Monday, October 18th, 2010


Illamasqua Resolute Liquid Metal

Illamasqua Art of Darkness: Resolute

Illamasqua Resolute Liquid Metal ($26.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a rusted, cranberry red with deep pink micro-shimmer. Liquid Metal is a cream product that is designed to highlight and create a “luminous glow.” It can be used anywhere–eyes, face, or body–so it could be used as a rather as a bit of a blusher, on the lips, or as an eyeshadow base. Those would be my top three uses, personally; some of the lighter shades in the Liquid Metal line would work well to highlight on the body, too, but I think this dark of a shade lends itself to the uses I listed.

I tried it on my eyes as a base with Illamasqua Ore on top, and it worked well. I didn’t have issues with creasing, but I think this product is emollient enough that those who are more prone to creasing may want to use an eyeshadow base underneath the cream, and then be sure to set with a powder eyeshadow, too. I just see potential creasing issues on those with oilier lids, because the product didn’t seem to dry very quickly and is rather creamy (which does make for easy blending!).

It was fun to wear on lips initially, but it has an odd texture–almost a little drying and powdery–so I don’t think it’s ideal for lip wear (especially if you have dry lips). I liked it best on the cheeks, because it was creamy enough to allow you to really blend it out and get the level of intensity you wanted but dried down and stayed for hours. No matter how you wear it, though, one swipe packs a lot of pigmentation.

I loved how metallic and shiny it looked, even when it seemed to dry in place, but it did take some work, and it may take a few practice runs to get it just right, too. I wouldn’t recommend using it as a cream eyeshadow for those with oily lids, because it will probably crease unless you really sheer it out. Given that they’re not exclusively for eyes but rather as a multitasking product, it definitely has multiple uses. I think it does best as a blusher, but so-so as an eyeshadow [base] and lip product.

The Glossover

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Resolute

There aren't a ton of creamy red bases out there, so you may still want to consider Resolute, if red is what you're after. I think this product is interesting, and the lighter shades may be more versatile, as you can really highlight with them on all parts of the body.
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Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Taking a Long, Windy Drive with Ocean Eyeshadow Duo

I really loved the coloring of Dolce & Gabbana’s Ocean Eyeshadow Duo ($36.00 for 0.17 oz.)  LOVED! ON SIGHT!  It’s a mix of lilac-periwinkle and dusty, navy blue.  And so I was greatly disappointed when my first attempt to use it proved as difficult as the Divine Eyeshadow Quad.   Instead, Ocean did this weird thing where it clumped up in spots and went really sheer in others.  I also packed on the color FIVE times before throwing up my makeup brushes in frustration.

AHH, AHH. I FOUND THE KEY. BURIED. LIKE TREASURE!

Oh, yes, I finally found the key to success with these more finicky eyeshadows, but I’m pretty frustrated at how I did find it–which was completely by accident.  I had the compact open by my bathroom sink, and I accidentally splashed water on it.  Since I was about ready to throw in the towel, and there was already a wet spot, I figured let’s try it–let’s dare to use it wet.  TA-DA! VOILA! LIGHTBULB FLASHFLASH!

I don’t typically use powder products wet unless I know it’s designed with that in mind, because some powder products will have a “wet spot” left behind, which just hardens and looks gross.  Mind you, I had previously called the Dolce & Gabbana counter at Saks NY and the artist on the phone said that these could not be used wet.

So I started to hunt around on the ol’ interweb to see if I could find more insight on using these eyeshadows wet, since it worked a treat.  Buried on the Dolce & Gabbana website–but only under the eyeshadow duos–within the “application” tab is a quote from Pat McGrath:  “Achieve multiple looks from a single colour: applied dry, the shadows appear softer and more transparent, but with a wet brush, they become opaque and intense.” This information doesn’t appear on Saks’ website nor under the eyeshadow quad area of Dolce & Gabbana’s website at all.

I’m sad to report that using the eyeshadows wet for the Divine eyeshadow quad I reviewed a few weeks ago didn’t do much for improving the color, but it did make the color apply more evenly and look smoother–so I did go back and amend the review briefly and raised the grade up two notches.

But I think what really killed me was that even though I called to ask, the artist (at least the one working that day) explicitly told me to NOT use these wet or else I would ruin the eyeshadow.  If I had paid for this, I don’t think I would have ever risked it.

The one problem I did encounter by using the duo wet was that it made it more difficult to blend out–you have to work really quickly, because once it dries, it sets and stays as vibrant as it went on initially, but it’s a pain to diffuse after that.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t mind using your eyeshadows wet, then I think this could be a really good duo–they’re two shades I feel like I don’t see that often.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Chanel Tentation Cuivree Eyeshadow Quad
Chanel Tentation Cuivree Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel Holiday 2010: Tentation Cuivree

Chanel Tentation Cuivree Eyeshadow Quad ($56.00 for 0.24 oz.) is new for holiday, and just like everything else in the collection, it is also limited edition. It’s a rather neutral quad with a smoky brown edge. I actually mean neutral in overall color scheme while the undertone is slightly warm but not much so.

The quad consists of a medium-dark cocoa brown with flecks of silver and bronze shimmer-glitter; softened champagne with a frost finish; high-shine light-medium pink with subtle yellow undertones; and a dark cocoa brown with flashes of molten bronze shimmer. Chanel’s eyeshadow quads can be used wet or dry (with no effect on the eyeshadows themselves), and the two lighter shades look about the same regardless, while both browns deepen. Funny enough, when used wet, the darkest brown seems to loses some of the copper flecks.

Overseas, the circular eyeshadow pans are the norm, while U.S. quads come in square pans typically. I’m not sure whether the change is just for holiday or going forward. I think I prefer the square pans; perhaps that pyramid shape lends it a bit of sophistication that the circular pans lack. It almost looks like a knockoff to me, but I imagine that’s also due to the fact that I’m not used to seeing it that way more than anything.

I don’t love this eyeshadow quad, and I don’t think it’s exactly the same in texture as other quads. It’s not quite as buttery or as smooth. I had some trouble with the medium brown swatching dry, though it sure came together when used wet. This quad is shimmer-heavy, with both of the brown shades having more of a micro-glitter effect than shimmer/sheen, so there is a touch of fall out, which I don’t usually associate with Chanel.

It’s nice but not knock-your-socks-off stunning. I like but don’t love, you know? The quality just isn’t quite there for me, and the abundance of shimmer and frost (and even a bit of glitter) came as a surprise. It’s worth taking a peek at, though!

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

RECOMMENDATION: I think warmer beauties will find it very easy to use and a good go-to for smoky brown looks. It will still be nice on cooler skin, but it may not feel quite as complimentary (if you find warmer browns go red on you, I’d skip this).

AVAILABILITY: Chanel

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Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Urban Decay Mary Jane Eyeshadow
Urban Decay Mary Jane Eyeshadow

Cool Down with Mary Jane!

Urban Decay Mary Jane Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a steely blue with a frost finish. It’s a pale, icy blue with a silver sheen–perfect for the cooler season and for brightening up eyes. Mary Jane has a very soft, smooth texture with rich pigmentation. Easily one of my favorite Urban Decay eyeshadows!  This is a stunning example of why Urban Decay’s eyeshadows are often listed as readers’ favorites–especially if you love yourself some color.

Edited: Fixed images!

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

RECOMMENDATION: For my cooler beauties, most definitely. For my warmer lovelies, still yes! It works well with silver and gray smoky eyes, but it can be worn with your favorite navy blues, too.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Monday, October 4th, 2010

Urban Decay Potion
Greed, Sin, Eden, Original

Urban Decay Little Sins Eyeshadow Primer Potion Set ($29.00) is new for the holidays and contains miniature sizes of the three existing Primer Potion varieties: Original (invisible), Eden (matte nude), Sin (shimmering champagne). It also contains a miniature size of a new and (currently) exclusive shade: Greed (pearly gold).

  • Greed is a shimmering slightly paled gold with definite yellow undertones. It’s not really an opaque base, and it’s not as pigmented of a base as Sin. It also has more of a shimmer than a frost base, unlike Sin. I think warm-toned beauties will find this works really well as a base as well as an all-over color for quick looks.
  • Sin is a beige-nude with a high frost sheen and champagne micro-shimmer.
  • Eden is a yellow-toned light nude with a matte finish.
  • Original is virtually invisible, though I’ve always found it has a slight shimmer to it.

I think one of the more frustrating marketing strategies that pops up during the holiday season is when a brand brings out one new, exclusive/limited edition shade amongst a set of several other permanent shades.  (And don’t get me wrong, many brands employ this strategy.)  I don’t want to have to buy the three other Primer Potions just so I can get Greed. This is how I end up with doubles or triples of certain eyeliners, pigments, etc. — none of which I’ve ever used up the original! I really do like Greed, though, so I’m crossing my fingers that Urban Decay releases it on its own.

I find that the Original Primer Potion has a tendency to crease on me after about seven hours, though Eden and Sin both seem to hold up better.  Greed didn’t give me any creasing problems after wearing it on three different occasions for over eight hours on each.

Each contains 0.13 oz., which means you’re getting 0.52 oz. of product in sum.  This translates to $55.77/oz. while a full-sized version ($18 for 0.34 oz.) goes for $52.94/oz.  It’s a nice opportunity for those who haven’t tried our the brand’s line of eyeshadow bases yet.  It may also be worth it for those who are devotees, because you’ll likely run through your tubes eventually and need replacements… ta-da.  Plus, the travel-sized versions may be more convenient for those treks to Mom and Dad’s house for holiday dinner.

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

RECOMMENDATION: It really depends on two things:  whether you have any of the full-sized versions and how badly do you want Greed?  (I suppose I should have said how greedy are you to have Greed…)

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Laura Mercier Sequin Eyeshadow
Laura Mercier Peacock Sequin Eyeshadow

How Much Shimmer Can You Handle?

Laura Mercier Sequin Eyeshadow ($22.00 for 0.09 oz.) are a shimmering, glittering formula of eyeshadow. It’s similar to Stila’s Jewel Palette, Urban Decay’s Stardusts, and Bobbi Brown’s Sparkle Eyeshadows. They all have this nearly creamy, slightly tacky, texture that’s chocked full of shimmer and glitter. It’s this new breed of glitter eyeshadow with a base that seems to hold the glittery bits together, so they don’t end up all over your face instead.

Laura Mercier’s Sequin Eyeshadows feel a little smoother, less glittery, but still incredibly shimmery. I found both shades I tried sheerer than Bobbi Brown’s (which are the most pigmented that I’ve tried), but infinitely more opaque than Urban Decay’s. Bobbi Brown’s are better bang-for-your-buck at $24/0.13 oz. but they’re both considerably more shadow than your average powder shade (I imagine this new glitter formula is heavier). However, neither of these shades are represented in Bobbi Brown’s line, so it’s more about what shade tickles your fancy.

  • Peacock is a darkened teal with a silver sheen and a gray base. It reminded me a bit of MAC’s Teal pigment, except more of a glittery finish than a frost.
  • Sterling is a silvery-white with a lilac sheen. Very icy and cool-toned–think MAC Vellum Eyeshadow. This one was sheerer than Peacock.

I was able wear these alone without any noticeable fallout throughout the day, but more importantly, they did not crease during the six hours I wore them.   I do prefer them over a base, just because it feels so bizarre not to use one!

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: The color range for the Sequin Eyeshadow line is still quite limited, with the brand seeming to release one or two shades with each seasonal collection.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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