Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

MAC Dare to Wear Eyeshadows
MAC Dare to Wear Eyeshadows

MAC Dare to Wear: Eyeshadows, Part 1

There are twelve brightly colored eyeshadows releasing with MAC’s Dare to Wear Collection, which is Lady Gaga “inspired.” This is a collection that will appeal to some and hold absolutely zero appeal to others. Not only are the shades on the brighter side, the majority of them have a matte finish.

The collection also has a lot of permanent shades, so check your stash before you run over to the store–and if you’re near a store, keep in mind you can purchase the permanent shades in palette form. The permanent shades are Free to Be, Lime, and Aqua, with Free to Be available at all freestanding stores and the latter two only at PRO stores.

  • Louder, Please is a pinked red with a matte finish. This shade was quite pigmented and required very little fussing to get a nice layer of smooth, rich color. This is the closest to red I’ve seen from MAC (but it is not a true red, to be clear).
  • Free to Be is a pinky coral with a matte finish. It has some pigmentation, but it can be a rather difficult shade to really punch up. This is a permanent shade.
  • Going Bananas is a soft, medium yellow with a frosty finish. It has a nice level of pigmentation, and it’s a particularly flattering yellow because it doesn’t run too bright or full-on yellow. This is a repromote.
  • Sassy Grass is a medium-dark grass green with a matte finish. I thought it might resemble Wondergrass (limited edition, released with C-Shock), but it’s much darker and a wee bit greener.
  • Lime is a muted, medium-dark chartreuse green with slight yellow undertones and a matte finish. This was probably one of the harder shades to work with out of the twelve; it’s a bit stiff and takes some layering. This is a permanent PRO shade.
  • Aqua is a bright pastel aqua-blue with a matte finish. This is one of the more powdery matte shades by MAC, and it can be layered to get a nice level of color intensity, but it may look chalky on some complexions. This is a permanent PRO shade.

Temptalia’s Recommendations

  • Must-Haves: Going Bananas, Sassy Grass
  • Nice-to-Haves: Louder, Please, Free to Be, Aqua
  • Skip: Lime

Recommendations by Skin Tone

  • Light: Free to Be, Going Bananas, Lime, Aqua
  • Medium: Louder, Please, Going Bananas, Sassy Grass, Lime
  • Dark: Louder, Please, Going Bananas, Sassy Grass, Lime, Aqua

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Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

NARS Coconut Grove Eyeshadow
NARS Coconut Grove Eyeshadow

Get Down & Dirty with Coconut Grove

NARS Coconut Grove Eyeshadow ($23.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a rich, decadent dark chocolate. This is an intense brown–there is no subtly here. It’s one of the darkest browns I’ve seen without veering into black.  I love the pigmentation of it, too.  It doesn’t quiver in its boots!  It charges straight ahead and goes on as dark as it looks in the pan.  You gotta love when an eyeshadow looks exactly the same in the pan as it does in practice.

Unlike Daphne, Coconut Grove has no problem showing up to the party, no matter where it’s at!  It swatches intensely, but more importantly, it applies the same way when used on the eye.  I wore it in this smoky eye, and I had to do some furious blending to keep it from being too dark and sultry (just because I was pairing it with red lips, but it could have easily been left in its stronger form and paired with a nude lip).  If pressed, I’d say this is a cooler brown, but I don’t think it leans very cool, and I liked it against my warmer skin tone as well.

According to NARS, this can be used wet as eyeliner, and since it’s incredibly deep in color and excellent in pigmentation, it could easily emphasize the eyes as eyeliner.  I don’t think you’d have any trouble getting this to look smooth and pigmented in a tight line at all.  From my experience, Coconut Grove is one of the best single eyeshadows by NARS to date.

Don’t forget — use code TEMPTALIA for a free mini lipgloss trio featuring Turkish Delight, Gothika, and Greek Holiday at NARS — expires 8/15.

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: For an alternative to black, Coconut Grove would make an excellent multi-tasking “darkening” agent. It’s also lovely on its own!

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Monday, July 26th, 2010

NARS Tzarine Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Tzarine Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Fall 2010: Tzarine Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Tzarine Eyeshadow Duo ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is new and permanent duo for fall that features a shimmering golden-toned champagne and darkened gray with silver sheen. If I had to pick between the two new eyeshadow duos, I would easily choose Rajasthan. The pigmentation and texture is better in the latter duo–Tzarine suffers from a bit of sheerness and less smoothness in the champagne shade, while the gray shade is just a little sheer but overall has the same texture of most NARS eyeshadows.

Admittedly, neither shade seems particularly unique or compelling, which might be why it seems a little dull when released next to Rajasthan. The champagne side reminds me of a lighter version of Alhambra, while the gray side is like a darker version of Underworld.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Not as smooth, richly pigmented, or as easy to apply as Rajasthan or the best of NARS eyeshadows–it falls just a little short for me.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Chanel Cassis Eyeliner
Chanel Cassis Eyeliner

Just a Hint of Plum

Chanel Cassis Eyeliner ($28.00 for 0.01 oz.) is a smoked plum with subtle red undertones in Chanel’s long-wearing, waterproof liner formula. It really is a lovely color, and it applies evenly with good pigmentation. There’s also a built-in sharpener, and I love that you can twist the eyeliner up and down (sometimes it only goes up!).

I’m continually surprised at how little product is included in twist-up eyeliners–it’s typically 0.02 oz. or so–while pencil eyeliners run around 0.04 oz. I’ve only finished one eyeliner in my life (MAC Graphblack, which is also a twist-up eyeliner); and going off memory, I know that, despite daily usage, I didn’t run through it in a matter of days–probably around two or three months. I am curious as to why they’re only designed to fit that much, though. I don’t feel like I use any less/more between twist-up/pencil liners! Anyway, this is to point out that you’re only getting 0.01 oz., which is below average, so if you’re looking for a daily eyeliner, you might want to prepare yourself for frequent repurchasing.

The formula of this eyeliner is excellent, and if you’ve had trouble with eyeliner staying in place, you may want to test drive Chanel sometime (they also have several other lovely shades). It is, indeed, waterproof. It wears all day without smudging, budging, or fading. It doesn’t stick well on my waterline (just an hour or two), but it stays put on my lower lash line. I wore it across my crease (rather than my upper lash line to avoid irritation), and it didn’t crease there either.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: For a nice, long-wearing plummy shade, Chanel’s Cassis makes a nice choice–if you don’t mind the price tag.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Stila Road to Radiance Palette
Stila Road to Radiance Palette

$10 Palette: Is It a Steal?

Stila Road to Radiance Palette ($10.00) sounds like a good deal, but in all honesty, I (personally!) would rather put $10 towards one stellar full-size product than a medicore palette. Stila misses in this palette by delivering four inferior eyeshadows–not only in pigmentation but the entire formula is nothing like Stila’s individual (nor their Barbie palette) shadows.

They are sheer and don’t build up particularly well. Stila shadows are incredibly soft–so soft, they can kick up some powder–and almost creamy, despite being pressed powder. These are nothing like that. Because Stila is a much higher quality brand than this palette portrays, I think it’s a poor palette overall–even if the price tag is enticing.

The only product I liked in the palette was Hibiscus Convertible Color. It was creamy, blended out nicely, and wore well. In terms of value, the four eyeshadows come to 0.15 oz. while the Convertible Color is 0.09 oz. (full-size is 0.15 oz.). Since I only liked Hibiscus, I’d much rather buy a full-size Convertible Color in its own packaging, particularly since it’ll stay clean of any loose powder unlike in the palette. The only problem? Hibiscus is limited edition and not available in full-size.

  • Hibiscus is a creamy neutral pink blush. It’s very pretty — this is the only item out of the palette that I really like and think lives up to the quality I expect from Stila as a brand. It’s wearable and suitable for both cool and warm skin tones.
  • Southern Belle is a sheer medium pink with silvery-white sheen. This was such a pain to get to swatch appropriately.
  • Snow Bunny is shimmery silver shade with just a tinge of icy pink. This was one of the more pigmented shades, but I still felt it needed some layering.
  • City Chick is a browned burgundy with subtle shimmer. Another shade that applied sheerly and required layering.
  • Valley Girl is a sheer grayish-mauve with silver sparkle. Super, super sheer–I couldn’t really get it to build up.

The packaging is cute, and the palette certainly holds plenty of value from a quantity/price issue, particularly when compared to competing brands (which is how I judge value). It’s a shame the products don’t perform anywhere near Stila’s typical products.

If a brand is going to put out a product, it should represent their brand well. It should not be an inferior product, just so they can price it ridiculously low. Stila has already announced the release of four additional palettes in the series (one each month through November), so I greatly hope the others are better than this one.

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

  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I’d suggest trying it out in person, if possible, to see if it’s really worth even $10.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Friday, July 23rd, 2010

NARS Daphne Eyeshadow
NARS Daphne Eyeshadow

Don’t Judge an Eyeshadow by a Swatch?!

NARS Daphne Eyeshadow ($23.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a rich shade of night violet purple. It’s dark and deep and bright. But I have to warn you: don’t judge by a mere swatching on your arm. I’ve often found that matte eyeshadows don’t swatch well on the arm but perform phenomenally when used on the eyes. A truly outstanding matte shade will do both well, but I’ve simply learned that you cannot judge a poor swatched matte without trying it, too.

When swatched with a sponge-tip applicator, I get a patchy mess of violet — it’s more of a red-based purple than blue-based, but it seems to flicker between the two depending on the lighting situation. (Sidenote, photographing this eyeshadow was a pain in the behind–it constantly wanted to photograph BLUE!) My arm wasn’t exactly the most moisturized environment to be sure, but wow! Daphne made it look like a desert. Even when I tried to use my finger to smooth out the color, it didn’t work out well (as reflected in the swatch).

Now, I say all this to show you that I did not get good results when I simply swatched for color. In fact, I had a sneaking suspicious this was going to be an issue. Nevertheless, I trudged on, and I tested it out by wearing it in a look. AND WE HAD LIFT OFF! Daphne looked as vibrant as pictured in the pan, but it applied smoothly, evenly, and it didn’t need much product at all–so it went on quite pigmented.

It’s similar to Make Up For Ever’s #92 Eyeshadow, but #92 is brighter and a little lighter–it’s not quite the darkened violet that Daphne is. #92 is also more pigmented and thicker/smoother, though they perform similarly on the eye–with Daphne having less fall out. You can see a couple of looks I did using #92, and you’ll notice it’s definitely not quite as dark.

Initially, they seem very comparable, but in use, they’re really not. Daphne is a several shades darker and not the bold, vibrant shade of violet that #92 is. They’re both nice shades to own that don’t dupe each other. I do, of course, wish Daphne was a little smoother, so it would swatch well even on skin.

P.S. — The first mini lipgloss set ran out, but NARS set y’all up with another set featuring Turkish Delight, Greek Holiday, and Gothika — use code TEMPTALIA at checkout, expires 8/15. :)

The Glossover

coming-soon

NARS Daphne Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Swatches (Fall 2010)

C+
Give it a try in a look before dismissing it purely based on swatching--that is the biggest tip I can give you. If I had only swatched in-store, I would never have thought about picking it up, but after using it in a look, I'm much more inclined to recommend it.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3.5/5

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