Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams

Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams: Part II

Ahh! The five Aqua Creams ($22.00) I ordered from Sephora arrived over the weekend, and I’m pleased to say I’ve been enjoying them! I liked the first four that I tried, because the pigmentation is incredible, and the finishes are beautiful.

Lips & Cheeks: #5 Peach, #6 Fresh Pink, #7 Fuchsia, #8 Red, #9 Coral, #10 Orange
Eyes & Cheeks: #1 Anthracite, #2 Steel, #3 Silver, #4 Snow, #11 Gold, #12 Golden Copper, #13 Warm Beige, #14 Satin Brown, #15 Taupe, #16 Pink Beige, #17 Plum, #18 Purple, #20 Intense Blue, #21 Turquoise, #22 Emerald Green

  • #9 Coral is a medium coral-orange with subtle shimmer (very faint).
  • #6 Fresh Pink is a beautiful blue-based pink with golden shimmer. SO pretty. It’s amazing on cheeks and lips! Just make sure to prep lips, because it seemed a little drier than some of the other Aqua Creams, but it holds on for hours.
  • #13 Warm Beige is a lightened champagne taupe with a metallic sheen. This is kind of a neutral base color, but it’s a bit high on the frost/metallic finish and darker than I’d like — not quite as universal as I was hoping.
  • #11 Gold is a metallic gilded gold. Very, very pretty. Not entirely sure how usable it is, but it is stunning.
  • #20 Intense Blue is a medium ocean blue with silver shimmer. It’s like MAC Freshwater eyeshadow, in a cream form.

The reason I like these so much is they’re creamy but not too creamy–they won’t slip around on your eye lids, and they really lock down. These just don’t budge at all, even without setting with eyeshadow. I also like that you can use them on eyes/cheeks or lips/cheeks (depending on the shade), because they’re more multi-tasking. I like them the most on eyes, then cheeks, and finally lips. I wouldn’t wear these alone on lips (they dry down a bit, so they’ll last for over four hours on me, possibly stain, but my lips need more moisture, so I top with a gloss). Like they are on the eyes – they are excellent bases.

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

Recommendation: If you love color and rich, creamy textures, you may find the new Aqua Creams right up your alley. These are particularly lovely blushes for those with oily skin, because these dry down quite well.

Availability: Sephora

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Thursday, May 27th, 2010

MAC Nude Collection

MAC Nude Collection: New Pigments

MAC’s Nude Collection is a PRO-only release (much like the Chromagraphic Pencils) and there really isn’t much to it. I will review Barelash Pro Longlash separately (probably next week), and I already covered the nude Chromagraphic Pencils here. This leaves us with two new PRO pigments — Naked Dark (medium beige with pearlized pigments) and Naked Deep Dark (dark beige with pearlized pigments).

  • Naked is a light, flesh-toned beige-pink. it’s almost like a nude champagne pink with a slight golden shimmer-sheen.
  • Naked Dark is a medium tan with a beige-nude tone with subtle gold sheen.
  • Naked Deep Dark is a darkened brown with an almost taupe edge when used wet. It also has a slight golden sheen.

There’s not much to say about these, to be honest!  They’re three variations of flesh-toned (or nude, ha ha) colors in pigment form.  Naked has always been around, but it’s always been a great highlighter and natural highlighter for those with lighter skin tones.  These could also be mixed into moisturizer for a little shimmer and sheen on decolletage, too.  All three shades were well pigmented when used wet, and they have very soft, finely milled texture–no chunky pigments here, no glitter, no frostiness.

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

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

Recommendation: If you’ve been looking for neutral pigments, the new PRO pigments are perfect for that. For those with medium or darker skin tones who have wanted a pigment highlighter, these might work, too.

Availability: MAC PRO

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Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Urban Decay Sephora Exclusive Eyeshadows

Urban Decay Hits All the Right Notes with These Sexy Six!

There are six Urban Decay Eyeshadows ($17.00) newly released and Sephora exclusives. All six shades are richly pigmented, smooth to the touch, and easy to blend. They really represent why Urban Decay eyeshadows are so raved about. Not a single one is sheer, and none of these have gritty or glittery textures, so they’re just beautiful, seamless shades for the color lover.

  • Woodstock is a vibrant medium hot pink with subtle fuchsia shimmer. It has a low pearly sheen. It’s not frosty at all!
  • Free Love is a warmed-up peach melon with a golden peach sheen and slight frost finish. It’s like a darkened version of X.
  • Psychedelic Sister is a medium-dark purple with red undertones and an iridescent violet sheen-shimmer. It’s not as blue-based as Flash.
  • Aquarius is a pale aqua-teal with a silver-metallic sheen. This was the frostiest of the new six.
  • Haight is a slight teal-blue with a frost finish and silver sheen. It’s different than Dashiki, but it’s not super teal like Shattered.
  • Dashiki is a brightened medium sky blue with a soft pearled sheen.

My favorites were definitely Woodstock, Free Love, and Dashiki. I don’t have anything quite like Dashiki in my stash, so it’ll be a nice shade for the summer season.  If you’ve been thinking about these, they really are fantastic.  These are some of Urban Decay’s more impressive shades, just in terms of texture and pigmentation.

Have you checked out Urban Decay’s new shades?

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

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

Recommendation: Excellent quality, richly pigmented, buttery texture–the best of Urban Decay’s eyeshadow textures.

Availability: Sephora

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Monday, May 24th, 2010

MAC Chromagraphic Pencils
Pure White, Basic Red, Process Magenta, Genuine Orange, Primary Yellow,
Landscape Green, Marine Ultra, Hi-Def Cyan, Rich Purple, Black Black, NC42/NW35

MAC Chromagraphic Pencils: Review, Photos, Swatches

Last week, MAC PRO launched a full collection of Chromagraphic Pencils. Each retails for $14.50, and all the shades are permanent at PRO stores. This collection is only available at PRO stores, but anyone can shop at a PRO store. You can even call up your nearest PRO store, and you can place a phone order for a flat-rate shipping cost. Keep in mind that these are PRO products, which means they were designed with the makeup artist in mind, not necessarily consumers.

These may seem familiar because MAC released two of the flesh-toned shades with Pret-a-Papier (NC15/NW20 and NW25/NC30). The other eleven shades are new. Chromagraphic Pencils are creamy pencils that glide on easily and smoothly. According to PRO, they are meant for lining and defining, which makes sense as they have other products (like Chroma Cakes and Paint Sticks) more suitable for larger areas.

I do really like the flesh-toned shades for use on the lower waterline to open up the eye. I find that the NC15/NW20 achieves that the best (the others being a bit too dark on me) myself, and I’m about NC25. Black Black is really intense, and it is safe for usage everywhere but the lips, and that’s the one I chose to test-drive first. It stays pretty well on the waterline and lash line – it looks intense and dark from a normal viewing distance, but up close, I can see that it looks a little faded–but it hadn’t faded any more after the initial inspection and stayed on for about six hours for me (on the waterline, over eight on the lash line).

The following shades are not to be used in the lip area: Black Black, Marine Ultra, NC15/NW20, NW25/NC30, NC42/NW35
The following shades are not to be used in the eye area: Basic Red, Genuine Orange, Process Magenta
The following shades are not to be used in the inner rim of eye: Basic Red, Process Magenta, Genuine Orange, Primary Yellow, Landscape Green, Marine Ultra, Hi-Def Cyan, Rich Purple

The darker, more pigmented shades will stain the skin a little if worn for prolonged periods of time. I did not wear the swatches of these for very long, but it took quite a bit of elbow grease to remove them entirely.  I think these are certainly a quick and easy way to put detail on body/face painting efforts.  I’m not necessarily sure how much use most of us would get out of these, though (which is just fine–these weren’t made for us!).

  • Pure White is a crystal clear creamy white.
  • Basic Red is a primary red, subtle orange undertones.
  • Process Magenta is a brightened pink, not quite fuchsia, definitely magenta.
  • Genuine Orange is a rich, almost neon tangerine orange.
  • Primary Yellow is exactly that–bright yellow.
  • Landscape Green is a medium grass green.
  • Marine Ultra is a darkened medium sea blue.
  • Hi-Def Cyan is a creamy sky blue.
  • Rich Purple is a darkened, red-toned purple.
  • Black Black is an intense, almost wet-looking black.
  • NC15/NW20 is a light beige/fleshy shade.
  • NW25/NC30 is a darker version of NW15/NC20. Almost looks like a darkened peach.
  • NC42/NW35 is darker version of NW25/NC30. It looks a bit peachy/orange on me.

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Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

YSL Eyeshadow

YSL Single Eyeshadows:  Fawn, Mogador Blue, Slate Green

YSL Ombre Solo Lasting Radiance Eyeshadows ($30.00 for 0.06 oz.) are a new, recent release from YSL. Accordingt o YSL, they are to deliver “vibrant” and “pure” color for “hours.” Each palette contains both a sponge-tipped and brush applicator.

These single eyeshadows are available in twelve shades: #01 Midnight Black (black), #02 Cashmere Brown (brown), #03 Perian Blue (gray blue), #04 Midnight Purple (dark purple), #05 Slate Green (forest green), #06 Pink Nude (soft pink), #07 Smokey Grey (gray), #08 Fawn (soft brown), #09 Mogador Blue (blue), #10 Lunar Purple (purple), #11 Garden of Eden (light green), and #12 Parisienne Pink (pink).

I’ve tried three shades, and I think now would be the best time to review them, given that I was so disappointed with the spring palette–because I don’t think it’s representative of the entire YSL line. (Their eyeshadow palettes have never wowed me, but they have never entirely disappointed me, either.) The new single eyeshadows are much, much better.

  • #08 Fawn is a softened, peach-toned brown with soft peach-gold sheen. It’s not too warm, so I think it would work on both cooler and warmer skin tones. It would make a good all-over lid color on medium skin tones, too.
  • #09 Mogador Blue is a silver-shimmered sky blue. This shade had the frostiest finish out of the three I tried, but it’s not an over-the-top frost. It was surprisingly pigmented (I feared for the worst on this pastel-ish shade!), and it went on very smoothly.
  • #05 Slate Green is a darkened forest green. This shade of dark forest green is one of my favorite shades, and I didn’t have any eyeshadow in this shade until now, so I’m really enthused over this one on a personal level.

I’m so, so pleased to say that these are soft, smooth, and pigmented. They actually feel a bit different than YSL’s palettes and duos–a little thicker in a sense, not at all powdery, and seem more pigmented. The packaging is traditional YSL with the “gold” case. The two applicators included in the eyeshadow are so-so — nothing ground-breaking, and I’d only use them in an emergency situation, but I like that they had a bristle-based one, too.

I’m not particularly keen on the price/quantity situation here — it’s closer to luxury brands like Cle de Peau than high-end, designer brands like Chanel and Dior. The quality is fantastic, but I could see these better priced at aroun $26 or $27.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Based on the three shades I tried, the new single eyeshadows are silky smooth and richly pigmented. They apply evenly and easily. The price tag is a bit steep, so it may not be for everyone.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

YSL Spring 2010 Palette

Weekend Quickies: YSL Parisian Sky Eyeshadow Palette

YSL’s Spring Look may have offered some pretty lipsticks and glosses, but they really failed on the eyeshadow palette as far as I’m concerned. The whole thing is a sheer, chalky mess. I haven’t been this disappointed in a product since Chanel’s Les Folie Noirs Quad from last fall–which is a good thing, because these really bring me down. So uninspiring!

Parisian Sky ($56.00) consists of a pale sky blue with silver glitter, satin-y navy blue, iridescent lilac, satin-y pale pink, and muted plum-brown with silver glitter. None of the five shades was what I would call pigmented. The more satin/matte shades were chalky, and the light pink was a bit powdery, too. The shimmery shades were dusty and felt a bit loose, like the glitter would easily travel elsewhere on your face if you used it on your eyes.

If you showed me these swatches, I would never have guessed it was a YSL palette. Not in a bajillion years! I think this may be the first true F of a product — I’m at a loss of positive things to say about it. There are sheerer, softer shades, but these just look like they were meant to be more – they required such heavy swatching just to show up. At least with Chanel, half of the shades showed up decently, and it could also be used wet to intensify the shades.

A part me wonders if I somehow got a bad palette, because I can’t believe what swatched. I’ve tried several YSL eyeshadows in the past, and none of them have been even near as poor as these were for me. In fact, I just finished up testing their new single eyeshadows, and those had excellent pigmentation and texture!

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

  • Product: 10/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  I would most definitely not recommend this to anyone.  If you like sheer shades, I would recommend testing this in person first to see if you get better results than I did.

Availability: Nordstrom

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