Thursday, December 10th, 2009

LORAC Silver Screen Palette ($30.00) is a face palette that contains eight shades of eyeshadow, two shades of blush, a double-ended brush, and a lipgloss. It’s from LORAC’s Hollywood Ice Collection.

The palette is actually divided with both cool and warm eyeshadows — the first row of eyeshadows are warm, while the second row of eyeshadows are cool. The idea behind the palette is having the ability to go from day to night within a single palette. I definitely think LORAC hit a home run on that mark — this can be easily used to create several softer, more neutral looks, while the mauve, silver, and black-blue shade can add drama to any look.

  • Warm eyeshadows: a warmed up champagne, a peachy-pink, copper-brown, chocolate brown
  • Cool eyeshadows: an icy, semi-matte white, a silvery mauve-plum, a brownish-green-blue (reminded me of MAC’s Club eyeshadow), and a blue-black with blue-green sparkles.
  • Blushes: a bright, peachy-apricot and a semi-matte to matte dirty pink
  • Lip Polish: a semi-sheer, reddish-brown with gold shimmer

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use palette with both eyeshadows and blushes in one (but thankfully no lip color wells!), I think you might find LORAC to your liking. The quality of the eyeshadows is great — they’re smooth, soft, and pigmented. They’re not ultra pigmented, but I don’t think ultra pigmentation is always necessary (good pigmentation is enough — ultra can actually make a color harder to work with at times!).

The palette is housed in sleek, silver packaging and it’s pretty lightweight. The brush is a throw-in; it’s not spectacular, but it’ll do ya in a pinch. I think they could have gone with a more neutral lip color (I know, gasp!), because I’m not sure that deep of a shade will work for the majority of looks.

Bottom Line: The colors weren’t necessarily to my personal taste, but these are quality shades at an affordable price. It’s hard to beat $30 for this much product!

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

Recommendation: Still hunting for a holiday palette? Wanting something with variety? Try LORAC!

Availability: LORAC Cosmetics, Ulta

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Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Holiday Makeup: Subtle Glam?

Sonia Kashuk Starry Eyes Eye Palette ($14.99) is a mix of six eyeshadows–three glittery, three matte–for the holiday season.

My favorite part about this palette is the outside casing — it’s this shimmery, sequin-y black case that sparkles in the light. It’s really stunning, and it’s probably one of the best holiday-themed packaging jobs I’ve seen in awhile. Unfortunately, the inside of the palette, which is more important, just fell a little flat for me.

While I liked Sonia Kashuk’s Showstopper Eyeshadow Quad, which had the same shimmery shadow texture, these colors just seem drab–muted. They’re so muted and subtle and yet have so much shimmer, it seems contradictory. The texture is smooth, and they look wet when applied and have surprisingly little fall out (though there is some). For me, the colors don’t jump out at me, so I’m just not excited over it.

Included in the palette are three glittery shades: a muted warm-toned medium-dark brown, a glitzy warmed up champagne gold, and a muted mauvey-brown, along with three matte shades: a cool-toned chocolate brown, a dusty white, and a plummy mauve.  The matte shades didn’t feel chalky or dusty, though they were a little sheerer than I’d like–overall, they felt smooth to the touch.

I did like how the shimmery shades were coordinated with the matte shades – almost like reflections of each other. I think I liked the actual shades of the matte colors more than the shimmery ones, though!

Bottom Line: This just isn’t the palette for me, but it’s still a quality palette. The shadows were smooth, had decent color pay off, and they’re shades that can definitely be worn by many. Though they’re muted and subtle (and inexplicably, it just didn’t work for me in this palette–because I know I can appreciate a subtle color palette!), they would make for some more nuanced, less in-your-face holiday looks for sure.

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 enjoy more subtle, muted shades, you might like this!

Availability: Target

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Friday, December 4th, 2009

Holiday Makeup Palettes:  Prescriptives Luster Baked Eye Color Quad — Cool

Prescriptives Luster Baked Eye Color Quad ($40.00) is available in two varieties: cool and warm. The one I’m reviewing is the cool palette, which contains four shades of lightly shimmered, soft sheen baked eyeshadows.

The four shades in the palette are: a soft, plummy pink with gold shimmer; copper-bronze with peachy gold shimmer; pinky bronze with soft sheen; and a neutral-cool chocolate brown with soft gold shimmer. The shades work extremely well together, which is something I love to see in a palette–just on principle–so this is something you can easily take with you during your holiday travels. (Or not, if you’re staying home like me!)

The texture is soft and smooth, and the shades themselves are fairly pigmented. They’re not ultra intense, but they have good pigmentation and aren’t too sheer or overwhelming to use. Since they’re baked, they can be used wet for more intensity, and you don’t have to worry about the wetness ruining the product like the typical powder product.

These are very similar to MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadows, even down to the fact that they’re baked on a terracotta plate. Considering both brands are owned by Estee Lauder, I’m not too surprised. Props to Prescriptives for putting them in a palette, though, and also? not giving us an overly glittery mess of useless color! These are much less frosty than MAC Mineralize Eyeshadows tend to be as well, so that may also appeal to you.

I’m not a big baked/mineralize eyeshadow fan myself, so this palette didn’t get me dancing, but it was a nice piece to see for the holiday season, and I think those who do love themselves some mineralized goodness will want to check this out.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love MAC Mineralize Eyeshadows, you may find Prescriptives’ Baked Eyeshadow Palettes are right up your alley!

Availability: Nordstrom

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Monday, November 30th, 2009

Lancome L’Absolu Rouge Soiree for Holiday 2009: Lancome Plum Tease Ink Artliner Gel Eyeliner

Lancome Plum Tease Ink Artliner Gel Eyeliner ($23.50 for 0.14 oz.) is a new shade of Lancome’s Ink Artliner for the holiday season. It’s an eggplant-y plum with a soft, mostly matte appearance. It’s richly pigmented and goes on opaque in one swipe. It’s creamy and easy to work with, but it does dry down after about thirty seconds or so. It doesn’t budge, fade, or smudge throughout the day, and it really holds its own amongst the gel eyeliner heavyweights.

I like this with neutrals, but it especially pops with a healthy dose of sparkling gold eyeshadow, too! I don’t think I own any other gel eyeliners in this particular color, so that’s a huge deal for me — love it when that happens!

Even though winter has just started here in California, I’m actually wondering (and very eager!) whether we’ll see any bold hues for next summer…

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:  Easy to wear, easy to use, and really excellent results make this one a slam dunk for me!

Availability: Lancome, Nordstrom

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Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Clarins’ Palazzo d’Oro Collection:  Gold Attraction Eye Quartet

Clarins Gold Attraction Eye Quartet & Liner Palette ($66.00) is a limited edition holiday palette from Clarins’ Palazzo d’Oro collection, which was “inspired by the light and sumptuous radiance of the architecture of Venice.” It’s a very minimalist collection with four pieces: an eyeshadow palette, a face palette, a lipstick, and a mascara.

The Eye Quartet includes a soft, shimmery milky pink, high-sheen peachy-gold, subdued taupe brown with subtle gold shimmer, and a richer, chocolate brown with just a smidgen of gold specks in it. It also has a black-brown cream liner included with the palette. All four shades are pigmented, and the eyeshadows themselves are smooth to the touch. They blend easily, and this combination of shades is actually very easy to use, because they work so well together. It’s not quite a neutral quad–almost like a neutral quad with a kick, I suppose. It’s perfect for the holidays, but it’s a palette you could easily continue to use throughout the year.

The packaging is stunning; it’s a heavy metal-ish compact that looks like gold. I may even go as far as to say I like the packaging more than the contents! It’s just particularly lovely and well-done, and I am happy that the insides didn’t disappoint.

I only found one drawback for this eyeshadow palette, and it’s the price. The price is really tough to swallow, even for Clarins. Even though you are getting 0.17 oz. of eyeshadow in the palette, it still works out to be $388.24/ounce–which prices it above MAC and NARS, but around the level of Givenchy and Chanel. They sell eyeshadow quartets as part of their regular line-up at $40 each, so I do think you are paying quite a bit on top of this for the packaging itself.

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: 5/5

Recommendation: If you’re a sucker for packaging, Clarins’ Gold Attraction palette just might sucker you in!

Availability: Clarins, Nordstrom

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Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Long-wearing Liner:  NARS Eyeliner Stylo in Bayou Blue and Nuits Blances

NARS Eyeliner Stylo ($27.00 for 0.02 oz.) was recently released just in time for the fall/holiday seasons as a brand new product by NARS. It is touted to be a long-wearing, quick-drying liquid liner delivered via a felt-tip applicator. With the felt-tip applicator, you are supposed to be able to get precise lines–thin or thick–with “maximum control.” The Eyeliner Stylo is available in three shades: Blue Bayou (blue), Nuits Blanches (black), and Nabucco (brown).

I test drove two: Blue Bayou, which is not quite an electric blue, but much brighter and deeper than a sky blue–but there’s no teal or green in it for me; and Nuits Blanches, which is a very deep dark black.  Oddly enough, I’ve found a lot of black felt-tip liners do show up a bit brown when swatched on the skin, but on the eyes, looks black as it’s supposed to; this also happened here (for reference).  I wonder if, perhaps, it’s how close/magnified the photo is vs. viewing it in person at a real-life size.  Anyway, just something worth noting.

The formula is definitely long-wearing and it dries quickly but not too quickly, so you do have some time to work.  The formula itself is fairly water-resistant as well; I’m not sure I’d say entirely waterproof, but it doesn’t budge or smudge or flake throughout the day and takes a bit of elbow grease to remove.  To be honest, one of my biggest frustrations with this product had to do with Blue Bayou staining my eyelid for three days.  I don’t love products that stain overall, because I do find it annoying the next day, but having this slightly faded, residual blue liner on the outer edges of my eyes for three days was ridiculous.  I know in the past, readers have recommended Make Up For Ever’s makeup remover for staining products, but between my cleansers, olive oil, and Lancome’s Bi-Facil, the staining wasn’t budging.  I found the black didn’t stain nearly as much and seemed to fade away by the next day.

I will say that this the felt-tip applicator is very long and skinny, and those with smaller eyes may find this a little unwieldy.  On my eyes, I felt like I had enough control to create thin, precise lines.  I did find creating thicker lines to create a little more skill, just because the applicator is quite thin and more suited towards thin lines rather than thicker lines.  I think with enough practice you’d find that you could get thin or thick lines without much fuss or frustration, though!   The applicator distributes a good amount of product without it being too much or too little–there’s no drag nor is there excess that you have to worry about.

Bottom Line: I like and would recommend Nuit Blanches, because it works and functions quite well.  I do take an issue with something that stains so intensely as Blue Bayou did, which makes me hesitant to recommend it.  I didn’t take any points off for staining, but it’s something I think is worth noting as a potential problem for some (as it is for me).  I used Blue Bayou last week in a look, which you can view here, to see how it looks in action.

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: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you don’t mind a product that may stain your eyelids temporarily, these are easy to use, quality felt-tipped pens to give you that liquid liner look.

Availability: NARS, NARS Eyeliner Stylo

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