Monday, July 12th, 2010

Urban Decay Vegan Palette

Can You Resist Cute Packaging?

Urban Decay Vegan Palette ($34.00) is a new and limited edition eyeshadow palette for fall, and it features six eyeshadows, one eyeliner, and a miniature-sized eyeshadow primer.  It features only products that are vegan-friendly.

The packaging is my favorite part about this product, which is creative, pretty, and functional. Otherwise, the eyeshadows are every bit of quality you’d expect from Urban Decay, but with the Naked Palette released simultaneously and featuring three of these shades (Smog, Gunmetal, Half Baked), it makes getting both of them rather redundant.

These are pitfalls of Urban Decay’s limited edition palettes, because long-time collectors often end up with multiples of several shades, since the brand reuses certain shades with great frequency. (I am personally tired of seeing Twice Baked and Baked in their palettes!) On the other hand, for newer Urban Decay fans, the palette is a cute palette with six great shades from the brand’s range. Each eyeshadow is 0.03 oz. in weight, along with a 0.03 oz. Zero 24/7 Eye Pencil and 0.13 oz. Sin Primer Potion. It’s a decent amount for the price tag, but…

The Naked Palette gives you so much for–double the eyeshadow shades (12 in total)–but every single shade in it is full sized at 0.05 oz. For $10 more, you’re getting 0.6 oz. of eyeshadow, instead of 0.18 oz. Pretty awesome, right? All six of the Vegan palette shades can be purchased individually, in case you’re dead-set on one of them. I guess what I’m really saying is if you were waffling between the Vegan and the Naked palette, I would recommend the Naked palette and not even think twice about it.

  • Minx is shimmering aqua green with tiny flecks of teal glitter.
  • Urb is a softly shimmered olive green with a golden sheen. It was the least pigmented shade of the six, though I wouldn’t call it sheer or lacking in pigmentation overall.
  • Gunmetal is a blue-toned gray-black with silver sheen. Very pigmented!
  • Twice Baked is a satin-y medium-dark chocolate brown.
  • Smog is a shimmering bronze with a copper-gold sheen.
  • Half Baked is a lightened copper with a near metallic finish.

The palette also includes a miniature-sized Zero 24/7 Liner (true black) and Sin Eyeshadow Primer Potion (a shimmery burnt champagne base). I need another Zero like I need another eyeliner, period, but it’s a solid black eyeliner which will work well with any of the six shadows and any combinations thereof. I find Sin very, very shimmery–so frosty that it’s hard to use as a base, particularly with frost finished shades like these. I think Eden would have been a better choice here to make it more versatile.

Minx and Urb are the only shades that are on the glittery side, though neither is a glitter bomb. The other four shades are smoother and don’t feel glittery–just shimmery. All six shades are very true-to-color with nice pigmentation and a soft, smooth texture. I really do like and enjoy the palette, and there is nothing wrong with it. It just depends on what Urban Decay palettes you already own and how much overlap you have between them all.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t plan on getting the Naked eyeshadow palette (how could you not?!) and you don’t have too much overlap with previously released palettes, it’s an adorably packaged palette with quality in mind.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora, Urban Decay

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Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Benefit Scene Queen Makeup Palette

Get Ready to Make a Scene

Benefit Scene Queen Makeup Palette ($38.00) contains something for each part of your face — 0.1 oz. CORALista, 0.09 oz. High Beam, 0.18 oz. Juicy Coral Lip Shine, 4 0.1 oz. eyeshadows, Smokin’ Liner, and 2 double-sided makeup brushes.

  • CORALista is a pink-cral with subtle sheen but not a lot of shimmer. It’s very pigmented, so a little goes a long way. I actually didn’t even realize it was in the palette until I went to write the review! It’s a pretty small pan, so it may take some maneuvering to get your brush in it. The included brush is a bit stubby, so I find it cumbersome to use.
  • High Beam is a light, shimmering pink-toned highlighter. It’s a whitish-pink, and it works best on light to medium skin tones (Moon Beam better for deeper skin tones).
  • Juicy Coral Lip Shine is a semi-opaque coral-orange with golden shimmer. It’s a very pretty shade of coral, and it’s not too orange either.
  • Smokin’ Liner is a dark black-brown eyeliner that goes opaque without trouble. Very smooth and richly pigmented.
    Charcoal is a darkened gray-black with subtle silver shimmer.
  • Shimmering Beige is a pink-toned medim beige with a frost finish.
  • Misty Blue is a slightlyg rayed medium-dark blue with a silver sheen.
  • Navyis a rich navy blue with a purple edge and flecks of midnight sky blue shimmer.
  • Dual-Ended Brushes have an angled brush on one end and a fluffier brush on the other–and then two of them. They’re usable in a pinch, but they’re not the best brushes of all time. Better than the usual inclusions, though.

I like all of the products individually, and I feel Benefit gives you a good amount of each of them (in fact, the eyeshadows are surprisingly weighty–0.1 oz. compared to the average of 0.05 oz.–but I don’t feel that such a rich shade of coral on both cheeks and lips is actually all that suitable to pair with the eyeshadows. I think medium skin tones will be able to pull off that look, but paler skin tones may have to be a little cautious. I fear it may be too much all at once. I was expecting a pinker blush (maybe Sugarbomb) rather than CORALista here.

That’s my only gripe about the palette, though! There are only powder products exposed, while the lip and cream products are housed in their own containers, so there’s no worry about cross-pollination of shadow dust. The palette is cute and still functional, and it even includes a step-by-step guide on how to wear the palette.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you like yourself a blue smoky eye, this may make a great g-to palette.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Becca Lurex Eyeshadow

Becca Lurex Eyeshadow — One More Antique Gold to Love

Earlier this week, I reviewed Becca Shantung Eyeshadow ($24.00 for 0.03 oz.), and today, I have Becca Lurex Eyeshadow ($24.00 for 0.03 oz.) for you! Lurex is a tarnished gold–it doesn’t cast very green, so it’s very wearable as neutral without being “boring.” The texture is smooth, soft, and nicely pigmented, just like Shantung.  Becca’s eyeshadows seem to have an excellent texture with good color pay off, but they’re just on the small side given their price tag.

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t think you’ll ever hit pan on your eyeshadows, the downfall of Becca’s Lurex likely won’t be an issue for you! It is a high quality eyeshadow in a beautiful shade of antique gold.

AVAILABILITY: Becca

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Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

MAC Alice + Olivia Collection
MAC Mineralize Eyeshadow Trios

MAC In the Groove Collection: Mineralize Eyeshadow Trios

In the Groove is a HUGE collection, and if you love mineralize products, you’re in luck–because that’s the theme.  These are softer, smoother, and have a pearly/satin-y finish rather than glittery or overly shimmery.  There are only a few frosty finishes here, but overall, a lot smoother and less powdery than previous mineralize eyeshadows.

Mineralize Eye Shadow (Trio) ($19.50 U.S. / $23.50 CDN)

  • In the Groove is a neutral-warm trio of a muted saffron gold, reddish brown, and pale peach with white sheen. This is actually very lovely trio — it works together, but they’re all easy-to-wear shades that could be matched with other products, too. Pigmentation was just right. The lightest yellow-y shade reminded me of an old, long discontinued shade Jasmine.
  • Calm, Cool, & Collected is a cool-toned green trio featuring a grayish-white beige with satin sheen, neutral spring green, and darkened gray-green. The springy green shade was pretty sheer, and the darker green was a little sheer, too.
  • Togetherness is a cool-toned purple trio that includes a soft lilac with a satin sheen, blue-based violet purple with a frostier finish, and a mid-tone silver gray. The pigmentation here was even and rich throughout the trio.
  • Style Influencer is a trio of grayish-white with low-level pearl, darkened navy blue with a frosty finish, and dirty pink-brown with a satin sheen. The dirty pink was a little lacking in pigmentation. The only easily dupeable shade in this trio is the dark blue, which is a good bit like Deep Truth.
  • Blue My Mind is a trio of soft, whitish blue, blue-teal, and soft black. I found that this was the least pigmented, and it was definitely better to use it wet than dry.
  • Love to Love is a trio of soft beige with a low-level satin sheen, copper with an almost metallic sheen, and muted neutral mid-tone brown. All three shades were very smooth and pigmented. The lightest shade is similar to Vanilla or Shroom, while the coppery shade is very much like Amber Lights. The darker brown doesn’t scream a dupe, but it’s likely a bit similar to one of MAC’s many neutral browns–but the satin-y finish is different.
  • Making It Easy is a pearly trio of peach-champagne, champagne, and softened orange-brown. This is a warmer trio, and it could create a very subtle, everyday eye. The middle shade reminds me of Retrospeck, except without the glittery finish.
  • Fresh & Easy is a trio of petal pink with white sheen (similar to Pink Freeze), muted cranberry (a less pigmented version of Cranberry), and muted sky blue.
  • Soften the Mood is a trio of muted sky blue with pearly sheen, mauve-toned champagne, and mid-tone neutral brown with a soft sheen. I feel like this one is a combination of the other trios — the blue from Fresh & Easy, the champagne from Making it Easy, and the brown from Love to Love.

These are a lot more pigmented than previous launches when they’re used dry–they’re more pigmented wet, of course–but they are decent to well-pigmented dry.  They also adhere way better to lids.  I used them over NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow base, and I didn’t see the color fade within minutes like I typically do.  I also had very little fall out, which I was surprised to see (or not see, as the case may be).  I’d say the formula seems much improved–more cohesive, smoother, and user-friendly.

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Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Becca Shantung Eyeshadow
Becca Shantung Eyeshadow

Becca — The Stealthy Shangtung

Becca Shantung Eyeshadow ($24.00 for 0.03 oz.) is a beautiful warmed-up molten brown with bronze shimmer and golden sheen. It has subtle red undertones, and it’s such a gorgeous bronze shade. The texture is smooth, soft, and almost buttery, but without any powderiness. It almost feels like it melts onto the skin (but it’s not a cream, it is a powder).

What a great first shadow for me to try from Becca! However, the higher price point accompanied by the below average quantity has me a bit jarred. Really, 0.03 oz.? Most high-end brands at similar price points put at least 0.05 oz., which is nearly double.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: For a beautiful bronze, Becca’s Shangtung doesn’t disappoint in color, quality, or pay off. Just in value.

AVAILABILITY: Becca

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Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Rimmel Eyeful Eye Glistener

Glossy Eyes?  One Slippery Ride…

Rimmel Eyeful Eye Glistener ($7.29) are great in theory, terrible in practice. I don’t usually use the word “terrible” to describe beauty products, because I don’t come across too many that merit such a negative descriptor. These are glossy pencils to give lids “vibrant, yet transparent” colour, and Rimmel says you can use it as an eyeshadow or eyeliner.

  • Stand Out is a sheer, golden-shimmered light olive green.
  • Talk to Me is a soft medium sky blue with a silver sheen.
  • Girls Only! is a peach-shimmered pale petal pink.

May all of the beauty gods and goddesses be at your side should you dare to use these as an eyeshadow! These slip and slide and crease and migrate all over the place. It’s like a waterslide adventure where the produce is in my lashes, glitter is on my cheeks, and my eyelids look more like an oil spill than beautiful and luminous. It looks awesome for the first few minutes, so I think for a photoshoot, they could work, if you were going for a sheer, glossy lid look. If you’re actually planning to wear these out of the house? Not so much!

Even applied over an eyeshadow base and “set” with eyeshadow, these still end up creasing within a couple of hours, and by setting with eyeshadow on top, you lose the glossy effect (so why bother?). They have a sticky texture, so eyeshadows adhere well to them, but I felt like it kind of gunked up my brush at the same time. I couldn’t find a way to make these creaseproof at all, unfortunately.

As an eyeliner, they definitely fair better, but I still found the liner migrated to the corners after two to three hours and some of the glitter fell under my eye. It’s a cool effect, and for a quick trip out, it could be worth trying. Girls Only! is a shade that could be used elsewhere on the face, like the cheeks, for a highlighter effect. It doesn’t seem to ever fully dry, so while you can get glistening cheeks, be wary of touching them. I’m not sold on using it elsewhere, to be honest, because it slips around so easily.

I didn’t get great pigmentation out of the three shades I tried–they were definitely on the sheer side–but according to Rimmel they’re supposed to be “vibrant, yet transparent,” which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

No, I’ll just stick with clear lipgloss if I want a glossy look–lasts about the same and sometimes a little longer.

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  • Product: 7/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: For photoshoots or five-minute wear, maybe. As a novelty, maybe. I’d skip.

AVAILABILITY: CVS, Ulta, etc.

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