Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Chanel Enigma Eyeshadow Quad
Chanel Enigma Eyeshadow Quad

Fall Makeup: Dark & Smoky by Chanel

For fall, Chanel Les Contrastes de Chanel Collection is all about sultry, smoky eyes. It’s dark, sophisticated, and drawn out in hues of gray, purple, and olive. Chanel describes Enigma as a quad of “shimmering peach, chocolate grey, violet grey, and deep plum.

I found the description to be kind of close, but not quite: a shimmering petal pink with peach shimmer; olive-toned brown with flecks of silver; silver-shimmered gray with subtle mauve tones; and blackened plum with silver shimmer.  The lightest shade is the petal pink, and it’s lovely as an all-over lid color or paired with any of the other three shades.  I did find it a little too much for a highlighter on my skin tone, but I think those with cooler skin tones may find it works just right.

This is definitely all about the smoky eye–it’s hard to do anything but a smoky eye with these particular shades.  I see several combinations itching to be tried, but I know they’ll all be on the smoky side–which seems to be exactly the direction Chanel was heading for fall, so it works.  Whether you’re on the hunt for a smoky eye is another story!  I think if this had a less shimmery shade (and perhaps more neutral toned) that could double as a lid color and highlighter, it would make an excellent travel palette.

As usual, the pigmentation was rich and dark, particularly when applied onto the eyes.  Chanel shadows are ridiculously soft, silky, and smooth.  They almost feel powdery, but it’s more the effect of having such an ultra soft texture.  (Similarly, Stila is a brand that comes to mind with the same soft texture.)  All the shades can be intensified a notch or two by using them wet, rather than dry, which is always a nice option to have.

It feels very fall to me, and when the temperature starts to drop down come September, I can see myself using this more often.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re a fan of smoky eyes, Chanel has you covered with the Enigma eyeshadow quad. It’s very dark and seductive, but it seems a little limited in its combinations.

Availability: July 2010

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Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Becca Loose Shadow

The Jewel of Your Eye with Becca

Becca Jewel Dust ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) are loose multi-purpose powders made without talc or fillers. There are sixteen shades in the full range, from shimmering champagnes to baby blues.  I picked up three shades when Becca was on HauteLook a few weeks back.

  • Erzulie is a soft lavender with a gray cast and lighter lilac and blue shimmer.
  • Luella is a gold shimmered green-toned turquoise with a deeper turquoise base.
  • Erlina is a lightened, spring green with a strong yellow undertone with a near metallic, slightly frosty finish.

One thing I really enjoyed about these was that they work nearly as well dry as they do wet. When they are used wet, they do create a smoother, more solid color, but used dry, they hold together pretty well. They worked well over eyeshadow primers as well as cream eyeshadows.

All three shades I tried out are actually colors that I don’t quite have in loose form, and the way they shimmer is very reflective and sophisticated, actually–particularly when used on eyes. I could see some of the lighter, more neutral shades being used as an all-over dusting on lids for a little oomph without doing much else.

The packaging is stylish and easy to store–small, mostly square, and just elegant. I really wish you received more for the price, though — 0.04 oz. is so underwhelming for a product that costs $24 — and it’s a little less and a little more in cost than other loose shadows by high-end brands. I’m sure most of us will not get through a single container all that quickly, though, and like most loose colors, a little goes a long way.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: I wish you got a little more product in each container, but the colors I tried were beautiful and shades I haven’t seen too often. The quality was lovely with smooth, rich color and beautiful shimmering finishes.

Availability: Becca

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Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Aveda Golden Jasper Eyeshadow Duo

Aveda Does Eyeshadow

Aveda Golden Jasper Eye Color Trio ($22.00 for 0.08 oz.) is an unexpected, but entirely pleasant, surprise from Aveda. I don’t know about you, but I always forget that Aveda actually has a full range of products–I always think hair when I think about the brand.

There is one really fabulous characteristic about Aveda though, that spans their entire range, it’s that they really are eco-conscious. And they don’t make you hunt around for information on whether they’re truly looking to be a greener, more earth-friendly company. The eye trios are packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled clamshell and paper sleeve–it’s something that reader Dusty pointed out about EcoTools: the brushes are packaged in plastic yet there is no information on whether that plastic was recycled or not. Additionally, the eyeshadow trio doesn’t contain talc, mineral oil, or parabens.

The trios are available in several other varieties: Blue Dawn, Plum Mist, Earth Rose, Aqua Pearl, Black Tulip, Sweet Grass, Copper Haze, and Gobi Sands.

Each trio features three complementary shades, arranged from lightest to darkest, and it pretty much makes using them a no-brainer. Lightest on the lid, medium or darkest on the outer lid/crease. Golden Jasper consists of a soft, light beige with a satin shimmer; warmed up medium brown with a soft sheen; and chocolate brown with warm undertones. The eyeshadow is soft, smooth, and pigmented. It melts when applied to lid, and I actually wore them without a base, just as a test, for several hours (I’d say around six), and I didn’t encounter any creasing. (But to be clear, my lids are on the drier side, rather than oily!)

I’m definitely interested in trying out some of the other shade varieties (perhaps Blue Dawn, Aqua Pearl, Sweet Grass, or Copper Haze), to see how those hold up. But so far, I’m impressed by the spirit and story of Aveda and the delivery on the eyeshadow formulation based on Golden Jasper. You can either use your own palettes, keep them in their plastic sleeves, or pick up one of their Environmental Compacts (made of 30% post-consumer recycled and 20% post-industrial regrind aluminum).

Have you tried Aveda’s eyeshadows before?

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

Recommendation: Next time you’re near an Aveda counter, you might want to check out their makeup range. I so infrequently hear about the range’s makeup and skincare, and maybe it’s time we check them out!

Availability: Aveda

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Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Rimmel Glam'Eyes Mono Eyeshadow

Beauty on a Budget:  Rimmel Glam’Eyes Mono Eyeshadow

Rimmel Glam’Eyes Mono Eyeshadow ($3.99) come in several shades, but I recently tested out three shades:

  • Royal Violet (400) is a lightened lavender purple with subtle white shimmer.
  • Sapphire (450) is a nearly matte, periwinkle blue.
  • Posh Peacock (500) is a gorgeous shade of blue with an aqua-teal shimmer-sheen.

These are definitely some of the better textured eyeshadows from mass that I’ve encountered recently. They’re also quite pigmented without having to maneuver in certain ways, like packing it on, using sponge-tip applicators, etc. Glam’Eyes Mono Eyeshadows work best with brushes, as the eyeshadows are quite silky. I found a sponge-tip felt a little rough on the shadows–like it was causing the shadow to break apart a bit.

Posh Peacock (500) was definitely my favorite, because it was richly pigmented (more so than the other two I tried), and it was just stunning when swatched. It was vibrant and had depth when I’ve come not to expect that from a lot of eyeshadows on the market these days.  The other two shades were decently pigmented, but they were a little more on the powdery side, which is due in part to their more matte texture.

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

Recommendation: They’re not the best eyeshadows I’ve tried, but they’re very good. For $4, they’re a great entry point for those looking to play around with eyeshadows or even just brighter colors in general, without breaking the bank. And for those who get a little thrill out of brilliant drugstore scores, you may want to pick up one of their new Mono shades.

Availability: ULTA

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Monday, June 14th, 2010

Benefit Stay Don't Stray

Packaging Woes with Benefit Stay Don’t Stray

Benefit Stay Don’t Stray ($24.00 for 0.33 fl. oz.) is a creamy, smooth neutral eyeshadow base. It’s a light beige, which will be a little tinted on the fairest of skin tones, but it will be very flesh-toned for light to medium skin tones. It reminded me a good deal of MAC’s Beige-ing Shadestick, which was always a popular eyeshadow base. Stay Don’t Stray has a near-matte finish, but there is an ever-so-subtle satin-sheen to it that’s really difficult to see when applied on the eyes.

Stay Don’t Stray is a fantastic product – it gives your eyeshadow something to adhere to without muting those eyeshadows and never creased, smudged, budged, or faded when I used this as an eyeshadow base. For those with imperfections or require some color-correction, this is the kind of base that excels in that department. It’s opaque–this is not a sheer, invisible base in the vein of TFSI and UDPP. This is much more like MAC’s Paint Pots, but it has the consistency of a liquid, rather than a thick cream.

For primer underneath a concealer, it worked well, but I think medium to dark skin tones may find it doesn’t work right.  It seemed to accent my concealer to the point where it didn’t match me at all.  It also was best applied before foundation, but then the foundation covers it up quite a bit.  It works in terms of keeping concealer put, but the color of it makes the concealer stand out a little on my skin tone (like the concealer appears darker – like the base is accenting the color, rather than blending it in with my skin tone).  It works best with cream concealers rather than more liquid-y ones, as well.

Where Stay Don’t Stray fails is in the packaging. I’m completely astonished that the packaging made it through R&D and testing, because one pump and you have more than enough to cover your entire face. The label around the packaging is cute, and I like that it stands up, and while the idea of a pump might be great (less contamination), it distributes far too much. Ridiculously too much! It’s such a shame, because inside is a product that really holds its own amongst eyeshadow bases, but the subpar packaging is so frustrating.

If you wanted to use this, you’d have to pump into a separate jar so you wouldn’t end up wasting a lot of the product–you don’t even need very much at all to get full coverage of both lids, let alone as much as a pump (or a half-pump, or a quarter-pump!). I tried on multiple occasions to ease the product out of the pump, but it’s just not easy to get as little as you need.  More often than not, I ended up with far too much product and nowhere to apply it to!

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 1/5

RECOMMENDATION: Make sure you read where this product really failed on, because it might not bother you. The product itself is excellent, but you’re just not getting as much as I’d expect for the price tag, plus the packaging is poorly executed.

AVAILABILITY: Benefit, Sephora

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Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Beach Collection Shadows

Bobbi Brown Beach Collection: Long-Wear Cream Shadows

For summer, Bobbi Brown’s collection includes Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadows ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) in four new shades: Moonstone (pale shimmering green), Opal (opalescent pink), Pink Oyster (shimmering pink), and Surf (pale shimmering blue), as well as Long-Wear Cream Shadow ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) in Shore (pale nude).

  • Opal is an opalescent pinky-purple. It’s very sheer and light–it’s nice as an all-over wash on the lid. It could possibly be used as an eyeshadow base, too, since it’s more on the neutral side. Since the base almost feels and goes on clear, it looks glittery on the lid.
  • Surf is a cool-toned baby blue with a silver-white sparkle-sheen. It has a soft colored base, so it looks smoother on the lid compared to Opal and more metallic and less glittery. It’s not a deep blue, but it’s a lot more representative of the color it looks like in the pot, so it’s the color I would expect!
  • Shore is a creamy, matte beige. This is not an exciting color, but it’s incredibly versatile. It can be used to brighten up lids a bit, but it can be used as an eyeshadow base, too. It’s neutral and easy-to-use, particularly because of the matte finish.

I’m actually not a huge fan of Bobbi Brown’s Metallic Long-Wear Eyeshadows — they’re just incredibly sheer and more glittery than metallic. I reviewed a few shades earlier, when they first launched. I still wish they had more of a metallic finish, because they do feel more on the glittery side. The Metallics have an almost wet feel to them–it’s a thinner creamy consistency with a wet feel and applies very smoothly and evenly without any trouble (better than the other three I tried!). They also last all day without creasing or budging or fading.

I prefer the texture, feel, and color pay off of the original Long-Wear Eyeshadows for sure. I think having a couple of the Metallics can be fun, but they’re not as versatile as the more opaque ones. Like the Metallics, the original Long-Wear Eyeshadows last all day without budging, smudging, or fading.  I just don’t think the Metallics are nearly as versatile or as multi-tasking as the original ones, which are more pigmented and very, very smooth.

Because these are two different products, I’m not going to give out an overall rating for all three.  Instead, I’m going to break it down between the two — for Metallics, they work really well in terms of staying power and not creasing, but the color payoff is sheer and not buildable as purported, so they’re more of a B product for me.  They’re better than the first ones I tried, because I do think these have a smoother finish and are truer-to-color in the pot.  Shore, on the other hand, has excellent pay off and quality, so it’s much more of an A- product and shade.

RECOMMENDATION: Shore is an excellent neutral base that works well and looks great. It’s something that doesn’t inspire excitement, but it’s a very useable product. The Metallics don’t grab me and neither shade gets me any closer to loving them at the moment.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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