Monday, October 5th, 2009

Guerlain Imperiale Holiday Collection

Guerlain Bal de Nuit Eyeshadow Quad ($58.00) is the latest limited edition palette to be launched with the Imperiale Holiday Collection this October.

This is a stunning, incredibly elegant combination of classic shades that are perfect for year-round, but the shimmer and sparkle make it particularly fitting for the holiday season. This is not necessarily the most original eyeshadow quad of all time–it’s, at the very least, four shades of neutral-toned eyeshadows.

It includes four shades: a soft, sparkling gold-tinged white; a peachy-pink champagne with a frosty finish; a neutral-cool dark taupe brown with brighter bronze shimmer; and a warm-toned chocolate bronze with gold shimmer. All four shades have good color pigmentation, and as is standard with Guerlain eyeshadows, they feel silky smooth and apply like butter. They’re very blendable, and all four shadows work extremely well together. (Sometimes you’ll get a beautiful quad, but it’s not so easy to work with on its own.)

For me, this is just an easy, no-brainer eyeshadow quad that looks good, works well, and great for travel. I can just use the lightest two shades for a quick swipe of lid color, or I can use the two darker colors to add depth to the crease or go for more of a smoky eye. The quality is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Guerlain, so overall, I’m pleased.

It’s pricey, but as far as value goes? These eyeshadows are the same price, by the ounce, as MAC eyeshadows are. This eyeshadow quad contains roughly 6.7 oz. of eyeshadow, which is pretty good for a palette. With Guerlain, you do get the velvety soft case and the luxe, slighty hefty gold-esque packaging. It just all requires more of an initial investment than smaller-sized MAC eyeshadows.

Bottom line: This is a great, easy-to-use eyeshadow quad that has soft, silky colors that are natural and suitable to many. It’s practical and looks elegant while the shimmer is sophisticated.

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

Recommendation: If you’re in the market for a travel-worthy eyeshadow quad or a great set of neutrals, Guerlain’s latest just might work.

Availability: October 2009

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Monday, October 5th, 2009


Animated

L’Oreal HIP Matte Eyeshadow Duos ($9.99) are a more budget-friendly way of obtaining brighter, more pigmented eyeshadows. Each contains two shades of matte eyeshadows with a total weight of 0.08 oz. L’Oreal currently has five different matte eyeshadow duos available: Animated, Dashing, Perky, Poppy, and Striking.

  • Animated contains a chalky grayish-white and a periwinkle blue.
  • Perky contains a medium bright grassy green and a grayish-black.

I don’t love the matte eyeshadow duos. They’re okay–about average–but they’re not stellar. Since they’re matte, I do expect some chalkiness when I swatch, which is always minimized when you’re actually applying them with a brush. Nonetheless, the whitish side of Animated definitely looked and felt chalky and almost garish. I did love the shade of periwinkle blue in Animated, though–not a shade you see often, period. Perky has a lovely shade of green that doesn’t feel chalky or powdery, but the darker grayish-black shade has a lot of drag and just doesn’t have a great texture. So in the end, each duo only has one good shade–the other half is just so-so.

For comparison, a MAC eyeshadow contains 0.05 oz. of product and retails for $14.50 each. You get 0.03 oz. more and pay $9.99 a pop. A lot of mass retailer brands, like L’Oreal HIP, do go on sale on a frequent basis, so when they’re on sale, I’d be more willing to purchase these. At full price, I feel like it’s more than I want to pay for L’Oreal. I do consider the HIP line to be one of the better pigmented eyeshadow lines available at mass. I just wish you could swatch before you bought!

Bottom line: I wouldn’t pay full price ($9.99) for either of these duos, and I’d only really recommend Animated for the periwinkle blue, just because I don’t see that color in a lot of other lines. I love that L’Oreal is bringing matte color to the forefront, and I think the price point is affordable for many, particularly if they’re on sale.

  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you can catch L’Oreal’s H.I.P. line on sale, they’re worth trying. Paying full price on the other hand…

Availability: Drugstores/Mass Retailers

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Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Urban Decay Show Pony Shadow Box ($30.00) contains six 0.03 oz. eyeshadows, a miniature sized Primer Potion (0.13 fl.oz.), and miniature sized Zero 24/7 Eye Pencil (0.03 oz.).

The palette contains…

  • Snatch is a peachy-pink champagne kind of shade.  It reminded me a bit of MAC’s Say Yeah eyeshadow, which was limited edition from eons ago.  I felt like Snatch was very glittery, though, so fall out may be a concern for some.  It didn’t feel as gritty as Midnight Cowboy Rides Again from their Book of Shadows, Vol. II.
  • Mildew is a medium-dark forest green with golden green shimmer weaved through it.  It’s very pretty, and it’s perfect for the fall.
  • Flash is a bright, cool-toned violet purple with an icy purple sheen.
  • Painkiller is a bright, lightened blue-based teal with a silvery sheen.  It reminded me a bit of Flipside 24/7 Eye Pencil.
  • Smog is a neutral-warm bronzy brown.  It’s pretty, but you may already have something like it in your stash.  It’s a good kind of shade to own, as it makes for a wonderful smoked out neutral eye.
  • Toasted is a cool-toned taupe brown with softer brown shimmer.

This palette contains some nice shades, and only one of them (Snatch) had a texture that left something to be desired.  The other five were soft and went on very pigmented.  While I like the shades, I don’t think this is the most original combination of colors, and I’m not sure if you’d find it hard to create color combinations within just these six.  I can definitely spot a few, but you’ll need to use a separate highlighter–Snatch is a bit too pigmented and glittery to serve as really a choice highlighter.  In a pinch, you could work it in, though.

Between this and the Book of Shadows, I’d opt for the Book of Shadows.  It’s pricier ($18 more), but you’ll get more shadows, more color combinations, and more use out of it, per my opinion.  I do like that it does come with a miniature UDPP – great for travel.  I personally have so many miniature sized Zeros that I don’t know if I’ll ever run out of Zero, so maybe a fun colored liner would have been nice to include in it.

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

Recommendation:  If you’re a fan of Urban Decay’s palettes, this is a cute little set, but make sure you have a separate highlighter on hand.

Availability: Urban Decay

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Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner ($18.00 for 0.25 fl. oz.) is a glitter eyeliner with colored glitter suspended in a clear base.  Uncapped and you’ll find a thin eyeliner brush attached (much like the typical liquid liner).  There are currently eleven shades available–from fuchsia to blue to iridescent.

Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner

  • Catfight is a deep fuchsia-pink.
  • Groupie is a pale, muted pink–very muted.
  • Baked is a deep golden-toned brown.
  • Midnight Cowboy is a silvery taupe brown.
  • Spandex is a multi-colored array of blue and gold and brown glitter.  (Looks absolutely nothing like it does in the tube–the rest do.)
  • Air Guitar is a slightly lightened medium blue.
  • Stagedive is a blue-based teal.
  • Mullet is a slightly olive-toned green.
  • Metalhead is a medium dark violet purple.
  • Glam Rock is a medium silvery-gray.
  • Distortion is a whitish, iridescent mix of multi-colored and pink glitter.

What I like using these glitter eyeliners for is to layer over Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners (or any liner, really–they just coordinate well with Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners).  Alone, they’re just so-so, because the clear base makes them apply kind of sketchy. They can also be used over eyeshadow, too, for the same kind of effect.

In the swatches, you’ll see how it’s not a very clear, even or defined line of glitter.  When you use it over a liner, it works much better, because you get the sparkle of the glitter, but the colored liner fills in any gaps so the glitter actually pops.

I think I’d love these more if they had colored bases as well, just because it’d be more of a two-in-one and require a little less effort on my part.  They just may make excellent, super glittery bases if they were in a colored base, too… Hm!  Nevertheless, they were designed to have a clear base, so I won’t knock the product because my preference is different.  It’s much like Urban Decay describes, and I love the range of shades they have.

Oh!  One more idea, Urban Decay, how about a holiday set of miniature sized versions of these?  Would be awesome methinks!

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Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Chanel Noirs Obscurs Collection

Chanel Les Folie Noirs Eyeshadow Quad ($60.00) is from Chanel Noirs Obscurs Collection.  ( Be sure to check out reviews on the limited edition nail polishes and lipsticks, too!)  It’s a limited edition eyeshadow quad with each shade being embellished with the brand’s signature logo in black.

While I was impressed by the new Rouge Allure lipsticks and Le Vernis shades, the eyeshadow quad was a disappointment.  In fact, I had to let my disappointment simmer a bit in case I was too harsh/expected too much.  I do not recommend this eyeshadow quad unless you’re a Chanel collector–then you’re not really looking to use it so much as own it as a collector.

If you actually want to use it, the shades are poorly pigmented, go on unevenly, and just overall, look mediocre–even with a sponge applicator.  (Swatching with a brush always gives the least amount of pigmentation, whereas swatching with a sponge applicator usually yields the most.)   The swatches included in this post are with a sponge applicator, for your reference.

The dark brown shade (top left) goes on extremely sheerly and almost looks chalky on my skin.  The color itself is a cool-toned dark brown.  Next to it is a dark forest green with a slight bit of shimmer.  This one swatched better and had so-so pigmentation (just not quite as intense as I’d like).  On the bottom right, there’s a muted, dark navy blue with subtle navy shimmer.  This also swatched decently, though not quite as well as the green.  The last shade is a slightly warmed-up medium chocolate brown that isn’t as sheer as the other brown in the quad, but it’s still quite faded when swatched.

Ultimately, if you use a sponge applicator (or even use this product wet) and layer on the color–and I do mean layer–you may find this works well for a range of smoky eyes.  For me, at the price tag, I expect well-pigmented eyeshadows that feel soft, silky, and require minimal effort to work into my eyeshadow wardrobe.

Chanel, I love you, but this one is a miss for me!

  • Product: 16/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  Skip this — opt for a permanent Chanel eyeshadow quad if you’re in the market for eyeshadow or else sneak a peek at the limited edition Rouge Allure Lipsticks!

Availability:  October/November 2009

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Monday, September 28th, 2009

MAC DSquared Collection
MAC Greasepaint Sticks: V, B, Black

MAC Cosmetics DSquared Collection: Greasepaint Stick & Feline Kohl Power

MAC DSquared Collection is small launch in-stores today, the 28th. The collection includes three shades of Greasepaint Sticks and repromotion of Feline kohl power.

Greasepaint Stick

  • B is a deep, dark navy blue with lighter blue shimmer and a metallic sheen.
  • V is a deep, dark purple-violet with lighter purple shimmer and a metallic sheen.
  • Black is a dark black-purple with a violet cast and shimmer that’s more noticeable when swatched than when used as a liner.

Kohl Power

  • Feline is an intense, richly pigmented black liner that goes on incredibly dark. One of my favorite black liners!

Per my review of the Greasepaint Stick from Style Black, I haven’t yet found these to be rockin’ my world yet. They migrate on my lower lash line quite a bit – kind of smudgy and creasing on the lower lash line. It’s great that I can smudge the product when I’m applying it, but after I smudge it, I expect it to stay put!

On the water line, it holds up better, but it seems to aggravate my eyes, so I think I’m too sensitive to wear it on my water line. I wish the Black Greasepaint Stick was actually a true black, particularly since V exists so soon after the original release. The Greasepaint Sticks can be a bit thick to work with, so you may find yourself using a separate brush to apply this product in thinner, more precise lines. They feel a bit like a shadestick to me, actually.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you like shadesticks, you may find these to be great bases for darker looks!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

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