Thursday, November 4th, 2010

MAC Cool Thrillseekers Pigments/Glitter Set
Pigments: Cheers My Dear, Mauvement, Silver Fog, Softwash Grey; Reflects Pearl Glitter

MAC Cool Thrillseekers Pigments/Glitter Set

Each pigment/glitter set includes four pigments and one glitter, each contains 0.09 oz. of product, according to the tin. The five glass vials are housed inside a tartan-decorated metal tin, and there is a plastic insert that keeps them standing together, but it’s removable, should you desire. I did find it curious that there were no inserts regarding uses (e.g. what’s eye/lip safe) in any of the sets, though.

This set includes: Cheers My Dear (pale violet), Mauvement (cool taupe with gold pearl), Silver Fog (platinum silver), Softwash Grey (grey with purple pearl), and Reflects Pearl (very fine particle white glitter with a pearl sheen).

  • Cheers My Dear is a pinked lilac with a frosted silver sheen. This is a new and limited edition shade to the set. It’s a cross between Pink Pearl and Kitschmas pigments–it’s not as cool-toned or as purple as Kitschmas, as it’s pinker, but it’s not nearly as pink or fuchsia as Pink Pearl.
  • Mauvement is a bronzy taupe with a mauve undertone and champagne sheen. This is a repromote.
  • Silver Fog is a bright silver with a nearly metallic shine. This is a PRO shade.
  • Softwash Grey is a cool-toned, blue-purple gray with a slight metallic sheen. This is a repromote.
  • Reflects Pearl is a glimmering silver-white glitter with no real color base. This is a permanent shade. I see this working more as a layering shade than alone, because it lacks a cohesive color base so it doesn’t hold together.

I think the pigment sets are a good value, and they’re always worth a peek if you’re into loose color or pigments. You’re getting 0.45 oz. of product for $32.50, while a single, full-sized pigment contains 0.15 oz. of product and retails for $19.50–essentially, this is $60 worth of pigments/glitters.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love smoky eyes, metallic finishes, or cool tones in general, this is a worthwhile set.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Cosmetics (November 4th/11th — check your local store for availability; I’m getting mixed reports)

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Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Hourglass Dune Eyeshadow Duo
Hourglass Dune Eyeshadow Duo

Still Loving Hourglass’ Visionaire Eyeshadow Duos

Hourglass Dune Eyeshadow Duo ($38.00 for 0.20 oz.) includes a champagne shimmer and deep olive shimmer eyeshadow. I picked up this shade during Sephora’s Friends & Family Sale, because I really love the texture of Hourglass’ eyeshadows–so smooth and buttery without being a powdery mess.

Dune has a shimmering gilded beige champagne with a metallic sheen accompanied by a darker, deeper, smoldering brown with flecks of green and copper shimmer.  Each eyeshadow was rich in pigmentation, applied flawlessly on the lid, and it was easy to blend them together.

Even though the price tag makes me cringe, keep in mind that you’re getting 0.20 oz. worth of product–MAC and Urban Decay eyeshadows are only 0.05 oz. ($14.50 and $17.00, respectively), while NARS Single Eyeshadows contain 0.07 oz. ($23.00).

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re in the market for an easy to use, high quality neutral eyeshadow duo, consider Dune.  At the very least, check out the Hourglass display next time you’re at Sephora.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

NARS Etrusque Eyeshadow
NARS Etrusque Eyeshadow

NARS Holiday: Etrusque

NARS Etrusque Eyeshadow ($23.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a rich, metallic true yellow gold with a flashy shimmering sheen.   Ooh, I’m all over it!  It’s similar to MAC’s Goldmine, but it has more depth, and the finish is more metallic-sheen than frosted-sheen.  The texture is phenomenal–soft, smooth, nearly buttery–with rich pigmentation.  This is easily NARS’ best gold eyeshadow to-date; finally, a gold eyeshadow that’s not also accompanied by flecks of glitter.

It’s a bit pricey for high-end eyeshadows, but it is a shade that actually merits the hype often accompanying NARS eyeshadows, not just in color, but in the texture and application.

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

RECOMMENDATION: Yes, yes, and yes if you love gold, though not the most unique shade ever, the texture is fab.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Monday, November 1st, 2010

Bobbi Brown Crystal Eye Palette
Bobbi Brown Crystal Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Holiday: Crystal Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Crystal Eye Palette ($45.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a newly released, limited edition holiday palette featuring four shades of eyeshadow:  Amethyst (deep violet), Diamond (light purple silver), Star (white silver), and Peacock (aqua green).

  • Amethyst is a deep reddened violet with soft sheen. It has a metallic finish. It had an incredibly soft, smooth texture, and it applied very opaquely.
  • Diamond is a purple-tinged silvery white with a frosted shimmer sheen. It has a shimmer wash finish. Like Amethyst, it was very smooth and packed a good amount of pigment.
  • Star is a semi-sheer silvery white–it is more white than silver. It has a sparkle finish. Though it has a glittery finish, it is still quite smooth, and I didn’t experience any fall out.
  • Peacock is a pop of aqua-green teal with flashes of green-gold shimmer-sheen. It has a metallic finish. It was pretty smooth, but a touch powdery. The pigmentation level was good but not as nice as Amethyst.

When it comes to value, it’s a wash–you get almost what you would expect based on a price/ounce comparison against full-sized, individual shades, but you do get to have four different shades for the price of about two individual shades. Bobbi Brown’s Metallic Eyeshadows go for $20.00 for 0.10 oz., Sparkle Eyeshadows for $24.00 for 0.13 oz., and Shimmer Wash Eyeshadows for $20.00 for 0.08 oz. This palette contains 0.20 oz. in total, but it’s not broken down per shade, so we’ll just assume it’s 0.05 oz. each. You’re getting $20.00 worth of Metallic Eyeshadows, $9.23 worth of Sparkle Eyeshadow, and $12.50 worth of Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow, for a total of $41.73–plus a miniaturized bristle-based brush.

I’m much more impressed by this palette than I was the Beauty Rules Palette.  The consistency of these eyeshadows is soft, smooth, and almost buttery with good pigmentation in nearly all four.  I also think these work together to create wintry cool-toned looks.  I would also like to give props to Bobbi Brown for including a real eyeshadow brush that’s usable!

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

RECOMMENDATION: I think it’s definitely a worthy item for your holiday wish list — especially if you like the texture and quality of Bobbi Brown’s eyeshadows but have always wanted a little more zip in the color department.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Saturday, October 30th, 2010

NARS Okinawa Trio Eyeshadow
NARS Okinawa Trio Eyeshadow

NARS Holiday 2010: Okinawa Trio Eyeshadow

NARS Okinawa Trio Eyeshadow ($45.00 for 0.17 oz.) contains three shades: (as described by NARS) silver, deep cobalt blue, and black onyx. According to Sephora’s description of this trio, the eyeshadows can be used wet to double as eyeliners.

The colors included in the trio are not unique, but they have a beautiful, smooth texture and rich, intense pigmentation that glides on with ease. There is a light silver-white with a frosted finish, medium-dark blue with subtle shimmer-sheen, and a medium-dark black with a satin sheen. These felt smoother and softer than the average NARS eyeshadow.

The silver has the largest portion, while the blue is about half the size and the black a third. It makes sense to have the black be such a thin strip, since you really do not need much black in most looks, but it may be too thin for those who use bigger brushes (say the MAC 252). It’s not a major drawback, as most eyeshadow brushes should be able to maneuver in there, but it was worth noting.

I’m not sure why this is a whopping $45, which is rather killer for a product like this, even for high end. A NARS Eyeshadow Duo contains 0.14 oz. of product and retails for $32, which makes the trio more per ounce (but a better value than the single eyeshadows). The quality is phenomenal, though!

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I wish this was priced more in line with NARS Eyeshadow Duos. If you do not have similar colors in your stash already, though, it’s worth taking a peek at.

AVAILABILITY: NARS, Sephora.com

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Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

MAC Tartan Tale Eyeshadows
MAC A Wish Come True Eyeshadow

MAC Tartan Tale: Eyeshadows

MAC Tartan Tale Eyeshadows ($19.50 for 0.10 oz.) are new and limited edition as part of the Tartan Tale Color Collection. These eyeshadows are twice the size of regular pressed MAC Eyeshadows (0.05 oz. vs. 0.10 oz.), and they are the same size pot as Mineralize Eyeshadows or Cream Colour Bases. Given the quantity, they’re actually a better value (when you look at price/quantity) than MAC’s normal eyeshadows.

The six limited edition shades include: A Wish Come True (dirty mauve with bubblegum pink Tartan striping), Enviably Fun (grass green with dark green Tartan striping), Follow Your Fantasy (mid-tone peach with chocolate Tartan striping), Golden Crown (light gold with bronze Tartan striping), Glamora Castle (dark grey with teal Tartan striping), and Semi-Precious (aubergine with chocolate Tartan striping).

I wish MAC included a better description of the product itself, because “dressed in a playfully tartan pattern finish” doesn’t tell me how I should expect these to perform. My experience with them is that they are a very soft, silky powder with decent color payoff. All of the colors seemed just a touch more muted when swatched than they looked in the pan.

I tried to remove the top layer with the tartan striping, so the swatches are of what was beneath the striping. Doing so also showed that the colored striping is only on the top layer, and the pattern itself doesn’t go all the way through.  You can see the shadow cut in half, over at BBB — thanks @mylipsbutbetter!

  • A Wish Come True is a softened pink with light plumminess and a frosted finish. It seems like a warmer pink to me. It’s a warmer Swish and a lighter and more muted Da Bling.
  • Enviably Fun is a soft chartreuse green with stronger golden sheen and yellow undertones. It’s similar to Juxt eyeshadow, but it’s brighter and greener–think Bitter and Juxt coming together.
  • Follow Your Fantasy is a soft medium orange with champagne shimmer-sheen. MAC doesn’t have a lot of orange eyeshadows, so there didn’t seem like there was anything similar in the permanent range. Paradisco would come the closest, but it is more coral.
  • Golden Crown is a gilded champagne gold with soft sheen. This one was the least pigmented of the six and gave more shimmer than heavy color. It’s like a sheerer, less yellow Goldmine.
  • Glamora Castle is a steel blue with silver sheen. This seemed a little less frosty than the others. It’s a bluer version of Surreal (without the duochrome). It’s also a less intense version of Urban Decay’s Money (a BoS III exclusive shade).
  • Semi-Precious is a brightened red plum with soft violet sheen. This was the most pigmented shade of the six. It is rather similar to both Hepcat and Plum Dressing.

I don’t think any of these shades really jumped out as being particularly new or original, and they seem rather soft and muted for fall–like I would expect to see this kind of soft, springy palette in spring/summer. I’m lukewarm on these; they’re soft and smooth, but a little powdery, and while they’re good, they’re not excellent.

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

RECOMMENDATION: Nice but not outstanding–if there’s a color that grabs you, I don’t think you’d be disappointed. They have a very soft, smooth texture.

AVAILABILITY: Online now, October 28th in-store

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