Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Urban Decay Gunmetal Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Eyeshadow:  Two Minutes with Gunmetal

Urban Decay Gunmetal Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a dark gray base with a deep silver sheen. It’s very much the color of gunmetal.  I like that it’s not overly frosty or shimmery–it’s definitely more of a frost finish than anything else, but it’s not over the top.  It reminds me of MAC’s Silver Ring Eyeshadow, actually, but not quite as dark.  Gunmetal has a soft, smooth texture with rich pigmentation from the start.  No need to go back for seconds and thirds–one swipe is really all you need with this shade.

This is an excellent silver-gray for a traditional smoky eye.  You could use this all over the lid, then apply a touch of matte black in the crease to darken and smoke.  Quick, easy, and totally sultry!

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

Recommendation:  If you’ve been in the market for a silver/gray for smoky eyes, Gunmetal is definitely a worthy contender!  The texture is every bit of what you’d expect from Urban Decay without being too frosty and not at all glittery.

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

NARS Pro-Prime:  Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base

NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base ($24.00 for 0.26 oz.) is much-needed primer addition to NARS’ core range. In addition to the eyeshadow base, NARS also launched their Pro-Prime Face Prep ($30.00) (which, at this time, I am not planning to review).

I picked up a sample tube of the primer with a recent Sephora order, and the sample tube allowed me about four or five uses. From the images I’ve seen online, the packaging is similar–just a longer tube for the full-size version. They both have a doe-foot applicator (like the kind you see in lipgloss). It has an incredibly thin, slightly creamy consistency. When applied, it looks white on the applicator, but it is virtually colorless. This colorlessness is actually my only–albeit marginal and nitpicky–complaint.

It’s so colorless, even from the get-go, that it is difficult to determine where you’ve applied the primer. This makes covering the entire lid a little more difficult than when one would use a colored, even subtly so, primer. I’ve noticed that if I’ve missed an area, that area will look duller and flake, since there is no primer there. The problem is just it’s really difficult to tell if you’ve missed an area!

Aside from that, if you’ve covered your entire lid, it works really well. It lives up to all the claims NARS makes about it: lightweight, extends the wear, smooths the surface, and maximizes color. I didn’t experience any budging, smudging, creasing, or migration when I used this as a primer underneath my eyeshadows. It is a clear, matte primer that merely smooths over the lid and acts to hold and bond all the eyeshadow together. Colors definitely didn’t look muted at all, and they held their intensity throughout the day.

NARS Smudgeproof is most comparable to Urban Decay Primer Potion and Too Faced Shadow Insurance. The consistency is very similar–they are all very thin and a little creamy.  However, NARS definitely feels more velvety once it dries–which is very quickly.  They are all nearly colorless, though NARS is definitely truly colorless–UDPP has a slight nude tone to it and TFSI even less nude. I’ve always found that UDPP seemed to have a slight shimmer to it, and NARS is completely matte (which is a good thing, if you want to keep your matte eyeshadows matte!). Of course, the major difference between the two is the price — UDPP goes for $18 for 0.34 oz. while NARS is $24 for 0.26 oz and TFSI is $17 for 0.35 oz.

Between the three, I’d actually go NARS. I really didn’t think I’d like it more than the other two, but I would. One of the issues I have with TFSI is the product can separate a bit in the tube. I do really like that you can squeeze out what you need and easily apply with a brush. Both NARS and UDPP have doe-foot applicators, but NARS is a simple tube, so it’s not nearly as wasteful as UDPP is. I’ve never finished a bottle of primer in my life, so even if $24 is a higher upfront cost, I really don’t see it not being worth the investment, since a tube should last you many, many uses.

Fun Fact: Ironically, since I revisited my TFSI review, which was made back in 2008–OMG!–TFSI, at the time, was $1 more than UDPP, which was $16.  The whole point?  UDPP has raised its price $2 in two years and is now more expensive than TFSI.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a lightweight, colorless eyeshadow primer that stays on all day without budging, smudging, or fading, you may want to give NARS Smudgeproof a try.

Availability: Sephora

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Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

MAC Barelash Pro Longlash

MAC Nude: Barelash Pro Longlash Mascara

MAC Barelash Pro Longlash Mascara ($13.00) is a nude-beige shade in the Pro Longlash formula. I definitely got length without spikiness, but the formula is on the drier side, so it has a tendency to clump if you don’t work quickly. On my lashes, it seemed to give me beige tips, but the root and most of the lash length was only a muted gray or else still a black-brown.

I have Pro Longlash in the black shade, so I’m definitely going to make sure to do an official review of that soon, but the formula can be difficult to work with such a short drying time.  It lengthens well, and it doesn’t clump unless you work slowly.  I also experienced no smudging, budging, or flaking while wearing this over eight hours.   The brush is also small enough that it’s very easy to get to all the lashes from root to tip, including lower lashes.

Official description: Goes the distance. Makes lashes luxuriously long and silky: no spikes! Luxury and longitude in a pro-proven formula. Accelerates lashes into length, smooth and fast. Smooth silky finish. Wears long (all day!) Go the distance: bat-a-lash!

I tried to layer mascara on top of it, and it seemed to amp up colored mascara a bit, but it doesn’t work so well, since it dries quite quickly. I’ve had better results with a mascara primer, because they stay wetter longer and don’t require as many coats to mute your natural lash shade.

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Barelash gives decent length and stays on without smudging or flaking off during the day, but the shade itself is a bit odd to work with (particularly since it’s hard to work with colored mascara on top of the dry formula), so I don’t think most customers would have a good use for it.

Availability: MAC PRO

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Monday, May 31st, 2010

NYX Blonde Pearl Eyeshadow

NYX Ultimate Pearl Eyeshadow in Blonde Pearl

NYX Blonde Pearl Ultimate Pearl Eyeshadow ($7.00) is a brightened yellow gold with a soft frost finish. It’s nicely pigmented, and it has a very smooth, silky finish. Blonde Pearl is part of a new eyeeshadow formula packed with more shimmer for “a soft, shimmery, iridescent look.” The last NYX eyeshadows I tried were among their Trios, and the Pearl formula definitely has a smoother, more finely milled feel to it. It doesn’t have any powdery-ness. I did find that when used with a brush, it will diffuse a little, but it stays true-to-color for the most part.

It’s a good eyeshadow, and for the price–as compared to high end alternatives–it’s a bargain. Compared to other NYX eyeshadows, I’m not sure they’re significantly better than their singles ($5.50). The $7 price tag for a single eyeshadow seems a little steep for a brand known for their affordability. Blonde Pearl reminds me a lot of MAC’s Goldmine eyeshadow, though, so it’s a nice, slightly more affordable alternative.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For a more affordable alternative to high-end eyeshadow, NYX’s Pearl formula is still worth checking out, but it may not be significantly better than other NYX shadows.

Availability: NYX

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Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Hourglass Lagoon Eyeshadow Duo

Take a Dive Into Summer with Hourglass’ Lagoon

Hourglass Lagoon Eyeshadow Duo ($38.00) includes shades in a muted, gray-green and a deepened ocean-blue with a teal sheen.  I was eager to try out another eyeshadow duo after discovering the amazing-ness of Prism.  Both of these shades were soft, smooth–a very buttery, silky texture–and the colors were vibrant and true-to-color.  These also blend extremely well without fading or diffusing nor leaving a trail of fall out in their wake.

This particular duo doesn’t have the most unique shades, sure, but that fact doesn’t take away from the quality of these shades.  I feel like both of these shades are on the verge of being duochrome but haven’t committed fully to it; the seafoam green shade almost has a flash of blue-green, while the ocean blue shade has a metallic flash of teal.

I like the metallic, gunmetal packaging and the cool swivel top that reveals a mirror and an actual brush inside (not that you’d jump to use it if you had full-size brushes on hand).  It’s very sleek and modern, though again, I think it contributes to some of the pricing of this product.

The only downside to Hourglass’ eyeshadows is their price tag, which is pretty hefty.  They are some of the more expensive eyeshadows on the market–up there with brands like Chanel and Dior–so they’re not in everyone’s budget.  If you’re a fan of the silky textures of higher-end eyeshadows but dream of brighter, highly pigmented colors, Hourglass is a good bet from my experience.

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

Recommendation: If you love blendable, highly pigmented eyeshadows with almost creamy, buttery texture and a silken feel, Hourglass has yet to disappoint me with their eyeshadow duos.

Availability: Sephora

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Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream

Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream: Two More!

I’ve already fully reviewed Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream ($22.00) here (#5, 7, 18, 21) and here (#6, 9, 11, 13, 20). I’ve got two more shades to show you!

  • #1 Anthracite is a darkened steel green with a light silver shimmer.
  • #22 Emerald Green is a brightened green with a slightly metallic-frost sheen and yellow undertones.

I can see #1 Anthracite working really well for an intense, ultra-dark smoky eye. I definitely think that #22 Emerald Green is definitely the more versatile and usable shade of these two in particular, though. It’s great layered underneath golds, greens, blues, and teals.

Anyone else indulge in the new Aqua Creams?

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love color and rich, creamy textures, you may find the new Aqua Creams right up your alley.

Availability: Sephora

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