Thursday, January 7th, 2010

MAC All Ages, All Races, All Sexes Collection
MAC All Races Eyeshadow

MAC All Ages, All Races, All Sexes Collection: Eyeshadows Reviews, Photos, Swatches

None of the eyeshadows really spoke to me, which may be more a reflection of them being a little too neutral, too safe and me having more than enough neutral favorites through their permanent line. I suppose my feelings are much like they were with Warm & Cozy from last week — I’d loved to have seen new and different neutrals. I also wish Showstopper would go into retirement for at least a few years! Of the four, my favorite was All Races, and I do think that one is the most worth picking up, because it’s not a shade I’ve seen by MAC at all (no immediate dupes came to mind).

Eyeshadows ($14.50 U.S. / $16.50 CDN)

  • All Races is a cool-toned lilac with a little gray edge. It has a matte finish, and it is a creamy, silky matte–no chalky texture here. I can’t remember seeing a shade like this by MAC. Maybe once or twice, but nothing I can remember at the moment!
  • Banshee is a dirty pink with a little brown to it — it has a silver glitter that makes it a little chunky. It has a lustre finish, which definitely accounts for the glittery feel. I imagine you may have some issues with fall out with this shade.
  • Cross-Cultural is a medium-dark chocolate brown with a matte finish. This is definitely a shade you could use to contour your eye space with; it has a nearly neutral finish, not being too cool nor warm.  I’d say this is similar to maybe Era/Texture or a lighter version of Espresso.
  • Showstopper is an ultra dark charcoal brown with a cool feel to it. This is a shade that’s not permanent yet it comes out often enough that it never feels like you need to stock up. This also has a matte finish to it.  This is similar to Mystery/Brun.

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Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Too Faced for Spring 2010 Eyeshadows
Too Faced Teddy Bear & Heaven Eyeshadow Duo

Spring Makeup:  Neutrals from Too Faced

For spring, Too Faced introduces four eyeshadow duos ($17.00 each) all in shiny black packaging with clear lids that snap shut.

  • Teddy Bear & Heaven is a duo a dark, cool-toned grayish brown and a silky smooth pale beige-nude. They’re both matte in texture and have good pigmentation.
  • Cocoa Puff & Honey Pot is a beautiful duo of a dark, rich chocolate brown with bronze brown undertones and golden shimmer and a metallic copper bronze with a high level of metallic-frost in its finish. I really loved the deep shade (I presume Cocoa Puff) — very intense, lovely, and easy to work with. Honey Pot is very flashy and has a great deal of metallic sheen.
  • Erotica & Silk Teddy is like a cool-toned version of Cocoa Puff & Honey Pot, actually. It’s a cool-toned taupe chocolate brown with gold and green shimmer paired with a champagne pink with a bright metallic sheen. Like Honey Pot, Silk Teddy is very, very high in sheen.
  • Sexpresso & Peach Fuzz has a dark, cool-toned espresso brown with a matte finish and a light peachy orange with gold flecks (but the base color felt rather matte with more of the glitter/shimmer as an overlay).

According to Too Faced, the eyeshadow duos were their way of giving you the ability to repurchase your favorite shades from their Natural Eye Palette. I actually reviewed the Natural Eye Palette back in August when it first debuted. The shades they didn’t put into duo form were Velvet Revolver, Push-up, and Nude Beach (and by the way? Nude Beach is no loss, seriously!).

I think it’s cool that Too Faced–at least it seems that way–listened to their fans and made sure they wouldn’t run out of their new favorite shades. I personally prefer the eyeshadow duo packaging — more durable, less messy, and I like being able to tote just one or two around, rather than entire palette. The palette was cute, though. This is also a nice way to maybe grab one duo instead of the entire palette if you were looking for a particular shade. The palette retailed for $34 and contained three larger sized shadows (0.07 oz. each) and six smaller sized shadows (0.03 oz. each), and the duos are a good size — 0.08 oz. for each duo (I imagine it’s split pretty evenly down the middle). You get a better bang for your buck with the palette, but you might prefer the set-up and convenience of the duos (or maybe only want one!).

Bottom Line

Smooth, buttery, and pigmented — these eyeshadows are particularly lovely, high quality, and they’re all easy to use neutrals. I actually much prefer these over the Fun in the Dark Palette and would put my money towards these instead!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

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

Recommendation: If you like Too Faced eyeshadows, and you’re looking for neutrals… those are these!

Availability: Sephora

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Monday, January 4th, 2010

Chanel Khaki Dore Le Crayon Yeux ($28.00) is a stunning shade of rich, metallic golden bronze. It’s just the hue that I’m totally nuts for – that antique gold, bronze gold… anything in that family, I’m game for. Khaki Dore applies evenly, smoothly, and opaquely. It comes with its own pencil sharpener, and the liner itself is dual-ended. It has an angled sponge tip on the other end for blending/correcting.

It’s the first Chanel eyeliner I’ve tried, and I’m pleased with it. It looks really lovely in natural or smoky looks. Sometimes I’ll even wear it alone on my lower lash line with just some mascara for a very quick look for running errands. I wore it in this spring look I did few weeks ago. I’d say the highlight of this eyeliner is really how precise it is; it really does define and apply in a thin, even line without much fuss. It lasts all day on me (eight to twelve hours) without smudging, budging, or fading–always a necessity in an eyeliner.

Bottom Line

I’m not over the moon with the formula, but I do like this shade and don’t have anything quite like it, so it’s a shade I knew I’d be drawn to. The price tag is daunting, and I don’t expect most people to make room in their budgets for this eyeliner. Surprisingly (and a little to my horror), $28 isn’t as outlandish as I thought — Dior is priced at $26, YSL is priced at $28.

With that in mind, if you had $28 laying around and wanted to give your money to Chanel, I’d recommend a lipstick or gloss over the eyeliner, just because they do those exceptionally well. This is still a quality product, but it doesn’t reign supreme over eyeliners from other brands.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

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

Recommendation:  If you love antique or bronzy golds like me, this might be a must for you–if the price doesn’t scare you away.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Too Faced Fun in the Dark Palette

Spring Makeup with Too Faced Fun in the Dark Palette

Too Faced Fun in the Dark Palette ($32.50) is a new, limited edition eyes, cheeks, and lip palette from Too Faced for the spring. It contains four eyeshadows (Pin-Up, Peep Show, Full Frontal, Lucky Charms), two lip products (Tropical Pink, Free Love), one blush (Papa Don’t Peach), and one bronzer (Sun Bunny).  When you flip open the top, there are small, circular lights that go along the border of the palette that light up, and according to Too Faced, the battery life is about thirty hours.

I really, really did not like the light-up mirror included in the palette.  In fact, I will just come right out and say it:  I hated it.  It was a blinding cool-toned white.  The light was neither flattering nor comfortable to look towards.  I disliked it so much, I left the palette open for two days to drain the battery of the lights, because it was just such a distraction.  But seriously, it hurt my eyes a bit when I first flipped the top of this palette open.  Don’t get me wrong, the lighting is a minor point, and like I did, you can always drain the battery for the lights, but it didn’t leave me the best first impression, you know?

The four eyeshadows are of the softer shadow variety, and they’re smooth and well-pigmented.  Pin-up is a neutral, maybe slightly cool, champagne beige with soft white shimmer.  Peep Show is a cool-toned medium pink with gold shimmer–this one was lovely; it reminded me of Urban Decay Naked Lipstick or MAC Stark Naked BlushFull Frontal is a rich chocolate brown with red undertones and a slightly frosty finish.  Lucky Charms is a frosty medium-dark forest green with gold shimmer and green sheen.

Papa Don’t Peach is a pinky-peachy blush, which leans a little more peach.  It has good pigmentation, and it’s similar to NARS Orgasm, but I’d say it’s a little darker and not nearly as shimmery.  If you like Orgasm, though, I imagine you’d like this shade as well.  Sun Bunny is a split-bronzer with a darker, more coppery bronze on one side and a lighter, less shimmery soft copper bronze on the other side.

Tropical Pink is an ultra sheer (aka clear) gloss with a hint of gold sparkle.  I found it pretty disappointing, just because there was no pigmentation to speak of and it felt quite gooey.  Free Love is a medium-pink lipstick with gold shimmer.  I liked Free Love a lot more, because you could get pigmentation out of it with enough layers.  I’m still no fan of lip palettes, particularly when they’re housed near powder-based products, though!

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a palette for easy travel, you might enjoy Fun in the Dark, because it has a little something for all of your face – the eyes, cheeks, and lips.  It’s not the most handy palette, just because the four eyeshadows don’t yield the most combinations, but it’s an interesting pairing of colors, nonetheless.  I like it overall, but I didn’t fall in love.

Edit: It does, indeed, look like they spelled Chronicles wrong on the palette.  I checked the image Sephora’s using, and it’s misspelled there, too.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

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

Recommendation:  If you like Too Faced eyeshadows, or have always wanted to try them, this might be a good way to check them out!

AvailabilitySephora

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Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Dior DiorShow Extase Mascara

Dior DiorShow Extase Mascara ($28.00) is the latest variation on the famous Dior DiorShow Mascara. It seems like it’s exclusively available at Sephora for the time being, and Sephora describes the new mascara as:

DiorShow Extase provides built-in treatment benefits and high-impact lashes in a single stroke! The spherical-shaped Black Pearl Pigments create a 3D volume effect and the exclusive Metamorphosis Powders expand in size by up to 50% after application. Also, SR38 Patented Ceramid brings additional care, reconstructing damaged lashes and promoting stronger and fuller lashes. The Extase mascara features a “Tiered Brush” that is inspired by the “tiered” couture dresses created by the House of Dior. The brush is designed for performance and contains an Exclusive Duo of Fibers: The Black Elastomer Fibers brush out and define the lashes for panoramic fringe and the Gold Nylon Fibers hold and deposit formula, generously coating each lash for outstanding volume.

Whenever I review a mascara, I look to see what exactly the mascara is claiming to do, because I find that like some anti-aging products, mascara is a product type that is often more marketing than results.   Extase is designed to volumize and thicken lashes while defining them.

Extase delivers length best – it’s exceptionally good at providing you with instantly longer lashes, even with just one light coat of the mascara. That’s really the part that I noticed first. It adds some volume, but I wouldn’t label this a volumizing mascara. My lashes really looked longer, but not so feathery (as my lashes tend to look with a more volumizing mascara). As far as thickening goes, it thickens well for a such a multi-tasking mascara. I think what stands out about this mascara is the lengthening aspect of it; everything else is decent, but it’s hard to separate the volume, thickness, etc. from the dramatic increase in length. The color of the mascara is definitely a deep black; I’d say Chanel Exceptionnel and MAC Plushlash are slightly richer, but they’re all in the same ballpark. I don’t have any issues with the pigmentation–it’s black enough for me.

It does a good job of defining lashes, but to a point, because the mascara will clump up on you if you’re not careful. The brush often has excess mascara on it, so removing excess certainly helps, and you can get a good two or three coats of mascara with very minimal clumping. I always recommend using a mascara comb regardless of the mascara you’re using, just because it helps separate and define lashes. I wouldn’t say this is perfectly clump-free, but I’d say it’s a relatively clump-free mascara. If you like to get multiple coats on, just follow my aforementioned tips for a better application.

I’ve been wearing Extase for over a week now, so you can see it used in a variety of looks here in addition to the comparison photos included in the review.  The original DiorShow gave me good length, some thickening and volumizing, and looked good overall, but it flaked and smudged on me within an hour, so it was a no-go. I am so pleased to report that Extase doesn’t flake, budge, or smudge at all, even with twelve hours of wear. It also holds a curl like nobody’s business!

The brush has a sort of “swirled” look to it, and even though they mentioned black and gold fibers, it all looked black to me, so it was difficult to assess that particular aspect of it. The brush didn’t seem too large, though it felt a little long. It takes an application or two to find the right method for application, but it didn’t require much thought or effort to get good results.

OVERALL, I did enjoy the way Dior DiorShow Extase made my lashes look. It’s particularly lovely for lengthening lashes, even the stubbier ones I have on the outer lash line, and does a decent job everywhere else to make it one of the better multi-tasking mascaras I’ve tried. I’d say it’s very comparable to Chanel Exceptionnel but clumps less (but doesn’t thicken as well).  Extase is also priced higher than Dior’s other mascaras at $28, so it’s not the most affordable mascara you’ll come across.  Just for reference, DiorShow is $24 and DiorShow Iconic is $27.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you like DiorShow and want more length, you may enjoy Extase.

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection
MAC Chamomile Eyeshadow

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection: Eyeshadows

Four brown-hued shades of eyeshadow debuted in the Warm & Cozy Collection. On my skin (probably around NC20 for the underside of my arm — which is where I do swatches), they were all fairly faint. You can see the color, but they’re obviously not ultra rich in pigmentation. I don’t think that makes them bad necessarily, they’re just softer shades and definitely should be used in conjunction with a base (e.g. Cuddle shadestick).

  • Chamomile is a pigmented light beige. Surprisingly, this was one of the more pigmented shades of the four. It would make an excellent all-over-lid shade or a highlighter. It’s like a beige-y version of Blanc Type.
  • Modelette is a softly shimmered medium brown. It’s decently pigmented, but it’s not at all intense (just to be sure).
  • Mulled Cider is a medium-dark red-tinged brown. It reminds me of a satin-finish Folie or Swiss Chocolate (and sheerer).
  • Embark is a dark, red-based brown with a matte finish. It swatches like garbage, and I really couldn’t tell you why. This is definitely one of those looks-better-in-use shades, though (I’ve owned Embark forever!).

MAC has a whole slew of amazing neutral eyeshadows in their permanent line-up. I don’t know if these would be the first browns I’d go-to, to be honest. I’d probably just check out their permanent range, because there really are some incredible shades available. (You can see my eight must-have MAC neutrals here.)

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