Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

CoverGirl Lash Blast Fusion Mascara
CoverGirl Lash Blast Fusion Mascara

How Does LashBlast Fusion Stack Up?

CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion Mascara ($8.99) is designed to both lengthen and volumize your lashes in just one formula. A year ago, I reviewed LastBlast Length with pretty good results–not my perfect mascara for my eyelashes–but a solid lengthening mascara all the same.

It is a fiber mascara, which makes it very easy to remove. Despite easy removal, I did not encounter any smudging or flaking during the twelve hour test I gave it. Everything stayed put as it should. This is a great mascara if you use about two coats or three really quick coats–if you work slowly on each coat, you’ll end up in Clump City. It didn’t seem prone to clumping so much as it dries quickly. When it’s dried, my lashes didn’t feel heavy or crunchy, and they still looked like they had a natural softness to them.

I think what left me less than impressed with this mascara is that the effect is more on the natural side, which isn’t what LashBlast seems to be about. It gives some length, a little volume (I didn’t notice much myself), and smidgen of thickening–but it doesn’t do any of these with any va-voom. The original LashBlast does all of these better, and LashBlast Length does a better job of lengthening.

When it comes to rating a product, it’s about how good it is–but also how good it is at what it’s supposed to do. While it’s great when a product does more than it should or does something great, I always consider whether it lives up to the marketing claims. Fusion doesn’t fail, but it doesn’t live up to its claims about volume for me, but it does a decent job of adding length.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I don’t think any of the LashBlasts will treat you poorly, but Fusion seems to give me the most natural look of all three. (And yes, I’m totally aware that I don’t actually have a review of the original LashBlast up at this time.) I’d probably stick with the original for a more multi-tasking mascara or opt for lengthening if you need just length.

AVAILABILITY: Drugstore.com

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Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer
Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer

Smashbox Photo Finish — Maybe for Face, Not for Eyes

Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer ($20.00 for 0.08 oz.) is a shimmering peach-gold colored eyeshadow primer. Smashbox says you can use this alone as a wash, lid corrector, or as a base underneath your eyeshadows.

This is a product that looks pretty when swatched, but it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do at all.  Despite being on the drying side, it creases within a few hours.  Whether worn alone or as an eyeshadow base, this primer left my makeup in ruins by the third hour.  The darker color of this particular shade makes it better as an all-over wash than an eyeshadow base, because it tends to eat color and be fussy when it comes to blending shadows on top of it.

I tried it three times, and I just gave up on it–I couldn’t get it to stay put whatsoever!  I liked how opaque it was, and I could see that it would be useful in camouflaging imperfections on the lid, but it’s such a shame that you’ll have raisin-like lids before the end of the day.  The best use from this, after all that, is as a brow highlighter–incredibly sheered out, but even that is a stretch if you don’t have a medium skin tone with warmer undertones.

I’m also disappointed in the amount you get.  Most primers are around 0.30 oz., but Smashbox is two-thirds less and just as expensive.  I feel like Smashbox really phoned it in with this one!  But keep in mind that like any review, it’s based on my experience–which involves my skin, my face, etc., so if this is a product that worked for you, I’m more than happy it did.  I’d always rather a product work amazing for you than anything else.

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

RECOMMENDATION: For a brand that has such a popular face primer, it’s disappointing that their lid primer completely misses the mark.

AVAILABILITY: Beauty.com

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Monday, August 9th, 2010

Tarte Lock & Roll Eyeshadow
Tarte Lock & Roll Eyeshadow: Bronze & Moss

Eyeshadow that lasts and lasts and lasts…

Tarte Lock & Roll Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.14 oz./cream, 0.05 oz./loose) is a dual-ended eyeshadow product that has a cream eyeshadow on one side and loose eyeshadow on the other.

  • Bronze contains a loose, dirtied brown with a gray cast and green and gold shimmer, while the creamy side is a richer, more bronzy brown. When layered, it gives the loose shade a darker appearance with a smoother finish. Color-wise, it takes on much of the loose shade’s color rather than the cream ‘s color.
  • Moss contains a loose olive green with a green-gold sheen, while the creamy side is a cooler, darker green with subtler olive tones. When layered, the two create a slightly deepened yellowed olive green with a smoother finish.

If you have trouble with products staying on your lids without creasing or fading, you might want to try out Tarte’s Lock & Roll Eyeshadows–these don’t budge for nothing on my lids.  The cream is as budge- and smudge-proof worn alone as it is underneath the loose eyeshadow.  You can sheer out the cream shade for more of an all-over wash on the lids, or you can use it in its opaque form and layer on an eyeshadow.  I do find that loose shades seem to apply best over these.

The cream formula is really more of a liquid than a cream to me; it’s rather thin and almost runny but surprisingly pigmented and applies quite opaque.  Both the cream/liquid and the loose shades have a shimmery finish, with the cream side having a slightly metallic finish, too. Since both of the shades I tested out are on the darker side, lighter shades do tend to get eaten up, so it may take some packing to really lighten it up if that’s what you’re going for.  (There are, however, several lighter shades, too, for those who prefer softer looks.)

The packaging is functional, but the rollerball on my lid took a few tries to really get it down–the learning curve isn’t bad, though, but I recommend trying it once or twice before any big events!  The loose eyeshadow does go on very smoothly with the rollerball applicator, though (which I was surprised by!).

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you have incredibly oily lids, the creamy shadow makes an excellent base that just doesn’t move!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Burberry Almond (06) Eyeshadow
Burberry Almond (06) Eyeshadow

Burberry Almond (06) Eyeshadow ($29.00 for 0.088 oz.) is a soft, medium brown with just a touch of warmer, more golden undertones, but very subtly so.  This would make a great contouring shade for those with fairer, paler skin, and it would work well as an all over color on medium to medium-dark skin tones.  It pairs well with Trench for a quick neutral eye.

The texture is soft and smooth–buttery and feels like silk.  It adheres well to the lid, over a base or without, though I haven’t worn it sans a base for twelve hours or anything (I always prefer a base–it feels like I’m committing a cardinal sin otherwise!).  It’s pigmented but it’s a buildable shade–you can sheer it out with ease for a very soft look or apply in layers for something deeper.  Burberry eyeshadows uncomplicate makeup; it’s hard to go wrong if you use their shadows.  I also like the amount you get for the price tag; a little more than the usual high-end shadow.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you like subtler color and enjoy soft, buttery textures, you may like Burberry eyeshadow.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Shiseido Black Sand Eyeliner
Shiseido Black Sand Eyeliner

There’s always room for one more black eyeliner!

Shiseido Black Sand (BK904) Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil ($20.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a really intense, smooth-applying black eyeliner with flecks of green and antique gold micro-shimmer. It’s really a stunning shade, and it’s definitely a color that appeals to my personal tastes. It formula is incredibly smooth and almost creamy, but it stays in place quite well. It doesn’t last more than an hour or two on my waterline, but it stays on my lash line just fine. The pencil itself is dual-ended with the eyeliner on one side and a smudging sponge on the other.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a fiend for black golds like I am, then you’ll want to check this out!

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Benefit Sunday Funday Palette

Sunday Funday… on Thursday!

Benefit Sunday Funday Palette ($38.00) features Hoola (0.1 oz., mining bronzing powder), Benetint (0.09 oz. rose-tinted lip & cheek stain), Shimmering Rose (0.18 oz., lip shine), Toasty (0.01 oz., eyeliner), four eyeshadows (0.10 oz. each), and two double-sided miniature-sized brushes. This is a companion palette to Scene Queen. Sunday Funday was created by Maggie Ford Danielson–the daughter of Jean Ford, one of Benefit’s co-founders–who is also one of Benefit’s makeup trend artists.

“Sunday Fun Day is all about pulling together a fresh, fabulous look after a late night. Whether you were up watching movies or dancing ’til dawn, this kit has the prettiest eyeshadows and complexion essentials to make you look beautifully revived…just in time for brunch. Waiter, coffee and mimosas, please!” —Maggie Ford Danielson, Benefit Makeup Trend Artist

  • Hoola is a neutral-toned medium-dark bronzer with a nearly matte finish.
  • Benetint is a very natural stain and one of Benefit’s iconic products. It leaves just the tiniest flush behind.
  • Shimmering Rose is a semi-sheer pinky gloss with gold shimmer. It looks rather melon-y in the tube, but it brought out a lot of the pink in my lips.
  • Shimmering Bronze is a softened bronze with a low warmth to it; for a bronze, it’s really not overly warm. Slight sheen, not too frosty, and nicely pigmented.
  • Pink Satin is a light pink with subtle peach tones–not a true pink, but not really peach, either. I could see this as a nice all-over lid color.
  • Light Champagne is a light yellow gold with a frosty sheen.
  • Pretty in Plum is a red-toned, medium plum purple with a satin sheen.
  • Toasty is a medium-dark brown with just a hint of warmth.

These palettes are an excellent way to try out Benefit products without blowing your budget. Sunday Funday gives you plenty of product, and it’s definitely a nice, all-in-one palette. I love that the lipgloss is packaged in a tube–you can tote it around with you later on, but you also don’t have to worry about it getting dust or eyeshadow in it, either. The eyeshadows were very smooth, buttery, and pigmented–they felt just like Benefit’s single eyeshadows. I think this particular mix of colors also works really well together; nothing feels out of place here.

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: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a palette kind of beauty buff, Sunday Funday is a new favorite for me.  It makes sense, so you can travel with it and not worry about combining it with other products for a complete look.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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