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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Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection
MAC Shadesticks:
Relaxed, Warm & Cozy, Nurture, Cuddle

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection: Shadesticks

MAC is definitely bringing back shadesticks with a vengeance, don’t you think? With five limited edition shades from Sugarsweet and four new (but still limited edition) shades from Warm & Cozy, it makes me wonder if we’ll be seeing more of these in 2010.

  • Relaxed is a deep, chocolate bronze with a soft frost finish. It has the least frosty finish out of the four, but it’s still noticeably shimmery and has that frost edge associated with frost textures. I thought this was the most pigmented and smoothest of the bunch as well.
  • Warm & Cozy is a burnt copper shade with sparkly glitter particles. I actually felt like this had a very chunky, gritty texture–it wasn’t a winner for me. Shadesticks should be smooth, and I didn’t find that this one was nearly as smooth as I’d expect. It felt like a lustre eyeshadow almost, with the way the glitter flecks were so obvious.
  • Nurture is a pink champagne with a neutral feel. It’s not a bright, nor pastel, pink and it looks very fleshy-pink-beige in a way. It has the same frost finish appearance as the other shadesticks in the launch.
  • Cuddle is a frosty white-gold with yellow daffodil feel. It definitely has a frost finish, and since it is so light, yet covers well, it would make an excellent base as well.

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Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Cream/Gel Eyeliner Breakdown

Cream/gel eyeliners are usually thick creams (the consistency of a cream, but the thickness of more like a paste… or a lipstick, for a better beauty reference!). They usually require a brush to apply it, and most use these on the upper lash line (they can be irritating on the lower lash line, particularly for those with more sensitive eyes). They’re a very, very popular item with numerous brands having their own take on the cream/gel eyeliner product type.

At the end of the day, they’re all quality cream/gel eyeliners and none are not worth paying for. As with many cosmetic products, some will work better on others–we’re not all going to fall in love with the same formula–but I do think these are all good picks. Personally, I tend to choose by the color/shade rather than the brand! If I had to give you a top three (in alphabetical order), they would be: Bobbi Brown, MAC, and shu uemura.

Here’s a comparison across eight different brands and their cream/gel eyeliners… Continue reading →

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Chanel Les Impressions de Chanel Collection

Chanel Les Impressions de Chanel: Kaska Beige Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel’s Kaska Beige Eyeshadow Quad ($56.00) from Les Impressions de Chanel Collection is my very favorite piece from the collection.

When it comes to eyeshadows, Chanel and I don’t always get along; it’s always very hit or miss. (I find I’m a much, much bigger fan of Chanel’s lipglosses and lipsticks… hello, Dragon anyone?) Their Bird of Paradise eyeshadow quad from holiday was nice, but it didn’t quite hit the spot; we all know how I loathed their Les Folie Noirs eyeshadow quad. Even though some quads have been nice, I haven’t seen greatness since Beiges de Chanel.

Beiges de Chanel still wins over Kaska Beige, but the two are very close in terms of versatility, usability, and overall quality. Not everything that’s exciting has to include bold and bright shades, and Kaska Beige proves this with its subtle, neutral shades. It includes a soft fleshy beige with a matte finish that’s neither chalky nor dusty; a medium-dark chocolate brown with a slight reddish undertone and a matte finish; a lightly shimmered deeper chocolate brown with a copper sheen and red undertone; and a neutral-cool tanned brown with gold shimmer.

All four shades are very smooth, soft, and silky. Each one is pigmented without being too intense–they’re easy to use and coordinate with each other. I love that the fleshy beige shade can be used on the lid or as a highlighter.

I’ll definitely be doing a look with this soon, so you can see it in action, but ’til then, hopefully swatches can win you over in the meanwhile!

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

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

Recommendation: For soft, smooth eyeshadows in a very neutral, easy-to-use, and classic color scheme, Chanel has you covered this spring.

Availability: January 2010

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Friday, December 18th, 2009


MAC Love Lace Collection: Eyes

Today, MAC released Love Lace–a week early (it was originally slated for release on the 26th–but my freestanding store confirmed that Warm & Cozy was still launching the 26th). It’s a short ‘n sweet launch, with just two lipsticks, two lipglasses, four eyeshadows, three kohl powers, one nail lacquer, and then a few repromotes of permanent items. It reminds me a bit of last year’s Chill Collection.

I’m going to focus on reviewing the four eyeshadows and three kohl powers in this post, with a follow-up post on the lipsticks and lipglasses, and a final post on the nail lacquer–so stay tuned!

Eyeshadow

  • Love Lace is a dusty darkened blue with a slightly shimmered finish (it is a veluxe pearl, after all) with a very smooth, soft feel. It’s decently pigmented. This reminded me of a more muted Deep Truth kind of shade.
  • Suave Intentions is an icy cool-toned medium blue with icy silver shimmer and sheen. If you had to, you might consider duping this with Tilt (which is a little more teal). This was the most pigmented shade of the four.
  • Pincurl is a mauvey-gray with icy pink shimmer and sheen. It’s a repromote from Blonde, Brunette, and Redhead. It has a sort of dusty look to it.
  • Hypnotizing is a darkened, smoked out mauve-plum with a touch of brown.

Kohl Power

  • Feline is an intense black.
  • Raven is a deep burgundy with black pearl.
  • Sense of Style is a darkened blue-teal with blue and teal shimmer. It’s much bluer than Mystery kohl power.

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Friday, December 18th, 2009

Guerlain Jeu d'Ombrelles Eyeshadow Quad

The many shades of purple… Guerlain Jeu d’Ombrelles Eyeshadow Quad

Guerlain Jeu d’Ombrelles Eyeshadow Quad ($59.00) is the other new product featured in Guerlain’s Cherry Blossom Collection. You can expect to see the eyeshadow quad hitting counters in the next two weeks or so.

Guerlain describes the four shades as: pink and white tones with violet and mauve. For some reason, I was surprised with how the colors actually swatched — this just didn’t strike me as a definitively cool-toned, purple-inspired kind of quad, but that is very much what it is. In order to swatch with meaning, I pretty much wiped off the overlay prior to actually doing swatches. The results are an icy white-pink with soft shimmery sheen, a deepened eggplant plum with a matte finish, a fresh, medium pink with subtle shimmer/sheen, and a matte cool-toned medium purple.

The shades don’t immediately say “unique, buy me!” but I don’t think I have exact dupes in my collection. If I had to list MAC dupes for these shades, I’d suggest Crystal Avalanche, Shadowy Lady, Sweet Lust, and Fig. 1/Satellite Dreams — none of which would be that close. It’s just one of those situations where the shades don’t look particularly original and yet somehow they’re not exactly repeated shades either.

All four eyeshadows swatched smoothly, felt like silk, and were decently pigmented. Both the matte shades felt soft to the touch and didn’t feel or look chalky. The other two shades are noticeably shimmery, but they didn’t feel frosty on me. (They may appear frostier on darker skin tones, though.)

Like the Cherry Blush Blush, it’s housed in an elegant black lacquered compact. The total eyeshadow weight is 0.20 oz. (0.05 oz. per shade), which means you are getting a good amount of product per shade. The compact also includes two double-sided sponge applicators, but I only found them useful for swatching and wouldn’t use them for actual eyeshadow application myself (I’m a brush snob, what can I say?).

Bottom Line: I like this eyeshadow quad, but I’m not quite in love with it yet. It’s very soft, pretty, and certainly reminiscent of spring. The more I use it, though, the more I appreciate it for its subtly and how easy it is to use (all four shades coordinate really well with each other, since they all lean a little purple).

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

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

Recommendation: If you like purple eyeshadow, this just might be a match for you.

Availability: January 2010

See more photos and swatches… Continue reading →