Monday, March 15th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Aquamarine Palette

Bobbi Brown Color Strips Collection:  Aquamarine Palette

Bobbi Brown Aquamarine Palette ($60.00) includes five eyeshadow shades (Lightening , Aquamarine, Storm, Ivory, and Grey Sky) and three pot rouge shades (Sand Pink, Pale Pink, Powder Pink). This is the third palette from Bobbi Brown’s Color Strips Collection, which also featured Bonfire and Orchid.

  • Ivory is a cool-toned white beige with a matte finish.
  • Lightning (Sparkle) is a shimmering softened gray with silver shimmer.
  • Aquamarine (Metallic) is a muted sky blue with a frosty sheen and shimmer.
  • Grey Sky is a medium gray with almost a brownish-taupe cast with a matte finish
  • Storm is a deepened blue-black with a matte finish.

The Aquamarine Palette is more on the cool-toned side, so it’s definitely more suitable for those with cooler undertones. However, it’s not unwearable for those with warmer skin tones, but you’ll want to mix and match with some slightly warmer hues just to bring everything together. What I really like about this palette, though, is that the shades work really well together, like in the Bonfire Palette.

For a review of the Pot Rouges, head on over to my Orchid Palette review, which includes the same shades of Pot Rouges. The packaging remains the same as the other two palette variations–sleek Bobbi Brown case that opens up with plastic “windows” that keep out dirt and dust from the products (which is really something you don’t see often and much appreciated).

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

Recommendation: If you love a cool-toned smoky gray eye, you might dig Aquamarine.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Cle de Peau Eyeshadow
Cle de Peau #101 Eyeshadow

Going Luxe:  Cle de Peau Satin Eye Color

Cle de Peau Satin Eye Color ($45.00 for 0.07 oz.) is the ultimate luxury in eyeshadow.  It’s absolutely fantastic eyeshadow–soft, smooth; it applies like butter and feels like silk.  At $642 per ounce–and to put that into perspective, MAC is $290/oz., NARS is $328/oz., Chanel is $407/oz.–it’s the most expensive eyeshadow I’ve ever tested.  (But I got curious, so I did some research, and La Prairie’s Eyeshadow comes in at $900/oz. and Sisley at $920/oz., so it’s not the priciest one out there…)

Knowing that it’s Cle de Peau, a luxury line, there’s a sense of, “Mmm, ahh, ohh!” from the get-go, which is part of the experience of using high-end or luxury brands.  When I did the math, however, even I had to go,“Whoa!”  I’m going to tell you point blank that I don’t think I’d ever fork over $45 for a single eyeshadow myself (of course, if it was antique gold, maybe we could talk, if my wallet didn’t run away).  But this is something that has to be put into perspective.  I would have (and I have) paid $45 or more for a lipstick (Guerlain) or lipgloss (Cle de Peau!) that I really liked.  I also want to say that Cle de Peau is a luxury brand, so their business is not built on being affordable.  The price tag very much reflects that.

So, putting price aside, the eyeshadow formula does not disappoint.  I tried two shades:  #101, which is a shimmering warmed-up white, and #107, which is a softened plum-mauve with a shimmery finish. Both shades swatched very true-to-color, and the shimmer is softened a bit (almost like a diffused glow) but on the frostier side.  The best way to describe these is exactly as I said earlier:  “it applies like butter and feels like silk.” The two shades I tried were well-pigmented and shimmered in their loveliness.

These also adhere very well to the lids, whether or not you use a base.  Typically, I don’t bother trying out eyeshadows without a base, since wearing an eyeshadow base is nearly a must-do when you wear eyeshadow, period.  However, because Cle de Peau advertises that it can be applied without “fading, creasing, or dulling,” I had to give it a shot.  The eyeshadows have “Hydro-wrap Complex” and Argan Tree Oil for “smooth application and wear.”  Fancy talk, but these do wear well as an all over color and no base, so count me surprised.  They didn’t soften, crease, or fade during the eight hours I wore them to test (and yes, I totally wore #101 on one eye and #107 on the other!).

They are truly lovely and beautiful from start to finish, even if they are jaw-dropping-ly expensive.  I can easily see why someone would purchase these, even if I myself can’t quite afford them!

Has anyone else tried these?  Anyone caved on these?  Must-see shades?

There are also eight other shades in the formula: 102 (smoked, gray-purple), 103 (nude), 104 (peach), 105 (pinked-peach), 106 (subdued brown-pink), 108 (purple amethyst), 109 (medium green), and 110 (soft sky blue).

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For the ultimate indulgence in eyeshadow, there’s Cle de Peau. I would indulge only if it was a product I could see myself using regularly and finishing.

Availability: Saks Fifth Avenue

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Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Maybelline Eye Studio Copper Chic Eyeshadow Quad

Maybelline Eye Studio Copper Chic Eyeshadow Quad

Maybelline Eye Studio Copper Chic Eyeshadow Quad ($9.99) is a stunning combination of slightly warmed-up neutrals.  I was really hoping Maybelline was going to knock it out of the park with this combination, but they didn’t quite hit the mark for me.  They’re so-so but just not stellar.  I’d still consider it pretty good by drugstore beauty standards, though–but it’s only decent against popular favorites like MAC, Make Up For Ever, and Urban Decay.

It includes a champagne-pink with a frosty finish, subdued copper, muted golden bronze, and darker chocolate bronze with light gold shimmer.  My biggest issue with these eyeshadows was just that they applied sheerly, so it was difficult to get as much dimension as I’d like on my eyes.  Like the other Maybelline palettes, these are softer eyeshadows that have to be applied with less sweeping and more packing/tapping techniques.

These excel best over a more metallic base (think MAC Indianwood or Rubenesque Paint Pots), because these eyeshadows grab onto the base well and then you can get the colors to pop and look more like themselves!  I’m still, overall, impressed by the quality of the Maybelline Eyeshadow Quads, but none have been quite as good as Good with Gold thus far.

More Maybelline Eye Studio Eyeshadow Quad Reviews…

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for soft, almost velvet-textured neutrals, you might like Copper Chic for a budget-friendly option.

Availability: Target

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Monday, March 8th, 2010

Milani Glitter Eyeliner

Milani Glitter Eyeliner ($5.99) is new for spring, and it’s available in six shades: Precious Silver, Emerald Stone, Purple Quartz, Terra Brown, Blue Topaz, and Black Rocks.

  • Black Rocks is a dark black base with silver micro-glitter.
  • Emerald Stone is an turquoise-green with silver micro-glitter.
  • Blue Topaz is a softened sky blue with silver micro-glitter.

I’m pleased to report that these pencil eyeliners are easy to use and last well on the lower lash line. I didn’t experience any budging, smudging, or migration when I wore these on my lower lash line. What I really liked about these was how smooth and soft they were when I applied the color to my lower lash line. Some glitter eyeliners have a grittier texture, which makes them less than ideal for application on such sensitive areas as the lash line.

A fun detail is on the opposite side of the pencil is a smudging sponge, but I found these didn’t smudge that well–even when first applied. That’s fine for me, since I’d rather have it never smudge than smudge a little. I also prefer using the 219 and eyeshadow to really smoke out or smudge the lash line!

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love a little bit of glitz and glam on your lash line, you might want to check out Milani’s new Glitter Eyeliners!

Availability: Milani

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Saturday, March 6th, 2010

NARS D Gorgeous Eyeshadow

NARS Spring 2010: D. Gorgeous Eyeshadow

NARS D. Gorgeous Eyeshadow ($23.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a new single eyeshadow from NARS’ Spring Collection. It’s a light lilac with a matte finish, and it really looks absolutely stunning in its pan–it’s this lovely pale color against matte black packaging, but the product doesn’t come through on quality.

D. Gorgeous is a chalky matte with very sheer, light color. It’s an almost gray-lilac when swatched, but it has this dusty, chalky look to it that’s not very flattering. It’s also incredible sheer and powdery–the minute I dipped my brush in it, it was like, poof! The only good thing I can say about the texture is at least it isn’t a hard-to-swatch matte that just looks like it drags. D. Gorgeous is smooth and soft to the touch, it’s just much chalkier than other NARS’ eyeshadows.

By the way, NARS also raised the price on their single eyeshadows (from $22 to $23). You’re always better off purchasing a NARS eyeshadow duo over a single, because the price per ounce in singles makes it more expensive than MAC, Smashbox, and Make Up For Ever.

It’s really too bad that this went so powdery on me, because it seemed like such a nice shade for spring. It’s not the worst matte I’ve tried, but with the dustiness and lack of pigmentation, it’s not the best, either. Considering its NARS, I expect pigmentation to never be a problem!

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

Recommendation:  Pass and opt for an eyeshadow duo!

Availability: Blue Mercury

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Friday, March 5th, 2010

Maybelline Legendary Lilac Eyeshadow Quad

Spring Pastels with Maybelline are a Little Too Light

Maybelline Eye Studio Legendary Lilac Eyeshadow Quad ($9.99) includes an icy silver with very faint, icy lilac shimmer; a lilac-lavender with gold shimmer; a blue-based blue-purple with subtle gold shimmer; and an eggplant purple with red undertones. This is probably my least favorite Eye Studio Eyesahdow Quad I’ve tested–it’s very faint overall. The pigmentation just isn’t there in three of the four shades (all but the eggplant-y one). I like the concept of four different purple shades, but I must say the blue-based purple might have been nicer with another, stronger medium purple with red undertones.

The eyeshadows themselves are soft and smooth, they just lack pigmentation. I’ve been happier with some of the other variations in this product type, like Good with Gold. This is definitely a skip variation to me — if the colors had more pay off, it could be a nice a way to try out purple eyeshadow, but since they’re already so soft, it’s hard to build up the intensity with these.

More Maybelline Eye Studio Eyeshadow Quad Reviews…

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  • Product: 22/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: Skip this one — it’s just too faint — unless you love really soft, subtle color!

Availability: Target

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