Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III
Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III

Exclusive: First Look @ Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows Vol. III

For the holidays, Urban Decay will be launching the third installation in their Book of Shadows palette series. The palette will retail for $54, and while I don’t have an exact date yet, based on past releases, mid to late September is a good bet. If you’re in the NYC area on August 28th, you can snag one of 1,000 pieces available for sale at the Times Square Sephora (details here).  It’s expected to launch online at urbandecay.com after Labor Day and at other retailers on October 1st.

The palette includes 16 eyeshadows (0.03 oz. each, total of 0.48 oz.), 2 miniature-sized eyeliners (0.03 oz. each, total of 0.06 oz.), and 1 minature-sized Primer Potion (0.13 fl. oz.). To break down the value for you, this represents $163.20 worth of eyeshadow ($340/oz.), $25.50 worth of eyeliner ($425/oz.), $6.88 of Primer Potion ($52.94/fl. oz.). In sum, it’s the equivalent of $195.58 worth of Urban Decay products. You will, of course, have to spend much more as individual products are all slightly bigger (e.g. each full-size eyeshadow retails for $17).

Anyway, the point is that no matter how you slice it, Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows palettes have a lot of value. The quality of the shadows is exactly what their full-size and permanent shades represent; there is no skimping here.

Eyeshadows

  • Perversion is a matte charcoal black. It’ll darken anything you want to, and it’s a good black, but it’s not an ultra deep black. Not at all chalky! This is a permanent shade, and it has been featured in BoS I and II.
  • Uzi is a whitish-silver with flecks of silver glitter. I’ve found this shade has some fall out, but it’s not too bad. This is a permanent shade, and it has been featured in the Sustainable palette.
  • Loaded is a deep forest green with a metallic shimmer sheen. It is hands down my favorite shade in the palette — it’s like a greener version of NARS’ Rajasthan! This is new and exclusive to this palette.
  • Kush is a medium grassy green with a subtle cool undertone. This is a nice shade with excellent color payoff, and it is new and exclusive to this palette–but it does have some cousins. It’s a darker version of Graffiti (permanent) and Absinthe (BoS I), and it’s a greener, darker version of Homegrown (BoS II).
  • Midnight Cowboy Rides Again is a pink-tinged champagne with champagne flecks of glitter. It may be one of my least favorite eyeshadows of all time, because it has so much fall out, even though it feels very smooth. I recommend using it with a stickier base and make sure you have Q-tips and makeup remover to control the fall out. This shade is permanent, and it has been in BoS II and BoS Alice in Wonderland, as well as the Sustainable palette.
  • Last Call is a medium plum with strong red undertones and shimmer finish. This is a permanent shade that’s also a popular palette shade–it’s been featured in BoS I, BoS AiW, and Ammo.
  • Rockstar is a deep shade of eggplant purple with burgundy-red undertones and a shimmer-sheen. This is a new and exclusive shade to the palette–but the color is like Rockstar 24/7 Eye Pencil (duh!).
  • Money is a silvered blue with a metallic blue-green sheen. Very pretty and will be a great shade to layer over colored bases to bring out different undertones. This shade is new and exclusive to the palette.
  • Haight is a brightened medium blue with a frost finish that pulls just an itsy bit teal. This is shade is permanent, but it’s a Sephora exclusive. It hasn’t been in any other palettes.
  • Maui Wowie is an antique gold with a nearly metallic gold sheen. It also has flecks of dark gold glitter, so it can have some fall out issues. This is a permanent shade, and it’s also been in BoS AiW and Ammo.
  • Smog is a medium-dark bronze with a shimmer-frost finish. This is a shade that’s been in a ton of palettes! It’s permanent, but it has also been released in BoS I, Ammo, Naked, and Vegan.
  • Bordello is a mauve-tinged pink with soft flecks of dark pink shimmer-glitter. It’s smooth, pigmented, and has an almost metallic sheen. The glitter is similar to Uzi’s, but it feels a little finer. This is a new and exclusive shade.
  • Radium is a true medium blue with a cooler undertone and a softer frost finish. Great pigmentation! It is new and exclusive to this palette, and I imagine its color gets inspiration from Radium Cream Eyeshadow.
  • Snatch is a peachy-pink with a frosty finish. It’s very smooth and has nice pigmentation. This was originally in the Show Pony palette.
  • Suspect is a medium bronze that pulls a smidgen taupe and has a rather cooler undertone. I thought it was similar to some of the browns in previous BoS palettes (like Sidecar, Nylon, Gridlock, etc.), but those all have obvious red undertones in comparison. This is a new and exclusive shade.
  • Psychedelic Sister is a brightened medium purple with red undertones. It’s a nice shade of purple that’s pigmented and has a soft frost sheen. It’s a permanent, but it is a Sephora exclusive. This is the first time it’s been in a palette.

Eyeliners

  • Zero is a deep black. Very pigmented, definitely a handy shade to have. Even if I do have five of them at this point. But really, black eyeliner in a palette makes sense.
  • Ransom is an iridescent violet purple with more of a violet flash/sheen and some red undertones. This is available in full-size, but it’s one of my favorite liners. (Try patting Fishnet over it for some real va-voom!)

New vs. Old vs. Repromoted

There are seven new and exclusive shades to the palette (Bordello, Kush, Loaded, Money, Radium, Rockstar, and Suspect). There are two Sephora exclusive shades (Haight and Psychedelic Sister) that were released a few months ago but have never been sold in any of the previous palettes. There are seven permanent shades (Snatch, Last Call, Maui Wowie, Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, Smog, Perversion, and Uzi), with Perversion, Snatch, and Uzi being in just one or two previous palettes and the others being in three or more. The worst case scenario? You’ll get seven brand new eyeshadows.

Overall, it’s another solid eyeshadow palette. I didn’t have any pigmentation issues with these eyeshadows, and I like the addition of seven new and two of the Sephora exclusives (which I really liked, but know some readers were hesitant to pay $17 a pop). There are two shades that do run on the glittery side (Midnight Cowboy Rides Again and Maui Wowi) and two on the slightly glittery side (Uzi and Snatch).

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you like Urban Decay eyeshadows, the Book of Shadows is always a good buy. If you’re not into shimmery/frosty shades and prefer more matte or satin finishes, then this might not be your thing.

AVAILABILITY: Holiday 2010

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Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

CoverGirl Lash Blast Fusion Mascara
CoverGirl Lash Blast Fusion Mascara

How Does LashBlast Fusion Stack Up?

CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion Mascara ($8.99) is designed to both lengthen and volumize your lashes in just one formula. A year ago, I reviewed LastBlast Length with pretty good results–not my perfect mascara for my eyelashes–but a solid lengthening mascara all the same.

It is a fiber mascara, which makes it very easy to remove. Despite easy removal, I did not encounter any smudging or flaking during the twelve hour test I gave it. Everything stayed put as it should. This is a great mascara if you use about two coats or three really quick coats–if you work slowly on each coat, you’ll end up in Clump City. It didn’t seem prone to clumping so much as it dries quickly. When it’s dried, my lashes didn’t feel heavy or crunchy, and they still looked like they had a natural softness to them.

I think what left me less than impressed with this mascara is that the effect is more on the natural side, which isn’t what LashBlast seems to be about. It gives some length, a little volume (I didn’t notice much myself), and smidgen of thickening–but it doesn’t do any of these with any va-voom. The original LashBlast does all of these better, and LashBlast Length does a better job of lengthening.

When it comes to rating a product, it’s about how good it is–but also how good it is at what it’s supposed to do. While it’s great when a product does more than it should or does something great, I always consider whether it lives up to the marketing claims. Fusion doesn’t fail, but it doesn’t live up to its claims about volume for me, but it does a decent job of adding length.

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

RECOMMENDATION: I don’t think any of the LashBlasts will treat you poorly, but Fusion seems to give me the most natural look of all three. (And yes, I’m totally aware that I don’t actually have a review of the original LashBlast up at this time.) I’d probably stick with the original for a more multi-tasking mascara or opt for lengthening if you need just length.

AVAILABILITY: Drugstore.com

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Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer
Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer

Smashbox Photo Finish — Maybe for Face, Not for Eyes

Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer ($20.00 for 0.08 oz.) is a shimmering peach-gold colored eyeshadow primer. Smashbox says you can use this alone as a wash, lid corrector, or as a base underneath your eyeshadows.

This is a product that looks pretty when swatched, but it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do at all.  Despite being on the drying side, it creases within a few hours.  Whether worn alone or as an eyeshadow base, this primer left my makeup in ruins by the third hour.  The darker color of this particular shade makes it better as an all-over wash than an eyeshadow base, because it tends to eat color and be fussy when it comes to blending shadows on top of it.

I tried it three times, and I just gave up on it–I couldn’t get it to stay put whatsoever!  I liked how opaque it was, and I could see that it would be useful in camouflaging imperfections on the lid, but it’s such a shame that you’ll have raisin-like lids before the end of the day.  The best use from this, after all that, is as a brow highlighter–incredibly sheered out, but even that is a stretch if you don’t have a medium skin tone with warmer undertones.

I’m also disappointed in the amount you get.  Most primers are around 0.30 oz., but Smashbox is two-thirds less and just as expensive.  I feel like Smashbox really phoned it in with this one!  But keep in mind that like any review, it’s based on my experience–which involves my skin, my face, etc., so if this is a product that worked for you, I’m more than happy it did.  I’d always rather a product work amazing for you than anything else.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: For a brand that has such a popular face primer, it’s disappointing that their lid primer completely misses the mark.

AVAILABILITY: Beauty.com

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Monday, August 9th, 2010

Tarte Lock & Roll Eyeshadow
Tarte Lock & Roll Eyeshadow: Bronze & Moss

Eyeshadow that lasts and lasts and lasts…

Tarte Lock & Roll Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.14 oz./cream, 0.05 oz./loose) is a dual-ended eyeshadow product that has a cream eyeshadow on one side and loose eyeshadow on the other.

  • Bronze contains a loose, dirtied brown with a gray cast and green and gold shimmer, while the creamy side is a richer, more bronzy brown. When layered, it gives the loose shade a darker appearance with a smoother finish. Color-wise, it takes on much of the loose shade’s color rather than the cream ‘s color.
  • Moss contains a loose olive green with a green-gold sheen, while the creamy side is a cooler, darker green with subtler olive tones. When layered, the two create a slightly deepened yellowed olive green with a smoother finish.

If you have trouble with products staying on your lids without creasing or fading, you might want to try out Tarte’s Lock & Roll Eyeshadows–these don’t budge for nothing on my lids.  The cream is as budge- and smudge-proof worn alone as it is underneath the loose eyeshadow.  You can sheer out the cream shade for more of an all-over wash on the lids, or you can use it in its opaque form and layer on an eyeshadow.  I do find that loose shades seem to apply best over these.

The cream formula is really more of a liquid than a cream to me; it’s rather thin and almost runny but surprisingly pigmented and applies quite opaque.  Both the cream/liquid and the loose shades have a shimmery finish, with the cream side having a slightly metallic finish, too. Since both of the shades I tested out are on the darker side, lighter shades do tend to get eaten up, so it may take some packing to really lighten it up if that’s what you’re going for.  (There are, however, several lighter shades, too, for those who prefer softer looks.)

The packaging is functional, but the rollerball on my lid took a few tries to really get it down–the learning curve isn’t bad, though, but I recommend trying it once or twice before any big events!  The loose eyeshadow does go on very smoothly with the rollerball applicator, though (which I was surprised by!).

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you have incredibly oily lids, the creamy shadow makes an excellent base that just doesn’t move!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Burberry Almond (06) Eyeshadow
Burberry Almond (06) Eyeshadow

Burberry Almond (06) Eyeshadow ($29.00 for 0.088 oz.) is a soft, medium brown with just a touch of warmer, more golden undertones, but very subtly so.  This would make a great contouring shade for those with fairer, paler skin, and it would work well as an all over color on medium to medium-dark skin tones.  It pairs well with Trench for a quick neutral eye.

The texture is soft and smooth–buttery and feels like silk.  It adheres well to the lid, over a base or without, though I haven’t worn it sans a base for twelve hours or anything (I always prefer a base–it feels like I’m committing a cardinal sin otherwise!).  It’s pigmented but it’s a buildable shade–you can sheer it out with ease for a very soft look or apply in layers for something deeper.  Burberry eyeshadows uncomplicate makeup; it’s hard to go wrong if you use their shadows.  I also like the amount you get for the price tag; a little more than the usual high-end shadow.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you like subtler color and enjoy soft, buttery textures, you may like Burberry eyeshadow.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Shiseido Black Sand Eyeliner
Shiseido Black Sand Eyeliner

There’s always room for one more black eyeliner!

Shiseido Black Sand (BK904) Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil ($20.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a really intense, smooth-applying black eyeliner with flecks of green and antique gold micro-shimmer. It’s really a stunning shade, and it’s definitely a color that appeals to my personal tastes. It formula is incredibly smooth and almost creamy, but it stays in place quite well. It doesn’t last more than an hour or two on my waterline, but it stays on my lash line just fine. The pencil itself is dual-ended with the eyeliner on one side and a smudging sponge on the other.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a fiend for black golds like I am, then you’ll want to check this out!

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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