Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Guerlain D'une Etreinte Eyeshadow
Guerlain D’une Etreinte Eyeshadow

As White as Snow

Guerlain D’une Etreinte (143) Eyeshadow ($36.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a bright snow white; it’s not quite icy–there is some hidden warmth there that keeps it from being cool-toned. It is definitely a near-blinding kind of white, though, with a rich metallic finish. When applied dry, it is still nicely pigmented, but used wet, it seems slightly smoother and the metallic sheen is more visible.

my thoughts on the formula: 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. This particular formula can be used wet or dry, though the color already reaches full intensity used dry. 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: This could work really nicely with a smoky eye–think blacks and whites and shades of gray.  It has a beautiful texture:  silky smooth, buttery, and excellent pigmentation.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

NARS Nouveau Monde Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Nouveau Monde Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Spring 2011: Nouveau Monde

NARS Nouveau Monde Eyeshadow Duo ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “metallic silver lilac” and “rich olive gold.” The duo includes a cool-toned lilac with silver-gray shimmer and flecks of larger shimmer (seems smaller than micro-glitter but not as fine as shimmer), which goes on smoothly but a touch sheer; alongside the lilac shade is a khaki olive brown with a smooth, satin finish. The khaki shade has excellent pigmentation and texture–very rich and smooth.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: It’s an interesting pair of colors–would not have thought to put a lilac and olive brown together at all.  Though I was slightly concerned about fall out issues with the lilac shade, due to the more apparent flecks of shimmer-glitter, it seemed minimal at worst.

where to buy: NARS

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Friday, January 21st, 2011

Bobbi Brown Pretty Palette
Bobbi Brown Pretty Palette

Pretty in Pink with Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown Pretty Palette ($60.00 for 0.36 oz.) is an all-inclusive face palette with four eyeshadows, one blush, two lip glosses, and one lip color. It includes: Ivory (creamy white), Pink Flannel (nude pink), Pink Chiffon (bright pink with shimmer), Chocolate Caviar (deep chocolate brown), Pretty Pink (warm baby pink), Soiree Pink (baby pink with silver flecks), Bubble Bath (bright neutral pink), and Sandwash (beige pink). It shares one overlapping shade (Chocolate Caviar) with the Powerful palette.

  • Ivory is neutral-cool white. This is a matte eyeshadow, and it is part of the permanent range.
  • Pink Flannel is a muted gray-rose with great color pay off and no chalkiness. It is nicely pigmented and very creamy, not at all chalky. This is a matte eyeshadow.
  • Pink Chiffon is a white-shimmered petal pink with an inherent sheerness because of its finish. This is a shimmer wash eyeshadow.
  • Chocolate Caviar is a deep, dark cool-toned chocolate brown This is a matte eyeshadow.
  • Pretty Pink is a blue-based medium pink with a near matte finish. This is a blush.
  • Soiree Pink is a sheer confection of gold and pink shimmer; it has a milky pink base, but it really didn’t seem to show up on lips. This is a glitter lip gloss.
  • Bubble Bath is a cool-toned medium pink with a glossy shine. This is a lip gloss.
  • Sandwash is a nearly opaque, plummy pink with a cream finish. This is a lipstick.

The palette contains 0.09 oz. of Eyeshadow ($22.50 value), 0.04 oz. Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow ($7.50 value), 0.14 oz. of blush ($23.69 value), 0.028 oz. of Shimmer Lip Gloss ($4.00 value), 0.028 of Glitter Lip Gloss ($4.00 value), and 0.035 oz. of Lip Color ($6.42 value). It total value of the products inside the palette sums to $68.11, while the palette itself costs $60. It’s not a value-packed palette, but you’re getting your money’s worth.

Just like the Powerful, all of the shades were pigmented, and the matte shades were nice and creamy, with the exception of Chocolate Caviar which was slightly drier. Again, both glosses are rather sheer with the lip color being more opaque. The Pretty palette coordinates better within itself, though, which is really nice to see.

I love the sleek packaging, and I think the typography on the outside cover of the palette is beautiful. Bobbi Brown’s campaign of Pretty. Powerful. is really a fantastic slogan, so I’m all for it being emblazoned across the palette itself. Though I’m not personally that fond of palettes that mix powders with gloss or creams, I do like that Bobbi Brown’s palettes always seem to have deeper wells and a very tightly clasping palette to minimize powder migration.

P.S. — In case you missed it, I reviewed the Powerful palette earlier.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: For those who like palettes that make their mornings easier, Bobbi Brown’s Pretty palette may just be one of those. With eyeshadows, blush, and lip color all in one go all housed in a slim palette, it is easy to travel with. This one certainly works better as a standalone palette, and the cooler tones of the palette make it more flattering on cooler skin tones.

where to buy: Bobbi Brown

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Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Estee Lauder Wild Violet Eyeshadow Palette
Estee Lauder Wild Violet Eyeshadow Palette

A Look at Estee Lauder’s New Spring Palette

Estee Lauder Wild Violet Eyeshadow Palette ($42.00 for 0.27 oz.) is a new and limited edition palette just in time for spring. In the past year or two, Estee Lauder has really stepped up their game. I think they’ve been listening to evolving customer demands and have given their texture and themes some facelifts. I could still do with some tweaking of the packaging, but I very much appreciate their foray into color, into real color, and not just washes.

The palette contains five different shades: a soft, pale beige with a frosted champagne shimmer; medium-dark chocolate brown with subtle warm undertones in a shimmer-sheen finish; cool-toned gray-taupe brown with a satin finish; rich, smoldering; deep dark purple with white and blue flecks of shimmer over a matte base; and a brightened metallic copper. I think the shades individually are stunning, but the palette is an excellent composition of warm and cool, rich and luxe. With soft, silky smooth textures and beautiful color pay offs, all five eyeshadows are easy to use.

Do you remember NARS Daphne? There was a shade that swatched terribly but worked beautifully on the eye itself–the matte texture needed the delicate touch of a brush to work–but Estee Lauder gives us this rich, decadent purple that’s so deep and luxurious, like a violet velveteen. Estee Lauder’s violet is deeper and darker, while Daphne has a stronger bluer base and lighter overall look so it appears brighter.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think going with a more neutral palette overall with that pop of violet in the center works well here. There is also a nice mix of cool and warm that it’s workable on both skin tones. One of the best palettes I’ve ever seen by Estee Lauder and an overall stunning palette–period.

WHERE TO BUY: Nordstrom

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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.).

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

  • 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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