Monday, April 26th, 2010

Milani Brown Liquif’Eye Metallic Eye Liner Pencil ($5.49) is a matte, medium-dark brown. I consider it a rather neutral brown, and it’s a great shade to use to define eyes for an everyday look. It’s less dramatic and obvious than black eyeliner. I love the Liquif’Eyes for their creamy feel and texture, easy-to-glide-on nature, and their long-wearing power. They’re really an all-around fantastic eyeliner, period.

This is a short review, as I just wanted to complete the set of Milani’s Liquif’Eye Eye Liners. You can see swatches of the four other shades and my full review here.

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

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

Recommendation: For an easy-to-wear, soft and creamy brown eyeliner that won’t break the budget, Milani has you covered.

Availability: Milani

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Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Guerlain Mirage Khol

Guerlain Mirage (06) Terracotta Khol ($35.00 for 0.03 oz.) is a loose eyeliner or khol.  It’s from this year’s Terracotta Collection. Mirage is a smoldering, smoked out gray-toned brown. It’s a nice, smoky shade, but since it’s not black but brown, it can be worn in the day time without overdoing it.

Guerlain’s Loose Khols do take some practice, because they are a bit different from your average eyeliner. I find these work the best as a waterline product–it really holds on tight for the ride. I get about six to eight hours of waterline wear with these. The included applicator is like a stick, and again, practice makes perfect. At first, you’ll be like, “Huh?” but just keep at it.

These can also be used as an eyeshadow, but since you don’t get much product in it (plenty for an eyeliner, but not a lot to use as an eyeshadow). I do want to point out that this is an eyeliner first, and many pencil eyeliners give youa bout 0.04 oz. in product–so don’t let the size totally scare you. A little goes a long way, and I love how long-wearing the product is.

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: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Though it takes some trial and error to get the application down, I find the long-wearing power to be well worth a little experimentation! The matte dark brown is great for everyday or evening, which is nice!

Availability: Nordstrom

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Saturday, April 24th, 2010

NARS Eye Pencils
NARS Eye Liner Pencils: Manon, Parrot Cay, Kitty, Kaliste, Black Moon

NARS Eye Liner Pencils for Lightweight Lining

NARS Eye Liner Pencil ($20.00) is a richly pigmented pencil eyeliner that is available in sixteen shades: Black Moon (dense black), Iceberg (crisp white), Kaliste (teal), Kitty (turquoise blue), Kyoto (olive green with shimmer), London (foggy gray), Mambo (chocolate brown), Manon (violet), Parrot Cay (mint green), Patmos (khaki green), Istanbul (sky blue), and Sandstorm (gold leaf).

I test-drove five shades over the past week, and NARS has some really stunning shades available. They’re just so rich and intense without being bright. Though the pencil tip is a little on the sharper side when you initially get them, after doing swatches on my arm, it whittled away enough that it was soft, smooth, and easy to use on my lower lash line.

It’s not ultra creamy but not dry either. I wouldn’t describe it as creamy so much as smooth. It easily glided on my lower lash line without any pulling or tugging, so that’s enough softness for me. I also didn’t have to layer in order to achieve true pigmentation, either.  Sometimes with pencils, the initial use can be a little rougher, but since I always swatch on my arm first, it helps to wear down the tip, in case it’s too sharp.

  • Manon is a blue-based violet purple. There’s no shimmer, just pure purple.
  • Parrot Cay is a minty green. I’m surprised it doesn’t look super chalky, being so pastel, but it’s an interesting way to open up eyes with color rather than a white or flesh-toned eyeliner.
  • Kitty is a rich sky blue. This one felt and looked the creamiest of the five I tried. It also felt like the most pigmented–very rich.
  • Kaliste is a darkened teal–I want to call it a forest teal, because it’s so dark–and it looks lovely with a neutral eye.
  • Black Moon is a blackened brown. I’m not sure why it’s described as a “dense black,” because it’s definitely not black–there are significant brown tones to it.

But there is one huge problem that renders these eyeliners amongst the worst I have ever used: they have no lasting power at all. I can’t even express to you how much I wanted these to work, because they are truly beautiful shades, and they do look amazing on–but I can’t even go twenty minutes without it starting to smudge and migrate all over the place. I don’t have an oily lash line, and I’ve never had major issues with an eyeliner going all over the place. But these took smudging and migration to a whole new level.

NARS Eye Pencils
After just one hour…

After an hour of wear, I had liner that was on my lower lash line… on my upper lash line (say WHAT?!), all faded and smudged every which way on my lower lash line, crept up to my waterline… it was not a pretty sight in the least bit, but I couldn’t resist capturing just how smudge-tastic these were on camera.

But anyway, the point is I loved the shade range and the feel of these pencils so much that I tried every single liner multiple times. They all performed the same. I was secretly wishing and hoping that maybe just Black Moon or Kaliste were poor performers, but even the lighter shades like Parrot Cay and Kitty played me for a fool. Not to mention, when I was checking for reviews of these online, I just did not find that many negative reviews.

So, I have these, and I do really love the shades. After I get over being totally laughed at by these pencils, I’ll probably use them, but set them with an eye sealer (like Benefit’s She-Laq or Make Up For Ever’s Eye Seal) and/or set with powder eyeshadow. But this is NARS we’re talking about, and even worse yet is it’s supposed to be a long-wearing pencil.

I give it points for being incredibly pigmented, smooth, and looking lovely on, but I took away the majority of points for its complete miss on long-wearing power and how extreme the fading, smudging, and migration is.  I would really love to hear from those who have used this product, because I’m totally sad over their performance after reading so many glowing reviews online!

Have you tried NARS Eyeliner? I hope your results were better than mine!

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

  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Unless you’re able to try these first in-store, I really can’t recommend them. I had such a terrible experience with them fading, smudging, and migrating that there’s no way I could feel good about saying, “Try ‘em for yourself!” There seems to be plenty of positive reviews on these, so maybe I’m the rare exception. But how I wish I wasn’t!

Availability: NARS

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Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Lancome Pink Party Pretty Palette

Lancome Pink. Party. Pretty. Color Design Palette ($45.00 for 0.253 oz.) is a slim, summer eyeshadow palette that features six shades varying from a soft pink to a deeper black with copper shimmer.   It’s part of Lancome’s Bronze Riviera Collection for summer.

  • Flower is a soft, pearly rose-beige with white shimmer.
  • Fresh Rose is a coral-rose with a soft pink sheen.
  • Kitten Heel is a pinky-peach with golden sheen. This one was like NARS Orgasm in eyeshadow form, aka awesome.
  • Tropiques Glow is an orange-copper with a soft sheen.
  • Lounging is a warmed-up red-toned medium brown with a very satiny finish.
  • Lava is a charcoal black with gold and copper flecks of shimmer. It applies a bit sheerly, unfortunately, because it does look awfully pretty in the pan. Nonetheless, over a darker base, it’d be gorgeous (since the darker base will fill in the sheerness).

All of the shades–except Lava–had great texture and pigmentation. They were smooth, soft, and easy to blend. Lava was on the sheerer side, almost a bit chalky in the base color. Kitten Heel appealed to me the post, being this lovely shade of pink-peach–very summery and flattering, particularly on warmer skin tones.

I do think this palette is naturally more flattering on warmer skin tones, but I can still see it working on cooler skin tones. Flower, Fresh Rose, and Lava are all neutral to neutral-cool, so they can be worn with warmer shades to keep it more wearable on cooler skin tones.

Some combination ideas…

  • LID: Flower, LID: Fresh Rose, CREASE: Lava
  • LID: Kitten Heel, LID: Fresh Rose, CREASE: Lava
  • LID: Kitten Heel, LID: Tropiques Glow, CREASE: Lounging
  • LID: Fresh Rose, LID: Lounging, CREASE: Lounging
  • LID: Kitten Heel, LID: Tropiques Glow, CREASE: Lava

The packaging is gorgeous and compact. It’s a cardboard-encased plastic palette where the outside is wrapped in a metallic bronze that flashes copper-bronze when light hits it, but looks just bronze at other times (see the photos!). There’s a floral design that wraps around the outside as well–I loved that it actually wrapped around to the back of the palette.

Lancome also put quite a few eyeshadows in this palette, and the price is just right–by the ounce, the eyeshadows cost less than the majority of other high-end brands (including MAC and NARS!).

P.S. — Lancome’s Bamboo Bronzer is now available at Nordstrom! :)

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: Depending on what you already have in your stash, this palette could make a great addition. It has a balance of neutral eyeshadows paired with warmer shades you’d expect to see in the summer. There are so many color combinations waiting to be done with these, too, which is always a sign of a cohesive eyeshadow palette.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

MAC Pret a Papier Collection
MAC Paint Pots:
Coral Crepe, Groundwork

MAC Pret-a-Papier Collection: Chromagraphic Pencils & Paint Pots Review, Photos, Swatches

I am both a little surprised–but very delighted–to say that the Chromagraphic Pencils work wonderfully on the waterline. They look lovely–very fresh and awake–without being too light. I used NC/NW15 on my waterline as soon as I had finished photographing them (nobody likes to see used stuff photograph, yeah?), and here I am three hours later with it still hanging on.  I’d definitely say to grab one when you’re able to if you’ve always wanted an easy way to open up and brighten your eyes.

Chromagraphic Pencil ($14.50 U.S. / $17.50 CDN)

  • NC15/NW20 is a light nude with a creamy feel and look.
  • NW25/NC30 is a yellower, deeper nude with the same creaminess as the other shade.

Paint Pot ($16.50 U.S. / $22.00 CDN)

  • Coral Crepe is a reddened, darkened coral-orange with a slight golden sheen. It can be sheered out a bit, but it really goes on quite coral. I tried as a base, and it can definitely be worn on the eyes. I also tried it on the lips, and I’d vote nay on that in the future–very drying and chalky looking. Havne’t tried it on the cheeks, but you might be able to do that.
  • Groundwork is a softened brown with a yellow undertone. This is a permanent shade.

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Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

MAC Pret a Papier Collection

MAC Pret-a-Papier Collection: Eyeshadows Review, Photos, Swatches

It’s funny, despite five eyeshadows being launched in this collection, none of them really spoke to me. I also got more of a fall collection vibe off of them, even though we’re heading right into summer. To be honest, I don’t think any of these are really must-haves.

Gazette Gray had a lot of potential, but it’s just so sheer–would have been great if it had been a veluxe pearl finish! Cut to Fit is something that’s close enough to other shades I’ve seen before. Tissue Weight is pretty on its own, but you may already own something similar.

Eyeshadow ($14.50 U.S. / $17.50 CDN)

  • Cut to Fit is a reddish copper-bronze with a frost finish. It reminds me of French Cuff from early last year, but it’s not as frosty and perhaps a little more darkness to this one. It also seems close to Twinks from the permanent line.
  • Bamboo is a matte fleshy nude with a subtle orange undertone. It’s a permanent shade, but it’s nice to help diffuse color. On my NC25 skin tone, I find Bamboo is a bit orange/dark as a highlighter.
  • Tissue Weight is a pink-toned fleshy beige with a frost finish. This is a pretty color, and it layers well over Coral Crepe paint pot. I think pinker skin tones may even like this as a highlighter, albeit it is a bit on the frostier side.
  • Gazette Grey is a brownish-gray with gold and green-gold flecks of sparkle. It applies quite sheerly, so despite looking quite beautiful in the pan, it doesn’t translate on its own. You could try layering this over a darker base (like one of the Greasepaint Sticks from earlier in April) to bring out the flecks of shimmer in this.
  • Memorabilia is a matte, red-toned purple with an almost gray cast to it. It’s an interesting shade, though I believe this is its second appearance. It’s not totally opaque, but it’s not sheer either, and it’s a very blendable matte.

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