Sunday, September 12th, 2010

LORAC Private Affair Palette
LORAC Private Affair Palette

An Ill-Fated Private Affair with LORAC

LORAC Private Affair Palette ($38.00 for 0.30 oz.) is an enigma, let me tell you! I’ve experienced shades that swatch poorly but work beautifully in practice (NARS Daphne, I’m lookin’ at you!). I can’t think of many occasions where I’ve encountered a product that swatches so smoothly, so richly and leaves something to be desired when used. Private Affair is just that; far prettier swatched on my arm than when I went to use it in a look.

Now, it’s not like it turns into a muddy mess, disappears on sight (well, at least… not entirely), or looks bad, but it doesn’t look nearly as lovely on as it does swatched–and that’s why it’s a disappointment. This is how it happened:

  • 9:10am: Temptalia is heard excitedly shouting, “OMG OMG OMG BABE! THIS IS SOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL!”
  • 9:15am: She starts to work with the products for a look to post on the blog.
  • 9:18am: Mellan rushes into the bathroom wondering why he hears, “GRRR!”
  • 9:25am: Eye makeup looks like it’s been 18 hours of wear with a nap in-between.
  • 9:30am: Sadface. :(

The palette includes six shades: gilded champagne with a metallic-frost finish, beige champagne with a whitish sheen, medium-dark brown with soft gold sheen, grayed taupe with an antique gold metallic sheen, rich berry burgundy with a satin finish, and blackened purple with burgundy glitter flecks. The texture of these just feels so buttery, incredibly soft, and intensely pigmented; you hardly need any product to achieve true, rich color.

The problem, however, lies in the texture, which is really just too soft. If you thought Stila’s eyeshadows were too soft, these LORAC shadows are softer. This means they kick up quite a bit of powder when used–I advise merely pressing your brush into the shade rather than moving it around, because it will get enough product without loosening the rest. The soft quality of the eyeshadow also means that a lot of it ends up on your face, rather than on your eyes. It rained burgundy and eggplant on my undereye area (which doesn’t need any help looking tired!). Additionally, the softer the eyeshadow, the easier it is to blend, but it can also mean that it is even easier to muddy the color or sheer it out with even a light touch.

At the end of the day, they’re just okay eyeshadows. They feel and look stunning when swatched, but they’re just not nearly as standout when used. There’s a little more fall out than I’d expect, and the color pay off looks fierce initially but fades quickly. I had trouble getting the burgundy shade to stay vibrant; it faded to this rather muted, blah eggplant within minutes. The blackened purple shade lacks the glitter when you apply it–it’s like the glitter doesn’t hold together with the shade and gets lost between the pan and your eye (probably eaten by your brush!).

There is also an eyeshadow primer included in the palette, which is housed in a pull-out drawer that sits beneath the eyeshadows themselves. Along with the primer is dual-ended brush that just feels too scratchy and the ferrules feel rather loose, so I ditched it.

Morbid or not, the packaging reminds me of a coffin. Maybe something a vampire would sleep in, with the dark blood red (faux) snake-skin covering. I also think that they could have ditched the primer and brush, since neither are stellar (the primer is so-so, it doesn’t seem to enhance the vibrancy of the eyeshadows). This could have allowed for a much slimmer palette, which would make it more travel friendly. But you know what really drove me batty about the packaging? It doesn’t stay open. That lid did not want to stay open at all, and I bent that sucker back so far and could see it pulling away from the rest of it, and it still kept closing on me.

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: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: I wanted to love this palette with all my heart, but it left me rather disappointed. I think for $38, I’d rather get a couple of eyeshadows that were excellent than six eyeshadows that require more work and effort than I want to put in!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Milani Runway Eyeshadow
Milani Royalty Runway Eyeshadow

Milani Runway Eyeshadow: Royalty

Milani Royalty Runway Eyeshadow ($5.99 for 0.07 oz.) is a medium fuchsia purple with a lilac sheen.  It’s like a purple version of MAC Stars ‘n Rockets (without the duochrome).  It’s semi-sheer when used dry, and it’s still a little sheer when used wet.  I like the color, and I think the subtle periwinkle flecks seem to come through a bit, which makes it more nuanced than some of the other shades from Milani’s Runway line.

Check out my original review for my thoughts on the packaging.

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

  • Product: 23/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

RECOMMENDATION: Color eyeshadow fiends should probably pass, just because it’s nowhere near as pigmented as many top brands for color–but if you just want to play around and experiment with color, this is an affordable way to do so.

AVAILABILITY: Cherry Culture

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Friday, September 10th, 2010

Milani Runway Eyeshadow
Milani Leaf Green Runway Eyeshadow

Milani Runway Eyeshadow: Leaf Green

Milani Leaf Green Runway Eyeshadow ($5.99 for 0.07 oz.) looks like a medium grassy (or leafy, I suppose) green, but in actuality, it swatches as a chartreuse green with stronger yellow undertones.  It’s semi-sheer when applied dry, but it really looks beautiful when applied wet (and it still retains much of the same intensity and coloring when it dries down–I’d say 90%).   It has such a smooth, more metallic than shimmer look when applied wet–could be a nice substitute for MAC True Chartreuse pigment.  I do wish it would apply better when used dry, though, since it’s supposed to be used either way.

Check out my original review for my thoughts on the packaging.

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: 2/5

RECOMMENDATION: Color eyeshadow fiends should probably pass, just because it’s nowhere near as pigmented as many top brands for color–but if you just want to play around and experiment with color, this is an affordable way to do so.

AVAILABILITY: Cherry Culture

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Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Milani Runway Eyeshadow
Milani Caribbean Sea Runway Eyeshadow

Milani Runway Eyeshadow: Caribbean Sea

Milani Caribbean Sea Runway Eyeshadow ($5.99 for 0.07 oz.) is such a pretty shade of aqua blue… if you use it wet.  When used dry, it’s rather lackluster and almost takes on a greenish cast; it’s also on the sheer side.  However, add just a touch of fixing spray or water to your brush before picking up the shadow yields a much more intense, pigmented shade of lightened aqua blue.  You’ll need to pack on the color, rather than sweep on, to get the best results.  It’s not a great eyeshadow, but it’s workable when wet.

Check out my original review for my thoughts on the packaging.

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

  • Product: 23/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

RECOMMENDATION: Color eyeshadow fiends should probably pass, just because it’s nowhere near as pigmented as many top brands for color–but if you just want to play around and experiment with color, this is an affordable way to do so.

AVAILABILITY: Cherry Culture

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Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Milani Runway Eyeshadow
Milani Blue Lagoon Runway Eyeshadow

Milani Runway Eyeshadow: Blue Lagoon

Milani Blue Lagoon Runway Eyeshadow ($5.99 for 0.07 oz.) looks so full of beautiful blue promise, but it really falls flat.  This was the worst shade that I tried out of the six (there are twelve in total, so I don’t know how it compares against the six I haven’t tried)–it’s just so sheer.  It’s even ridiculously sheer when used wet.  The color practically disappears, and instead of a brightened medium blue, you get this sheered navy blue with flashes of lighter blue sheen.  I think the swatches speak for themselves, to be honest!

Check out my original review for my thoughts on the packaging.

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

  • Product: 14/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: Pass. Skip.  Run away!

AVAILABILITY: Cherry Culture

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Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara
Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara (One coat!)

Multi-Tasking Mascara… That Actually Works!

Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara ($30.00) is designed to be a more intense version of the multi-tasking Inimitable (which I have not tried), which lengthens, thickens, curls, and separates without clumping, spiking, or flaking.

This is one of those mascaras where you can really see the difference between the before and after photos; not all mascaras represent themselves well, but this is one that definitely does. My bare lashes look like a big ol’ tangled mess of short, sparse lashes. With a single coat of Inimitable Intense, my lashes look fuller, much, much longer, and a little thicker. This mascara does lengthening best, but it does thicken and add an illusion of more voluminous lashes, too. Often, I find multi-tasking mascaras rarely deliver on all the claims they make, but Chanel does a particularly noteworthy job of meeting their claims.

The mascara is not overly wet, though the black is so intense it can look wet when on, but it’s not dry either, so it doesn’t flake when you apply it nor does it take too long to dry. I’ve been wearing it on and off for the past two weeks or so, and I haven’t had any issues with smudging, flaking, or the like even with all day wear (twelve or more hours). I found it held a curl quite nicely, though I think my lashes are on the “lighter” side so they take to curling better than the average set of lashes (because holding a curl has never been a major issue for me with mascara).

It does a nice job of keeping lashes separated and clump-free with the first two coats, but if you start getting greedy and going for a third or fourth coat, you may get some clumping. I’ve also noticed that on occasion there is too much product on the wand, and then I will have a touch of clumping from the get-go. Inimitable Intense actually adds quite a bit with just one coat that I don’t find myself going for a full second coat.

What does “one coat” of mascara mean to you?

I actually sent out a tweet asking about it on Monday, because I’m curious if we’re on the same page.  So much of the terminology used in makeup can be ambiguous!  Based on the responses I received on Twitter, the majority (like 90%) consider one coat to be using whatever is on the wand on your lashes; if you go back and re-insert the wand into the tube to get more mascara, that’s the second coat.

I would also say that the second coat occurs when you give the first layer/coat of mascara time to dry.  My general mascara routine is to pull the wand out, apply to my right lashes using short strokes from inside to out (I can’t get all my lashes at once!), and then I apply to my left lashes–and I haven’t gone back for more–and I’d say one out of three times I’ll re-insert the wand for another helping of mascara to finish up both sets of lashes (more for touch-ups than a full coat!).

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If your lashes are like mine–aka need all the help they can get–a multi-tasking mascara that actually delivers is definitely worth a try.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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