Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

MAC Tartan Tale:  Twists of Tartan Eyeshadow Palette
MAC Tartan Tale: Twists of Tartan Eyeshadow Palette

MAC Tartan Tale: Twists of Tartan Eyeshadow Palette

Twists of Tartan Eyeshadow Palette ($36.00) is a colorful palette with a slight cool tone running through it.

This palette includes six eyeshadows: Lady’s Prance (clay), Rolled Gold (gold), High Spirits (shimmered avocado), Vainglorious (metallic maroon), Set to Dance (dark royal blue), and Bows & Curtseys (metallic hunter green).

  • Lady’s Prance is a dirty gray-beige. It has a matte finish, but it doesn’t look like 100% matte to me.   The pigmentation on this shade was really nice, as it went on solid without having to layer on a ton.  It’s a lighter version of Omega.
  • Rolled Gold is a smooth antique gold with subtle green-gold flash.  It has a lustre finish, but it feels a lot smoother and integrated than other lustres.  Patina would be the closest in the permanent range, but it’s not that close.
  • High Spirits is a medium grassy green with darker green shimmer.  It has a frost finish.  As pretty as this looked in the pan, it just didn’t swatch very intensely for me.   It’s like a darker version of Swimming–like a cross between Swimming and Humid.
  • Vainglorious is reddened burgundy with soft sheen. It has a frost finish.  Now, this was originally released as part of Venomous Villains, but the one in this palette swatched on the sheer side.  I barely had to get any product when it was sold individually to get a really rich, pigmented swatch, but I felt like I had to work hard to get it to show up from this palette. What gives?  It’s pretty close to Star Violet.
  • Set to Dance is a dark indigo blue. It has a matte finish, and it does suffer from some chalkiness and overall sheerness.   Naval (PRO) probably comes closest to this shade, but it’s bluer.
  • Bows & Curtseys is a darkened green that leans quite gray-black. It has a satin finish.  For as dark as this shade looks in the pan, it swatched something awful.  I just could not get it to show–it reminded me of Deep Blue Green pigment, except, you know, with 10% of the pigmentation.

The palette contains 0.19 oz. worth of eyeshadow along with a tiny 213 brush, which means you’re paying $190/oz. In comparison, if you were to buy potted eyeshadows, MAC eyeshadows run at $290/oz. and pans run at $230/oz. These palettes do offer a little more bang for your buck than if you were to buy shades individually.

Despite loving how colorful this palette is upon first glance, the pigmentation leaves something to be desired.  There is just a lack of it in the majority of these shades (all but the gold and beige), and I really can’t understand why.  I had some textural issues with half the shades–Lady’s Prance and Rolled Gold have a lovely smooth texture, but Set to Dance and Bows & Curtseys had a much chalkier texture.  Overall, I’m not too keen on this palette.

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  • Product: 23/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It’s definitely a palette geared towards those who love to wear color, but the lack of pigmentation makes it more appropriate to those who prefer their color sheer!

AVAILABILITY: October 28th at MAC Stores/Counters

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Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

MAC Tartan Tale:  Dashing Lassies Eyeshadow Palette
MAC Tartan Tale: Dashing Lassies Eyeshadow Palette

MAC Tartan Tale: Dashing Lassies Eyeshadow Palette

Dashing Lassies Eyeshadow Palette ($36.00) is a rather neutral, slightly warmed up palette.

This palette includes six eyeshadows: Bronze (copper penny), Buckwheat (frosty medium brown), A Dashing Lassie (metallic milk), Magical Mist (metallic taupe), Showstopper (dark brown), and Once Upon a Time (metallic vanilla).

  • Bronze is a rich metallic bronze with a copper-bronze sheen.  It has a frost finish, and it looks the same as the permanent shade of Bronze, despite the different descriptions.  This is the nicest and most pigmented shade of the six–but you can get it on its own, too.
  • Buckwheat is a medium-dark brown with soft green-gold shimmer.  It has a frost finish, and it was originally launched with Naked Honey in 2009.  The pigmentation is decent, but it could be a little richer. Sable seems like it would be the closest dupe from the permanent range.
  • A Dashing Lassie is a frosted soft white with beige sheen.  It has a frost finish. The pigmentation is decent, and it could be used as a highlighter on light to light-medium skin tones; it may be too ashy as a highlighter on darker skin tones.  It’s similar to Dazzlelight, perhaps not as white.
  • Magical Mist is a mushroom-y taupe with a metallic sheen.  It has a lustre finish, but it doesn’t have the typical gritty texture of lustre eyeshadows–very little fall out as a result.   I can’t think of any great dupes from the permanent range for this.
  • Showstopper is a dark, cool-toned sooty brown.  It has a matte finish, and it has been launched on numerous occasions.  Even though it swatches rather sheer, it works decently as a crease shade to darken the lid.  It’s just been in so many palettes and launches, I wouldn’t be surprised if you already had it somewhere in your stash!
  • Once Upon a Time is a semi-sheer champagne.  It has a veluxe pearl finish.  It’s very sheer for a veluxe pearl–looks more like a lustre in terms of color pay off.  It’s a more metallic version of Ricepaper.

The palette contains 0.19 oz. worth of eyeshadow along with a tiny 213 brush, which means you’re paying $190/oz.  In comparison, if you were to buy potted eyeshadows, MAC eyeshadows run at $290/oz. and pans run at $230/oz.  These palettes do offer a little more bang for your buck than if you were to buy shades individually.

The best part about this palette is how well the shades coordinate with each other.  It’s very much variations on browns and beiges, and all but Bronze run on the neutral to neutral-cool end of the spectrum.  Unfortunately, pigmentation seems to be lacking severely in two of the shades, and pigmentation is only top notch in one.  I don’t think this palette is a must-have; at this price tag, I’d recommend Urban Decay’s Naked Palette instead for a solid neutral palette that’s not only a good deal but full of quality, too.

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

RECOMMENDATION: The shades go together well, but too many of them are on the sheerer side of things.  Given MAC’s penchant for pigment, it seems at odds with what one would expect to see in their palette.

AVAILABILITY: October 28th at MAC Stores/Counters

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Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Becca Quartz Eyeshadow
Becca Quartz Eyeshadow

One & Done Eyeshadows: Becca Quartz

Becca Quartz Creme Eye Colour ($28.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a golden champage with warm shimmer. This is an easy shade to apply all over the lid to add a nice layer of shimmer and warmth to the lid.

Becca recommends setting it with loose powder to make it more crease-resistant, which I interpret as “this is not a crease-resistant product [on its own].” It works well set with either powder eyeshadow or translucent powder, though–no creasing once I’ve done one of those two things. Since it’s not a cream-to-powder eyeshadow, it stays blendable for awhile, and it has a creamier consistency, which makes it workable as a cheek highlighter, too.

Nice but necessarily a must-have.  Becca can be hard to find in person (I have never seen it myself–I got this shade from a HauteLook sale), though.  It’s also a bit pricey at $28, relative to other high-end brands and their cream eyeshadows.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It’s a great shade for those with neutral-to-warm undertones, because it has a nice level of warmth without being yellow.  If you are looking for something that will not crease when worn alone, though, this is not it.

AVAILABILITY: Becca, but I noticed they all were out of stock, but Dermstore has it!

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Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules Palette
Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules Palette

Beauty Rules?!

Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules Face Palette ($45.00) has me at odds! I do and don’t like this palette. I do LOVE the new and exclusive Pot Rouge shades to this palette. I also adore the packaging–I just think it’s cute and fits so well with the theme. I absolutely do not like the eyeshadows included in the palette, and I really disliked both of the sparkle eyeshadows.

My dislike of those two eyeshadows actually overwhelmed me for awhile, because I kept giving this palette a look of disdain. Once I sat down to write the review, though, I realized that only two of ten products weren’t so hot. I do think the Pot Rouges are really the highlight out of this palette, because they are wearable, flattering shades. Both shades are exclusive to the palette, as are the two lip glosses and Eclipse eyeshadow. (Ivory is permanent; Lightning, Orchid, and Crystal Gold have been in previous palettes.)

  • Ivory is a matte white ivory. If you have a few Bobbi Brown palettes, you probably have this shade somewhere! It’s similar to MAC’s Blanc Type.
  • Lightning is a sheer, softened gray taupe with silver shimmer and has a sparkle finish. It was in Bobbi Brown’s Aquamarine Palette.
    Orchid is sheer, sparkly lilac with a sparkle finish. This was in Bobbi Brown’s Orchid Palette, and I disliked it as much then as I do now. It’s just a mess to apply–fall out everywhere.
  • Eclipse is a matte, stormy black. It’s a nice black, but it doesn’t stand out strongly against other matte blacks available.
  • Baby Pink is a rosy pink with cool, blue undertones. It can be built up for a more intense look or blended out for a rosy flush. I was reminded a bit of Benefit’s Posietint, but Posietint is not as buildable.
  • Homecoming Pink is a medium pink with neutral undertones. It’s as wearable and buildable as Baby Pink, just darker and neutral. Fun find: Pale Pink from the Orchid Palette is a mix of Baby Pink and Homecoming Pink!
  • Air Kiss is a sheer, pale milky pink. It lightened my natural lip color a bit–essentially washed out my lip color.
  • Rum is a sheer rosy brown. It has a little milkiness to it, but it’s not as milky or as pale as Air Kiss.
  • Crystal Gold is a sheer glossy base with metallic bronze and copper shimmer. This is a Glitter Lip Balm, but I’d like this more layered over a lipstick. It’s a little streaky on its own.
  • Jet is a creamy, jet black eyeliner.  It wore well, and it wasn’t too soft or hard, though swatching it lightly on the back of your hand initially is recommended, just to wear down the sharpened point.

The palette contains 0.02 oz. Creamy Eye Pencil, 0.04 oz. x4 Eyeshadows, 0.07 oz. x2 Pot Rouges, 0.04 oz. x2 of Lip Gloss, and 0.04 oz. Glitter Lip Balm. After going through the math, the palette is a good deal. It’s not a fantastic deal, but it’s not a rip off. You get about $10 worth of Eyeliner, $20 worth of Eyeshadows, $15 worth of Sparkle Eyeshadows, $10 worth of Pot Rouge, $10 worth of Lip Gloss, and $5 worth of Glitter Lip Balm–so somewhere around $65 to 70 in value.

I don’t feel like this is a great palette for teenagers. Even though sparkle is fun and they always say it’s for the young (pfft!), both shades are prone to fall out, and I think the last thing a makeup newcomer should have to deal with is that. The Pot Rouges are forgiving, because they’re so blendable, and the lip colors are natural and wear with most looks–but it’s the eyeshadows that seem out of place for a palette geared towards teenagers.

P.S. — Though I am not a fan of lip palettes, particularly when lip colors are mixed with powder products, I did not let that personal bias influence the rating or grading of this palette, but I do still feel that way about them–haven’t changed my mind!

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: My gut says to pass on this, but if you’re a Pot Rouge fan like me, those pinks are hard to pass up.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

NYX Purple Smokey Look Kit
NYX Purple Smokey Look Kit

More Purple Than You’ll Know What to Do With

NYX Purple Smokey Look Kit ($11.00 for 0.32 oz.) is an eye and lip palette; it contains nine eyeshadows and two lip colors. If you’re a fan of cool-toned, purple eyeshadows, this is a palette with your name on it! The palette includes: a smoked, blackened purple with violet sheen; brightened navy blue with a subtle sheen; softened fuchsia lilac with a satin sheen; light fuchsia pink with satin sheen; gray-tinged brown with cool undertones; pinked brown with sheen; softened violet with sheen; red-toned, medium purple with violet shimmer-sheen; and dusty brown. The lip shades included a pinky nude cream and a metallic bronze.

The majority of the eyeshadow shades were nicely pigmented, but three were on the sheerer side — the pink brown, softened violet, and dusty brown. The dusty brown was pretty pitiful for me; extremely sheer, almost chalky, and wasn’t working for me whatsoever. The other eight shades were much more workable, though, so it’s easy to forgive a palette of nine shades for only one bad apple. I liked that only a couple of the shades had a frostier finish, while the rest had a low satin sheen. Shimmers/satins are easier to blend but sometimes you can get too much of a good thing!

I didn’t like the lip colors very much–they’re a little sticky and the shades themselves don’t seem to fit with the palette. A metallic bronze lip is lovely, but I’m not so sure about pairing it with such cool purples. I wouldn’t grab this for the lip colors, but I do like that they’re in a separate pull-out drawer, which means they won’t get any cross-contamination from the powder eyeshadows. The included double-ended applicators aren’t anything to write home about; the bristled one is sparse and a little scratchy, while the sponge-tip is thin and a little scratchy.

The palette itself is housed in a square black palette, so it manages to look sleek and compact, and it would work really well for traveling. It’s a good palette overall, and for $11, it’s obviously a real gem!

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

RECOMMENDATION: The quality is good overall with just a couple of misses but enough hits to make it well worth the price.

AVAILABILITY: NYX

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Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Estee Lauder Surreal Violet Eyeshadow Palette
Estee Lauder Surreal Violet Eyeshadow Palette

Estee Lauder Blue Dahlia: Surreal Violet Eyeshadow Palette

Estee Lauder Surreal Violet Eyeshadow Palette ($42.00 for 0.27 oz.) is a purple-hued palette from the Blue Dahlia Collection, which debuted for fall. It includes five shades: pink-lilac with soft sheen; dusty gray with mauve in a matte finish; shimmery white; darkened eggplant with a matte finish; and a sparkly cool-toned purple.

The palette’s interior design is similar to Guerlain’s Eyeshadow Palettes, but the outer packaging is entirely different, and Guerlain’s palette does include a sixth shade along the right hand side of the palette. None of the five Guerlain palettes released for fall resemble either of the two palettes released by Estee Lauder, though–there might be one shade overlap at best, but they are all pretty different from each other. As far as texture is concerned, Guerlain’s is a little smoother, but the pigmentation is similar across both brands with some shades slightly sheer and others more opaque.  Again, even though at first sight, the two brands seem similar, the color schemes for their palettes deviate quite a bit, so it may not curb your desire for an $84 palette.

Both of the matte eyeshadows are a touch dusty but very workable when used with a brush–just make sure to tap excess off to avoid fall out–while the pinky lilac shade is absolutely gorgeous, because the sheen is just right. The frosted white shade may be garish on darker skin tones, and the high-shine finish works better on the lid than on the brow to highlight. The sparkly purple shade is pretty but a little sheer and a good portion of the sparkle seems to disappear by the time you apply it to the lid.

My favorite part about the palette is how well the colors work together.  This is not a palette that has too many dark shades, not enough available textures, or colors that just don’t work together.  It’s well-designed to create both lighter purple-based looks as well as smokier looks.  The inclusion of both matte, satin, and frost finishes allows for the creation of looks with depth.

P.S. — Is it just me or are white sponge-tip applicators incredibly cheap looking?  I don’t like sponge-tip applicators in general, but white just seems to scream cheap to me.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a purple fiend, I think you’ll get a lot of use out of this palette.  There’s a good mix of both warmer and cooler shades, as well as lighter and darker shades, to make this a rather versatile palette.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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