Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara
Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara

Sneak Peek: Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara

New for December, Estee Lauder’s Sumptuous Extreme Mascara ($23.50) promises to deliver a volumizing mascara that never clumps and “[makes] eyes look outrageously big and amazingly bold.” The brush even has its own name–Extreme BrushComber–which has a new shape that is said to hold more mascara, be easy to use and get to all your lashes in spite of its size. The formula has “Tri-blend Multiplying Fibers,” which include “Hollow Tube Fibers” for curl and length, “Solid Rod Fibers” for volume and length, and “Micro-Locking Fiber” for thickeness and length. Finally, it contains Lash-Advancing Vitamin Complex, which has Vitamin B5, designed to condition lashes and keep lashes flexible. It will be available in four shades: Extreme Black, Extreme Brown, Extreme Indigo, and Extreme Violet.

The brush itself is quite large–a full 1 3/4″ in length when I measured–but the way it narrows and tapers does make it easier to maneuver around the inner corners of eyes. I do find it more difficult to use it on lower lashes, just because it is so large, but I think users of Dior’s DiorShow won’t find it much larger. After using this mascara for a couple of weeks and alternating with other mascaras, I did feel like the brush itself was more helpful in defining lashes–just separating them as I was applying the mascara–than the average mascara wand.

My fringe definitely looked longer and fuller–it had a slightly feathery quality to it–but the richness of the black made the overall effect more dramatic. I was able to do several passes through my lashes without getting any clumping, and this is a mascara that you can easily do a second or third coat of, too, if desired. It doesn’t dry immediately (15-20 seconds), but it’s not so wet that you’ll have mascara residue underneath your eye if you blink. My lashes felt incredibly lightweight and soft–flexible and bendable. I was able to push and rub (gently!) against my lashes and didn’t experience any flaking either.

I was most impressed by the richness of the Extreme Black shade–deep dark black, very inky and solid. It’s definitely one of the blackest mascaras I’ve tried in recent memory. It volumizes nicely, and it gives enough thickness to my lashes to make them more noticeable, but it still feels like I’m wearing one of the lighterweight, more natural mascaras (think Maybelline Full ‘n Soft) but I get the effect of dramatic mascara. I experienced no flaking, smudging, budging, or other ill effects after twelve-hour wear.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you have shorter, sparser lashes, Estee Lauder does double-duty with lengthening and volumizing. Oh, and if you have black lashes but still want them blacker? This will make them even darker!

AVAILABILITY: Estee Lauder, December 2010

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Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Urban Decay 15th Anniversary 24/7 Eyeliner Set
Urban Decay 15th Anniversary 24/7 Eyeliner Set

Sneak Peek: Urban Decay 15th Anniversary 24/7 Eyeliner Set

In 2011, Urban Decay will turn 15 years, and to celebrate, they are releasing a set of 15 24/7 Eyeliners. The 15th Anniversary 24/7 Eyeliner Set ($92.00 for 0.04 oz. x 15) includes full-sized eyeliners in:

Stray Dog (shimmering brown taupe), Corrupt (dark metallic brown with silver glitter), Bourbon (medium brown with gold sparkle), Midnight Cowboy (beige with gold sparkle), Baked (bold bronze), Stash (dark olive with gold sparkle), Mildew (deep mossy green), Perversion (blackest carbon black), Electric (bright aquamarine blue), Binge (deep metallic navy blue), Ransom (bright iridescent purple), Asphyxia (pinky iridescent purple), Rockstar (darkest eggplant), Zero (zealous black), and Uzi (gunmetal grey with sparkle).

All of the eyeliners included in the set are full-sized (0.04 oz. each), and a full-sized eyeliner retails for $17, which means you are getting $255 worth of eyeliner for $92, plus Urban Decay’s Grind House (their sharpener, retails for $9), which is actually my favorite sharpener–use it for all brands myself.

It is a great set for someone who is new to Urban Decay or who hasn’t yet stocked up on their 24/7 Eyeliners, because there are a lot of permanent inclusions and overlap with previous holiday mini-sets. This holiday’s Jackpot 24/7 Eyeliner Set included seven that overlapped (Stash, Mildew, Electric, Binge, Ransom, Rockstar, and Zero), while last year’s Super Stash Eyeliner Set included six that overlapped (Stash, Rockstar, Ransom, Binge, Corrupt, Zero).

The good news? There are six shades not currently available permanently, but if they were–all six would set you back $102 (still more than the whole set).

  • Stray Dog is a mushroom brown–definitely taupe. This is a new shade exclusive to the set.
  • Corrupt is a dark chocolate brown with warm amber undertones. This is a new shade exclusive to the set (well, that’s what the press release says, but it was included in 2009′s Super Stash mini-set).
  • Bourbon is a medium-dark warmed-up brown. This is a permanent shade.
  • Midnight Cowboy is a shimmering champagne peach with a subtle metallic sheen. This was my second favorite from the set–this is totally a shade that is lacking in the 24/7 range. It is a great shade to brighten up eyes. This is a new shade exclusive to the set.
  • Baked is a frosted coppery bronze. This is a permanent shade.
  • Stash is an antique gold with a slight metallic sheen. This looks amazing with green eyes. This is a permanent shade.
  • Mildew is a forest green with subtle gold shimmer. This is a permanent shade.
  • Perversion is a rich, deep dark black with a near matte finish. It is gorgeous! MAC Feline Kohl Power lovers will fall in love with this shade. It would be a shame if Urban Decay didn’t make this permanent. This is a new shade exclusive to the set.
  • Electric is a bright, neon cyan blue with subtle shimmer-sheen. This is a permanent shade.
  • Binge is a navy blue with a hint of violet with soft blue micro-shimmer. This is a permanent shade.
  • Ransom is a fuchsia-tinged violet with soft sheen. This is a permanent shade.
  • Asphyxia is a fuchsia base with fuchsia-violet shimmer and sheen. It was surprisingly sheer–it did not have the color pay off of the average 24/7 Liner. This is a new shade exclusive to the set.
  • Rockstar is a rich eggplant with a slight metallic sheen. This is a permanent shade.
  • Zero is black. It’s not too dark, not too light, just black. This is a permanent shade.
  • Uzi is a gunmetal silver with teal-green and silver micro-shimmer. It’s not quite as dark as Gunmetal, but they do not seem world’s apart. This is a new shade exclusive to the set.

Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eyeliners are some of my favorite pencils to use. I love the color variety, but more importantly, they wear well and long on me. They don’t smudge or budge, fade or migrate. The formula is kind to eyes, as they are soft and glide effortlessly across the lash line–no drag here.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: It might be something to put on a holiday IOU list (since it won’t be out until January) or else save holiday gift cards and checks towards–if you are a fan of the 24/7 Liners. If you’re not sure about it, you may want to check out an individual shade before committing $92 to the cause. Long-time Urban Decay fans may find they have a lot of the shades featured in the kit (and maybe duplicates or even triplicates thereof).

AVAILABILITY: Urban Decay, Sephora, Ulta, Macy’s – January 2011

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Monday, November 29th, 2010

MAC False Lashes Mascara
MAC False Lashes Mascara

New MAC Mascara:  False Lashes

MAC False Lashes Mascara ($18.00 for 0.28 oz.) is the newest mascara to MAC’s line-up, which will be added to the permanent range in regular black packaging on December 26th. It was, however, released in limited edition Marcel Wanders packaging with the MAC & Marcel Wanders Collection launched on the 24th. The price is the same either way (that was a surprise!), and it is available in just one shade: False Black (black).

From MAC: “False Lashes Mascara adds dramatic volume, the rich, creamy, volumizing formula magnifies and multiplies the look of each lash, creating dramatically thick, long, curled, exaggerated lashes. The lush brush applies a deluxe dose of heavy pigment to the lashes and works in combination with the product to create incredible volume, length and density. The pigments in the formula are treated to allow for maximum colour payoff that remains true, deep, uniform and wears all day long. It’s flake- and smudge-resistant, ophthamologist-tested and safe for contact-wearers.”

Mascara is always an interesting product to review, because every description reads like a miracle product, so it can be difficult to determine what exactly what one should (reasonably) expect it to do. False Lashes is a volumizing mascara first, but it should also boast a dramatic result, from thicker, longer, more curled lashes. “Heavy pigment” leads me to expect a very rich black, dense and heavy in its darkness.

False Lashes excels in delivering longer lashes that are sky-high with a natural lift (all images are without aid of an eyelash curler). It’s a solid black mascara, though I didn’t think it was the deepest, darkest black I’ve experienced (Plushlash and Zoomlash seem darker to me). I did not notice a significant increase in volume; the results I achieved were really dominated by the length and curling power of the formula. There is certainly a volume increase from the standpoint of just thicker, longer, generally improved lashes overall, but my lashes do not appear much fuller.

The formula did not clump easily; you really had to wait for it to dry (20-30 seconds drying time) and be on the third or fourth full coat to find yourself is spidery territory. I was easily able to apply two full coats back-to-back without clumping issues. It dries pretty quickly but not too fast–you do have time to work it from base to tip and go back for more if necessary. When it dried, my lashes didn’t feel dried out or crunchy–they were still pretty soft and felt lightweight. After wearing this mascara for a few days in twelve-hour bursts, I did not have any fall out, smudging, or budging. It came off easily with makeup remover, but it lasted all day and never gave me raccoon eyes.

The brush was fairly large, so if you have smaller eyes, it may be a concern, and it may be unwieldy to use on lower lashes in particular.  It looks much like a normal mascara wand, and it has a slightly more tapered tip.

Overall, it’s a nice mascara, but I’m not sure it’ll make it into my regular rotation of mascaras. It does length amazingly, so it may work wonders on those with shorter lashes, and it does give nice lift on its own (and it holds up well throughout the day), too. If you have naturally long lashes, though, I think this may be too much lengthening power to work well for you.  It is a bit pricey for a MAC mascara, though–unlike Haute & Naughty (which was also $18), which had the crazy packaging, I’m not sure why this merits the $18 price tag.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It lengthens lashes quite dramatically with some lift, so for shorter, straighter lashes, it might be a worthwhile mascara.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Cosmetics

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Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Modern Classic Lip & Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Goes Modern for the Holidays

Bobbi Brown Modern Classic Lip & Eye Palette ($75.00) contains ten eyeshadows and four lip glosses all housed in a sleek palette for the holidays.

It includes: Ivory (creamy white), Oyster Grey (silvery beige), Antique Pink (muted rose), Quarry (steely grey with golden flecks), Taffeta (pale pink bronze), Birch (soft brown), Heather Rose (golden plum), Navy Charcoal (navy charcoal grey), Gold Thread (deep golden copper), and Espresso (dark chocolate brown) eyeshadows; along with Grape (deep plum), Pink Bouquet (bright pink), Golden Topaz (golden bronze), and Paisley Rose (warm pink rose) lip glosses.

  • Ivory is a creamy muted white–it’s not too stark, but it’s not what I’d describe as beige, either. I’ve mentioned it before, but this color is routinely in Bobbi Brown’s palettes. This is a matte eyeshadow. It is also part of the permanent range.
  • Oyster Grey is a pale, frosted champagne. This is a metallic eyeshadow.
  • Antique Pink is a sheer, pink champagne.  I found the pigmentation on this shade to be underwhelming–it could use a boost.   This is a shimmer wash eyeshadow.
  • Quarry is a cool-toned muted brown with a white shimmer-sheen. This is a shimmer wash eyeshadow.
  • Taffeta is a softened bronze with golden sheen. This is a metallic eyeshadow.
  • Birch is a muted medium-dark brown–it has very subtle red undertones. This is a matte eyeshadow. It is also part of the permanent range.
  • Heather Rose is a plummy rose with bronze shimmer.  It is a touch sheer but only negligibly. This is a shimmer wash eyeshadow.
  • Navy Charcoal is a muted navy blue matte base with blue flecks of sparkle.
  • Gold Thread is a browned gold with a bright gold sheen. This is a metallic eyeshadow.
  • Espresso is a cool-toned, smoldering black-brown. This is a matte eyeshadow. It is also part of the permanent range.
  • Grape is a sheer plummy pink with plum and gold shimmer. This is a glitter lip gloss.
  • Pink Bouquet is a sheer medium rose pink. This is a glitter lip gloss.
  • Golden Topaz is a sheer beige nude with champagne shimmer. This is a glitter lip gloss.
  • Paisley Rose is a sheer peach-coral nude with faint champagne shimmer. This is a shimmer lip gloss.

Each regular eyeshadow is 0.02 oz.; metallic eyeshadow is 0.02 oz.; each shimmer wash eyeshadow is 0.02 oz.; shimmer lip gloss is 0.03 oz.; and glitter lip gloss is 0.03 oz. In sum, you are getting 0.08 oz. worth of regular eyeshadow ($20.00 value), 0.06 oz. of metallic eyeshadow ($12.00 value), and 0.06 oz. of shimmer wash eyeshadow ($15.00 value). For the gloss, you are getting 0.03 oz. worth of shimmer lip gloss ($4.30 value) and 0.09 oz. worth of glitter lip gloss ($12.86 value). There is also a lip brush and an eyeshadow brush, both functional and not too scratchy (nowhere near as soft as full-sized Bobbi Brown brushes, but they are decent), which I’d put at $10 of value. The palette contains $74.16 worth of product, but you do get 10 eyeshadows and 4 lip glosses (three lip glosses or three eyeshadows would run you right around ~$60 alone).

I really love that Bobbi Brown separates her eyeshadows and lip glosses; it’s not something we always see in palettes, but this brand often does it, and I can appreciate that. It’s just nice not having to worry about powder getting into your gloss products. I also like the inclusion of brushes over sponge-tipped applicators and wish more brands would do the same.

This is the kind of color palette I would expect from Bobbi Brown, and I think it does suit its name. If you’re after bright colors, this is obviously something quite different. However, this palette is excellent for creating work-safe looks as well as some heavier, smokier looks–but lighter, “safer” shades dominate and make it an easy palette for those needing work-friendly options on-the-go or all in one place. I did find that the pigmentation was a bit sheer in a few of the shades (indicated above), but overall, it’s a nice palette.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: At $75, I would want to make sure to purchase it (or gift it) to someone who would really enjoy and use the majority of the palette–not just for one or two shades, you know?

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Glitter Eyeliner
Bobbi Brown Glitter Eyeliner: Silver, Gold

Haven’t We Met Before?

Bobbi Brown Glitter Liquid Eyeliner ($20.00 for 0.05 oz.) are felt-tipped liquid liners available in both Silver (bright silver) and Gold (bright gold).

These have a thin, almost watery consistency that’s been soaked into a long, narrowed pen. As I’ve mentioned a few times now (ha, ha!), I like the liner for its long-wearing capabilities, but the applicator is also very easy to use. It’s flexible without being all over the place, and it’s thin enough to allow for precision. (For a more in-depth review, you may want to consider my MAC Superslick Liquid Eyeliners Review).

The liner reminds me of tube mascara, because when you use remover on it, it flakes off, rather than just simply dissolving. I did find that taking a shower (heat and humidity) made it easy for these to flake off IF you rubbed your eyes, but they would stay put otherwise. It does stay tacky for a few minutes, so while you can’t do much if you make a mistake other than starting again, it will feel tacky to the touch.

It’s a good liner, but this is the third time I’ve seen it in the past six months, so it has me raising my eyebrows halfway off my forehead. MAC’s still comes in as the cheapest ($17.50, and it’s actually 0.06 oz.), and they are also permanent.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: This liner formula that seems to have a lot of brands on board is certainly worth checking out, but what brand you choose is really more about personal preference as I have not observed any noticeable differences across the three brands I’ve tested thus far.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow
Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow

Benefit’s New Creaseless Cream Shadow Shades!

Benefit Cosmetics Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner ($19.00 for 0.16 oz.) are now available in four new, Sephora exclusive shades: Purple Snap (lavender violet), Silver Spoon (true silver), Tidal Rave (muted teal with gold shimmer), and Ice Shot (icy white). I have three of the four to share with you today.

I love Benefit’s Creaseless Cream Shadows — I actually gave them an award for best cream eyeshadow last year. They’re just so creamy, smooth, and apply beautifully. They can be applied sheerly for quick color or layered for a more intense look or as a base. I don’t experience any creasing–they last all day for me. And as someone who has owned many for over a year now, they aren’t prone to drying out in their jars, either.

I’m happy to report that these didn’t disappoint! They’re true to Benefit’s cream shadow formula with the creaminess and smoothness I’ve come to love. The colors are easily vibrant but just as easily used sheerly, which makes it a more versatile product.

  • Purple Snap is a brightened medium purple with softened red undertones. It has light violet micro-shimmer with a subtle sheen–not too frosty, but it’s not matte either.
  • Silver Spoon is a bright blue-tinged silver with a little mix of gray. The metallic finish is definitely there, but the bluish cast seems to dull it a bit (which isn’t a bad thing).
  • Tidal Rave is a darkened blue-teal base with green-gold shimmer. This is actually a really cool shade–very lovely–and pretty different from the rest of Benefit’s line-up. It has an almost duochrome nature to it. I was reminded me of MAC’s Surreal Eyeshadow (discontinued).

P.S. — Sephora lists Tidal Rave as Tidal Wave–but my box and bottom of the jar says Rave! So pfft!

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: I think Tidal Rave is the most unique shade of the three featured in this post–but I’m totally digging the bluish cast of Silver Spoon, too. It’s kind of like stainless steel over traditional bright silver!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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