Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Shiseido Black Sand Eyeliner
Shiseido Black Sand Eyeliner

There’s always room for one more black eyeliner!

Shiseido Black Sand (BK904) Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil ($20.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a really intense, smooth-applying black eyeliner with flecks of green and antique gold micro-shimmer. It’s really a stunning shade, and it’s definitely a color that appeals to my personal tastes. It formula is incredibly smooth and almost creamy, but it stays in place quite well. It doesn’t last more than an hour or two on my waterline, but it stays on my lash line just fine. The pencil itself is dual-ended with the eyeliner on one side and a smudging sponge on the other.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a fiend for black golds like I am, then you’ll want to check this out!

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Benefit Sunday Funday Palette

Sunday Funday… on Thursday!

Benefit Sunday Funday Palette ($38.00) features Hoola (0.1 oz., mining bronzing powder), Benetint (0.09 oz. rose-tinted lip & cheek stain), Shimmering Rose (0.18 oz., lip shine), Toasty (0.01 oz., eyeliner), four eyeshadows (0.10 oz. each), and two double-sided miniature-sized brushes. This is a companion palette to Scene Queen. Sunday Funday was created by Maggie Ford Danielson–the daughter of Jean Ford, one of Benefit’s co-founders–who is also one of Benefit’s makeup trend artists.

“Sunday Fun Day is all about pulling together a fresh, fabulous look after a late night. Whether you were up watching movies or dancing ’til dawn, this kit has the prettiest eyeshadows and complexion essentials to make you look beautifully revived…just in time for brunch. Waiter, coffee and mimosas, please!” —Maggie Ford Danielson, Benefit Makeup Trend Artist

  • Hoola is a neutral-toned medium-dark bronzer with a nearly matte finish.
  • Benetint is a very natural stain and one of Benefit’s iconic products. It leaves just the tiniest flush behind.
  • Shimmering Rose is a semi-sheer pinky gloss with gold shimmer. It looks rather melon-y in the tube, but it brought out a lot of the pink in my lips.
  • Shimmering Bronze is a softened bronze with a low warmth to it; for a bronze, it’s really not overly warm. Slight sheen, not too frosty, and nicely pigmented.
  • Pink Satin is a light pink with subtle peach tones–not a true pink, but not really peach, either. I could see this as a nice all-over lid color.
  • Light Champagne is a light yellow gold with a frosty sheen.
  • Pretty in Plum is a red-toned, medium plum purple with a satin sheen.
  • Toasty is a medium-dark brown with just a hint of warmth.

These palettes are an excellent way to try out Benefit products without blowing your budget. Sunday Funday gives you plenty of product, and it’s definitely a nice, all-in-one palette. I love that the lipgloss is packaged in a tube–you can tote it around with you later on, but you also don’t have to worry about it getting dust or eyeshadow in it, either. The eyeshadows were very smooth, buttery, and pigmented–they felt just like Benefit’s single eyeshadows. I think this particular mix of colors also works really well together; nothing feels out of place here.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a palette kind of beauty buff, Sunday Funday is a new favorite for me.  It makes sense, so you can travel with it and not worry about combining it with other products for a complete look.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Wednesday, August 4th, 2010


Plum Crazy, Dirt Bag, Brown Sugar, Handcuffs, Blackout

Quickie Reviews: Too Faced Metal Eyed Liquid Shimmer Eyeliners

Periodically, I do quickie reviews — these are products that I just don’t do full reviews for one reason or another, but I have photographed/swatched and–at the very least–briefly tested in some capacity, but perhaps not to the fullest extent. I figure if I’ve taken photos/swatches, the least I can do is show you!  (I can’t believe I’ve had these sitting in my photo folder since October.)

Too Faced Metal Eyed Liquid Shimmer Eyeliner Blackout ($17.50 each) are semi-sheer liquid eyeliners with lots of glitter and a fairly metallic finish. I swatched five shades…

  • Plum Crazy is a blue-based lilac violet with silver sparkle.
  • Dirt Bag is a deep cool-toned bronze with gold and red-brown sparkle.
  • Brown Sugar is a warmed-up molten chocolate brown with copper sparkle;
  • Handcuffs is a metallic silver with silver sparkle; and
  • Blackout is a charcoal black with silver sparkle.

These wear all day long, and the glitter stays put pretty well with only minor fall out, though all the shades are rather sheer when used as eyeliner. You really have to layer it on (and be sure to wait for each layer to dry) in order to get a richer, more opaque look. These do dry very quickly, so you’ll need to work fast to get that precise look. I like these best layered over a solid eyeliner (e.g. black) for a shimmer effect. As a water-based formula, they definitely feel wet and seem to have a thinner formula, but again, it dries down very quickly.

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: For layering, these can be fun; if you’re looking for a rich, opaque glitter eyeliner, not so much.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Shiseido YE406 Tropicallia Eyeshadow Trio

Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio: Tropicalia

Shiseido Tropicallia (YE406) Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio ($33.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a stunning trio of bright, summery shades: a shimmered fuchsia-purple, shimmered sunshine yellow, and soft grass green with yellow undertones. According to Shiseido, this particular trio was inspired by a “vividly colored succulent plant” in southern California. For fall, Shiseido launched seven different eyeshadow trios inspired by Dick Page’s–Shiseido’s Makeup Artistic Director–travels.

Shiseido’s Luminizing eyeshadows have an incredibly butter, almost creamy kind of texture. They’re so soft and finely milled they feel like silk when applied. The shadow holds together so well and deposits evenly. Every shade in the Tropicallia trio is richly pigmented; nothing sheer or untrue here–exactly as pictured. After trying Shiseido’s formula, it’s definitely one of the nicest formulas I’ve ever tried.  The purplish-fuchsia shade did remind me of MAC’s Stars ‘n Rockets, though in a more pigmented and creamier formula that applies pinker (less blue-toned).

The only downside (which isn’t major) is they could give you a little bit more of each color–the quantity is just a little below what I’d expect at the price tag. Each shade is about 0.033 oz. (0.10 oz. in sum), so you’ll still get plenty of usage out of each, and it’s not too high of an investment cost ($11 per shadow).

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

RECOMMENDATION: Give Shiseido’s eyeshadow trios a swatch next time you’re at the counter. I think you’ll be surprised at how lovely the formula is.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora.com

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Saturday, July 31st, 2010


CoverGirl Blazing Blues

Still Hunting for Drugstore Brights

CoverGirl Blazing Blues Eyeshadow Trio ($5.19 for 0.14 oz.) looked like a promising trio of bright, vibrant eyeshadows.  Several years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find any bright eyeshadows, let alone a whole trio of them!  It’s definitely great to see that drugstore brands have stepped things up and started putting out more fun, bold, and bright shades.  However, it’s too bad that the pigmentation is still sorely lacking.

After building up four or five layers of color, I was able to get decent color pay off, but it took more work than it should have.  The trio contains a medium-dark blue with a low level sheen, banana yellow with a soft frost finish, and an aqua-blue with silver sheen.  Personally, I was hoping that the yellow might be a MAC Going Bananas dupe, but it’s so faint, it’s difficult to compare the two.  The worst shade in the trio was the aqua-blue, because even after attempting to build up the intensity of the shade, it still looked sheer and washed out.

In terms of texture, these eyeshadows were a little chalky and powdery–not delectably smooth and buttery at all.

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  • Product: 19/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you like your brights on the sheerer side, then CoverGirl’s Blazing Blues Trio might be more up your alley. But if you want your eyeshadows to be true-to-color, soft, and smooth, look elsewhere.

AVAILABILITY: Drugstore.com

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Thursday, July 29th, 2010

NYX Nude on Nude Palette
NYX Nude on Nude Palette

Cheap, Tawdry Nudes

For a mere $11, you can grab NYX’s Nude on Nude Palette, which contains nine neutral eyeshadows, plus two complementing lip colors. It contains these eyeshadows: pale nude beige (semi-matte finish), semi-sheer mushroom taupe with warm undertones (light shimmer), cool-toned dark brown (satin finish), peachy copper (frosty/metallic sheen), muted copper (frosty), semi-sheer dark gray brown (light shimmer), brightened copper (frosty), browned gold (frosty), and warmed medium-dark chocolate brown (light shimmer). It also contains a reddish rose with lots of shimmer and sheer, medium bubblegum pink for lip colors.

Overall, the eyeshadow quality is pretty good; some shades kick-up a noticeable amount of powder, so you may experience some fall out when using the shades. Nearly all of the shades were nicely pigmented and had a soft, smooth texture.  I also like the packaging (except the pull out drawer–feels cheap) — on the outside, it looks sleek and classy.

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

RECOMMENDATION: On a budget and want some neutrals? NYX makes it easy to do so without feeling guilty.

AVAILABILITY: NYX

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