Friday, February 5th, 2010

Smashbox Liquid Pen Liner

Easy Liquid Lining with Liner Pens:  Version Smashbox

Smashbox Heartbreaker Jet Black Liquid Liner Pen ($24.00) is a felt-tipped pen that’s designed to look and feel like liquid liner, but with the control and precision that a pen can deliver. The pen is new and limited edition from Smashbox’s Heartbreaker Collection for the spring.

It’s actually kind of funny, because it seems like pen liners are the new thing to do, as several brands have put one out for the spring. I remember the first one I ever used was MAC’s Penultimate, which I still use on occasion. I like pen liners because they are easier to use than traditional liquid liners. I think I do personally prefer gel eyeliners for the upper lash line over liquid liners, but I do prefer pen liners over traditional liquid liners. You have a lot more control, and it is nice that the tip is always rich in color–you don’t have to worry about running out or product drying on you mid-lining.

Smashbox’s Liquid Liner Pen comes in just one shade, Jet Black, which is a rich black. It’s pretty intense and does go on as a slightly shiny black. I’ve noticed that a lot of black liquid liners seem to reflect more brown-black when swatched, but they really do appear quite black in real life–the same thing happened here. I urge you to check it out where I wore it in this look (on the right eye–your right, not mine–the left eye was done with Stila’s Pen Liner!)

If you like extremely tight/thin lines, I don’t think this is your best bet. It can give you a relatively thin line, but I had trouble getting and keeping it ultra thin. The tip is long enough to give you a nice, broad stroke, but it’s not so long that you lose control over the shape and direction of your line (nor does it kind of bend too much). This does have a very “liquid” feel when you use it, so don’t go over the line too much — once or twice should be plenty. This liquid liner does last a solid eight hours or longer on me (I avoid wearing my makeup for longer than eight hours a day!) and doesn’t fade, smudge, or migrate whatsoever while I’ve worn it.

It’s housed in a simple pen-shaped tube with a removeable cap that clicks back on. It’s very minimalist, but it’s slim and functional. The price tag seems a little higher than I’d have expected (Jet Set and Cream Eye Liner by Smashbox are both $22), but it’s not too out of the price range for Smashbox liners. The other downside is that this is a product that could become a staple in your routine, but it’s limited edition!

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

Recommendation: If you’ve always wanted to try black liquid liner but don’t have the steadiest hand, a pen liner might be a good option!

Availability: Beauty.com, Nordstrom, Sephora

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

MAC Cosmetics Spring Colour Forecast
MAC Colour 4 Eyeshadow Quad: Manila Paper, Flip, Aztec Brick, Creole Beauty

MAC Spring Colour Forecast: Colour 4 Eyeshadow Quad Reviews, Photos, Swatches

Colour 4 is decidedly for those who enjoy their golds and warm-toned browns. So, you know this is my favorite, personally. I love all four shades, and I’m excited that all four are pigmented and smooth. It’s so rare to like *all* the shades in a palette, so it is a nice surprise. I don’t think this is the most original color palette ever, though. I could see duping it with Nylon, Motif, Amber Lights, and Bronze. Not that it’d be exactly the same, it just brought instant “similar but not the same” shadows to mind when I first saw and swatched it.

Eyeshadow Quad — Colour 4

  • Manila Paper is a shimmery white-gold (more white than white-gold!) in a veluxe pearl finish. This is fairly pigmented, but you could probably dupe it with Nylon (which is a little frostier and yellower).
  • Flip is a peachy-gold with gold shimmer sheen with a frost finish. This came out previously, though it was limited edition. I’ve always liked this shade–not quite like anything MAC has in the permanent collection. The closest is something like Gleam or Motif, but it’s not a dupe for either.
  • Aztec Brick is a rich, shimmery copper with gold sheen in a veluxe pearl finish. It reminded me of Amber Lights eyeshadow quite a bit, though perhaps a little more bronzy than Amber Lights.
  • Creole Beauty is a warmed-up, medium-dark bronze with lighter bronze-gold sheen and shimmer with a frost finish. It’s like Romp and Bronze had a baby. Nice pigmentation–probably one of my personal favorites from the launch.

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

MAC Cosmetics Spring Colour Forecast
MAC Colour 3 Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Spring Colour Forecast: Colour 3 Eyeshadow Quad Reviews, Photos, Swatches

Parts 3 and 4 each have an eyeshadow quad, complete in the brand spankin’ new eyeshadow quad packaging. I have to say that I don’t love the new packaging — it’s glossy, so it holds fingerprints a bit, and it looks dirtier once you’ve used the quad a few times compared to the older packaging. It also feels a bit bulkier and not as slim as the older packaging. It looks sleeker and certainly more modern/updated, though. I just hate fingerprints on packaging!

Colour 3 is definitely a cool-toned, purple dominated quad. None of the four shades really grab me personally, but I can see this appealing to others. If you love smoked out purples and plums, this is definitely a quad worth checking out.

Eyeshadow Quad — Colour 3

  • Mink Pink is a soft, dusty fleshy beige pink with a veluxe finish (though it feels more like a matte finish to me).
  • Bruised Plum is a mauvey plum with a silvery sheen. It’s like a more purple version of Shale. It’s a veluxe pearl finish, but it’s not as pigmented as I’d expect for a VP.
  • Black Tulip is dark purple with just a touch of sheen. The finishes of this quad don’t make sense to me, because this doesn’t feel like a frost at all.
  • Jungle Moon is a matte, darkened brown with a plummy feel. MAC describes it as a blackened deep eggplant, and I think that’s a fairly accurate description. It’s a soft, well-pigmented matte eyeshadow that doesn’t feel chalky or dusty.

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

MAC Cosmetics Spring Colour Forecast 1
MAC Crush Metal Pigments: Stacked 1!

MAC Spring Colour Forecast: Crush Metal Pigments Reviews, Photos, Swatches

The Crush Metal Pigment stacks contain four shades per set, but they actually come packaged in two “stacks,” though you can technically stack all four together. They look much like MAC’s travel packaging jars–they’re definitely much larger than typical 5 gram sample jars. They are roughly the same diameter as a MAC eyeshadow. The texture of these is reminiscent of Solar Bits, though I’d say they’re not chunky bits. It’s like a cross between Solar Bits and some of MAC’s frostier pigments (e.g. Kitschmas).

For your reference, these retail for $32.50 and must be bought either in Stacked 1! or Stacked 2! sets, they are not available for individual purchase.  The total weight of the Stacked sets is 12 grams / 0.42 oz.

Stacked 1!

Stacked 1! consists of four shades: a shimmery medium-dark pink with gold flecks; a lightened, pale pink with light sheen; a dark violet with red undertones and soft violet sheen; and a shimmery icy lilac. I found the icy lilac shade to be the chunkiest, frostiest, and the most difficult to work with out of the bunch. The first two shades didn’t remind me of any pre-existing or previous pigments, but the darker purple reminded me of Push the Edge pigment (but without the violet sheen), while the icy lilac one is like a lighter, icier version of Kitschmas.

Stacked 2!

The four shades included in Stacked 2!  are: a metallic light tan with a gilded gold sheen; a lightly frosted tan-gold with golden shimmer; a metallic yellow-based golden green with gold sheen; and a light, olived-toned green with slightly golden sheen. The tan shade reminds me of a slightly lighter, more metallic version of Tan pigment, whereas the beige-y tan is kind of like Blonde pigment. Neither green really has a great dupe, but they’re in the vein of maybe a much, much lighter and yellower version of Golden Olive pigment.

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

MAC Cosmetics Spring Colour Forecast 1
MAC La La Eyeshadow

MAC Spring Colour Forecast: Eyeshadows Reviews, Photos, Swatches

There are eight single eyeshadows that debut in this launch. There are four from part one and four from part two. Additionally, there are two eyeshadow quads being released in parts three and four, respectively, that will be reviewed separately.  My favorites: La La, Very Violet; Hot Hot Hot, Straw Harvest.  What are your favorites?

Spring Colour 1 Forecast — Eyeshadows

  • Rosy Outlook is a dusty medium pink with a satin finish. I think there was a shade called Riviera Rose–this reminds me of it, only not as cool-toned, but still has that dusty pink feel.
  • Very Violet is a crisp darkened violet-purple with very little sheen, not at all frosty like its frost finish would suggest. I can’t remember MAC doing a purple quite like this in recent history.
  • La La is a rich magenta fuchsia with fuchsia shimmer-sheen. It reminds me of Brash & Bold Pigment from Makeup Art Cosmetics last fall, but in eyeshadow form (so more convenient and easier to work with overall). Very nicely pigmented and smooth–and surprisingly not that frosty, despite its frost finish.
  • Da Bling is a slightly paled medium pink with a frosty sheen but excellent color pay off in a veluxe pearl finish. This is a permanent eyeshadow, though, so no need to rush to purchase.

Spring Colour 2 Forecast — Eyeshadows

  • Nanogold is a semi-sheer pinky beige. This is probably one of the nicest lustre-finish eyeshadows I’ve ever come across. It feels nothing like a lustre! This one has come out previously, though always limited edition.
  • Hot Hot Hot is an intensely pigmented orange-based red that looks mostly matte, though it has very subtle shimmer, since it is a satin finish eyeshadow. I don’t think I’ve seen MAC put out a shade like this since being a fan (about five years).
  • Straw Harvest is a gorgeous shade of warmed-up peach gold with a lighter gold sheen in a veluxe pearl finish.
  • Perky is a satin finish light salmon-y pink with good color pay off. Not quite like anything in the permanent line from what I can see.

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Monday, February 1st, 2010

Maybelline Eye Studio Green with Envy

Affordable Eyeshadow? Really?  Maybelline Eye Studio may make it possible!

Maybelline Eye Studio Green with Envy Eyeshadow Quad ($7.49 to $9.99) is new from Maybelline for spring.  Though the packaging is nothing to write home about (typical mass packaging–feels cheap, not the sturdiest palette I’ve ever handled–the lids often pop off, but they can be popped back on), the eyeshadows are some of the better ones I’ve tried when it comes to drugstore beauty brands.  The eyeshadow quad consists of four shades…

  • A shimmery, white-gold champagne highlighter that’s opaque enough to show up but sheer enough not to be overly frosty. I like this as a highlighter or all-over-the-lid kind of wash of color.
  • A shimmery, yellow-based green with a golden sheen. It’s like a slightly muted, less golden-shimmered MAC Lucky Green. It has decent color pay off, but it’s not quite as pigmented as higher-end eyeshadows (like MAC or Urban Decay), but for a drugstore brand, I’m still impressed.
  • A shimmery, muted peach-brown with golden shimmer and sheen. I can’t think of a dupe for this (at least, not off the top of my head), but it kind of feels like one of those hard-to-wear neutral shades, at least for me. I think those with cooler complexions may find it easier to wear than warm-toned complexions.
  • A charcoal gray with gold and green shimmer. I felt like this had the worst texture and color pay off of the four, though it was still okay (just not fabulous). It felt a little chalky or powdery, so it’s best applied in layers and patted on rather than blended too much. It is, however, a unique shade (which just isn’t something you see often from mass). I think if you layered this over a dark base, you wouldn’t have to worry so much about pigmentation and could get the cool multi-tonal shimmer to show.

I think the color pay off of the Give Me Gold Eyeshadow Quad was better than this one, but I’d still say it was good for something found in mass retailers and for the price. It has the same silky texture, but it can sometimes feel powdery (use less than you think, then build up).  I have a few more of these to try out over the next few weeks, so I’ll continue to review the other variations as I test them.  I have a few of the more “colorful” ones to judge just how pigmented Maybelline can do truer, more vibrant hues.

Which ones have you tried?  Impressed or disappointed?

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation:  If you like soft shadows and want something affordable, Maybelline Eye Studio Quads might be up your alley!

Availability: Target, Walmart

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