lilac (pink heather), Charcoal (dark grey), and Port (deep plum).

The Long-Wear Eye Paints are new and featured in the three palettes from Bobbi Brown’s Smoky, Sultry, Smoldering Collection. According to Bobbi Brown, they are “high-pigment metallic eyeshadow that can be worn wet or dry.” She recommends “[applying] them with a damp Cream Shadow Brush for a strong, luminous and long-lasting pop of shimmering color that won’t crease.”

  • Ivory is a creamy neutral white with a hint of beige–it’s not a stark white. This shade seems like it’s in the majority of Bobbi Brown’s palettes, though, so you probably have at least one! It is a permanent shade.
  • Heather Lilac is a pink mauve with a frosted metallic finish. It’s nicely pigmented and very smooth. This is exclusive to this palette.  It reminded me of NARS’ Night Rider, sans glitter; NARS Ondine is close, too, but leans brown.
  • Charcoal is a dark black with a matte finish. This is a permanent shade.
  • Port is a blackened burgundy with ruby and bright burgundy sparkle. It reminded me of a less black-based MAC Young Punk. From what I can tell, the Long-Wear Eye Paints are very similar to baked/mineralize eyeshadows–it has a small dome, the same sheer texture when applied dry, and it intensifies ten-fold when applied damp.  The shade is all reminiscent of a shadow from LORAC’s Private Affair palette.

Each of the eyeshadows is 0.04 oz. (full-sized are 0.08 oz. for $20.00; 0.10 oz. for $20.00 for metallic eyeshadow), while the Long-Wear Eye Paint is 0.03 oz. (not currently available on its lonesome; but for valuation purposes, we’ll assume 0.08 oz. for $20.00). In this palette, you receive $20.00 worth of regular Eyeshadow, $8 worth of Metallic Eyeshadow, and $7.50 worth of Long-Wear Eye Paint. This totals to $35.50 worth of product. You do also receive a double-ended brush in the palette, which is usable (and one of the better brushes included in palettes)– we’ll say it’s $7 worth–bringing us to $42.50. It’s not a value-packed palette, but I don’t think you’re losing out.

I see a lot of these shades working together, though I really wish Bobbi Brown would vary the lightest shade–Ivory is permanent and too often included in her limited edition palettes. The packaging is sleek and compact, and I love that they have an actual brush applicator included, rather than sponge-tipped ones!  It is a bit basic, with both a matte white and black eyeshadow, so it might not be the best holiday palette to pick up if you have a sizable stash.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: This would be excellent on cooler skin tones in particular, though warmer ones should be able to use it, too. You may want to opt elsewhere for a highlighter if you are medium to dark in skin tone, as Ivory may look stark.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Urban Decay Scratch Eyeshadow
Urban Decay Scratch Eyeshadow

Wake-up Tired Eyes with a Scratch

Urban Decay Scratch Deluxe Eyeshadow ($18.00 for 0.09 oz.) is a shimmering pink champagne with a frosted metallic shine. It’s smooth, pigmented, and easy to blend. I would say it’s a touch too pigmented and metallic to work as a brow highlighter, but I love it as a lid shade. It’s a hue that brightens well without being overwhelming. I recommend just patting it on the lower lid and buffing upwards so it fades into the crease for a quick, one-minute kind of look. It pairs well with Urban Decay’s bronzes and peaches, too.

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

RECOMMENDATION: Excellent quality–ultra smooth texture with rich color pay off–make this something worth putting on the list, if you’re in need of a pink champagne kind of shade.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Clarins Barocco Eyeshadow Palette
Clarins Barocco Eyeshadow Palette

Clarins Holiday 2010: Barocco Eyeshadow Palette

Clarins Barocco Eyeshadow Palette ($40.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a new and limited edition palette for the holidays. It contains three eyeshadows and is housed in an elegant gold-lidded case with a black “scroll’ on the left side. The packaging, though, is extremely prone to capturing fingerprints.

The palette contains a matte charcoal black; antique-gold bronze (almost flashes green); and gilded peach-champagne with a metallic sheen. The first two shade really need to be used wet to get smooth, even color that’s true-to-pan. The peachy shade can be used dry and still provides nice color pay off. These feel very much like a mineralize or baked shadow, but more like Chanel’s than MAC’s. The texture doesn’t feel as silky smooth as Chanel eyeshadows, but the results when applied are similar.

I love the packaging, even though it does hold fingerprints, but I think it’s very elegant and luxurious. I think the inclusion of the double-sided sponge-tip applicator brings it down a bit, though. I’m also concerned over the amount of eyeshadow here — 0.05 oz. I double-checked the box and the palette, and it lists “net weight” of 0.05 oz. There is no “3 x 0.05 oz.” written. What? Are you serious?

It’s a lovely palette with three shades that work well together for a gold-themed smoky eye–perfect for the holidays–and it looks beautiful from the packaging to the shadows themselves. I don’t love the eyeshadows, though; they could be a little more intense (even when they are used wet) and smoother. But I’m really not digging the itty bitty amount of product you are getting. Even for high-end, it falls below average.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If quantity isn’t important to you, the product itself is more of a B product. It’s nice–not the greatest palette ever–and worth a look-see if you favor bronzes and golds.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Smashbox Wish For the Perfect Pencils
Onyx, 14K, Orchid, Graphite

Holiday Wishes with Smashbox

Smashbox Wish For The Perfect Pencils (2010) ($16.00 for 4 x 0.03 oz.) are one of my favorite holiday sets, after discovering their great deal last year. This year’s set is actually a better deal, even though they are smaller in size. In this set, you receive four shades, each 0.03 oz., for a total of 0.12 oz. — but for the less than the cost of a single eyeliner (by most other high-end brands). (Last year’s set retailed for $32 for 0.20 oz. of product.) I love this set as a stocking stuffer or affordable gift to give to pals for the holidays.

  • Onyx is a matte, dark black. It’s your standard black eyeliner; there is nothing bad to say about it, but there is nothing different that makes it stand out.
  • 14K is a pale yellow gold with a metallic finish. Make Up For Ever’s #23L is similar–a touch peachier.
  • Orchid is a muted, deep purple. The closest dupe I could think of was Make Up For Ever’s #11L Aqua Eyes, but it’s a little more violet and has shimmer in its finish.
  • Graphite is a silvered charcoal with a metallic finish. This shade is a lot like Urban Decay’s Gunmetal.

These eyeliners are smooth and easy to apply, because they don’t drag or pull. They last all day on me, though they do not wear all day on the water line. They are soft without being fragile–their hardness lies between Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners and Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Eyes.

Just to be clear, since it seemed like there was some confusion, this set IS different than last year’s – these are Smashbox’s Limitless Liner formula (last year’s wasn’t part of their permanent liner formula).  I don’t think I said they were the same, but just to clear up any questions! :)

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

RECOMMENDATION: I do — if the colors are up your alley!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Friday, November 19th, 2010

NARS Melusine Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Melusine Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Holiday 2010: Melusine Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Melusine Eyeshadow Duo ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is one of two new and permanent products from NARS’ Holiday Collection (the other is Sex Appeal). NARS describes these shades as “pale silver lilac” and “bright deep purple.”

From NARS: In folklore tales, a melusine was described as a feminine, free spirited woman. Similarly, this duo eyeshadow is an ultra-modern union of two colors working in harmony. Sweep the bright deep purple across the lid and highlight under brow with the pale silver lilac.

First things first–this is by no means a dupe for NARS Daphne. The swatch tells the whole story! Daphne is a brightened violet with blue undertones, while Melusine (the purple side, of course!) is an eggplant purple with red undertones. Bottom line: they are quite distinct.

The light shade of the duo is a silvery gray, and if I look close enough, I can make out the finest misting of lilac–so light that it’s almost pink. On cooler skin tones, I imagine the lilac will be more pronounced, but the effect is still quite subtle. The finish is a frosted shimmer, smooth overall, but does have shimmer kick up. The darker shade is a rich eggplant purple with red undertones and has a matte finish. It swatches better than Daphne did, but they’re both lovely in use–very rich, smooth, and true-to-color.

I threw this duo on before running some errands, and I had three sweet ladies compliment me on my eyeshadow. There is a lot of contrast in the duo, with the silvered shade being so much lighter than the deeper purple, so it works well on its own. When I wore it, I wore the silvery shade all over the lid with the purple hue in the crease (to highlight, I used Burberry Trench Eyeshadow, which is just my-skintone-but-better!). I’ll try and post that look soon!

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I think as a duo these shades work really well together; you have the mix of textures, nice contrast, and overall, two nicely pigmented, smooth textured eyeshadows.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Guerlain Velours d'Or Eyeshadow Palette
Guerlain Velours d’Or Eyeshadow Palette

Guerlain Les Ors: Velours d’Or

Guerlain Velours d’Or (410) Eyeshadow Palette ($59.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a smoky palette from Guerlain’s Holiday Collection.  I picked this up when Nordstrom was having some super point thing going on (I think it was triple points…), but I’m not sure I’m sold on it!

It contains four shades: a soft coppered gold with subtle gold sparkle; medium-dark violet plu m with blue-violet micro-shimmer; charcoal-mauve with a muted violet shimmer and slight sheen; and dark black with a matte finish. Upon first glance, the charcoal-mauve looked absolutely stunning–it almost gave off a duochrome sheen! It seemed like a mix of violet, plum, gray with green and violet shimmer/sheen. It’s less interesting when swatched, as it appears a bit flat in comparison.

The golden shade has Guerlain’s signature bee embossed, while the other three shades have a raised honeycomb pattern. The patterning will disappear after a few uses, though it doesn’t just disappear at first touch. I do, however, like that these patterns utilize each shade’s colors, rather than an overlay of another color, which ultimately affects the end color result but only as long as the overlay exists.

I found the golden shade to have a frostier finish and having some kick-up, whereas the remaining three colors were very smooth and were easy to apply.  Each shade had nice pigmentation–not sheer at all–and they built up easily, as Guerlain’s eyeshadows often do.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It’s nice, but I don’t think it’s a must-have.  If these kinds of colors call to you, it’s worth checking out, but I do think there are enough dupes available that if you’re not sold on all four shades, you may want to look elsewhere.

AVAILABILITY:Nordstrom, Sephora

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