Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Beach Collection Shadows

Bobbi Brown Beach Collection: Long-Wear Cream Shadows

For summer, Bobbi Brown’s collection includes Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadows ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) in four new shades: Moonstone (pale shimmering green), Opal (opalescent pink), Pink Oyster (shimmering pink), and Surf (pale shimmering blue), as well as Long-Wear Cream Shadow ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) in Shore (pale nude).

  • Opal is an opalescent pinky-purple. It’s very sheer and light–it’s nice as an all-over wash on the lid. It could possibly be used as an eyeshadow base, too, since it’s more on the neutral side. Since the base almost feels and goes on clear, it looks glittery on the lid.
  • Surf is a cool-toned baby blue with a silver-white sparkle-sheen. It has a soft colored base, so it looks smoother on the lid compared to Opal and more metallic and less glittery. It’s not a deep blue, but it’s a lot more representative of the color it looks like in the pot, so it’s the color I would expect!
  • Shore is a creamy, matte beige. This is not an exciting color, but it’s incredibly versatile. It can be used to brighten up lids a bit, but it can be used as an eyeshadow base, too. It’s neutral and easy-to-use, particularly because of the matte finish.

I’m actually not a huge fan of Bobbi Brown’s Metallic Long-Wear Eyeshadows — they’re just incredibly sheer and more glittery than metallic. I reviewed a few shades earlier, when they first launched. I still wish they had more of a metallic finish, because they do feel more on the glittery side. The Metallics have an almost wet feel to them–it’s a thinner creamy consistency with a wet feel and applies very smoothly and evenly without any trouble (better than the other three I tried!). They also last all day without creasing or budging or fading.

I prefer the texture, feel, and color pay off of the original Long-Wear Eyeshadows for sure. I think having a couple of the Metallics can be fun, but they’re not as versatile as the more opaque ones. Like the Metallics, the original Long-Wear Eyeshadows last all day without budging, smudging, or fading.  I just don’t think the Metallics are nearly as versatile or as multi-tasking as the original ones, which are more pigmented and very, very smooth.

Because these are two different products, I’m not going to give out an overall rating for all three.  Instead, I’m going to break it down between the two — for Metallics, they work really well in terms of staying power and not creasing, but the color payoff is sheer and not buildable as purported, so they’re more of a B product for me.  They’re better than the first ones I tried, because I do think these have a smoother finish and are truer-to-color in the pot.  Shore, on the other hand, has excellent pay off and quality, so it’s much more of an A- product and shade.

RECOMMENDATION: Shore is an excellent neutral base that works well and looks great. It’s something that doesn’t inspire excitement, but it’s a very useable product. The Metallics don’t grab me and neither shade gets me any closer to loving them at the moment.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Illamasqua Furore Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Furore

Illamasqua Furore Pure Pigment ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a gorgeous shade of gilded, muted copper-bronze. It’s really a beautiful color that can be used as a loose highlighter dusted on cheeks or decolletage or used wet as an easy all-over lid color or as an eyeshadow base for neutral and bronzy looks.

I thought I had reviewed a Pure Pigment before, but apparently I never got around to it, other than this brief rant in a look I used it in originally. The first Pure Pigment I tried was Static, which was a gorgeous color, but the texture wasn’t very smooth (even when used wet) and the packaging drove me batty.

Furore has a much, much nicer texture. It’s almost like night and day! It’s smooth, soft, and really melts together when used wet. The packaging is still the same — very bulky and it’s easy for the pigment to poof out, but I definitely noticed less “poof” than I had previously. I didn’t end up with more on my counter than my eye with Furore.

The worst part about Pure Pigments is the size. It’s a mere 0.04 oz. That’s tiny. That’s almost ridiculous when compared with MAC Pigments (even with the size reduction, they’re still 0.15 oz–almost 4 times the size). Make Up For Ever’s pigments also vary between 0.07 and 0.09 oz. No, you don’t need a lot, so it’s hard to imagine really going through even the 0.04 oz. particularly quickly, but I really can’t believe how little you get.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t mind the small quantity you get, then Furore is a fantastic neutral shade. It’s not too bronzy or frosty–it’s kind of like a cross between a metallic and frost, but it’s not too much. I can see it working as a very versatile shade.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

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Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Urban Decay Gunmetal Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Eyeshadow:  Two Minutes with Gunmetal

Urban Decay Gunmetal Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a dark gray base with a deep silver sheen. It’s very much the color of gunmetal.  I like that it’s not overly frosty or shimmery–it’s definitely more of a frost finish than anything else, but it’s not over the top.  It reminds me of MAC’s Silver Ring Eyeshadow, actually, but not quite as dark.  Gunmetal has a soft, smooth texture with rich pigmentation from the start.  No need to go back for seconds and thirds–one swipe is really all you need with this shade.

This is an excellent silver-gray for a traditional smoky eye.  You could use this all over the lid, then apply a touch of matte black in the crease to darken and smoke.  Quick, easy, and totally sultry!

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

Recommendation:  If you’ve been in the market for a silver/gray for smoky eyes, Gunmetal is definitely a worthy contender!  The texture is every bit of what you’d expect from Urban Decay without being too frosty and not at all glittery.

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

NARS Pro-Prime:  Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base

NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base ($24.00 for 0.26 oz.) is much-needed primer addition to NARS’ core range. In addition to the eyeshadow base, NARS also launched their Pro-Prime Face Prep ($30.00) (which, at this time, I am not planning to review).

I picked up a sample tube of the primer with a recent Sephora order, and the sample tube allowed me about four or five uses. From the images I’ve seen online, the packaging is similar–just a longer tube for the full-size version. They both have a doe-foot applicator (like the kind you see in lipgloss). It has an incredibly thin, slightly creamy consistency. When applied, it looks white on the applicator, but it is virtually colorless. This colorlessness is actually my only–albeit marginal and nitpicky–complaint.

It’s so colorless, even from the get-go, that it is difficult to determine where you’ve applied the primer. This makes covering the entire lid a little more difficult than when one would use a colored, even subtly so, primer. I’ve noticed that if I’ve missed an area, that area will look duller and flake, since there is no primer there. The problem is just it’s really difficult to tell if you’ve missed an area!

Aside from that, if you’ve covered your entire lid, it works really well. It lives up to all the claims NARS makes about it: lightweight, extends the wear, smooths the surface, and maximizes color. I didn’t experience any budging, smudging, creasing, or migration when I used this as a primer underneath my eyeshadows. It is a clear, matte primer that merely smooths over the lid and acts to hold and bond all the eyeshadow together. Colors definitely didn’t look muted at all, and they held their intensity throughout the day.

NARS Smudgeproof is most comparable to Urban Decay Primer Potion and Too Faced Shadow Insurance. The consistency is very similar–they are all very thin and a little creamy.  However, NARS definitely feels more velvety once it dries–which is very quickly.  They are all nearly colorless, though NARS is definitely truly colorless–UDPP has a slight nude tone to it and TFSI even less nude. I’ve always found that UDPP seemed to have a slight shimmer to it, and NARS is completely matte (which is a good thing, if you want to keep your matte eyeshadows matte!). Of course, the major difference between the two is the price — UDPP goes for $18 for 0.34 oz. while NARS is $24 for 0.26 oz and TFSI is $17 for 0.35 oz.

Between the three, I’d actually go NARS. I really didn’t think I’d like it more than the other two, but I would. One of the issues I have with TFSI is the product can separate a bit in the tube. I do really like that you can squeeze out what you need and easily apply with a brush. Both NARS and UDPP have doe-foot applicators, but NARS is a simple tube, so it’s not nearly as wasteful as UDPP is. I’ve never finished a bottle of primer in my life, so even if $24 is a higher upfront cost, I really don’t see it not being worth the investment, since a tube should last you many, many uses.

Fun Fact: Ironically, since I revisited my TFSI review, which was made back in 2008–OMG!–TFSI, at the time, was $1 more than UDPP, which was $16.  The whole point?  UDPP has raised its price $2 in two years and is now more expensive than TFSI.

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

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a lightweight, colorless eyeshadow primer that stays on all day without budging, smudging, or fading, you may want to give NARS Smudgeproof a try.

Availability: Sephora

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Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

MAC Barelash Pro Longlash

MAC Nude: Barelash Pro Longlash Mascara

MAC Barelash Pro Longlash Mascara ($13.00) is a nude-beige shade in the Pro Longlash formula. I definitely got length without spikiness, but the formula is on the drier side, so it has a tendency to clump if you don’t work quickly. On my lashes, it seemed to give me beige tips, but the root and most of the lash length was only a muted gray or else still a black-brown.

I have Pro Longlash in the black shade, so I’m definitely going to make sure to do an official review of that soon, but the formula can be difficult to work with such a short drying time.  It lengthens well, and it doesn’t clump unless you work slowly.  I also experienced no smudging, budging, or flaking while wearing this over eight hours.   The brush is also small enough that it’s very easy to get to all the lashes from root to tip, including lower lashes.

Official description: Goes the distance. Makes lashes luxuriously long and silky: no spikes! Luxury and longitude in a pro-proven formula. Accelerates lashes into length, smooth and fast. Smooth silky finish. Wears long (all day!) Go the distance: bat-a-lash!

I tried to layer mascara on top of it, and it seemed to amp up colored mascara a bit, but it doesn’t work so well, since it dries quite quickly. I’ve had better results with a mascara primer, because they stay wetter longer and don’t require as many coats to mute your natural lash shade.

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Barelash gives decent length and stays on without smudging or flaking off during the day, but the shade itself is a bit odd to work with (particularly since it’s hard to work with colored mascara on top of the dry formula), so I don’t think most customers would have a good use for it.

Availability: MAC PRO

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Monday, May 31st, 2010

NYX Blonde Pearl Eyeshadow

NYX Ultimate Pearl Eyeshadow in Blonde Pearl

NYX Blonde Pearl Ultimate Pearl Eyeshadow ($7.00) is a brightened yellow gold with a soft frost finish. It’s nicely pigmented, and it has a very smooth, silky finish. Blonde Pearl is part of a new eyeeshadow formula packed with more shimmer for “a soft, shimmery, iridescent look.” The last NYX eyeshadows I tried were among their Trios, and the Pearl formula definitely has a smoother, more finely milled feel to it. It doesn’t have any powdery-ness. I did find that when used with a brush, it will diffuse a little, but it stays true-to-color for the most part.

It’s a good eyeshadow, and for the price–as compared to high end alternatives–it’s a bargain. Compared to other NYX eyeshadows, I’m not sure they’re significantly better than their singles ($5.50). The $7 price tag for a single eyeshadow seems a little steep for a brand known for their affordability. Blonde Pearl reminds me a lot of MAC’s Goldmine eyeshadow, though, so it’s a nice, slightly more affordable alternative.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For a more affordable alternative to high-end eyeshadow, NYX’s Pearl formula is still worth checking out, but it may not be significantly better than other NYX shadows.

Availability: NYX

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