Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Black Cocoa Metallic Eyeshadow
Bobbi Brown Black Cocoa Metallic Eyeshadow

Try a Little Warm Cocoa for Fall

Bobbi Brown Black Cocoa Metallic Eyeshadow ($20.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a rich, chocolate brown with flecks of pale gold, gold, and copper shimmer. It has such a smooth texture with incredible color pay off that really just looks luxurious when worn. This shade would work well for a brown smoky eye as well as smudged on the lower lash line to add warmth to the eyes. I love this on warmer beauties, though it has that blackened cocoa laced with the warmer brown, so it could also be worn by those on the cooler side, too.

I also love that $20 will get you 0.10 oz. of eyeshadow–double the amount of most single shadows! This particular shade launched with Bobbi Brown’s Black Velvet Collection, but it is permanent to the line.

What are your favorite Bobbi Brown eyeshadows?

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a fan of warmer, chocolate browns and enjoy yours with shimmer, Black Cocoa makes an excellent choice!

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Divine Eyeshadow Quad
Dolce & Gabbana Divine Eyeshadow Quad

Dolce & Gabbana Divine Eyeshadow Quad ($59.00 for 0.16 oz.) looks like a beautiful, elegant mix of feminine colors that seem neutral–not too cool, not too warm.  I’ve always liked Dolce & Gabbana’s eyeshadows in the past (like Dazzling, Gold, Laguna), and I really haven’t had trouble with application of them.

In addition to having trouble with this palette, I also found similar issues with Ocean eyeshadow duo (also from fall, to be reviewed separately).  I thought perhaps it was due to my usage of NARS’ Smudgeproof as a base, so I tried Urban Decay’s Primer Potion, and I experienced the exact same issues:  sheer, faded colors that looked lovely at first but seemed to fade away as quickly as I applied them; slight muddying of color when blended.  It’s like there was nothing to bind the shadow to my lid, despite the eyeshadow base.

The best solution I was able to come up with was to use a shimmery, white gold cream shadow base (Shiseido Lemon Sugar).  Cream bases can sometimes be more adhesive, which can help softer or more difficult shadows stay on better, and shimmery bases always seem to emphasize colors in my experience.   It’s better–decent to just below good–but it’s not fabulous.

Divine consists of a barely-there beige with a subtle cool tone; medium mauve-tinged beige; frosted cotton candy pink; and darkened blue-toned purple with a semi-matte finish.  After using the quad in three look attempts, the lightest shade was my favorite, because it worked really well as a highlighter on my skin tone.  Though the pink shade swatches the best, it is the worst performer of the bunch, because despite its brightness in the swatch, it looks faded and flat on the lid.  The other three shades are more on the matte/satin side, so they already have a softer look and don’t fall flat when used.

I’m also mildly amused that the Eyeshadow Duos contain 0.17 oz. of product for $36, while the quads hold 0.16 oz. and go for $59.  This quad was a total miss for me, and I really wanted to love it.  It’s stunning when you first open the compact, but it’s such a let-down in practice.  Nothing will get a product onto my skip list faster than requiring me to give it three tries just to yield decent results.  As they say, three strikes and you’re out!

I mentioned it previously, but the nude shades worked just fine; they’re soft, smooth, and apply the same.  I don’t think they’re going to work well on anyone that’s medium-dark to dark in skin tone–they’re just going to be way too light and look chalky rather than subtle.  These shades would work well on light to medium skin tones for a contoured nude eye.  So in a sense, half the palette is… palatable (ha, ha).  I already spoke on the pink shade, and the purplish shade is so-so; it applies smoothly, but it seems to go sheer and fade pretty quickly.

Edited 10/01: Despite calling the Saks’ Dolce & Gabbana counter and being told not to use these eyeshadows wet or else I would ruin them, I did use them wet–it did solve a lot of smoothness/evenness of the eyeshadows on the lid, though the colors were still a bit faded and flat.  I changed the product grade from 20 to 23 as a result, which raised the overall grade from a C- to a C+.  A new issue, as a result of using them wet, was a bit of difficulty in blending out the darker shade.

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  • Product: 23/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I’d rather get two lipsticks for the price of one eyeshadow quad. (I have reviewed many of Dolce & Gabbana’s lipsticks with happy results!)

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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Monday, September 20th, 2010

Guerlain 2 Place Vendome Eyeshadow Palette
Guerlain 2 Place Vendome Eyeshadow Palette

Is this palette worth $84?

I know that it probably sounds funny, but after reviewing and being disappointed by Guerlain’s Rue de Francs Bourgeois Eyeshadow Palette, I felt the need to determine whether the palettes were a miss in general or perhaps just that particular combination was underwhelming. I decided to go with Guerlain’s 2 Place Vendome Eyeshadow Palette ($84.00 for 0.25 oz.), which is one variation that seemed to stand out more than the others (to me).

The palette includes six eyeshadows in varying shapes and sizes.  It’s housed in a beautiful compact with a filigree pattern on the cover that’s actually see-through.  There’s a black plastic piece that lifts open to reveal the eyeshadows themselves (and on the inside, there is a mirror).  A dual-ended miniaturized brush is also included, and while not something I’d use under regular circumstances, is nicer than many other palette applicators I’ve come across.

This is a rather cool-toned palette, which would make it most suitable for those who lean cool, but it’s still wearable on warmer skin tones, since they’re closer to neutral than very cool.  There is a pale white-beige with a satin finish, muted gray-brown with a satin finish, medium-dark ocean blue with soft sheen, antique gold with a hint of taupe base and frosted shimmer, cool-toned charcoal brown with a semi-matte finish, and darkened purple-black with flecks of violet shimmer over a semi-matte color base.

I think the pigmentation on the eyeshadows is nice overall, but it’s not rich and intense and luxe to me.  I really don’t get the luxury feel from the texture, but these shades are more impressive in their subtle nuances than in Rue de Francs Bourgeois.  I’m not keen on the level of pigmentation in the lighter brown shade, which is a little sheer; though the charcoal-brown shade appears sheer when swatched, it applies just fine with a brush on the eyes (say in the crease).

I’m still not as wow-ed as I’d like to be with these palettes, and while the palette’s case is most assuredly gorgeous, the eyeshadows don’t quite match it.  The texture could be finer, richer — I think this is what makes me go, “Hmm, I want to like you, but it’s not quite there,” because they don’t feel as buttery as Guerlain’s singles, duos, and quads’ eyeshadows do.  I do like that these have nearly no fall out, and they do apply very smoothly and evenly.

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

RECOMMENDATION:

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Urban Decay Urb Eyeshadow
Urban Decay Urb Eyeshadow

The Hue of Sage Green

Urban Decay Urb Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a sage green with antique gold glitter flecks. It’s a very smooth shade that’s pigmented but the color itself is softer, so it’s not a bright or intense shade of green. I love the slight golden sheen that’s in the finish.

Urban Decay described it as a “metallic celedon green with glitter,” which should immediately alert you to the fact that this is a glittery shade. It will have some fall out. My experience with Urb is that the fall out is significantly less than some of the most egregious: Midnight Cowboy Rides Again.

If you want a more satin finish shade, you could try Make Up For Ever’s #34 Eyeshadow instead.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If it weren’t for the inevitable fall out that Urban Decay’s glitter shades are prone to, I’d really love this shade. The color itself is beautiful, and the soft flecks of glitter are lovely–when they stay on the lid.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Saturday, September 18th, 2010

NARS Palladium Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
The Culprit

Do you ever get angry at your beauty products?

Back in July, I first tried out NARS Palladium Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) in this look, and I really LOVED how everything came together, but of course, it was only a matter of time–fifteen minutes in fact–that this was creasing and melting into an eyeshadow catastrophe.

I was actually rather frustrated with it creasing so quickly, but I was angry with the product itself. Why? Because it was BEAUTIFUL! Palladium is a gorgeous shimmering aqua-teal with flashes of aqua-blue glitter strewn through. It even applied very smoothly to the lid, despite its grittier texture (from the glitter). I don’t like to be made to look like a fool, because I gave Aigle Noir a rather positive review (B, and while it creased without shadow on top, I had no issues using it underneath eyeshadow) [editor's note: revised grade to D- due to brand's marketing claims], and this shade creases like nothing else–alone, with shadow, over a base!

The only use I found for this product was as an eyeliner. Surprisingly, the staying power is ten-fold better on my lower lash line (I didn’t try it on the upper lash line), though it won’t last through twelve hours ofhumidity by any means. It stayed put for three to four hours before migrating and fading a bit, but it didn’t look terrible at the end of the day. However, since it’s such a thick pencil, it’s not very convenient to use it along the lower lash line, and the glittery bits mean it is rougher against the area, too.

Have you ever had a beauty product really anger you?

The Glossover

coming-soon

NARS Palladium Soft Touch Shadow Pencil Review, Photos, Swatches

F
Only if you love the way creased eyeshadow looks!

Product

2/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

2.5/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Dupes
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Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Chanel Stupendous Eyeshadow Quad
Chanel Stupendous Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel SoHo Story: Stupendous

Chanel Stupendous Eyeshadow Quad ($56.00 for 0.24 oz.) is new and limited edition for Chanel’s SoHo Story Collection, which celebrated the grand reopening of SoHo Boutique. It contains for shimmering shades: a pink champagne, plum-tinged gray-brown, burgundy brown, and icy blue with silver sheen. This is one of the more pigmented Chanel quads I’ve crome across where every shade looked as rich and pigmented wet as it did dry. (Typically, products always look more intense when used wet.)

All four shades seemed rather cool-toned to me, and after using everything together, the entire collection is definitely on the cooler side of the spectrum. Though if you’re warmed, it’s still a very wearable set of products. It leans cool but it’s not so cool where I’d be leery, but just because a product leans the opposite of your skin tone doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t wear it. It’s all a matter of what you pair it with! For instance, try doing one cool area (either lips, cheeks, or eyes) and pairing with two warmer areas (whichever two you didn’t use a cool product on!).

I posted this look earlier in the week. Though I wasn’t sure the blue was going to work paired with the other quad colors, it worked out in the end. I do think it veers on being overly frosty/shimmering, though. As a way to highlight the inner tearduct, I like it, but those wary of ultra frosty products, this might be one of those danger! kind of shades.

Stupendous is consistent with Chanel’s quads–soft, buttery consistency that feels like silk and blends easily. The formula is such that the powder binds well to the lid, even without a primer (though, don’t expect it to last 18 hours if you have oilier lids!), though I’d never wear eyeshadow without a good base! (That’s beauty blasphemy!!) Some readers compared this quad to Mystic Eyes, but going by the only swatches I have posted (I don’t own it), they’re not too similar.

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

RECOMMENDATION: I think cool-toned beauties will find this just works beautifully. For warmer skin tones, it’s not a must-have, but paired with a peach blush, I think it’d be lovely.

AVAILABILITY: Chanel

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