Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes
#1L, #6L, #8L, #11L, #23L

Aqua Eyes, I Love Thee!

Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes ($17.00 for 0.04 oz.) is one of my favorite eyeliners–pigmented, long-wearing, waterproof, and just all around fantastic liners. I love the color range, and I have kind of gotten into a rather “collect ‘em all” mentality. You can read my very first review of Aqua Eyes (includes #5L, 7L, 10L, 12L, 15L, 17L, and 20L) as well as my single reviews of #3L, #4L, #9L, and #16L, too.

  • #1L is a deep dark black (despite appearing brown in the swatch–what is it with black eyeliner turning brown when photographed?) with a soft sheen.
  • #6L is a dark plummy purple with slight red undertones and soft sheen.
  • #8L is a bright, metallic silver–on the lighter, brighter side.
  • #11L is a medium-dark violet purple with soft violet sheen. New favorite purple liner!
  • #23L is a shimmering golden champagne with a nearly metallic finish.

(What am I missing? Hmm… #0L, 2L, 14L, 18L, 19L, 21L, 22L, 24L… 13L is on its way… wow, that’s more missing than I thought. BOO!)

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

RECOMMENDATION: Aqua Eyes wears so well throughout the day without fading, smudging, or migrating. They’re one of my go-tos for eyeliners, and I love how pigmented and diverse the shade range is.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Dior Ready-to-Wear Palette

Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives: Dior Ready-to-Wear Palette

Dior Ready-to-Wear Palette ($54.00) is just one of Nordstrom’s many Beauty Exclusives for their Anniversary Sale (which officially kicks off on the 16th–so close yet so far!). It looks like it’s sold out online, but you may be able to check your local Nordstrom to see if they still have any available for pre-order/sale. This palette contains a blush, bronzer, four eyeshadows, and two lip glosses along with three miniature brushes.

I could really get down with the palette’s theme if they just didn’t put those lip glosses in there–you’re going to experience some cross-contamination of the powder products into your lip glosses. It’s a little annoying and a bit gross. I’m also not entirely sure just how value-packed this palette is, but it seems to be–at the very least–what I’d expect to pay for a Dior palette such as this one. (Mine doesn’t have a label nor a box, so I don’t have specifics on sizes for each interior product.)

The blush is a dirty pink-red that’s rather on the sheer side, and the bronzer is a soft, sheer medium bronze-tan with subtle sheen. The eyeshadows include a frosted warm white, peachy-pink (think NARS Orgasm), shimmering spun gold, and cool-toned subtle bronze. These aren’t Dior’s best eyeshadows–they’re a little on the sheer side and the texture isn’t nearly as creamy as their quints typically are. The two lipglosses are a dirty caramel with multicolored shimmer and a sheer beige champagne.

You can definitely build some looks with this palette, though everything is a smidgen on the warm side (I guess that compensates for their rather cool-toned plummy palette for fall, eh?).  I think everything pairs well together, and it’s a nice color palette that’ll work for the summer, too.   However, I feel the quality isn’t as good as Dior products usually are–just feels a little below.

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: For warmer skin tones, this may make a great travel palette–if you don’t mind shades on the sheerer side. Overall, though, it doesn’t meet the expectations I have based on my past experience with Dior.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, July 12th, 2010

Burberry Beauty Eyeshadow
Burberry Trench (02) Eyeshadow

Burberry Trench (02) Eyeshadow ($29.00 for 0.088 oz.) is one of twenty shades of soft, subtle eyeshadows launched in the Burberry Beauty line. I bought Trench, because it seemed like it would be a very fitting shade for the brand.  From the packaging to the color range to the feel, it’s high-end and stays true to the Burberry line and philosophy.

Trench is a smooth, buttery shade of light beige with a soft, satin sheen. It may seem hard to see on my skin tone, because it very much matches my skin tone, but it’s a beautiful barely-there shade. It’s perfect as a highlighter for lighter skin tones as well as an all-over wash for a touch of lightness. The texture is soft to the touch, but it’s pigmented.

The packaging is luxe with the gunmetal case with the signature Burberry check patterning on the cover. It also has the Burberry logo stamped across the front side. The eyeshadow compact does come in a velvet check-patterned pouch, and there is also a sponge-tipped applicator included inside. I don’t care for most included applicators, whether they’re actual brushes or sponges, because they’re often too stubby to provide enough control and precision, so it’s a throwaway for me. I like that the packaging feels weighty enough that it’s substantial and not flimsy, and the darker gunmetal hides some of the fingerprints (but you will see some). It stays closed when you want it to, and it also has a mirror inside.

Surprisingly, each eyeshadow contains a bit more product than the average eyeshadow–0.088 oz., whereas Chanel and Dior single shadows usually weigh in around 0.07 oz. and are similarly priced. Guerlain still comes in as one of the weightier high-end shadows at 0.12 oz. a pop, though!

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you like subtler color and enjoy soft, buttery textures, you may like Burberry eyeshadow.

AVAILABILITY: Burberry, Nordstrom

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Monday, July 12th, 2010

Urban Decay Vegan Palette

Can You Resist Cute Packaging?

Urban Decay Vegan Palette ($34.00) is a new and limited edition eyeshadow palette for fall, and it features six eyeshadows, one eyeliner, and a miniature-sized eyeshadow primer.  It features only products that are vegan-friendly.

The packaging is my favorite part about this product, which is creative, pretty, and functional. Otherwise, the eyeshadows are every bit of quality you’d expect from Urban Decay, but with the Naked Palette released simultaneously and featuring three of these shades (Smog, Gunmetal, Half Baked), it makes getting both of them rather redundant.

These are pitfalls of Urban Decay’s limited edition palettes, because long-time collectors often end up with multiples of several shades, since the brand reuses certain shades with great frequency. (I am personally tired of seeing Twice Baked and Baked in their palettes!) On the other hand, for newer Urban Decay fans, the palette is a cute palette with six great shades from the brand’s range. Each eyeshadow is 0.03 oz. in weight, along with a 0.03 oz. Zero 24/7 Eye Pencil and 0.13 oz. Sin Primer Potion. It’s a decent amount for the price tag, but…

The Naked Palette gives you so much for–double the eyeshadow shades (12 in total)–but every single shade in it is full sized at 0.05 oz. For $10 more, you’re getting 0.6 oz. of eyeshadow, instead of 0.18 oz. Pretty awesome, right? All six of the Vegan palette shades can be purchased individually, in case you’re dead-set on one of them. I guess what I’m really saying is if you were waffling between the Vegan and the Naked palette, I would recommend the Naked palette and not even think twice about it.

  • Minx is shimmering aqua green with tiny flecks of teal glitter.
  • Urb is a softly shimmered olive green with a golden sheen. It was the least pigmented shade of the six, though I wouldn’t call it sheer or lacking in pigmentation overall.
  • Gunmetal is a blue-toned gray-black with silver sheen. Very pigmented!
  • Twice Baked is a satin-y medium-dark chocolate brown.
  • Smog is a shimmering bronze with a copper-gold sheen.
  • Half Baked is a lightened copper with a near metallic finish.

The palette also includes a miniature-sized Zero 24/7 Liner (true black) and Sin Eyeshadow Primer Potion (a shimmery burnt champagne base). I need another Zero like I need another eyeliner, period, but it’s a solid black eyeliner which will work well with any of the six shadows and any combinations thereof. I find Sin very, very shimmery–so frosty that it’s hard to use as a base, particularly with frost finished shades like these. I think Eden would have been a better choice here to make it more versatile.

Minx and Urb are the only shades that are on the glittery side, though neither is a glitter bomb. The other four shades are smoother and don’t feel glittery–just shimmery. All six shades are very true-to-color with nice pigmentation and a soft, smooth texture. I really do like and enjoy the palette, and there is nothing wrong with it. It just depends on what Urban Decay palettes you already own and how much overlap you have between them all.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t plan on getting the Naked eyeshadow palette (how could you not?!) and you don’t have too much overlap with previously released palettes, it’s an adorably packaged palette with quality in mind.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora, Urban Decay

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Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Benefit Scene Queen Makeup Palette

Get Ready to Make a Scene

Benefit Scene Queen Makeup Palette ($38.00) contains something for each part of your face — 0.1 oz. CORALista, 0.09 oz. High Beam, 0.18 oz. Juicy Coral Lip Shine, 4 0.1 oz. eyeshadows, Smokin’ Liner, and 2 double-sided makeup brushes.

  • CORALista is a pink-cral with subtle sheen but not a lot of shimmer. It’s very pigmented, so a little goes a long way. I actually didn’t even realize it was in the palette until I went to write the review! It’s a pretty small pan, so it may take some maneuvering to get your brush in it. The included brush is a bit stubby, so I find it cumbersome to use.
  • High Beam is a light, shimmering pink-toned highlighter. It’s a whitish-pink, and it works best on light to medium skin tones (Moon Beam better for deeper skin tones).
  • Juicy Coral Lip Shine is a semi-opaque coral-orange with golden shimmer. It’s a very pretty shade of coral, and it’s not too orange either.
  • Smokin’ Liner is a dark black-brown eyeliner that goes opaque without trouble. Very smooth and richly pigmented.
    Charcoal is a darkened gray-black with subtle silver shimmer.
  • Shimmering Beige is a pink-toned medim beige with a frost finish.
  • Misty Blue is a slightlyg rayed medium-dark blue with a silver sheen.
  • Navyis a rich navy blue with a purple edge and flecks of midnight sky blue shimmer.
  • Dual-Ended Brushes have an angled brush on one end and a fluffier brush on the other–and then two of them. They’re usable in a pinch, but they’re not the best brushes of all time. Better than the usual inclusions, though.

I like all of the products individually, and I feel Benefit gives you a good amount of each of them (in fact, the eyeshadows are surprisingly weighty–0.1 oz. compared to the average of 0.05 oz.–but I don’t feel that such a rich shade of coral on both cheeks and lips is actually all that suitable to pair with the eyeshadows. I think medium skin tones will be able to pull off that look, but paler skin tones may have to be a little cautious. I fear it may be too much all at once. I was expecting a pinker blush (maybe Sugarbomb) rather than CORALista here.

That’s my only gripe about the palette, though! There are only powder products exposed, while the lip and cream products are housed in their own containers, so there’s no worry about cross-pollination of shadow dust. The palette is cute and still functional, and it even includes a step-by-step guide on how to wear the palette.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you like yourself a blue smoky eye, this may make a great g-to palette.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Becca Lurex Eyeshadow

Becca Lurex Eyeshadow — One More Antique Gold to Love

Earlier this week, I reviewed Becca Shantung Eyeshadow ($24.00 for 0.03 oz.), and today, I have Becca Lurex Eyeshadow ($24.00 for 0.03 oz.) for you! Lurex is a tarnished gold–it doesn’t cast very green, so it’s very wearable as neutral without being “boring.” The texture is smooth, soft, and nicely pigmented, just like Shantung.  Becca’s eyeshadows seem to have an excellent texture with good color pay off, but they’re just on the small side given their price tag.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t think you’ll ever hit pan on your eyeshadows, the downfall of Becca’s Lurex likely won’t be an issue for you! It is a high quality eyeshadow in a beautiful shade of antique gold.

AVAILABILITY: Becca

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