Monday, February 1st, 2010

Urban Decay Eden Primer Potion

Go Matte or Go Home! with Urban Decay’s Eden Primer Potion

Urban Decay Eden Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($18.00) is the newest version of Primer Potion to debut this spring season. Like the original Urban Decay Primer Potion and follow-up Sin, Eden helps to prevent creasing, helps your eyeshadow stay on all day long, and increase color vibrancy of eyeshadows.

Eden is a yellow-toned opaque primer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some skin tones (probably those with yellow undertones and medium complexions) use this as a concealer in a jam. On me, I felt like when blended out on the lid, it looked slight yellower than my MAC Soft Ochre paint pot, but this has a much thinner consistency, though it still runs significantly more opaque than the original UDPP and still thicker and richer than Sin.

Unlike the original UDPP, which carries a slight sheen/shimmer, and Sin, which carries an incredibly metallic shimmer sheen (and it’s very pink-champagne), Eden is completely and utterly matte. It’s a good base for those wanting to keep their matte or satin eyeshadows just that, soft and with minimal shimmer. Also, it’s a nice way to kind of mattify some of the more shimmered eyeshadows you have, too.

I like it, and it didn’t really crease on me, which surprised me as UDPP creases on me, personally. It worked well with my skin tone, but I think those with more pink undertones may find this a little too yellow on them (just like Sin is kind of awful on me). It comes in the same genie-bottle packaging as the other versions of Primer Potion, so if you aren’t loving that curvy lil’ bottle, this isn’t any different.

I’ll probably stick with my MAC Soft Ochre paint pot for a matte, neutral eyeshadow base (like the thicker texture, less yellow, and no packaging woes), but I’m so glad Urban Decay has put out a truly matte Primer Potion! It’s about time and makes an excellent addition to their Primer Potion range!

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

Recommendation:  If you’re in need of a matte-finish eyeshadow base… consider Eden!

Availability: Sephora

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Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Urban Decay Stardust Eyeshadows
Eyeshadows: Space Cowboy, Bobby Dazzle, Griffith, Diamond Dog, 54
Retrograde, Atmosphere, Moon Spoon, Void

Urban Decay Stardust Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Swatches

For Spring, Urban Decay’s launched nine shades of a new eyeshadow formula: Stardust Eyeshadows. According to Urban Decay, these have a silky texture that has “40% more glitter than our most sparkly shadows,” and that this formula “delivers a sheer wash of color, topped with … sparkle that glistens like wet now.” The glitter ingredient is called “reflex” and these boast no fall out or chunky glitter. They can be used wet or dry, depending on what kind of color you want to achieve. Each Stardust eyeshadow retails for $20.00 for 0.12 oz. For reference, Deluxe Eyeshadows retail for $18.00 for 0.09 oz. and Deluxe Eyeshadows retail for $16.00 for 0.05 oz.

Stardust Eyeshadows

  • Space Cowboy is a champagne beige with golden sheen and sparkle. It goes on barely there when used dry, but it has a more opaque look when used wet.
  • Bobby Dazzle is a shimmery white (just slightly tinged by gold) with white and silver sparkle. This shade is best used dry unless layering over a more intense color, because it is incredibly sheer dry, though more obvious when used wet.
  • Griffith is a soft, yellow-toned green with paler green sheen and sparkle. You can get some green to show when you use this dry, but it’s better when used wet or over a base.
  • Diamond Dog is a dirty brown with a little gray and silverish sparkle. This brown kind of felt like one of those “ugly” browns to me for some reason. Somewhat pigmented when used wet but still nicer when used wet.
  • 54 is an icy purple with silver-white sparkle. It’s pretty pale and cool-toned and like the other shades, best used wet.
  • Retrograde is a darkened purple with red undertones and silver sparkle. I expected richer color, but I couldn’t achieve the deepness I wanted even when used wet. It just looks so dark in the pot, but it’s not nearly so dark in real life.
  • Atmosphere is a bright teal-blue with silver sparkle. Atmosphere is easily the best shade of the nine — if you only wanted one, this is the one I’d recommend. It’s richly pigmented, even when used dry, and moreso when used wet.
  • Moon Spoon is a gray taupe with cool silver sparkle. So so when used dry, smoother when used wet.
  • Void is a gray-black with silver sparkle. It reminded me of Oil Slick, just with more glitter. I found this one didn’t seem to look much different when used wet–about the same as when swatched dry.

The packaging is a matte, slightly squish plastic (think NARS) shaped into a square. You squeeze the sides and it releases the plastic flip-top back. I’m not drooling over the packaging, but it’s functional. It’s particularly streamlined and “clean” for Urban Decay, actually.

The glitter in the Stardust eyeshadows is definitely not the typical chunky glitter a la Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, but I did encounter a decent amount of fall out when I used Atmosphere in this look earlier this week. It wasn’t the worst fall out I’ve encountered, but I did get enough to be able to say that these definitely are prone to fall out for me. I used it over Urban Decay’s Primer Potion and wet, for reference, and still had the fall out. I’d say the fall out is a little less than their typical glitter eyeshadows, certainly much less so than Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, as well. If you don’t mind a little clena-up, then these might be fun to play around with.

These are probably better over dark bases or else layered on top of more pigmented or vibrant shades of eyeshadow. I could definitely see these working well over a black base for a very smoky, glittering eye. Even though layering seems to the best way to use these, they weren’t quite as blendable as Urban Decay’s powder eyeshadows. When used wet, they have a bit of a tendency to “stick” in places, so you may find yourself using a similar-colored powder eyeshadow to help blend out the Stardust eyeshadow.

Bottom Line: I have never been a fan of eyeshadows that produce a lot of fall out. I don’t want to have to spend extra time cleaning up after application; I don’t mind a little bit–the kind that can be covered up with foundation, just not a lot. These have enough fall out that I don’t love them, and I think the colors themselves aren’t as vibrant as I’d like to see from Urban Decay, so they’re not to my taste. Atmosphere was the only one that really popped to me.  It’s like they’re okay – Urban Decay states they’re sheer, but they also say “no fall out” which I found not to be the case in my experience.

I found myself preferring Stila’s Jewel Eyeshadow Palette for my dose of glitter, because I found the color went on a bit more pigmented when used dry, but I also didn’t encounter very much fall out when I used them either. Of course, the shades aren’t similar, so you may go one way or the other based on what kind of color you want.  I will say that if you use a sponge-tip applicator or your finger to press on the glitter, there is a lot less fall out, though.  Additionally, for a glittery-based eyeshadow, the fall out was much less than I’ve experienced in the past, on the whole.

Have you tried these yet?  What has your experience been like?

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

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

Recommendation: If you love glittery eyeshadow, love the shimmering wet look, and don’t mind some fall out… I think these may be your style.

Availability: Urban Decay

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Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner

Affordable Gel Eyeliner from Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner ($9.99) is a gel eyeliner that comes in a glass pot with a screw-on lid. Lasting Drama is currently available in four shades: Black, Brown, Grey, and Plum. I’ve only tried out the Black and Plum myself. Each glass pot of gel eyeliner also comes with a small, flat bristled brush with a dome shape for lining. I personally didn’t find the brush the right kind to line with (I prefer angled or very, very thin and pointed), but it’s a nice little bonus.

I’m pleased to report that after testing the wear of this liner that it is indeed lasting! (I wore it in this look.) Blackest Black didn’t smudge, budge, or fade on me throughout eight hours of wear–though Maybelline does advertise “24-hour wear” (I’ll leave that test to someone else…). I found it was plenty black for me–and I love me some rich black pigment–so I was quite surprised at how well it translated onto the lid. I used MAC’s 208 angled brush to apply Blackest Black to my upper lash line, and it was smooth, easy to apply, and gave me good color intensity off the bat. I didn’t have to go back over to darken at all, which was yet another concern alleviated.

Blackest Black is very much a true black. It doesn’t have much of a sheen, though it’s not completely flat, and it doesn’t have shimmer. Plum, on the other hand, has a higher sheen and plummy-mauve shimmer in a dark plum base. The consistency of both is thick without being goopy and very smooth when applied. They’re not creamy like Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliners, but they can be blended or smudged so they’re not too thick. They seem to dry without much of a fuss, but they don’t dry instantly, so you may have to wait a few seconds before you squeeze your eyes shut to avoid any transfer.

At $9.99 each, they’re on the pricier end for the budget beauty maven, but Maybelline frequently goes on sale, so at buy one, get one free or buy one, get one 50% off, I think they’re definitely worth picking up if you’re in the market for an affordable gel eyeliner. The packaging has a surprisingly “high-end” feel for Maybelline (whose packaging I’m generally not impressed by) — they look and feel much like MAC Fluidlines.

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’re looking for an affordable gel eyeliner, keep an eye out for Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner!

Availability: Ulta, your local drugstore

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Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Benefit Spring 2010 Eyeshadows

Benefit Velvet Eyeshadows for Spring 2010

Benefit Spring 2010 Eyeshadows ($18.00 each) come in six, limited edition varieties:  Bo Peep, Buns, Nice Melons, Shamrocker, Mermaid, and Fancy Pansy.  They’re new and only available for a limited time, unfortunately, but they are perfect spring-friendly shades.

I am a big, big fan of Benefit’s Velvet Eyeshadows. I have been for awhile (you can see my original review, if you’re curious), so when I found out that there were six new shades for spring, I got a little excited. When I saw that they had pops of color, I couldn’t wait to try them.  You know me, I love me some color–even though I can totally appreciate a good neutral–and Benefit finally brought me some color.

  • Bo Peep is an icy pink with a silver sheen.  This is probably the one with the most frost-like appearance.
  • Buns is a caramel brown with a soft golden bronze sheen.
  • Nice Melons is a peachy-pink with gold sheen.  It would appear that nobody is going to escape spring without some sort of melon-esque shade in their makeup wardrobe.  Yes, it totally reminds me of MAC Melon pigment, but it’s in glorious pressed form.  (For the record, I do not like MAC pigments pressed… they’re not the same!)
  • Shamrocker is a fresh, minty green with silver sheen.  I don’t even know if I have any minty greens in my stash–it’s just not a color you see too often.  I like!
  • Mermaid is a dark green with a teal edge and gold sheen.  I would have loved to see a little more boldness and vibrancy from this shade, even though it is very much in line with the look and feel of Benefit as a line.
  • Fancy Pansy is a iridescent fuchsia-purple pearled shade with an icy sheen.  It’s like a much more purple version of MAC Stars ‘n Rockets (which runs a little fuchsia in comparison).

All six shades have the same softness, smoothness, and pigmentation as I’ve come to expect of Velvet Eyeshadows.  One of my favorite qualities about these is the consistency across the line — there are no duds.  There are no misses in texture, color pay off, or feel.  Everything is as it should be, even if one color may not be to your taste.  I can really appreciate the consistency, because it means you don’t have to worry, “Is this one going to be a flop?”

I would, of course, love to see Benefit add even more vibrant hues (a girl can dream, right?) or even a line of matte or semi-matte eyeshadows to complement the Velvet Eyeshadow line (which is all on the shimmery side of life).  But nevertheless, I hope they’ll continue to release new and/or limited edition shades throughout 2010!

Can’t wait to do a look with these!

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love soft, smooth, well-pigmented eyeshadow, Benefit’s Velvet Eyeshadow is all that and more.

Availability: Benefit

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Monday, January 25th, 2010

Tarte Flower Child Eyeshadow Palette for Spring 2010

Tarte for Spring 2010:  Flower Child Palette

Tarte Flower Child Natural Eyeshadow Palette ($44.00) is a new spring-styled palette from Tarte. It seems like every season, Tarte has a new eyeshadow palette up their sleeves. The Flower Child palette is in the same vein; it includes ten eyeshadows housed in a purple-covered case (kind of like a patent material) with flowers sprouting out on top (sorry, no photo).

Inspired by the rich earthen hues from which their pure color pigments are harvested and this Spring’s runway and red carpet trends, Tina’s interpretation of tarte’s best-selling eyeshadow palette combines saturated pigments with subtle pops of color. Versatile and artistic, this palette seamlessly transitions between day and night thanks to a wide variety of tones ranging from delicate to robust. This harmonious balance of shades ingeniously captures the expressiveness of the eyes no matter the look.

Eyeshadows

  • Soft Daffodil is a lightly shimmered peach. It’s hard to see on my skin tone, but it’s a very pretty shade to use with a neutral or softer look.
  • Ecru Hibiscus is a pink champagne. It may not seem ultra pigmented to the eye, but it’s designed to be softer shade — this is something you could use as a highlighter or as a wash. I think it’s just pigmented enough to do what it should.
  • Pink Peony is a brightened up blue-based pink. It was a little powdery when I played with it and looked sheerer when swatched than I’d have liked it to be. Even though it’s supposed to have shimmer, it seemed very minute to me.
  • Gray Periwinkle is a silvered gray with a light shimmer sheen (but it’s truly quite faint). I didn’t see any periwinkle in this, though. This shade was decently pigmented relative to the rest of the shades in the palette.
  • Peach Tulip is a coppery bronze that goes on very smooth and looks rich. This one is very pigmented, but it looks absolutely nothing like a peach or tulip. This seems like a better fit for the name “Firewheel” (while Firewheel seems a better fit for Peach Tulip).
  • Firewheel is a peachy melon with a soft gold sheen. This is a played down, more pinked melon than MAC’s Melon pigment. I always gravitate towards these kinds of shades! This applied very smooth and pigmented.
  • Buttercup is a slightly warmed-up soft brown with a matte finish. It’s soft, but it’s a little on the sheerer side and can look a bit faded.
  • African Violet is a darkened purple with red undertones with a light shimmer sheen. It’s decently pigmented, though not intense.
  • Delphinium Blue is a powdery navy blue. This was the sheerest and most powdery shade of the ten eyeshadows–it just wasn’t very pigmented or smooth.
  • Vibrant Forest Grass is a darkened cool-toned green with a soft shimmer finish. I think the name is a little off — it’s not vibrant (just pigmented, but not intensely so), but it is like a forest green, I suppose.

Also included in the palette is a double-sided eyeliner that has a dark brown on one side and a lightly shimmered darkened teal on the other; a double-sided brush (yes, a brush–no sponge tip applicators here!), and a miniature-sized Natural Eye Primer. The Eye Primer doesn’t actually fit inside the palette, though, so it’s not as functional as it could be. (It comes in a plastic holder that hangs off of the side.)

All of the eyeshadows are full-sized and magnetized so you can remove them if you want, refill with other Tarte eyeshadows as needed, and so on. I really do like that, because it means you are getting a great deal for your money, but it means you can always slot in another shade if you happen to finish one of these!

Bottom Line: It’s a solid palette, but it’s definitely on the sheerer/softer side of the eyeshadow spectrum. The colors do fit well with the season, as it gives me a spring feeling. The palette itself holds excellent value as you get ten full-sized eyeshadows for $44 (as opposed to $10 a pop, not that you can purchase these shades individually, though). I think some of the shades could have used some more pigmentation, particularly the deeper shades, but it’s a decent palette overall.

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: 4/5

Recommendation: For a real value-loaded palette, Tarte’s Flower Child offers several soft shades for the spring season.

Availability: Sephora

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Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland Eyeshadow Palette

Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland Eyeshadow Palette

I purchased the palette online at Urban Decay on Friday, and it finally arrived here to me in California (they ship out from Florida, FYI!). For those interested in picking one up for themselves, both U.S. and Canadian Sephoras are taking phone orders. I know the U.S. number is 1-877-SEPHORA. Last I heard, Sephora would have it online around the 26th and retails for $52.

In the Book of Shadows, Alice in Wonderland style, you get sixteen eyeshadows, each weighing 0.03 oz. You also receive a miniaturized Primer Potion (0.13 fl. oz.) and two miniaturized 24/7 eye pencils (0.3 oz.) in Zero and Flipside.

It is important to note that the eyeshadows included in the palette are not new shades; they’re existing/previous shades re-named to fit in the Alice in Wonderland theme. That being said, if you own Urban Decay’s Ammo, Book of Shadows Vol. I/Vol. II, or the Sustainable Palettes, you may already own the majority of the shadows in the Alice in Wonderland kit.  Below is a shadow-by-shadow review with the real-name of the eyeshadow in parentheses (for your reference).

Eyeshadows

  • Underland (Flash) is a bright, cool-toned medium purple with an icy lilac shimmer. It’s soft, smooth, and richly pigmented.
  • Alice (Painkiller) is a bright aqua-blue with an icy sheen. Like Underland, it’s smooth, silky soft, and has lots of pigment to it.
  • Oraculum (Baked) is a warmed-up copper with a softer copper sheen. Smooth, soft, well-pigmented. I do find this one has a bit of a frostier finish than some of the other shades.
  • Queen (Last Call) is a reddened eggplant with a burgundy edge. It has a frost-like sheen, but it is smooth and pigmented.
  • Chessur (Chopper) is a cooler-toned, not nearly as bright, copper shade. It has the same soft texture as the majority of Urban Decay’s shadows, but it has silverish glitter particles that may contribute to some fall out in practice.
  • White Rabbit (Polyester Bride) is a gently yellowed white (though still, very white) with a white-gold sheen. Like Chessur, it also has some glitter to it, so it’s not quite my favorite texture.
  • Wonderland (Maui Wowie) is a tarnished gold, maybe an antique gold, but not quite so dark. It has a golden bronze sheen to it. It’s pigmented and smooth, but it also has a few glitter particles (though I think this is one of the more manageable glitter-based shades in the bunch).
  • Curiouser (Grifter) is a lightened fuchsia-purple with icy purple sheen. It also has silverish glitter particles in it, which may lead to fall out. This is one of the lesser pigmented shades, though it still has decent color pay off.
  • Muchness (X) is a peachy-melon with a gold sheen. It almost has a little mauve to it, in certain lighting. It reminded me of MAC’s Melon pigment quite a bit. This has a frosty finish, but it doesn’t have the glitter, so it’s smooth and easier to work with.
  • Mushroom (Mushroom) is a taupe brown with kind of a silvery sheen and shimmer. It’s not quite as rich as some of the other shades, but it can be layered for a more intense look. (Don’t get me wrong, it has nice pigmentation–just not as intense as the other shades in this palette.)
  • Midnight Tea Party (Midnight Cowboy Rides Again) is a flushed champagne with silver/gold glitter particles. This is quite possibly my least favorite Urban Decay eyeshadow. It is a pain in the behind to work with, because the glitter fall out is pretty insane. It’s a shame, because the color itself is pretty, but the glitter means “No, thank you!” for me.
  • Vorapal (S&M) is a neutral, slightly cooled down silver with a brighter silver sheen. Smooth and pigmented.
  • Absolem (Homegrown) is a grassy green with a golden shimmered sheen. Very pigmented and true-to-color.
  • Drink Me, Eat Me (Sin) is a pinked champagne with a bright, frosty sheen. It’s like a pinker version of Midnight Tea Party–and sans all the glittery fall out.
  • Mad Hatter (Twice Baked) is a lightly glittered dark brown with warm undertones. I don’t remember Twice Baked behing so lagging in pigment, but I really had to layer this one on to get a decent evenness. It gave me some drag and a faded look.
  • Jabberwocky (Oil Slick) is a dark black base with icy blue and silver glitter. While not as prone to fall out as Midnight Tea Party, it’s still one of the glittery shades that may lead to some fall out while applying it.

Bottom Line: From the beginning, I’ve been a little disappointed that Urban Decay didn’t create some new shades for this palette, in light of the partnership between them and Alice in Wonderland. The names are certainly excellent and totally work with the theme, but I would have appreciated (and just loved to have seen!) brand new shades.

I like the shades and palette overall, but I think I already own the majority in various other palettes, too, so I’ll probably end up passing this on to my sister after I do some looks with it (well, hopefully!). I’m not a huge fan of Urban Decay’s more glittery shades (of which there are six, with one being exceptionally hard to work with) and tend to prefer their smoother shades.  I think the palette could have done with a few matte or semi-matte shades, too, just to break up the frost and shimmer.

The packaging is very cohesive, and it looks good.  It fits with the theme, but I think they put it together quite nicely.  My lid won’t stay open, so it being used as a mirror is not happening as of yet.  Since the theme, while well-done, isn’t a driver for me though, I probably would have passed on this palette under normal circumstances.  It’s a better buy if you are looking to try a bunch of Urban Decay eyeshadows without investing in singles; it’s definitely a value palette if that’s the case!

Love it or hate it?

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

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

Recommendation: If you’re a big Alice in Wonderland fan, or really like cute packaging, you may want to place you order sooner rather than later. OR if you’ve always wanted to try out UD shadows (but don’t have any/just a few).

Availability: Sephora (TBA)

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