Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Milani Infinite Liquid Liner

Long-wearing Liquid Liner with Milani Infinite

Milani Infinite Liquid Liner ($5.99 for 0.17 fl. oz.) is a long-wearing liquid liner that is available in five shades (and new for spring): Infinite (blue), Endless (purple), Eternal (green), Forever (brown), and Everlast (black). I test drove three of the five shades (but I’ll be reviewing the other two later down the line, not to worry!) over the past few weeks, and I gotta say, these hold up to their name!

  • Eternal is a medium grassy-green with yellow undertones, gold sheen, and a metallic finish. It reminded me of MAC Lucky Green Eyeshadow, but in a liquid liner format. It’s just a smidgen greener than MAC Greenplay Liquidlast.
  • Infinite is a bright medium blue with a slightly metallic finish/sheen. It’s a dead ringer for MAC Blue Herizon Liquidlast–total dupe.
  • Everlast is a matte, flat black. It’ll apply quite glossy initially, but once it dries down, it will be a flat, but intense, black. I don’t own MAC Point Black Liquidlast, but from the swatches I’ve done of it in the past, the two should be incredibly interchangeable.

The good: These will wear and wear and wear. They won’t budge or smudge until you’re ready to take them off. They’re also water-resistant and crease-proof, so they’re perfect for summer days spent at the beach, ocean, or pool. The shade range has two more everyday/wearable shades (Forever and Everlast) and three “fun” shades (Endless, Eternal, and Infinite), so it’s a nice mix. I, of course, would love to see Milani expand the color range–I want to see some teals, pinks, duochrome kind of colors.

The bad: They can take awhile to dry if you apply too heavily. If you apply a thin layer, drying time is around twenty to thirty seconds, but if you go thicker, you’re looking at over a minute. I found they stayed wet a little long for my personal preference, but once I was aware of it, it wasn’t an actual issue when I used them. The brush itself is a little on the large side, which made it difficult to apply straight from the tube, so I did opt to use a thin, angled brush to apply it instead.

Taking them off can be a challenge if you’re not used to incredibly long-wearing makeup, but I found that a good oil-based remover like Lancome’s Bi-Facil or shu uemura’s cleansing oil did the trick. I like Bi-Facil on a cotton swab, because it allows me to get everything off in just one swipe.

These are very, very similar to MAC’s Liquidlast Liners–from the shades themselves to how well they wear. Liquidlast Liners run a bit thicker (but not actually thick) than Milani’s Infinite, which feels kind of thin, but the pigmentation is the same on both. Liquidlast Liners retail for $17.50 a pop for 0.085 fl. oz. while Infinites retail for $5.99 a pop for 0.17 fl. oz. (That’s a third of the cost for twice the product!)

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: 3/5

Recommendation: If you love liquid liner and want one that keeps on going long after the sun goes down, Milani offers a truly long-wearing product. Oh, and if you love MAC Liquidlast Liners, then I think you’d love these, too!

Availability: Milani

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Urban Decay Chronic Eyeshadow

Going Green with Urban Decay, Part 1

Urban Decay Chronic Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a near-matte grass green shade.  What’s interesting about the matte formula is that you can see little specks of shimmer/glitter, but when you use it (whether just to swatch or on the lid), none of the shimmer/glitter shows up.   It’s almost like a very, very near-matte eyeshadow with perhaps the slightest pearl sheen.   I used it a couple of weeks ago in my St. Patrick’s Day look, and I really found it surprisingly easy to work with.  It blended nicely, and it didn’t look chalky at all (which is often an issue with matte textures) nor was it dusty.  I also got a good level of color intensity without having to pack on the eyeshadow, and with a color like that, I’m definitely looking for that richness of color.

I actually think the packaging is well-done, too.  I feel like the case goes above and beyond the typical eyeshadow compact, because Urban Decay makes it uniquely theirs.  It’s functional without being flimsy or cheap, but it still looks fun and totally fits with the brand’s image.  Of course, I’d love Urban Decay to sell empty palettes and allow you to customize your own, but they do put out eyeshadow palettes throughout the year, so there is always that, I suppose!

I do want to say that I haven’t tried any of the other shades in this formulation, so my review is truly for this shade only! The Matte Eyeshadow formula is also available in: ABC Gum (pale peach), Cult (eggplant), Electric (electric blue), Foxy (light neutral), Heist (dusty purple), Illegal (smoky rose), Naked (buff nude), Narcotic (bright turquoise), Perversion (jet black), Purple Haze (bright purple), Revolver (stone gray), Secret Service (medium brown), Shakedown (taupe), and Yeyo (powder white).

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: 5/5

Recommendation:  If you love colorful, matte textures for your eyeshadows, Urban Decay’s Chronic was a pleasant surprise!

Availability: Urban Decay

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Laura Mercier Zen Palette

Going Zen with Laura Mercier for Spring

Laura Mercier Zen Face Palette ($60.00) is a new-for-spring (into summer!) palette that includes one blush, four eyeshadows, and four lip glazes housed in a metal-rimmed palette with a cushy, dusty blue cover.

I was surprised at how much I liked the palette packaging, but I thought it was cute without being cheesy. It’s definitely apropos for spring! The palette also feels sturdy, weighty, but it doesn’t feel bulky, so I like the slimness and overall shape of it. I also LOVED! that they included a little plastic sheet with the names printed on top so you knew what product was what. Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out in a palette!

Eyeshadows

  • Willow is a soft, pastel green with yellow undertones and a silvery shimmer. It has a bit of a frostier finish. It almost seemed un-Laura Mercier-like to me, just because it was such a nice pop of color, though it is a light pop of color!
  • Haze is a powder blue with silver shimmer. It’s more of a satin finish, less frost, in comparison to Willow.
  • Wisteria is a browned plum with a frosty sheen. It’s quite pigmented and smooth.
  • Midnight Jade is a darkened, grayed teal with a pearly sheen and just a light dusting of shimmer. I found this shade to be the least pigmented out of the four, but it still had decent pigmentation.

Blush

  • Plum is a very rosy plum shade. It’s less purple plum as it is red-plum. It has a low-level pearly sheen that’s very, very subtle. There’s no obvious shimmer here!

Lip Glazes

  • Black Currant is a brownish red that goes on very sheerly and has a glossy sheen.
  • Lotus Bloom is a sheer tinge of pinky-red with flecks of red shimmer.
  • Stone Beige is a creamier, semi-sheer nude beige with subtle gold shimmer.
  • Peach Blossom is an orange-y peach cream with a high gloss finish.

The good: It’s a fun palette with a good range of eye colors to give you a few new looks for spring. The pigmentation is pretty good (Midnight Jade needs to be layered for better pigmentation, though), and the texture is smooth, soft, and applies evenly. I like that there’s a good variety of colors in the lip glazes as well, because it gives you a lot of ways you can mix and match. I also think the packaging is fun, travel-friendly, and classy.

The bad: Palettes that mix powders and creams (or glazes, in this particular case) are not my favorite, because sometimes the powder finds its way into the creams, which is kind of gross. For most, it’s probably not a deal-breaker, but it’s something I thought I should mention. I don’t think the Plum blush is the most suitable for the palette–it almost seems too dark for this palette. I think it could work, but I’m not totally sold on it being the best match here.

There’s one thing I noticed right at end: there are no brushes!  It’s almost curious and yet I’m not displeased that they didn’t include them.  I know some think for the price that they should have, but I never find myself using those brushes that are included in palettes.  I always find them so inferior to my normal brushes and much prefer to take my brushes with me when I travel (even if it’s just a few), so it’s more of a neutral to me.  It just depends on your preference!

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

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

Recommendation: If you like Laura Mercier’s eyeshadows and have always wanted a little more color, you might enjoy the way she’s played with color in this spring palette. I think cooler skin tones will find this especially flattering, as most of the shades tend to be on the cooler end of the spectrum.

Availability: Nordstrom

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Make Up For Ever #9L Aqua Eyes Liner

Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Liner:  #9L

Make Up For Ever #9L Aqua Eyes Liner ($17.00) is a pale gold with a high sheen. While it does have shimmer, it doesn’t look like it–much more like a sheen. It’s a nice shade to use in conjunction with blues, browns, greens, and teals. I don’t have a liner quite this color from other brands, because it’s not quite a true gold–it’s more like a golden yellow, where it looks more yellow than gold. It’s much paler, lighter, and yellower in comparison to Urban Decay’s Honey Liner.

I love the Aqua Eyes formula because it really does what it’s supposed to! It’s a long-wearing eyeliner that’s waterproof that won’t migrate to anywhere you didn’t apply it. You can smudge it if you want, but it’ll set after a few minutes and stay put. I also like that they have such a wide shade range available (25 colors available on Sephora!), because who doesn’t want to collect them all? (And I know some of you have the Aqua Eyes Collector Set… I’m totally jealous!)

The only thing I could think of to improve the formula is to make it just the tiniest bit creamier.  They’re not stiff or hard on the eyes at all, but I’ve found that I definitely prefer more of the ultra glide-on creaminess of liners like Urban Decay.  I keep my Urban Decay and Make Up For Ever eyeliners separate from all my other eyeliners–and I’m constantly reaching for one of the two!

What’s your favorite shade of Aqua Eyes?

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:  If you need a long-wearing eyeliner, Aqua Eyes has an incredible formula that really holds up well for all-day-long wear.  They’re easy to use, come in a variety of shades, and look fantastic on.  Maybe #9L isn’t your cup of tea–but surely one of the other 25 is!

Availability: Sephora

See swatch! Continue reading →

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Collection
Bronze Goddess Liquid Eyeshadow: Aqua Flash, Ultra Violet, Molten Bronze, Sand Shimmer

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Collection: Bronze Goddess Liquid Eyeshadow

Bronze Goddess was definitely one of the first summer-esque collections to release (with Guerlain’s Terracotta right on its heels!). Each year, Estee Lauder launches Bronze Goddess and while there are certainly near-staple products released (bronzers and the like), they also create a makeup collection around the theme.

This year includes Exotic Bronzing Blush ($35, reviewing later!), Wild Orchid Pure Color Nail Lacquer ($18), Wild Coral / Wild Orchid Exotic Lip Gloss ($18), Luminous Liquid Bronzer ($28.50), and Liquid Eyeshadow ($17.50). Of course, all of those products listed above are, the ever-dreaded, limited edition. I am/was most excited for the Liquid Eyeshadows, because I was very curious to see Estee Lauder do some COLOR!

Liquid Eyeshadow ($17.50)

  • Aqua Flash is a shimmering aqua-blue. It’s like tropical island ocean blue–not quite blue, but not a true aqua, either. Yes, take me away to paradise, Estee Lauder… who knew!
  • Ultra Violet is a shimmering, near metallic violet purple with red shimmer and undertones.
  • Molten Bronze is a metallic coppered bronze with ultra fine gold shimmer.
  • Sand Shimmer is a muted, gilded gold shimmered champagne-gold metallic shade.

The good: Estee Lauder described the new Liquid Eyeshadow as a “[f]eatherweight liquid shadow [that] delivers maximum metallic impact in one stroke.” Count me among the skeptical when it comes to Estee Lauder and vibrant pops of color–but I am always happy to be wrong on this kind of thing! These are surprisingly true-to-color and quite pigmented.

They can be layered for complete opaque intensity or sheered out by blending with either your finger or a brush (try something fluffy with synthetic bristles) for more of a wash (Sand Shimmer works particularly well for a quick one-color-and-you’re-done kind of look). One stroke is pigmented, but to blend it out and cover the lid, you may find that layering works better to obtain truly opaque color–I personally like that you can sheer it out as it makes it a more versatile product, particularly when using it as an eyeshadow base.

No budging, fading, or creasing when I wore Aqua Flash on one eye and Sand Shimmer on the other. (It was a totally happening look, no joke!) They wear well and look stunning. I find I can apply and blend shadows on top and use these as bases, too–because I am incapable of wearing just one product on my eyes…  You can also take an angled eyeliner brush and swipe it across the doe-foot applicator to use the color as an eyeliner!

The packaging is simple: clear tube with a “gold” metal cap with “Bronze Goddess” emblazoned across the tube in gold. The pricing is right on target, if almost on the lower end of what I’d expect.

The bad: I really can’t think of anything bad to say about these. More colors? Make them permanent? They meet every expectation I have in a good liquid eyeshadow: blendable, creamy, crease-resistant, long-wearing, and pigmented. I suppose if we’re being nit-picky, perhaps the shimmer/metallic finish of these is not universally appealing, but they’re supposed to be that way, so… not a true negative but a preference!

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: Those who love their metallics and shimmers in vibrant colors may need to take a little detour at their local Estee Lauder counter. Rich colors done well that wear as well as they look make it easy to recommend these if you’re on the hunt for something fun for summer. My favorite shade would be Aqua Flash, but I think the most wearable shade is Sand Shimmer.

Availability: Estee Lauder, Nordstrom

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Givenchy Pardas'Eyes Liner

Givenchy New Impressions Collection: Parad’Eyes

Givenchy Parad’Eyes Eye Liner ($27.00 for 0.1 oz.) includes two new shades as part of Givenchy’s New Impressions Collection for Spring 2010. The two shades are…

  • Mauve Impression (8) is more pink than move. It’s a clear base with lots of shimmering pink sparkle. It’s very pretty and spring-y, but it didn’t show up mauve at all on me! Sephora described the shade as “metallic lilac,” which is a little easier to get behind than “Mauve.”
  • Nude Impression (9) is a metallic bronze with champagne and bronze shimmer. Like Mauve Impression, it seems like a clear base with colored shimmer rather than a colored base.

The Parad’Eyes Eyeliners come in square tubes with predominantly black packaging with the bottom of the top with Givenchy’s logo in blue and the bottom of the product in a bronzy-gold and the label. I find that these liners do stay on well, once they dry (which takes a little longer than the average liquid liner), but with these being more glitter/shimmer based, they look best layered over a solid-colored liner. These can also be fun on lashes for a little extra bling-bling over mascara. They stay on without budging or flaking, but they may be a little pricey just for a glitter/shimmer eye liner!

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

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

Recommendation: If you love a bit of added sparkle to your spring look, these certainly will do the trick! They’re sheer enough to be versatile and universal, but they have plenty o’ bling to give you that glitz and glam. They’re on the pricey side, though in line with high-end prices, so they may be more of an indulgence. Both shades should work nicely on both cool and warm skin tones, because neither is so warm/cool–though naturally Nude pairs the best with warmer skin tones and Mauve with cooler skin tones.

Availability: Sephora

See swatches & photos! Continue reading →